From Halloween to Thanksgiving | OUPblog

From Halloween to Thanksgiving | OUPblog
From Halloween to Thanksgiving | OUPblog

Within the continental United States, Thanksgiving is widely known on the fourth Thursday of November. Earlier than this date, some newspaper often sends me questions in regards to the origin of turkey, as a result of turkey is probably the most conspicuous decoration of the standard Thanksgiving dinner. However, for a change, I’ll deviate from this follow and switch to a different topic. Each thank and provides deserve our consideration! And it’s these two outwardly unexciting phrases that I’ll supply as we speak as a part of our etymological feast. The verb give is more durable, and it might be extra sensible to start with it.

A few of our readers could also be stunned to find out how a lot hassle give has precipitated phrase historians. Just one factor is evident about it: although give is a Frequent Germanic verb, from a broader, that’s, Indo-European, perspective it’s an innovation. The traditional Indo-European root has been preserved in Greek, Latin, Slavic, and elsewhere, however not in Germanic. The Latin for I give is do, which we acknowledge within the English verb do-nate. Therefore the method do ut des “I give, so that you could be give (again).” Donatus (that’s, “a present from God”) and Donatello are well-known names; they derive from the previous participle of Latin do, dedi, datum, dare.

Because the earliest days, items presupposed a return gesture (therefore the phrase present trade), and the thought of trade that underlies giving resulted in an outwardly shocking confusion of “give” and “take” within the languages of the world. For instance, Previous Irish gaibim means “I take”; but the foundation vowels ai in Irish and e in Germanic geban are incompatible, and regardless of the endorsement of this etymology by many good students, it stays unclear whether or not the 2 phrases are associated. Nevertheless, the traditional customized of trade is a truth.

It is a image of presumably the primary version of Ars Minor by Donatus, an immensely common grammar by a Roman scholar.(Donatus, Aelius: [Ars minor]. [Basel] : [Michael Furter], [1496?]. Universitätsbibliothek Basel, DC V 13:3, / Public Area Mark)

The Previous English type of give was g(i)efan, pronounced y(i)evan. Its Scandinavian cognate was geba, and the Fashionable English kind with laborious g- is the results of borrowing. However for the Viking victories within the Center Ages, give (in addition to get) would have begun with the sound we as we speak have in yield and yearn, each of which withstood the strain of Previous Danish. If the traditional kind geban (evaluate Fashionable German geben) was an innovation, how did it come up? Phrases, except they’re sound-imitative (like oink-oink and thump, amongst many others) or symbolic (like most likely the verb spit), are produced from the requisite stock-in commerce.

Two roughly comparable look-alikes recommend themselves as the fabric from which give (that’s, geban) was fashioned. One is the verb have (the earliest recorded Germanic kind—so in Gothic—is haban). The affiliation between “give” and “have” hardly wants proof. Based on the standard standpoint, Indo-European had the consonants bh, dh, and gh. From the third of them, g-, as in geben, and h and haban, may have developed. I’m sorry for repeating the identical dictum many times, however expertise reveals that one obscure phrase can not make clear one other phrase of unknown origin, and as regards etymology, Germanic haban is certainly obscure. It’s a seemingly illegitimate twin of Latin habeo (the identical that means). Germanic h (as in haban) ought to correspond to non-Germanic k- (as between Engl. head versus Latin caput “head”; evaluate Engl. capital, decapitate, and so forth), not h. Many pages have been dedicated to the origin of the Germanic verb. Might or not it’s taken over from Latin? In fact, it may, however why ought to folks have borrowed such a primary phrase as have? Because the unique type of have stays a matter of debate, we can not resolve whether or not give was derived from it.

The opposite shut neighbor of Germanic geban is Latin capio “to catch” (evaluate Engl. seize). The correspondence is once more imperfect. This time, we want Germanic h-: see the caput ~ head pair above. However phrases folks coin to check with getting maintain of objects are certainly expressive. The Swiss linguist Wilhelm Oehl, to whose half-forgotten works I preserve referring with some regularity, devoted an illuminating essay to them. Individuals catch objects and say hop, hap, gop, hole, and the like everywhere in the world. I’ll cite Russian khapat’ “to grab” and gop!, a shout accompanying a profitable leap. Oehl provided lengthy lists of comparable phrases. These exclamations don’t obey common sound correspondences, cross language limitations, and at last turn out to be totally respectable objects in our vocabulary.

That is all true, however the relation between give and have is at greatest a intelligent speculation. Those that will take the difficulty to lookup give in good etymological dictionaries will discover a checklist of safe cognates and a tragic admission to the impact that the last word reply evades us. I can solely repeat: “Do ut des!” and, if you happen to want extra Latin, carpe diem! “seize the day,” that’s, benefit from the wonderful current. You might not assume that the current second is wonderful—take pleasure in all of it the identical.

We are able to now go over to thank. It’s associated to assume. The identical image emerges from different Germanic languages. For instance, German has danken “to thank” and denken “to assume.” It needs to be remembered that the unique root vowel of assume was a. The oldest Germanic verb was pronounced thank-j-an (j has the worth of Engl. y in sure). The suffix j precipitated umlaut, which modified the foundation vowel a to e. The Dutch and German for assume remains to be denken, that’s, from the historic standpoint it’s dänken. And thank has all the time been thank-! English has widened the gap between the 2 phrases much more, as a result of the foundation vowel e turned i earlier than n: therefore assume.

Is he harboring solely variety ideas?(“Le penseur de la Porte de l’Enfer (musée Rodin)” by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra, by way of Wikimedia Commons)

If, whereas coping with give, we had been in hassle with phonetics (the consonants refused to match), right here we’re puzzled by the event of that means. Suppose and thank had the identical root, specifically thank-, however how did the that means develop? The tie between pondering and thanking goes again to the start of recorded time. In Previous English, the noun thank meant “thought” and (particularly) “kindly thought.” The Previous Icelandic senses are much more revealing: “thought” and “pleasure.” Apparently, assume, along with the anticipated senses (“conceive, contemplate”), instructed the thought of remembering and remembering issues properly or kindly. Such secondary overtones will need to have been major. To assume “cogitate” is a particularly summary idea. It most likely developed from a extra concrete nucleus, akin to “bear in mind; contemplate issues of their true mild; admire the actual fact of figuring out an necessary truth.” In an oral tradition, such associations will need to have sprung up in a pure approach. Just one step separated variety ideas from gratitude.

This conclusion appears to be a correct approach for an etymologist to have a good time Thanksgiving. Catch and benefit from the day of relaxation and assume kindly of the world, although it doesn’t all the time deal with you kindly.

Featured picture by Viktor Talashuk by way of Unsplash

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