E 0486 I S

The word " is " is of Germanic origin .

H 0099 ש י א , ש י

Concept of root : to be, exist

Hebrew word

pronunciation

English meanings

ש י א;

ש י

ish;

yesh

man, someone, anybody;

presence, there is, to be

Related English words

is

Comparison between European words and Hebrew

Languages

Words

Pronunciation

English meanings

Similarity in roots

Hebrew

ש י א

-

-

ש י

-

-

ish;

-

-

yesh;

-

-

man,

someone,

anybody;

presence,

there is

to be

i sh ;

-

-

i . sh ;

-

-

Greek

ειμι<*εσμι

*esmi

to be

e s

Latin

is ;

esse

is ;

esse

he ;

to be

i s

e s

English

is

is

is

i s

 

 

Proto-Semitic *ISH --- *IS Indo-European

 

 

The similarity is obvious. But there is even more to it, as will be shown in the following notes. One important point is that the sound "I" in Hebrew is a common successor of the sound "W" or "O", especially at the beginning of a word. This is like the phenomenon of the letter "waw" changing into many different sounds, even into a "yod", or simply disappearing, like in Greek. And this tells us that also English "was" can be of the same root.

 

This entry is strictly related to number E 0487 (Hebrew 1068).

 

Note:
  • Hebrew. The plural of the word "ish" is "anashim" and this also means "people". Obviously the root we see in " ish " has received a prefix to shape further words . So we find " א נ ו ש , enosh" , that stands for " man " and " men ". The female form of "man", "woman", is shaped by adding an "A" : "isha".

 

Note:
  • Hebrew does not use a verb like "to be". "He is great" becomes "hu gadol (he great)". But to say "He has a book" Hebrew makes "Yesh lo sefer (to him is book)". This is not so far from the Russian way of expressing many things. There is some debate and doubt about the right linguistic definition of the word " yesh " . Many scholars do not consider it a verbal form, but see it as an adverb or conjunction .

 

Note:
  • " *wash " does not exist in Hebrew. We believe that this is so, because the verb for "to be" is not used. Only the forms "ish" and "yesh" remain. But the regular form in the past tense might well be exactly "*wash", practically like English. This is just a deduction, but with a good probability of being near the truth.

 

Note:
  • Proto-Semitic is supposed to have had the same root as this Hebrew word (that is also present in Phoenician and Moabitic), besides perhaps the length of the vowel " I " : א י ש "* Aleph Yod, Shin". Also Proto-Semitic already had , according to the common hypothesis , roots beginning with an N : " *NISHW- " for " woman " as well as, with an N in it " " *I-N.SH " for "man" or " people ". This may have to be corrected in a different couple. "*Aleph N SH" as the root for "man" and "*N SH" as the root for "woman". These roots are still present in the Hebrew words " א נ ו ש , enosh = man, people, mankind" and "נ ש י ם, nashim = women, wives".

     

    Another interesting hypothesis for Proto-Semitic is a root " *B . SH . Y " with the meaning of "to be, exist, be available " . This is based on Akkadian " bashu " and and Phoenician " bshy ". But here one might see in these two languages cognates of the Germanic verbs that begin with a "W" : Dutch " wezen = to be " and English as well as Dutch " was " .

 

Note:
  • Proto-Germanic The proposed Proto-Germanic of English "is" that we find is "*I S". This is fully in harmony with the existing verbal forms .

 

Note:
  • Greek. Verbal forms, not only in Greek, consist of a root plus an affix, mostly a suffix that at least originally, indicates the subject of the action. In Greek the mostly used suffix for the first person singular is " ω (o)", from "ego" = "I". But especially in a number of important verbs we see the older form " μι (mi)", meaning "me". We see this use of what normally is the accusative form as the nominative one also elsewhere.

     

    A Milanese when speaking his own language or dialect, says "Mi sunt", communicating thus "I am". And returning to Greek, "eimi" comes from "esmi" and thus is "be-me". The root "es" is the same as the Latin one and we find it in English "is" and Hebrew "ish", but also in Hebrew "yesh (there is)" of our entry number E 0487 (Hebrew 1068).

 

Note:
  • English. It is customary, when speaking about the English verb "to be", to insert the words that are used to express other coniugational forms , such as "is", "are" , "was" and "were". But obviously they are not of the same root. To properly understand the complex life of this basic verb "to be", it is useful to have a look at some verbal forms in other European languages :

     

    EnglishGermanDutchSwedishLatin
    to be sein zijn, wezen, bennen vara esse
      (I) am bin ben r sum
      (you) are bist bent, ben r es
      (he) is ist is r est
      (we) are sind zijn r sumus
      (a) being Wesen,
    Wicht
    wezen
    wicht
    varelse
    vsen
    *sens
    been gewesen geweest varit n e
      (I) was war was var fui, eram
      (you) were warst was var fuisti, eras
      (he) was war was var fuit, erat
      (we) were waren waren vr fuimus, eramus

     

    There is much uncertainty about the question, what roots lie at the basis of this linguistic reality. And in this discipline of studying disappeared words we mostly at the best remain with probabilities, and less often with absolute certainties. But from the mentioned rule of :

     

    • 1. frequent development of Hebrew from "W" to "I" or "Y" at the beginning of a word

       

    • 2. the common use of the vowel "A" in the past tense of verbs.

       

    • 3. the presence of the letter "W" with the vowel "A" in the past tense of English (Germanic)

       

    one may conclude a considerable similarity between the two groups of languages.

     

    Another example of comparable developments between European and Hebrew we find under entry E 1006 (Hebrew 1039) , "yad‛a".

 

Note:
  • Indo-European. On the basis of the information in this entry and in number E 0487 (Hebrew 1068), regarding Greek, Latin and Germanic a couple of strongly related roots is to be found: "*I S-" or "*E S- as well as ""*W E S-" and "*W A S-",

     

    which can be considered a hypothesis for Indo-European. In other languages there are cognates. Old Indian has "ás-ti; vás-ati; vāsá = is; to live; remaining, staying", which together confirms the mentioned hypothesis.

     

    Celtic offers Old Irish "is, Baltic gives Old Prussian ast and Lituanian esti , Slavic has Old Church Slavonian jestzj and Armenian es. For the other verbal forms like in Latin "sum, sunt" there are also many cognates.

 

Note:
  • English. A little known fact is that the English word "not" seems to be based on the same root of this entry. In German and Dutch there is the word "wicht" for a "being". This word existed as well in Old English in the form "wiht" . The development has been "no+wiht > nought > not.

     

    The word "wicht", originally meaning "being, man, thing", todat is still in use in a limited way.
    In German a "Wicht" is a poor or miserable person, in Dutch a younger girl, often with a sense of criticism. But in both tongues it is also used, with tenderness, for a little baby.

 

 

 

 

 
Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 18/12/2012 at 15.05.09