E 0377 (TO) GO

The verb " to go " is of Germanic origin .

H 0644 ה ח נ

Concept of root : to (make) go

Hebrew word

pronunciation

English meanings

ה ח נ

nagh

to lead, make go

Related English words

to go, Old English gā

Comparison between European words and Hebrew

Languages

Words

Pronunciation

English meanings

Similarity in roots

Hebrew

ה ח נ

nagh

to lead, make go

n . gh (a) .<

*gh (a)

Greek

κιχανω

kikhano (kighano)

to (make) go and arrive

kh (a) n

English

to go

to go

g (o)

Old English

gān

to go

g (ā)

Gothic

gaggan

gaggan

to go

g(a)g(a)

Old Norse

ganga

ganga

to go

g(a)ng(a)

Norwegian

g

go

to go

g()

Old High German

gān

gēn

gan

gen

to go

g(ā)

g(ē)

German

gehen

ghen

to go

g(e)h.

Swedish

g

go

to go

g()

Dutch

gaan

ghaan

to go

g(a)n

 

 

Proto-Semitic *NAGHÀ < GHA --- *GĀ-, *GŌ Indo-European

 

 

One single letter as such is not very much to go by. We have here a G in English and German and a GH in Hebrew and Dutch. Only Hebrew also has a letter N at the beginning. We have made some suppositions.

 

The N, as can be seen in various entries of this list , can have an exhortative or just confirming function. With such a function the N is used as a prefix ,expanding an existing root with two consonants "X Y" into one of three consonants, "N X Y". This is specifically (but not only) done in some cases where the message the root carries is one of physical movement.

 

In case the exhortating subject is particularly authoritative, the N may result having a commanding or causative function instead of simply an exhortative one. This is in our hypothesis what has happened in Hebrew to the simple G / GH we find in Germanic and in English "to GO". The Hand of G… made His people go to the Land.

 

 

Note:
  • Germanic. A short original root of only one consonant, such as the G of "to go", not always gives great speaking satisfaction. This may create the tendency to extend roots even without changing or adapting their meanings. Germanic uses tricks as adding an S, or nasalizes the root ( i.e. inserts an N ), or it doubles a key-sound.

     

    Consequently we find, on the basis of the one-consonant-root G or GH, pronounced with a vowel A and meaning "to go", various developments. Gothic has doubled into "gaggan" , Old Norse both doubled and nasalized : "ganga". German and Dutch nasalized some flexions, like German "gegangen" = "gone" and the form "ging" in both languages for "went". Swedish in the past tense has "gick", which means a doubling of the consonant and a change from A into I like in German and Dutch, but without nasalization.

     

    The most common form of the verb in West Germanic and East Germanic (Gothic) has a final N, but this has nothing to do with the N we have seen in Hebrew and Greek. The final N like in Old English is just the suffix used to express the infinitive form of the verb.

 

Note:
  • Greek has the same root of "to go" in "kikhano", that we also may spell "kighano". Greek much more often than Germanic plays the game of doubling a root or consonant, and so it has done in this word. The N here is found in quite a different position from that in Hebrew. In Greek we see it after the root GH(a), in Hebrew before it. But its function is not too different. Greek may emphasize the action carried by a root by adding an N after it.

     

    The meaning of "kighano" is both standard ( to go to and arrive) and causative (to make go to and arrive). Besides these two basic messages that show clearly the relation with "to go", the verb "kighano" is also translated as : "to join, find, encounter, take, surprise", all contemporaneous or subsequent actions of the basic one.

 

Note:
  • German "gehen", in two ways different from older predecessors and sisters , has shifted to the use of a vowel E, that was already an alternative in Old High German and has introduced a consonant H for no other reason than the pleasure of pronunciation as it seems; unless this choice of using an " H " in spelling, that occurs frequently in German, was just a "scientific", which sometimes means arbitrary choice, comparable with the choice of spelling a long voerl by adding adifferent vowel to the original one: "AE" for a long "A", "OI" for a long "O".

 

Note:
  • English has chosen a vowel O instead of the previous and common A. In fact Scandinavians did the same but did not write an O. Instead they write a special A : . Only the Dutch remained faithful to the classic vowel A, and even made it long, showing this in their spelling of the verb : gaan.

 

Note:
  • Proto-Germanic. The short root "G", the first and only consonant of the verb "to go", is seen in all old and new Germanic languages. It is nearly always followed by a long "A". English is an exception with its "O" in "go". We know that the pronunciation of Nordic "A" may be like that of English "A" in "bawl", but that does not change the origin. The other exception is German, in which Old High German besides "gān" introduced a second form "gēn". Then German became "gehen". The original Proto-Germanic probably was "*G Ā-.

