proto germanic

12:12 on 12/12

Ok, this may be the thinnest reason to talk about word origins, but a fun word in any case.  The word twelve was early in the English language, forming in Old English as twelf literally meaning two left (over ten) as far back as the twelfth century!  This system of counting came from the Proto Germanic formation *twa-lif-, a compound word formed by combining the root for two (*twa) and *lif-, which was the verb to leave.  English has a stronger echo of to leave in the number eleven, which I hardly need to define here.  Many Northern European languages adopted this formation:  Old Saxon had twelif, Old Norse tolf, Old Frisian twelef, Middle Dutch twalef, and so on. And you can thank me later for not waking you up twelve hours ago to pester you with this word origin.

Pidge and Keith are more than just salt buddies. They’re name buddies (sort of) let me explain…

I noticed something really neat whilst I was working on a meme that requires one to look up the origins of the character’s name your role play among other things. I discovered that Pidge’s real last name “Holt” has a similar overlap to Keith’s first name… 

Holt is a surname and place name, of Proto-Germanic origin and meaning a small wood or grove of trees. It derives from the Old English word holt and is a near-synonym of “wold” (from Old English wald), originally denoting a forested upland.

Given Name KEITH. USAGE: English, Scottish. PRONOUNCED: KEETH [key] From a Scottish surname which was originally derived from a place name, itself probably derived from the Brythonic element cet meaning “wood”. This was the surname of a long line of Scottish nobles.

They both have nature element in there and I think that’s really neat. Coincidence that Keith is a nature person in Voltron Legendary Defender while Pidge is the nature Paladin? Or conspiracy that Pidge and Keith have some intertwining name history of some sort? Hmm? 

Also unrelated, but just fun to note both of their first names start with the letter K. [~Whistles the x-files tune.~]

I’ve seen this mistake made far too many times by folks in Pagan circles who really should know better, so here goes.

Germanic does not mean German.

Germanic describes a language family which includes Old Norse, Modern English, Anglo Saxon, German, Afrikaans, Icelandic, Swedish, Danish, Scots, Frisian, Gothic, and many others. It’s the group of languages, both extant and archaic, that are derived Proto-Germanic. The term also refers to the cultures which have historically spoken Germanic languages.

Norse is a more specific term than Germanic, the Norse languages are the Germanic languages of Scandinavia, such as Norwegian and Icelandic.

When someone says “Germanic gods” they mean “gods of the same pantheon as Odin/Wotan/Woden, whatever they’re called locally and wherever in Europe they were worshipped” (assuming the person knows what they’re talking about), whereas “Norse gods” refers to “the same pantheon as Odin, from wherever in Viking Era Scandinavia”  (whether or not the Norse Odin is the same being as the Anglo Saxon Woden is a knotty theological question that has no place in this post, maybe later).

Also, despite Finland’s geographical position, Finnish is not Norse, or even Germanic.
The Finnish language isn’t even Indo-European (nearly all of Europe speaks Indo-European languages, Finland is a notable exception) but Finno-Ugric (other Finno-Urgic languages include Estonian and Hungarian)

Historically, the Finns did not work with the Norse Pantheon, but had their own system. Väinämöinen, Ilmarinen, Louhi, Tapio, and Ahti are a few Finnish deities.

So there, now I have a post to throw at folks who start spouting gibberish about “but it isn’t Germanic ‘cause it’s not from Germany, it’s Norse from like Finland and stuff”. I’ve made this post a bit in depth because I like to be informative, but it really isn’t that hard.
Germanic = most of northern Europe, including but not limited to Germany and the present day German language
Finnish = not Germanic

Hi my name is Richard Plantagenet of Bordeaux (my name’s Richard cuz that means ‘king’ in some proto-germanic language thing) and I have long brownish ginger hair that reaches my mid-back and eyes that people are going to argue about because they’re blue in the Wilton Diptych and brown in the Westminster Portrait lolz and a lot of people tell me I look like Edward the Black Prince of Wales (AN: if you don’t know who he is get da hell out of here) I wish I wasn’t related to pretty much everyone in this room and also basically most of the monarchs of Europe because that’s excessively incommodious.  I’m English but I was born in France. I’m also the king and I live a palace called Westminster where it’s the twenty-second year of my reign (I’m thirty-three). I’m a Plantagenet in case you couldn’t tell and I wear mostly… Is sparkly a colour? I love Italy and I import all my textiles from there. For example today I was wearing a doublet and hanselin in white satin embroidered with whelks, mussels, cockles and a hundred orange trees. I was walking outside Westminster. It was snowing and raining so there was no sun which I was vaguely upset about because it probably had something to do with the price of grain and people were going to complain about it again. A lot of appellant supporters stared at me. I put my middle finger up at them. 

anonymous asked:

What if SJM based Feyre off of the norse goddess Freya?

