E 0624 NUN

The word " nun " is of probable Latin origin .

H 0674 ן ו נ , ן י נ

Concept of root : generating

Hebrew word

pronunciation

English meanings

ן י נ

< ן ו * נ

nin; <

*non

descendant, offspring;

to generate

Related English words

nun, from Latin

Comparison between European words and Hebrew

Languages

Words

Pronunciation

English meanings

Similarity in roots

Hebrew

ן י נ <

ן ו * נ

nin; <

* non

descendant, offspring;

to generate

n . y . n <

* n . w . n

Greek

ναννας;

ναννα, νυννα

nannas;

nanna,

nnna

uncle, grandfather forefather;

aunt, grand -mother

n . n

n () n

Latin

nonnus

nonna

nonnus

nonna

grandfather monk;

grand-mother, nun

n (o) n

Italian

nonno

nonno

grandfather

n (o) n

English

nun

nun

n (u) n

Old English

nunne

pagan priestess; nun

n (u) n

Kimbrian , Welsh

nain

nain

grand-mother

n (i) n

 

 

Proto-Semitic *NYN < NON --- *NŎN- Indo-European

 

 

The root with two N’s is one of various that indicate descendence, family relationship in the vertical line and relatives near that line. We should like to point out that this root has nothing to do with so-called children’s talk. The Hebrew root in the newer Biblical "NIN" indicates descendants.

 

The main difference is which side of the chain of generations is expressed. In Indo-European languages these are the people of the older generations, in Semitic people of the younger generations. But Semitic anyhow also uses this root for the basic principle of "to generate", which is an action by the older generations.

 

Note:
  • English and Proto-Germanic. Old English " nunne " can be compared with Old High German and Old Norse that have " nunna " . It can readily be excluded that these old words were yet already taken in loan from Latin , just because already around 400 e.v. the term was applied to "nuns" by Hieronymus. In reality the word has not originated in the practice of the Christian Church, as the word "nunne" stands for "(pagan) priestess". This indicates that the word is older, and that this pagan title has been transferred to Christian female servants of the church. Further information lies in the fact that the original meaning of " grandmother " is present in Welsh and Kimbrian " nain . And also in Old Norse we find "Nanna" as a motherlike deity. Proto-Germanic probably had a form "*N Ŭ N-.

 

Note:
  • Latin "nonna" , the feminine form, has been used to indicate a woman that looks after children, a tutoress and of course a "nun", with this English word probably having been derived from the Latin one. There was in Europe a Christian habit to indicate people that dedicate themselves to religion with honorable titles out of the family, such as "father" and "padre, "mother" and "madre" and also "nonnus" and "nonna".

     

    Generally "nonnus" and "nonna" are considered Late Latin, but obviously this cannot be right and they have not come out of the sky. Otherwise they would not have continued to exist in Italian with that older meaning of family-relationship. Besides the word is related to Greek "nannas" that also has the feminine form "nanna". Of Neo-Latin words, Sicilian "nunnu" is "father", but in Sardinia a " nunnu " is a "godfather" . Finally we have added Kimbrian because the mentioned word "nain" for "grandmother" closes any debate about the basic meaning of this root.

 

Note:
  • Greek gives a clear picture, interesting also because of the vowel that is used alternatively, the that is related to Latin O.

 

Note:
  • Indo-European in the eastern languages uses the root, nearly obviously with the use of vowels " A ", seen in Old Indian "naná = mother ". New Persian "nana = mother", but Albanian "nane" besides "mother" also says "grandmother, older female relative". Russian has "няня, njanja = nurse", but also "woman who looks after the children", as was the task of older women in the family in old times anyway.

     

    Indo-European certainly used this root, and probably with a short vowel " O " or " U ". "*N Ŏ N-" or "*N Ŭ N-" .

 

Note:
  • Proto-Semitic. We have no direct useful information from other Semitic languages, but suppose that this Hebrew root has originated indeed in Proto-Semitic. There is a theory that this root is the same one used in Aramaic and Syriac for "נ ו נ א, nun' = fish". The explication is then that fish are great proliferators. A further cognate is Akkadian "nŪnu = fish>". A Proto-Semitic "*נ ו נ, non" seems a reasonable hypothesis.

 

Note:
  • Hebrew also has a supposed verb "*נ ו ן, non = to degenerate" and an existing "נ ו נ ה, non" with the same meaning. The explanation is that this comes from the letter " N " that is called "nūn" and the message is then "you are becoming as meager, lean as the letter nūn" ! Perhaps or rather not even perhaps. Naturally "to degenerate" is not the opposite of "to generate" , but has a very different message.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 29/12/2012 at 9.42.19