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German

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German

Postby William Hupy » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:24 am

There are two European countries who identify the other with names we in the US would not normally recognize: Frankreich and Allemagne. (This was a question on a board game that I happened to answer correctly.) While I can understand that the Romans referred to a tribe in Alsace as Allemani and how that is then applied to a whole ethnic group and I understand how Deutsch and Deutschland comes from the Germans themselves, I can not fathom where "German" comes from and further, why it is that we have so many words for the same ethnic people. And I am not even throwing in the Russian and other Slavic languages addition of Nemetsky, which means "dumb", but not in the sense of stupid, but rather "unable to speak".
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Re: German

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:44 pm

Spanish is Aleman.
I am not always sure what area is meant by Prussia, probably because it changed due to the vagaries of German history.

Also I wonder whether germane is related.
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Re: German

Postby Slava » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:00 pm

etymonline.com wrote:"Teuton, member of the Germanic tribes," 1520s (plural Germayns attested from late 14c.), from Latin Germanus, first attested in writings of Julius Caesar, who used Germani to designate a group of tribes in northeastern Gaul, origin unknown, probably the name of an individual tribe. It is perhaps of Gaulish (Celtic) origin, perhaps originally meaning "noisy" (cf. Old Irish garim "to shout") or "neighbor" (cf. Old Irish gair "neighbor"). The earlier English word was Almain (early 14c.) or Dutch.

Þe empere passede from þe Grees to þe Frenschemen and to þe Germans, þat beeþ Almayns. [John of Trevisa, translation of Higdon's Polychronicon, 1387]

Their name for themselves was the root word of modern German Deutsch (see Dutch). Roman writers also used Teutoni as a German tribal name, and Latin writers after about 875 commonly refer to the German language as teutonicus. See also Alemanni and Teutonic. As an adjective, from 1550s. The German shepherd (dog) (1922) translates German deutscher Schäferhund. German Ocean as an old name for the North Sea translates Ptolemy. German measles attested by 1856.

germane (adj.) mid-14c., "having the same parents," derived from german (adj.); cf. human/humane, urban/urbane. Main modern sense of "closely connected, relevant" (c.1600) derives from use in "Hamlet" Act V, Scene ii: "The phrase would bee more Germaine to the matter: If we could carry Cannon by our sides," which is a figurative use of the word in the now-obsolete sense of "closely related, akin" (late 15c.) in reference to things, not persons.
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Re: German

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:47 pm

I discussed this word in my rendition of germane.
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Re: German

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:44 pm

You didn't mention it in your article, but I've occasionally heard cousins--german, usually from genealogy freaks, as equivalent to first cousins. The whole cousin thing freaks ME out with second and thirds and once or twice removed. It's as bad as "your mother's third cousin on her grandfather's left hand side."
Deliver me.

In the process of looking it up, I discovered we can have brothers and sisters german as opposed to step-s. Who knew?
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Re: German

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:42 pm

Don't go badmouthing us genealogists, Perry.
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Re: German

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:18 pm

Some of my best friends are genealogists.
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