Interesting thought! The names are definitely similar. But SJM has said that the name “Feyre” comes from the English word “fair,” a play on ‘beauty’ for her Beauty and the Beast story. Though English and Norse come from the same language family, the English word “fair” comes from Proto-Germanic *fagraz (suitable, fitting), while “Freyja” descends from Proto-Germanic *fraw(j)ōn (lady). 

There aren’t many symbolic similarities either. It seems SJM is primarily inspired by Celtic myth for Prythian, with perhaps a couple of different kinds of fae thrown in. I don’t know as much about Norse myth but what I do know is awesome, so it would have been cool if there was a connection, though!

“Tongue” and “Language”

This one surprised me a bit, even though the semantics are quite clear, the forms of the words didn’t look like they could be cognates, but they are!

Tongue derives from the Proto-Germanic *tungǭ, a regular descendent of PIE *dn̥ǵʰwéh₂s.

In Proto-Italic, *dn̥ǵʰwéh₂s became, by regular sound changes, *denɣwā, which became Old Latin dingua.

Dingua underwent an irregular sound change to lingua.  A Vulgar Latin derivative *linguaticum became Old French language (Modern French langage), which was borrowed into English as “language”.

Wiktionary suggests that this irregular /d/ -> /l/ shift was influenced by the verb lingō “I lick”, which is quite plausible.  Although, I do find myself wondering about this word in relation to the recent paper about certain sounds being associated with meanings.  One of the associations that paper found was that words for “tongue” often start with /l/.  Could that phonaesthetic tendency have played a role as well in this irregular sound change?

Shit can be traced back to the Old English verb scitan (which meant exactly what it does today), and further back to Proto-Germanic skit (the Germans still say scheisse), and all the way back to the Proto-Indo-European word (c. 4000 BC) skhei, which meant to separate or divide, presumably on the basis that you separated yourself from your faeces. Shed (as in shed your skin) comes from the same root, and so does schism.

An odd little aspect of this etymology is that when Proto-Indo-European arrived in the Italian peninsula they used skhei to mean separate or distinguish. If you could tell two things apart then you knew them, and so the Latin word for know became scire. From that you got the Latin word scientia, which meant knowledge, and from that we got the word science This means that science is, etymologically, shit. It also means that knowing your shit, etymologically, means that you’re good at physics and chemistry.

—  Mark Forsyth (The Inky Fool), The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language

Tyr ᛏᛦᚱ (pronounced like the English “tear”; Old Norse Týr, Old English Tiw, Old High German *Ziu, Gothic Tyz, Proto-Germanic *Tiwaz, “god”) is a relatively minor Æsir god in Viking Age Norse mythology. His name and attributes reveal that his Viking Age form is a diminished version of a divine figure who, in earlier ages, was the highest god of the Norse and other Germanic peoples.

The Prose Edda recounts how when the gods endeavored to bind Fenrir for their own safety, the wolf refused to allow the cord to be put around him unless one of the deities put his hand in his mouth as a pledge of good faith. Only Tyr was brave and honorable enough to comply, and when Fenrir found himself unable to break free of his fetters he helped himself to the god’s hand.

The tale of the loss of his hand suggests that Tyr was appealed to not only in matters of war but also in matters involving law, justice, honor, oaths, and upholding traditional sources of authority.

Tyr is a continuation of the Proto-Germanic deity *Tiwaz, who is himself a continuation of the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) god *Dyeus. Both the name *Dyeus and the basic PIE word for god, *deiwós, are variations of the root *dyeu-, “the daytime sky.” *Dyeus was the archetypal “Sky Father” and likely the head of the PIE pantheon. His name was effectively identical with the word for godhood itself. Other gods derived from him include the Greek Zeus and the Roman Jupiter (from *Dyeus Phater, “Sky Father”). The modern English words “day” and “deity” both come from this same root.

In the Elder Futhark, the oldest runic alphabet, the T-rune ᛏ, named *Tiwaz after Tyr’s name in the Proto-Germanic language, is in the shape of an arrow pointed upward toward the heavens, which is emblematic of the god’s associations with both war and the diurnal sky.

Through his association with Mars, Tyr lent his name to the modern English “Tuesday,” from Old English “day of Tiw” (Tiwesdæg), which was in turn based on the Latin Dies Martis.

“Science” and “Shit”

“Shit” comes from Old English scite from Proto-Germanic *skīta from Proto-Indo-European *skeyd-, “split” or “divide”, presumably through a euphemism along the same line as the contemporary English “droppings”.  This was a derivative of the root *skey- with the same basic meaning.

The extended form *ski-yé-ti gave rise to the Latin sciō “know, understand”, apparently through the idea of understanding something by taking it apart.

