cognates and loan words

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cognates and loan words

Post by Archived Topic » Sun Dec 19, 2004 7:41 am

I am teaching myself German, just for something useful to do. I have been introduced to cognates and words that have been loaned to either language (German or English). I have looked on- and offline, in many sources, and through many tidbits of information. I have a long list of words that fall under these categories.

My question is: Are there any of these words that would not be easy to pin down? Shy of, of course, spending the rest of my life comparing a massive dictionary.

I am primarily interested in words in English taken directly from German. I am not looking for something all-encompassing, but I would like any insight the rest of you may have on the subject. I have just started learning, and am looking for help from others who may know more on the matter.

Thank you, in advance.

E.C.L.
Submitted by Eric Lamb (Fenton - U.S.A.)
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cognates and loan words

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 19, 2004 9:01 am

Eric,
Your task is daunting indeed! I've spent most of my life studying the German language and am still constantly coming across obscure cognates. One I came across a few years ago and which still entertains me is "Zimmer" (room) and its cognate "timber", a "Zimmermann" also being a carpenter.
I am unaware of any list (comprehensive or otherwise) of cognates, either online or in the form of treeware.
There are a couple of brief lists of _loan words_ around on the Web such as:
http://www.goethe.de/gr/dub/projekt/ENIDTSP3.HTM
or a discussion on a take-it-with-a-pinch-of-salt online dictionary site at
http://dico.leo.org/cgi-bin/dict/urlexp/20020412185309
and a very interesting article under
http://www.uni-trier.de/uni/fb2/anglist ... german.htm
By far the best way of tracking down cognates between German and English is to understand the mechanics of the second German sound shift (and other related phenomena) and trying it for yourself. Reduced to its essence, it can be said that the second German sound shift happened to the High German languages (i.e. including modern German) resulting in the following shifts: p to pf, ff; t to s, ss, z, tz; k to ch. Not generally regarded as being part of the Second German sound shift, but happening at around the same time, the sound "d" often became "t". These changes did not happen in the Low German languages (including Anglo Saxon and ultimately English). Many simple cognates then become immediately clear (zehn/ten, Zimmer/timber as above, Brot/bread, Fuss/foot, Tag/day, Pfeife/pipe...). The list is endless!
One of the finest sources for confirming these cognates is only in German (and antiquated German at that), namely the "Deutsches Wörterbuch" by the Brothers Grimm (they of fairy tales fame). It can be found online at http://www.dwb.uni-trier.de/, although the site appears to be down at the time of writing. For virtually every entry in their dictionary, they included vast lists of cognates in other languages.
Hope that helped rather than bored you.
Phil W. 31 December, 2004
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cognates and loan words

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Dec 19, 2004 9:14 am

This is just the sort of information I am looking to find. Thank you much.
Reply from Eric Lamb (Fenton - U.S.A.)
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cognates and loan words

Post by Phil White » Sun Jan 02, 2005 3:40 pm

Eric,
One word of warning. If you're thinking of doing any research into the second German sound shift, don't do it on the Web! Your post made me nostalgic for my early studies, and I started looking on the Web for material on the sound shifts. Most of the material posted there is at best half-baked and misleading. Many articles mistake the first sound shift for the second sound shift. The first sound shift is reckoned to have been around 500 BC and split the Germanic languages from other Indo-European languages. The second sound shift was far later and split the High and Low German variants of the Germanic languages. Sadly, I'm not aware of a truly scholarly work written in English, as I read most of mine in German. A hunt for "Grimm's Law" will give you the bare bones of both sound shifts, and as a reliable, but very brief introduction, the Britannica is as good as any. May it give you as much joy as it gave me many years ago!
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cognates and loan words

Post by thornofnight » Mon Jan 03, 2005 3:55 am

Wow, Phil! This is very useful info. Thanks.
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Signature: Eric Lamb, Saint Louis - USA

Why did you kill him?
He knew too much.

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