E 0145 CAPE

The word " cape " is of uncertain, but Indo European origin .

H 0496 ף כ

Concept of root : cape

Hebrew word

pronunciation

English meanings

ף כ

keph

cape, rock

Related English words

cape

Comparison between European words and Hebrew

Languages

Words

Pronunciation

English meanings

Similarity in roots

Hebrew

ף כ

keph

cape, rock

k . p

Modern Greek

καβος

kabos

cape

k . b

Italian

capo

capo

cape;

head

c . p

English

cape

c . p

Dutch

kaap

kaap

cape, look-out tower

k . p

 

 

Proto-Semitic *KAP- --- *KĀP Proto-Germanic

 

 

There is some confusing evidence regarding this entry and the conclusions we have to accept are surprising. This begins with Italian and Latin. The old language of the Romans used for "cape", "promontorium". And for "head" it had "caput", that became in the genitive "capitis". Italian "capo" is said to have been derived from Latin "caput". But if this is true, why has it not become the usual ablative form, in this case "capite"? That word is also used in Italian, not of course with the meaning "cape".

 

The Italian word "capo" has the two rather different messages of "cape" and "head", besides a number of derived and figurative meanings. The first one, "cape", has sisters found in various Germanic tongues, but the general opinion is also here that it all comes from Latin "caput". Well, a word meaning "head" can easily come to be used figuratively or transcendentally for many other things. But here this "cape" would be the only meaning out of dozens to have been loaned into Germanic. And why would that be so ? And then jumps in the similarity with Hebrew that tells us that "cape" can well be a word independent from "caput". See hereunder our Note on Proto-Germanic.

 

 

Note:
  • Hebrew . Hebrew has had a certain tendency to use vowels E instead of A in nouns . So here we find the word "keph", but in other languages we see besides the similar Aramaic "kef'" , an Akkadian "kap" with the vowel " A ".

 

Note:
  • Proto-Semitic . This root is known in Aramaic "כ י פ א , kef'" and Syriac "כ א פ א , ke'f". Akkadian has "kāpu = rock, cliff" . The root was probably already present in Proto-Semitic "*כ ף , K P".

     

    The pronunciation of the closing consonant in Proto-Semitic can be presumed unchanged : " P ".

     

    In our comparison we presume that a vowel " A " has been (also) used in Proto-Semitic.

 

Note:
  • Proto-Germanic . A cape, seen from the land as against seen from the sea, changes character, meaning, importance. From the land a cape is a place from where to look out over the sea. And Old English, without giving evidence of a word like the noun "cape", has a verb "capian = to look (out)". A predecessor of the English noun "cape" that became later in Middle English "cap", The general opinion is that this was loaned from Old French "cap" that had it via Old Provençale from a hypothetical Vulgar "*capus"= head". Very uncertain. And it is unclear how this word would have travelled culturally. Words regarding the sea more easily will be loaned by French then from French.

     

    It seems useful to have a look at Middle Dutch, that also has a verb "cāpen" that surprisingly meant "to look (out) , stare, peer". It has sisters in Middle Low German ""kāpen" and Middle High German "kaffen" with a normal development from P to F. But then it is important to see that the Dutch noun "kaap" stands not just for "cape", but also means "look-out tower" and "watch-tower", in the middle of the land as well on the coast. And that is living language.

     

    There is a related word in Old Norse, with a different vowel: "kopa" is "to gape (at something), stare". It is probable that Proto-Germanic had a form "*K Ā P-, for both verb and noun.

 

Note:
  • Indo-European . The Germanic nouns for "cape" as a look-out point also not on the coast but inland, as well as the related verbs for "to look out", indicate as shown a Proto-Germanic basis "K Ā P-". It is important that among the numerous figurative uses of the Latin word "caput, capitis = head", there is not our "cape" above the sea. We will have to open up to the idea that the Italian word "capo" for "cape" has been loaned , together with very many other Germanic words, from the North. We already have seen that also Greek has loaned this word, from Italian, and not together with the meaning of "head", that is the main meaning present for "capo" in Italian.

     

    Further we have no information about possible cognates in other Indo-European groups of languages.

 

Note:
  • Modern Greek is a loanword from Italian, and as such should not really be mentioned here. It has been loaned in both the meaning of "cape" and that of "cable". It is pronounced "kawos". The question if this in origin is one word, is soon answered:

     

    Cape Modern Greek "kawos", Italian "capo", Hebrew "keph" ף כ

    Cable ,,  "kawos", ,,  " cavo", ,,   "qaw" ו ק

 

 

 

 

 

 
Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 24/01/2013 at 18.14.52