AN INTRODUCTORY COMPARISON
- INDO-EUROPEAN ROOTS
Indo-European roots were, according to the actual concept of many scholars, composed of both consonants and vowels. No written records of those roots exist, so scholars have been obliged to hypothesize them all. Understanding all of this is rather difficult , a.o. because in this work many identical three-letter roots with amongst them very different meanings (even up to more than ten such ones) , have been defined.
- INDO-EUROPEAN ROOTS
Indo-European roots as defined, mostly appear very far from those that exist in modern European languages. And these are again extremely different amongst themselves.
- SEMITIC ROOTS ARE MADE OF CONSONANTS ONLY
These roots indicate basic meanings of actions or situations. Vowels specify more in detail the meaning of the words they help shape. The same is done by affixes, which is then just as is the case of Indo-European tongues.
- SEMITIC ROOTS
Semitic roots as hypothesized by scholars, often appear much alike or very near to those that actually exist in Semitic languages, and perhaps especially so in Hebrew.
INDO - EUROPEAN STUDIES
Studies have revealed very much of the past of the Group of Languages of which the lost Indo-European language is the mother. And yet a great deal of uncertainties have remained.
On the one hand, considerable numbers of words have been reconducted to a limited quantity of roots. But frequently those roots as they have been established, cannot be distinguished one from the other. There are many roots that look and would sound identically, but have absolutely independent meanings. Examples are "wer","wel", but there are many others . In order to distinguish them in some way, it has been decided to number them : "wer1" "wer2" etcetera. Certainly this cannot have been the way Indo-Europeans have spoken.
Semitic languages are not fully free of this problem of identical roots with different meanings, but in them it has much smaller dimensions. We hope that a confrontation between roots in both Groups can contribute to the solution of some problems in this field.
Not withstanding all the research and studies that have been made, there have remained many words, already just in English, that are of very common use, but of which no etymology of any kind has been established. Or having "origins" that have been guessed with too far-fetched reasonings. That means that many basic problems have not been solved.
Should we not like to understand the origin of common words like to have and had, to hold, to be ( with its is, was and were ), boy, girl and lad ?
Also in this case we hope some questions will come a little bit nearer to an answer by confronting European languages from the Indo-European Group with Hebrew from the Semitic Group.
DIFFERENT STRUCTURE OR BUILD-UP
The build-up of words in the two Groups has been very different, which makes it quite impossible for speakers from one of them to understand even such words from the other that have been based on the same root. Affixes, that is prefixes, infixes and suffixes, are mostly different. The use of vowels in the roots is usually different. And even the consonants of roots often change, as in the case already within the Indo-European Group.
But the differences, especially in the roots themselves, have been smaller then elsewhere if we compare the European tongues Greek, Latin and Low German.
| Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: Tuesday 16 April 2013 at 14.14.29