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Germanic only

A discussion of word histories and origins.

Germanic only

Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Aug 06, 2005 6:24 pm

Yesterday while I was walking back home, I thought of this game: we are expected to write a short text in English but not to use any word of Latin descent. The text cannot be made up (of course there's no way I can verify its authenticity), and that would add more fun to it). Writing it would probably require a lot of editing and thinking, but that's the goal of the game anyway. Anybody care to give it a try? I'll start:

I lived in the Northern country found by the English from 1997 to 1998. I made many friends there, whom I talk to off and on. The folks who hosted me came to see me in 1999 and we went to Rio the together and had a very nice time. Sadly owing to my host problem father's sugar illness, I don't think he will be able to come here again.

My original text was:
I lived in the United States from 1997 to 1998 as an exchange student (thought of overseas grind but didn't think it was that good). I made many friends there, whom I keep in touch regularly. My host family came for a visit in 1999 and we went to Rio* together and had a very nice time. Unfortunately because of my host father's diabetes*,
I don't think he'll be able to come here again.

* Even though diabetes ultimately goes back to Greek, since it was taken via Latin (or so I believe), I considered it to be a Latinism and edited it out.

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Re: Germanic only

Postby frank » Sun Aug 07, 2005 6:11 am

Brazilian dude wrote:I lived in the Northern country found by the English from 1997 to 1998. I made many friends there, whom I talk to off and on. The folks who hosted me came to see me in 1999 and we went to Rio the together and had a very nice time. Sadly owing to my host problem father's sugar illness, I don't think he will be able to come here again.


Hi BD,
It's incredibly difficult, and i wouldn't even give it a try :-).
Any which way, i found at least 6 words which can be linked with Latin. I cheated a bit by taking Vulgar Latin into account:
1. country < Old French contree, from Vulgar Latin *(terra) contrata,
2. host(ed) < from Old French, from Latin hospes, hospit-.
[the Germanic form starts with a kind of /g/ (guest, gast)]
3. nice < from Old French, from Latin nescius, ignorant
4. problem < from Old French, from Latin problema, problemat-, from Greek, from proballein, to throw before
5. able < from Old French, from Latin habilis
6. sugar < from Old French sukere, from Medieval Latin succrum, from Old Italian zucchero, from Arabic sukkar, from Persian shakar, from Sanskrit sarkar?, grit, ground sugar

Regards,

Frank
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Postby tcward » Sun Aug 07, 2005 12:54 pm

Don't forget unfortunately, with 'fortune' as its base, derives from Latin fortuna...

I agree with Frank, this would be too difficult! Especially to try to eliminate words of Latin heritage from a previously written document.

I could write an original text without words of Latin heritage with a little bit less difficulty.

-Tim
Last edited by tcward on Sun Aug 07, 2005 12:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby tcward » Sun Aug 07, 2005 12:55 pm

Even able derives from L. habilis.
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Postby Brazilian dude » Sun Aug 07, 2005 2:13 pm

You're right, Frank. Maybe those words didn't leap to my eyes because they aren't so easily identifiable by a Romance language speaker. Appearences can be deceiving.

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Re: Germanic only

Postby anders » Tue Aug 09, 2005 2:44 pm

frank wrote:6. sugar < from Old French sukere, from Medieval Latin succrum, from Old Italian zucchero, from Arabic sukkar, from Persian shakar, from Sanskrit sarkar?, grit, ground sugar

Great research, Frank! I can just add that Sanskrit sugar is, for example, sharkaraa, giving Hindi shakkar.
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Postby badandy » Mon Oct 24, 2005 2:26 pm

English words are much more direct. They get the job done. I'm reminded of Winston Churchill's 1941 Dunkirk speech. When he had to rally a nation of English speaking people, he told them:

"We shall fight on the beaches. We shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight in the fields, and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender!"

His brilliant use of 32 one- or two-syllable Old English words (and ending with a three-syllable "foreign" word - linking it to a alien choice) inspired these English-speaking listeners. Would a watered-down, Latinized "We will prosecute the hostilities in the perimeter transitional areas, in the agricultural regions, in the urban zones, and at higher elevations. We will engage in no form of capitulation." have inspired so many?

-from another site
Habentne Gallinae Talones Acerbos?
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Postby Brazilian dude » Mon Oct 24, 2005 2:38 pm

Habentne Gallinae Talones Acerbos?

Do chickens really have bitter heals? What's this?

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Postby gailr » Mon Oct 24, 2005 9:42 pm

badandy wrote:Would a watered-down, Latinized "We will prosecute the hostilities in the perimeter transitional areas, in the agricultural regions, in the urban zones, and at higher elevations. We will engage in no form of capitulation." have inspired so many?

No, but it would make a heck of a sound bite on CNN...


OK, here's my (short) shot at B_dude's challenge:
I live in town with two bad cats, one hundred thousand books, and hand-crafted works.

alternatively:
I reside in a city; a pair of domesticated felines protects my extensive library and art collection.

-gailr
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Postby Brazilian dude » Tue Oct 25, 2005 9:10 am

Good, Gailr, but I have an impression that cat is Latin (have the other Germanic languages borrowed, which have very similar words for the feline, borrowed from Latin as well when it comes to purring and meowing?).

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Postby badandy » Tue Oct 25, 2005 12:14 pm

b dude has a point, there is no way to tell whether a very basic word has been borrowed from latinate into germanic or vice versa, such as 'cat' and 'two.' The simplest explanation is that (especially with 'two') its just an old indo european word and still exists in both languages.

"i drove my wagon off a cliff with our ugly friend as the lights went out all over my little town. I can not understand why writing only in Germanic words is so hard. if the words have sister words in Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, German, then they are from the good old English tongue, before it was undone by the Gauls."

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Habentne Gallinae Talones Acerbos?
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Postby Flaminius » Tue Oct 25, 2005 12:31 pm

German and Gaul, as far as I know, come from Latin. As for cat, may I suggest that it originates from Middle-Eastern languages among which I count Aramaic qaTTaa?
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Postby Brazilian dude » Tue Oct 25, 2005 12:52 pm

How did I do?

As far as I can tell, perfect.

German and Gaul, as far as I know, come from Latin.

I never knew German was Latin.

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Postby badandy » Tue Oct 25, 2005 1:21 pm

people and tribe names are tricky and should not be counted as exclusively one language or another. But i agree, Gaul is from Gallia and Germany is from Germania.

the cat thing makes a lot of sense, especially with the Egyptian obsession.
Habentne Gallinae Talones Acerbos?
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Postby Brazilian dude » Tue Oct 25, 2005 1:32 pm

Oh, I get it now. You mean the word German comes from Latin. How stupid of me.

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