 

Note:
  • Indo-European 1. A common opinion is that "to go" comes from an Indo-European root "*ghe-" or "*ghei" , with the meanings of "to open itself", "to be empty", "to abandon". We think that "to go" has been a basic concept that needed its own word. People before in the stone age would certainly use a specific verb for "to go", that at the utmost comprehended as well the concept of "to come". Coming and going can also constitute two aspects of one kind of action. Besides this, those other concepts, found as seen in Old Indian "jahati = abandones (place or action)" and in Greek "χηρα , khra = widow" and "χητος , khtos = lack", are too far off from the basic concept of "to go", as well as from the basic most common scope of a person who "goes", which is not "to abandon".

     

    As to the root "*ghe" the following should be observed. It constitutes a compromise because one wished and wanted at all costs to find a common denominator for words from at least many of the main branches of languages that have developed from Indo-European. One should not forget that in all tongues many words get out of use or out of fashion and new ones make their way in. It is no wonder if we find related words for the same concept only in some of those main groups. This happens all the time in this study on similarities with Hebrew..

     

    The next remark is that the choice of the vowel E is rather arbitrary. As is pointed out by many, the function of vowels is a secondary one. They are needed for pronunciation and they may serve for diversification. On top of this, the fact that a vowel is there, regardless which one, may be part of a root. This is why Hebrew uses for example the Aleph. We now see a tendency in some studies of Indo-European to insert basically a vowel E into roots.

     

    This is in reality a sort of first step towards the thesis that roots do not have vowels, but only consonants, among which "vowel-positions", that Hebrew indicates for example as Aleph ( א ).

 

Note:
  • Indo-European 2. We must make mention of another rather common theory that Indo- European would have had a root "*ghengh" meaning precisely "to go, walk". Derivatives are only found in Germanic tongues. In our view this is insufficient to suppose an Indo-European root. The verbal forms in Germanic languages that have led to that idea, are the fruit of either doubling of the G or GH (gagga), or of a nasalization (gang, ging) or of a combination of the two (ganga), as we have argued in the previous note on Germanic.

 

Note:
  • Proto-Semitic. We have not too much information for a hypothesis, but especially important is Arabic "nagh" because it means "to go ( in a certain direction)". This opens the way for a hypothesis for Proto-Semitic "* נ ח ה , N GH H (accentuated vowel)". A predecessor without the prefix " N " in our view was presumably used in Proto-Semitic : "*ח א , GH Aleph", with a pronunciation "GH'A".

 

Note:
  • Indo-European 3.

     

    Old Indian offers an important help with a few words. First there is "jávati = to go on, hurry on", in which the initial " J " is a development out of an earlier initial " G ".This is confirmed in for example the composed word "puro-gava = leader ( he who makes go, precedes)", as well as in "agre-gu- = moving forward" and "vanar-gu = moving about (f.e. in woods)". The indication is that these words are based on what in Hebrew would be a two consonant root "G(imel) "W(aw)". Typically, as in Hebrew, the second sound may be pronounced as a vowel ( O or U) and give "GU" as just shown in Old Indian. Or as " O ", like in English. Or it can be pronounced as a consonant (V or W) and , needing a vowel for pronunciation, gives "G A V", as just seen as well, be it with a further change of the "G" into "J" : "J A V".

    The initial " G " is further confirmed in Sanskrit "ga".

     

    Even more interesting is "jígāti, aor: ágāt = to go , approach, go after" with a tinge of mixture between coming and going". The related noun "gātú-" says "going, motion, way", sounding somewhat like Scandinavian.

     

    Avestan with "java = goes fast" is in harmony with Old Indian.

     

    Russian " шагать, shagatj = to walk, step" and " шаг, shag = step, stride" are related. They have a prefix "SH-" and confirm a basic "GA".

     

    But Russian has another very important related word. Comparing with Germanic "G O- " and "G A- " we see in Russian "G A-" and "KH O D-": ходить, khoditj =to go, walk". This verb is found also in Entry E 0154 (Hebrew 1007).

     

    Indo-European may have used both the following forms: "*G O/U-" and/or "*G A -". It is probable that also a dental " D " had already entered into the pattern, as seen in Entry E 0154 (Hebrew 1007).

 

 

 

 

 
Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 13/11/2012 at 13.03.09