GRANDCHILDREN, NEPHEWS AND NIECES
ROOTS, different but related to each other, are seen to deal with some
concepts of younger relatives. They are :
P/F/V + T and N + K/KH + T/D
They both begin
and end with T or D. One
has in the middle a labial, P, F or V. The other has in the middle a guttural K or
KH (spelled "CH" or "G" ). The Table shows a number of words, but here we
have selected a few at the basis of this little chapter.
Middle Dutch neve = grandson
grandson and also granddaughter
nephew and also niece
With these roots we nearly stumble upon a very interesting, even intriguing development in European languages. In the figure below we have tried to visualize part of it.
The concepts dealt with are
- "grandson, granddaughter",
- "nephew, niece"
- "cousin" (to a limited extent)
We see "in the beginning" for "grandson,-daughter " one of the roots , "NePT" used in Latin, and the other one "Ne K D", used in Hebrew. But some Latin texts have used ""NePT" also for "nephew". In both Latin and Hebrew the roots are also used for "descendants" or "descendance".
Different from usual, we do not find this root in Hebrew also as root of a verb. There exists a root "naghat", possibly influenced by Aramaic, that means "to descend" and a noun "naghat", saying "the descending". "Naghet" is "that what descends".
In general in Germanic languages there are many words that , while ending on a dental like T, just before that T have either a labial consonant like F or a guttural spelled like for example CH. For "air", High German says "Luft" and Dutch says "lucht". This phenomenon we find also in the concepts of this chapter. As we see so often, Hebrew is nearest to Dutch, more than to German or Nordic.
In Germanic languages, including French ( Latin spoken by a mixture of Celtic, Latin and Germanic people) we find the root "NePT" used for male individuals, and "NiKHTor female individuals. But in German itself this occurs only from Middle-High-German onwards. There is a possible explanation.
Low-German, including English that originates from Low-German and French, that in turn was partly shaped by the Low-German speaking Franks, applies the two different roots, the one found in
Latin and the one found in Hebrew , and assigns each of them a separate function : NEPT for male persons and NIKHT for female persons. Later, High-German has followed in the tracks of Low-German.
SOUNDS AND MEANINGS
Sounds and meanings have developed. The three above basic concepts, "grandchild, nephew, cousin) are not fully covered by our two roots (NPT and NKD) together. The picture of the covering is as shown. Where the ground is covered by different roots, we see an empty spot.
- - cousin
Modern Greek - nephew -
grandchild - -
Latin grandchild nephew
Italian grandchild nephew -
French - nephew -
Old Germanic tongues grandchild nephew -
Dutch - nephew cousin
German - nephew -
English - nephew -
We see this elaborated in the following Younger relatives table.