E 0098ááááááááá BLANK

The word " blank " is of Germanic origin .

H 0538ááááááááá ן ב ל

Concept of root : whiteness

Hebrew word

pronunciation

English meanings

ן ב ל

lawan

white

Related English words

to blink

Comparison between European words and Hebrew

Languages

Words

Pronunciation

English meanings

Similarity in roots

Hebrew

ן ב ל

ááááá lawan

white

l . b . n

Greek

αλφος

alphos

white

(a)l ph

Latin

albus

albus

white

(a)l b

English

blank

blank

b l . n k

German

blank

blank

white

b l . n k

Dutch

blank

blank

white

b l . n k

Russian

белыь;

лебедь

bjelŭy;

ljebjedj

white;

swan

b . l ;

l . b

 

 

Proto-Semitic *LABAN --- *LAB-, *ALB- Indo-European

 

 

The supposition of similarity in this entry is based on that of one possibly real but not quite certain metathesis and one seeming but not real metathesis. Further we suppose that, quite normally a shorter root of two consonants is at the origin of the various words. That shorter root is "*L B", as mentioned in entry E 0525 (Hebrew 0537). This root in Greek and Latin has received a vowel A as prefix. The suffixes "-os" respectively "-us" are the usual ones for the shaping of a noun in masculine singular. Thus "ALB" is not a metathesis of "LAB" but a different development.

 

The message of "L B" would have been "to make white, shine, glow". In Hebrew it has been extended with a third consonant, N. This N is also present in the Germanic contributions, and they give "BLN" as to Hebrew "LBN". This might be a case of metathesis, but more probably the Germanic word "blank" has been built on a root " B L " as a metathesis of Hebrew and Latin "L B". This root then has been extended with a third consonant K into "B L K" . Finally it has been nasalized, resulting in "B L NK", but with a different origin of the N-sound. The not yet nasalized root "B L K" is found in a number of words that indicate "shining white" or "glowing, blazing".

 

We realize that the picture is complicated, but that is how things often can be. Obviously English " blank " is a derivation based on the use and non-use of paper, that is white if blank .

 

Note:
  • Greek. This root has lost its battle for the position of "white" in the Greek language and already in classic Greek was used just to specify the white or whitish colour of fungus and of spots on the skin of for example leprous people.

 

Note:
  • Hebrew gives us a further indication about the concept of the word " lawan " in " ל ב נ ה , lewanÓ " that says "full moon" with its typical shiny white. See the entry E 0550 (Hebrew 0539). But other words with exactly the same spelling as "lewanÓ" are nearer to the concept of "to light, heat" We cite "lewonÓ = incense" and "lewÚnÓ = brick".

 

Note:
  • Proto-Semitic. Proto-Semitic is considered to have used already the root seen in Hebrew . It is also present in Arabic "labana = was white". Thus Proto-Semitic may have had "*ל ב ן , L B N".

     

    The original pronunciation " B " of the middle consonant must have been present in Proto-Semitic.

 

Note:
  • Germanic. There are a few words in Germanic languages that have in common a combination "A L B-" or a related sequence and that indicate the fish "whiting" and the bird "swan" . The fish "whiting", usually in Holland called with its Engish name as "wijting", officially is "alft, elft", perhaps also "shad" in English. A Dutch "alver" is a "bleak". In Low German the "whiting" is "albe, alf". In Middle High German it was "albel" and in modern German "Albe". These names, together with those for the swan, have led to the assumption that Germanic originally knew the same root "ALB-" of Latin "albus". The "swan", a white bird if there is ever one, in Old English was "ælbitu, ilfetu and in Old Norse "elpt(r), ålpt, alptar". Old High German had "albiz, elbiz".

     

    . From Middle Dutch we can see more words, like "alb" = a small coin, also called "witpenning" or "blank". A white poplar in Old Dutch was a "albboom" , also , that became "albeel" and "abeel", from which English "abele". Naturally the supposition is that this came from a uncertified very late late Latin "*albellus", that oddly would not indicate a tree, but litterally would have said "little white one", which is no name for a white poplar. Luckily this phantasy cannot be phrased around "albboom = white tree". Things may be different with the word "alve, albe" that is in Old English and in modern English "alb", a white garment for Catholic priests, that probably brought its name along from Rome. Anyhow the other words do not have that kind of explanation and "*A LB-" may have been Germanic and Proto-Germanic.

 

Note:
  • Proto-Germanic. The Germanic words "blank" are related to the verb "blinken" that is mentioned in the Note on Proto Germanic in entry E 0120 (Hebrew 0273), that deals with English "bright" and Hebrew "baraq". Both "blank" and "blink" are nasalized versions of a root "B L K" and they are present in German, English and Dutch . Old English had "blonc" and Middle English "blinken". An extra variant "blenken" is found in Middle Dutch and Low German. Old High German had "blanch". The well known French word "blanc" and Italian "bianco" come via Frankish from Proto-Germanic. Non-nasalized versions have continued to exist in the Nordic languages, but were also still present in Middle Dutch "bliken", Old Saxon "blikan", Old English "blican". Modern Dutch still uses fequently the iterative verb "blikkeren".

     

    Proto-Germanic, besides the older form "*BL I K-", probably already used as well both "*BLANK" and "*BLINK-".

     

    Then there is also the old form explained in the note on Germanic , a possible Proto-Germanic "*A LB-" .

 

Note:
  • Russian perhaps has both "L B" and "B L", if the word " л е б е д ь, ljebjedj = swan" can be seen as saying "the white bird" par excellence. We may compare with Old English, that called a "swan" "ælbitu;" , be it also "ilfitu". Polish is comparable with "bialy = white" and "łabęź = swan". And so is Czech with "bíly = white", "zbĕlet = to whiten" and "labut = swan". Slavic may have been "B . L + vowel". Some scholars also see a possible initial vowel " O ", but that is hypothetical. Perhaps the inspiration for this came from Russian " о л о в о, olowo = tin", which is a not quite whitish but anyhow relatively light coloured metal.

 

Note:
  • Indo-European. A certain fact is that Indo-European , in order to say "white, used a combination of "L" and "B", but probably in both senses, "L B" and "B L". Besides this, in Greek, Latin and Germanic a neutral initial vowel "A" is seen. It is difficult to define how far development had gone in Indo-European. "L vowel B- " should have been present, but besides this a version "A L B- > probably was established already.

 

 

 

 

 
Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 25/01/2013 at 17.09.39