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Indo-European and Germanic English’s Ancestors. The Indo-European Language Families.

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Presentation on theme: "Indo-European and Germanic English’s Ancestors. The Indo-European Language Families."— Presentation transcript:

1 Indo-European and Germanic English’s Ancestors

2 The Indo-European Language Families

3 1786: Sir William Jones (judge, philologist) announces to the Asiatick Society of Calcutta that Sanskrit had to be related to Greek and Latin cultural anxiety for European colonial power based on cognates (related words in different languages) PIE = Proto-Indo-European SanskritGreekLatinGothicEnglishPIE pitapater fadarfatherpəter- patampodapedemfotufootped- bhratarphraterfraterfotubrotherbhrater- bharamipheroferobairabear (= “carry”) bher-

4 Migration and development human speech: 100,000 to 20,000 BCE common IE language spoken ca BCE migrations ca BCE in-law words: patriarchal society common words for horses, dogs, sheep, pigs, wheeled vehicle, body parts, farming, tools, weapons, law, religion, social status, numerals to 100 shared words for cold, winter, honey, wolf, snow, beech, pine but not: ocean, palm, elephant, camel near Black Sea? Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia

5 Indo-European Language Families

6 The Germanic language family late records (ca. 300 CE: Scandinavian inscriptions, Gothic Bible) – rely on historical reconstruction of Proto-Germanic (common Germanic original) Distinctive features of Germanic: 1.First-syllable stress Indo-European: moveable stress (compare MnE photograph/photographer, Shakespeare/Shakespearean) Germanic: stress on first syllable whenever possible: seven, mother, forehead, hollow see both in MnE (explain, avoid – loanwords)

7 2. Two-tense verb system (verbal inflection in past tense only) (unique to the Germanic branch of IE):I talk, I talked other tenses require a verb phrase: I will talk, I would talk; cf. French je parlerai (I will talk), je parlerais (I would talk), Latin dicebatur (it was being said) = synthetic verb forms (one word) 3.Dental suffix for past tense (of most verbs) talked, bragged, boasted past participle: I have talked (German ic glaube “ I believe,” ic glaubte “I believed”) new verbs in English also add –ed: I spammed the list, I texted him

8 4. Words unique to Germanic language family some words common to Germanic and other IE languages (mother, Latin mater, Italian madre) some words common to Germanic branch only: earth, loaf, meat, drink, begin, bed some words common to West Germanic languages: ghost some words common to English and Frisian only: key some words in English only: dog, log, pig (reasons unknown)

9 5. Grimm’s and Verner’s Laws (sound changes from IE to Germanic) some related words in English: tooth, toothy, dental heart, hearty, cordial, cardiac lip, labial foot, pedal genuflect, knee choleric, gall, cholesterol, melancholy, cholera thyroid/door

10 Grimm’s Law (1) bpf Latin lubricus, English slippery Latin pes, English foot Latin frater, English brother

11 Grimm’s Law (2) dtθ Latin decem, English ten Latin tertius, English third Latin thyroid, English door

12 Grimm’s Law (3) gkh Latin genus (knee), OE cneo, MnE knee Latin canis, English hound Ancient Greek χήν, English goose

13 NB This is not about borrowing from Latin into English! Latin preserves the IE consonants Grimm’s Law happened shortly after Germanic broke away (~2000 years ago) Verner’s Law (not on test) in certain stress environments: f > b θ > d (death/dead) s > z (was/were) h > g


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