E 0093 BIHAGON

The Old Saxon verb " bihagon " is of Germanic origin

H 0419 ג ח

Concept of root : joyful feast

Hebrew word

pronunciation

English meanings

ג ח

ghag

feast, festival, celebration

Related English words

Old Saxon : bihagon

Comparison between European words and Hebrew

Languages

Words

Pronunciation

English meanings

Similarity in roots

Hebrew

ג ח

ghag

feast, festival, celebration

gh . g

Old Saxon

bihagon

to find pleasure

h . g

Middle Dutch

(be)hagen

haghen

to have fun; joy

h . gh

Middle High German

behagen

behagen

to please, suit

h . g

 

 

Proto-Semitic *GHAG --- *HĀG- Proto-Germanic

 

 

The full scale of meanings of Middle Dutch "hagen" is wider, but the referred part is very near to the experience of people at a feast or party. A Hebrew "ghag" usually had a specific reason, religious or celebrational, but that has been the same in many civilizations. The difference between the Hebrew GH and Germanic H is not fundamental, as in Hebrew the H at the beginning of a root may well develop into GH.

 

One must remark that for Proto-Germanic words, predecessors of modern words with initial " H ", often a "GH" or "KH" is supposed. This would place Proto-Germanic nearer to Hebrew, but we do not think this "GH-KH"-thesis is right.

 

    On the basis of the two consonant root "ח ג , GH.G" , in Hebrew an extended root "ח ג ג , GH.G.G" has been developed, with the message of "to celebrate". And the verb has acquired further meanings of quite varied types, such as "to make a pilgrimage", "to dance and stomp", "to be giddy" and "to reel". The root is related to the famous Arab word "ghajja" for "make a pilgrimage to Mekka". Arabic "ghijja" remains a feast.

 

Note:
  • Proto-Semitic . Besides its Arabic cognate "ghijja = feast" , we see this root used in Aramaic and Syriac "ח ג א ghag' = feast". We suppose the root as in Hebrew was present in Proto-Semitic. "*ח ג , GH G".

 

Note:
  • Old Saxon, German and Dutch, undoubtedly are of the same origin, but already Middle High German had not maintained those specific meanings we find in Middle Dutch and that were akin to Hebrew.

 

Note:
  • Proto-Germanic. Sometimes these words for "to have fun" and "to be pleasant " are seen as related to words likeOld English "haga" ( English "hedge" and perhaps "haw")and its sisters with final "-G", for example Dutch "haag", found in the name of the town "The Hague". Hedging in is not a condition for having fun and may be the contrary. Perhaps somebody saw the, in fact fortuitous, similarity between "hay = country dance" and "hay = hedge", forgetting then about "hay = cut and dried grass". The semantic distance between the two concepts of "to hedge in" and "to have fun" is enormous and the words are decidedly unrelated.

     

    With Middle Dutch "hagen" besides "behagen" as a clear exception most older languages already used verbs with a prefix, that is "be-" or older "bi-", with Old English having "onhagian = to please. be at leisure", besides other related meanings. But also still "hagian" with the same message. Proto-Germanic may already have used a verb with prefix, but probably still had the older "H Ā G"

 

Note:
  • Indo-European. There is no clear information about possible cognates in other Indo-European groups of languages, and the comparison remains between Semitic and Proto-Germanic, as so often is the case.

 

 

 

 

 
Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 26/10/2012 at 14.28.22