E 0170 (TO) CHOP

The verb " to chop " is of Germanic origin .

H 0656 ף ק נ

Concept of root : to chop

Hebrew word

pronunciation

English meanings

ף ק נ

niqqph

to chop, fell (trees)

Related English words

to chop

Comparison between European words and Hebrew

Languages

Words

Pronunciation

English meanings

Similarity in roots

Hebrew

ף ק נ

niqqph

to chop, fell (trees)

n . q . ph

English

to chop

to chop

ch . p

Dutch

kappen

kappen

to chop, fell (trees)

k . p

Swedish

kap(p)a

kap(p)a

to chop off, cut through

k . p

German

kappen

kappen

to cut off, chop off

k . p

 

 

Proto-Semitic *NAQAP < *QAP --- *KĂP- Proto-Germanic < *KĂP- Indo-European

 

 

The nearest kinship in this entry is, as often, found between Hebrew and Dutch . Both use the verbs of this entry especially to indicate the felling of trees. We see a difference that Dutch uses the original standard A-vowel, whereas Hebrew has abolished the basic form "naqaph", concentrating on the intensive version "niqqph". In reality also Dutch has a version with the vowel " I " , in the verb "kippen" that is related to Old English "cippian". These verbs also mean "to cut into" and "to cut off".

 

The other more basic difference is that of the initial N in Hebrew, that like so many times, is not seen in its Germanic counterpart. And in this case we do not have a clear proof that this N is a prefix, though we suppose so on the basis of the similarity between Germanic and the combination of "Q and P" in "niqqph". There would be an example, that we bring forward with some hesitation. Post Biblical Hebrew uses a root " ק פ ץ , Q . P . TS, qaphats = to cut, chop", exactly fitting in this entry. But here scholars say this word has been shaped on the basis of the noun " ק ו פ י ץ , qophits = hatchet, chopper". And this word is considered a loanword from Greek "κοπις, kopis = chopper", notwithstanding the changes it would have undergone in the process. We remain unconvinced of such a bit odd and very modernistic development.

 

 

Note:
  • English has three different verbs, that have the same two consonants, but various vowels : CHAP, CHOP; CHIP . Their meanings are all in the same wider field . This is an indication as to how English may diversify meanings of roots by inserting different vowels . This confirms that also in Germanic it is impractical to consider vowels as elements of basic roots .

     

    A further important aspect is that English very frequently has changed initial K-sounds into CH ( phonetically TSH ).

 

Note:
  • Proto-Germanic . German and Swedish have the same word as Dutch , but the meaning has not stuck so precisely to the Biblical Hebrew one we find in Dutch. It is probable that Proto-Germanic had "K Ă P-.

 

Note:
  • Hebrew with the same three consonants N Q P also forms words with the concepts of "shaking", "turning", "cutting around". Modern language uses again the basic form "naqaph" for "to hit, hurt".

 

Note:
  • Proto-Semitic. The meanings of " נ ק ף , N Q P " as a root are usually divided into two groups, that are "to strike, beat" and "to go round". Or otherwise "to cut" and "acting in round moves". This all seems a bit artificial. The solution is found perhaps in Leviticus 19 . 27 where the verb says "to cut in round". Cutting trees requires a round going action. And it also requires to cut well into depth, as the verb says figuratively in Isaiah 15 . 8. Or in Job 1 . 5, where there is a "round" of festival days. "Beating an olive tree" is another meaning, but there the essential action is that of beating carefully all round and thus shake all branches. In fact a specific form " נ ק ף , noqph" is used in the Bible for this action.

     

    This root is indeed seen with various meanings like in Aramaic " נ ק ף , neqaph = he stroke", Arabic "naqafa = he smashed the head" and Ethiopian "naqafa = to peel". The evidence remains variegated, but a hypothesis might be that of actions of cutting and beating in round going movements , like chopping trees and figurative developments. Proto-Semitic may have had already this root : "* נ ק ף , N Q P".

     

    In our view it is probably that the first consonant " N " has been used as a prefix to emphasize the continuity of this action, that was anyhow expressed already by a two consonant combination "* ק פ ה , Q . P + accentuated vowel".

     

    Another suggested origin lies in a root "* ק ו ף , Q . W . P, QOPH , that is seen an meaning " to go round, which is one of the two groups of meanings expressed by the root " נ ק ף , N Q P " of this entry.

     

    The original pronunciation of the final consonant " P " should have been present in Proto-Semitic. It is still found in several words based on a root "N Q P".

     

    Further indication that the initial " N " is a prefix, is found in the Aramaic verb א ק � ף , 'aqqiph = he surrounded" and, with less certainty, an Arabic word that is considered related : "waqafa = he stood still".

 

Note:
  • Indo-European . The Greek verb "κοπτω, kopto" has a message of "to cut, chop off", as other words of this entry. It also says "to beat, hit" and expresses further related meanings. But it seems probable that the meaning "to chop" is among its basic messages. Indo-European may have had a form "*K Ă P- " and this is used in the comparison.
.

 

 

 

 

 
Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: Thursday 7 February 2013 at 15.57.51