E 0188 COOK

The word " cook " is of Germanic origin .

H 0519 ה ו כ

Concept of root : to burn

Hebrew word

pronunciation

English meanings

ה ו כ

kaw

to burn, scorch

Related English words

to cook, from Latin ; caustic, from Greek

Comparison between European words and Hebrew

Languages

Words

Pronunciation

English meanings

Similarity in roots

Hebrew

ה ו כ

kaw

to burn, scorch

k w .

Greek

καιω <

*καFjω

kayo;

*kawyo

to burn, scorch

k . i; <

*k . w

Latin

coquere

coquere

to cook, fry, burn

c(o)q w <

*k . w

English

to cook

to cook

c (o) k

 

 

Proto-Semitic *KŌW- --- *KWOK- Indo-European

 

 

This entry gives an interesting example of the adventures of the groups of sounds that can be expressed by the letter "W" or "waw", that are very versatile in the development of languages, can shift from vowels to consonants, sometimes disappear and …..often just becomes an "I" or "Y". We see this here in Greek very clearly.

 

For the preparation of food by using heat, various systems are used, in English called like "to cook, to boil, to bake, to fry" etcetera. When looking into the origin of words and roots one has to take into consideration that meanings as well as uses of words may overlap. Important in this respect is for example that the Old Indian word "pácati, pf. paktá-" means indeed "to cook, bake, roast, boil", but is not a cognate of "to cook" but instead just of "to bake".

 

 

Note:
  • Greek "καιω" had developed out of the older version with W. But in the Attic dialect, spoken in old Athens, it had become "καω , kao". So the "W" had totally disappeared. But in other verbal forms the W had been conserved in the form of a vowel U, such as in the future tense with "καυσω , kauso" and the aoristus or definite or momentaneous past tense "εκαυσα , ekausa". For the record, in Modern Greek these two forms have become "kafso" and "ekapsa", which shows some more about the versatility in development of the sounds for which the letter "waw" can be used.

 

Note:
  • Latin "coquere" is considered to come from "*quequo", that would be an assimilation from "*pequo". This conclusion is based on a comparison with Greek "πεσσω , pesso", in Attic dialect "πεττω , petto" which indicates a number of ways of preparing food, and not even only and specifically through heating. We can not share the idea that Latin "coquere" is a cognate of Greek "pesso". But we nearly agree to the first idea.

     

    This means that we see "coquo" as having doubled the original two-consonant-root "K W" we also find in Hebrew and Greek and that meant "to burn", "to scorch". In the process the W of the first couple became O and the second W stayed like that: "KO_KW". The meaning "to burn" still existed in Classic Latin, but the development was into the specific sense of cooking, in particular the cooking of food.

     

    As to the link with Greek "pesso" or "petto", that later also became "pepto" through a reduplication, we do not see how this Greek P would have been "assimilated" into a Latin C. The Greek word is too different. First it did not have that original meaning of "to burn" and secondly Greek scholars tell us that its basic root has two "P"’s : "*πεπ , pep". True, it shares the meanings of "cooking" and "ripening" with Latin "coquere", but that does not allow us to force the development of this last word .

 

Note:
  • Hebrew in modern language uses the intensive version "kiww".

 

Note:
  • Latin and Germanic . There is a nearly communis opinion that Germanic has received its words for "to cook" and "kitchen" and of course "cake" and "cookie" by borrowing Latin "coquere". In fact the theory upholds a very early borrowing into Germanic of the two Latin words "cuoquere", "coquus" and a third Vulgar Latin "coquina", that should in some undefined way have come from Classic Latin "culina ".
    There is no sound basis for all this, and therefore it is then said that the lending has taken place " very early" . We rather suppose that there has been a common origin between Latin and Germanic, as well as with Hebrew and Greek . The similarity may even have led to the creation of the couple "coquina" and "chuchhina" (Old High German).

     

    Some indications for this we can find in German with "kochen" , "Koch" and Kűche". True, Old High German had "chuhhina" like Italian "cucina" and French "cuisine" from Vulgar Latin "cocina" > Vulgar Latin "coquina". But West Germanic had its own roots , as seen from Dutch "koken= to cook" and "keuken = kitchen" , linked to Swedish "kk" and Anglo Saxon "cc" like typical "cocsian" and "cycene". There is no reason or comparison that would explain the changes from Vulgar Latin into these Germanic languages . We add Old Norse "kkkr" , but finally also recall Old French "keu" and last but not least Catalan "coch" (Germanic origin maintained!).

     

    A decisive point is found in the very old Nordic words "kaka", for fine cookies , based on the same old Germanic root "K.K" that has led to the verb " to cook". English "cake" comes from these Nordic words.

 

Note:
  • Proto-Semitic. There is a hypothetical root " *K . W . Y " . This is based on the supposition that the root of the Hebrew verb of this entry would be "*K . W . Y ". But as we indicated the root is just " K . W . ". The I-sound, written as a "Yod" , found in a number of verbal forms, is not part of the original root. We find also in Akkadian ku'ū = to roast" the same "K . W . " and we must suppose that Proto-Semitic had "* K . W . ", that may have been pronounced as "*kaw", but perhaps more probable is a form " "*כ ו ה , kow-". This is of course hypothetical and without proof, but in harmony with the use of the vowel " O " in older short roots in Hebrew and Semitic.

     

    Aramaic and Syriac have "כ ו א , kew' = he seared, cauterized" and the intensive form "כ ו י , kaww = he cauterized, scorched" . Arabic "kawa(y) = he cauterized, scorched". Proto-Semitic probably used already "*כ ו ה , K W H (accentuated vowel)".

 

Note:
  • Proto-Germanic. The English words "cookie" and "cake" are derived words that also have been loaned into English from respectively Dutch and Nordic.

     

    As to the Germanic words related to this entry, they all have a first consonant "K". The second consonant is also mostly "K", but becomes "G" in Danish , which is a normal local development. In German it has become "CH" in "Kuchen" via Old High German "HH" in "kuohho", and this is a specific German development. The in between vowel was "O" in Old Norse, but then became "A" in "kaka" that passed on to English as "cake". German went as seen from "UO" to "U" and Middle Dutch from "coke" to "coeke, cuke" towards Dutch "koek, kuk". Old English besides "coecil" used an "E" in words for (small) cookie : "cecel" or "kechel". The English word "cookie" is a loanword from Dutch. Proto-Germanic probably still had "*K O K-" with the vowel "O" .

 

Note:
  • Indo-European. As remarked, Latin and Germanic use a specific root for "to cook", that in a general way of speaking comprises many systems of preparing meals by using heat, but leaves fully free space to the various more specific ways of preparation. Cooks do bake, fry, braise, roast, broil and boil . Indo-European may have used a root "*K W K" or the practical forms "*K WO K- and "*K Ō K-" found in Latin and Germanic. The use of vowels " A " may be due to later changes.

 

 

 

 
Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 27/12/2012 at 16.11.40