E 1014 WORD ; VERB

The word " word " is of Germanic origin .

The word " verb " is of Latin origin .

H 0673 ב י נ

Concept of root : word

Hebrew word

pronunciation

English meanings

ב י נ

niv

word

Related English words

word; verb, from Latin

Comparison between European words and Hebrew

Languages

Words

Pronunciation

English meanings

Similarity in roots

Hebrew

ב י נ

niv

word

n i v <

n o v <

* w b

Latin

verbum

verbum

word

v . rb

English

word ;

verb

word ;

verb

w . rd

v . rb

 

 

Proto-Semitic *NWOB < WOB --- *VORB, WORW Indo-European

 

 

The similarity we propose here between Hebrew and the Indo-European group Latin , goes way back. The etymology of the English words "word" and "verb" is one of the most intricate problems scholars have confronted, and no explanation has been found why there is a labial in Latin and a dental in Germanic. Both go far back. The dental is seen in all older Germanic terms and so is the labial (B) in Latin. Somebody says that "verbum" comes from a hypothetical "*uerdhom", but there is nothing concrete to sustain this .

 

We see a common origin composed of "W + B" that in Hebrew was pronounced with an O-sound between them, in Latin not. This same O-sound is found in Germanic words for "word(!)", but as observed there we find a final dental instead of a labial.

 

In a further development in Hebrew a prefix N was placed in front of the W. Consequently the " W " itself was absorbed and only the vowel " O " remained. This then in a number of cases thinned into an " I ", as in "niv".

 

Note:
  • Indo-European and Latin. Latin " verbum" is supposed to come from an Indo-European root "*wer" or "*uer", but there are nearly a dozen identical hypothetical roots "*wer" in Indo-European, all with greatly different meanings. It is hardly possible that Indo-Europeans spoke that way.

     

    True, one can make a comparison with the animal sounds that we cannot really distinguish though they have very different meanings. Just try to listen to your cat or hear dolphins or whales. Anyhow, Indo-Europeans, 10000 or 12000 years ago, were speaking a human language and it is quite improbable that they used the same word for ten different meanings.

 

Note:
  • Indo-European and Germanic. Perhaps we can find a solution for the problem of the difference between Latin "verbum" and Germanic "word " or "Wort". Which one is original, which came first and how did a change occur. Let us have a look at another word, that has a very different meaning but has some affinity in its build-up.

     

    An English "pea" in German is an "Erbse" and in Dutch an "erwt", pronounced "rt". Also Swedish has "rt , rt ". The development in German has been : Erbse < erbeiz < araweiz. In Dutch ert < erwt < erwete < arwete. Clearly the origin was ARW, that in Hebrew would have been Aleph-Resh-Waw. High German , certainly well over 1000 years ago, added a sibilant, Z, that later became an S. When R and Z came near, eleminating the intermediate E, the labial W became a B. All simple and natural, with the result "ERBSE". But the Germans pronounce this "ERPSE"

     

    Dutch and Low German, long ago when they still were one language, added a T. This difference is nothing unusual. Very frequently we find in High German a final sibilant, in particular SZ, that corresponds with a final dental, usually T, in Low German and Dutch. When also in Dutch the R and T came near, eleminating the vowel E, soon the W became eliminated as well. In Dutch the W is still shown in spelling, but not pronounced. In Swedish we do not see it at all. A little side-step towards the Old Vikings from Norway. These had a habit of adding final R’s to words without changing their meanings. Thus we find that they call a pea an "ertr". Modern Norwegians have abolished most of these R’s and call a pea an "ert", just like the Dutch do: "ERT". In various dialects we hear different vowels, as in ORT and URT !

     

    Meanwhile we also find some other relatives of Germanic pea’s in Latin and Greek. The Romans called a lentil an "ervum". The old Greeks called various peas "οροβος , orobos" and "ερεβινθος , erebinthos".

     

    This excursion into our European pea-garden gives us some suggestions as to the possible development of "word" and "verb". We see the shifting of labials between W, B and P. We have the influence exercised by added sibilants and dentals. We observe the relatively secundary meaning of the vowels, that are chosen for pronunciation. We will now try a hypothesis:

 

Note:
  • Indo European and Hebrew. We suppose a common origin that had "W" and "W". In Latin view this would of course be spelled "V" and "V". The possible common origin lies back in time, well before Proto-Semitic or Proto-Indo European and of course Proto-Germanic. We can not establish if other sounds were added as pre-, in- or suffixes, and certainly there were vowels used for pronunciation.

     

     Hebrew  : W + W > W + B > WOB > NWOB > NOB > NOBO > NIBO > NIB

     Latin  :  V +  V > V + B > VOB > VORB > VORBO > VERBO

                  Germanic   : W + W > W + B > WOW > WORW > WORWT > WORT

 

Note:
  • Hebrew "niv" today also is used for "expression" and "dialect". The word "niv" in Biblical language was "nov", and we consider the N as a confirming prefix in front of the very brief, old and yet fundamental root "* W B ".

     

    Biblical Hebrew had a verb "* נ ב , nav" for "to speak", with a root "*N.W.B." or "*N.O.B". Upon this basis was developed a root "N.B.Aleph" for "to call, announce, proclaim". This is interesting as we see the detached accentuated final vowel "'" used to indicate an intensified or accentuated way of speaking.

 

Note:
  • Proto-Semitic. We have not much extra information . The word "niv" for "fruit", also seen in other languages, has led some scholars to define speech as " fruit of the mouth". Very romantic but that is not how languages and words are created. Our hypothesis is that Proto-Semitic was in the phase where a confirming prefix " N " was added to "*WOB", that thus developed into "*NWOB".

 

Note:
  • Proto-Germanic. Nearly all Germanic languages have "word", like English. An exception lies in the Nordic languages hat as so often have lost the initial "W" in front of a vowel "O". A further exception is that of Gothic "waurd", with an extra vowel " A " for a nicer pronunciaion of the " U ". And German "Wort" has a final "T" that is present also in its predecessors. This "T" can be considered a typical German development out of an earlier "D". Finally Dutch, already in Middle Dutch has lengthened the vowel O: "woord". Probably Proto-Germanic had "*W O RD-".

 

Note:
  • Indo-European. With reference to the above Note on "Indo-European and Hebrew", we must hypothesize a common origin of the early stages of Latin and Germanic. To this end one may note that the initial "V" in Latin practically corresponds with an initial "W" in Germanic and that a final "B" easily may be pronounced like "V" or "W". The consonant "R" has been inserted before the two groups split. So this indicates an Indo-European "*V O R B-" or to the same effect "*W O R W-".

 

 

 

 
Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 15/11/2012 at 11.06.28