The present partciple of sciō was sciens, which was the source of the derived noun scientia “knowledge” which, via Old French science, was borrowed into English as science.


fyeahmyths’  thank god(s) it’s summer week!

day 5: gods/goddesses of the ocean  >> NJÖRðR  (norse)

In Norse Paganism, Njörðr is a god among the Vanir. Njörðr, father of the deities Freyr and Freyja by his unnamed Vanir sister, was in an ill-fated marriage with the goddess Skaði, lives in Nóatún and is associated with sea, seafaring, wind, fishing, wealth, and crop fertility. Njörðr is sometimes modernly anglicized as Njord, Njoerd, or Njorth. The name Njörðr corresponds to that of the older Germanic fertility goddess Nerthus, and both derive from the Proto-Germanic Nerþuz. The original meaning of the name is contested, but it may be related to the Irish word nert which means “force” and “power”.

Modern Words, Ancient Languages

While the expression ‘it’s Ancient Greek to me’ is used to mean something incomprehensible, the truth is that Ancient Greek is both accessible and still very much alive in Modern English. Today’s word, star, is a great example. If you were to get in a time machine and travel back to to Ancient Greece you would be able to share many words that are virtually unchanged. You could point to the night sky and say ‘a star’ which is so close to the Ancient Greek aster (αστερ) they would understand it immediately. You could perform this time travel trick over a huge expanse of land and time with similar results: the Old English steorra, from Proto-Germanic *sterron, *sternon (and for other Proto-Germanic derivatives see also Old Saxon sterro, Old Norse stjarna, Old Frisian stera, Dutch ster, Old High German sterro, German Stern, Gothic stairno), the Proto Indo-European *ster- (see also Sanskrit tar-, Hittite shittar, Latin stella, Breton sterenn, Welsh seren). Some words play such a powerful role on the imagination and and culture that they pass down from generation to generation like valuable treasure. Today star has dozens of metaphorical and poetic uses, from Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers to soccer stars and five star restaurants. We wish upon stars, celebrities are known as stars, and we still treat the word with the highest metaphorical value: a star is distant, beautiful and inspiring.

Image courtesy NASA, in the public domain.


When we talk about ‘English’, we often think of it as a single language. But English has evolved over many generations, making the story of the roots of the English language a complex one.

Just as French, Spanish, and other romance languages descended from Latin, English, Swedish, German and many other languages descended from their own common ancestor, Proto-Germanic, spoken around 500 B.C.E. Because this historical language was never written down, we can only reconstruct it by comparing its descendants. 

Proto-Germanic can be traced to Proto-Indo-European, spoken about 6000 years ago in modern day Ukraine and Russia. This is the reconstructed ancestor of the Indo-European family, which includes nearly all languages historically spoken in Europe, as well as large parts of Southern and Western Asia.

From the TED-Ed Lesson Where did English come from? - Claire Bowern

Animation by Patrick Smith

  • Pete: did you know I love you?
  • Patrick: did you know the word 'love' is derived from the Old English lufu "love, affection, friendliness," and also from Proto-Germanic *lubo (source also of Old High German liubi "joy," German Liebe "love;" Old Norse, Old Frisian, Dutch lof; German Lob "praise;" Old Saxon liof, Old Frisian liaf, Dutch lief, Old High German liob, German lieb, Gothic liufs "dear, beloved")?
  • Pete: *sigh* yeah dude like I said I love you.
  • Patrick: *bushes*
Etymology: Language

Language is loosely defined as the speech a certain community uses, there is no boundary that defines what is a language and what is not.

For instance, Spanish and Portuguese are dialects of Vulgar Latin spoken in Iberia, having moderately high mutual intelligibility and are yet considered different languages. On the contrary in China, several dialects are almost completely unintelligible in their spoken and written form yet are not considered language.

I guess the loose definition would have to do. 

Let’s look at the English cognates tongue & language

Tongue can mean that thing in our mouth also language.
Language means language as defined above.

Now we have 2 words in the same language that means the exact same thing and has the same origin, 

Cognates are words that have the same origin, but they do not necessarily have the same meaning. (sometimes they could even have opposite meanings)

English(which is a Germanic language, coming from Proto-Germanic) already has a the word tongue but how did the word language(which comes from lingua, meaning tongue) came to be dominant?

Without external reference, we can deduce:

  • England is not very isolated from France
  • England and France had some sort of interaction that led the English to incorporate French word into their language even thought they already have that word

In actual history:

  • England and France separated by the English Channel
  • 1066, Duke William of Normandy(in France) invaded England and claiming the throne, introducing many French words and concepts to the English language.
  • Since the royal court doesn’t speak English, the people started incorporating French into English, and eventually the French words became more popular than the English ones because it is more royal?



1. one who blesses; one who bestows or invokes a blessing. 


2. to wound; to injure. 

3. to injure oneself.

Etymology: from Middle French, from Old French blecier, “to injure, hurt”, from Frankish *blētjan, “to bruise”, from Proto-Germanic *blaitijaną, “to discolour, bruise”, from *blaitaz, “pale, discoloured”, from Proto-Indo-European *bhlAid- “pale, pallid”. Cognate with Old High German bleiza, bleizza, “livor, bruise”, Old English blāt, “pale, livid”.

[Huebucket - The Wound Man]