E 0071 BARREN

The word " barren " is of Germanic origin .

H 0261 ר ב

Concept of root : wild grounds

Hebrew word

pronunciation

English meanings

ר ב

bar

open grounds

Related English words

barren; bear; boar

Comparison between European words and Hebrew

Languages

Words

Pronunciation

English meanings

Similarity in roots

Hebrew

ר ב

bar

wild grounds

b r

English

barren;

bear;

boar

barren;

bear ;

boar

b r

Dutch

bar ;

beer

beer

bar;

bēr

bēr

barren;

bear,

boar

b r

Italian

baraggia

baradzya

high moor

b r

 

 

Proto-Semitic *BAR --- *BAR Indo-European

 

 

The two-consonant-root "B . R" has a very wide field of applications in the Hebrew language. And so it has in the Germanic group of languages . There within it is easiest to discover, as usual, in the relatively little changed root-system of Dutch.

 

This entry is also related to the entries E 0081 (Hebrew 0707), that refers to the animal "bear" and E 0102 (Hebrew 0706), that deals with names for swines in various languages. These two entries show in Hebrew "P . R" as root . To indicate wilderness, free grounds and wildness there are in Hebrew the two-consonant combinations "B . R" and "P . R", and these both have their cognates in Indo European languages.

 

 

Note:
  • Italian the most direct daughter of Latin, due to the geographical continuity of the culture, in "baraggia" would be based on a pre-Roman word "barra". The suffix "-gia" or "-aggia" is typical in the forming of Italian diversificated words/meanings and carries a message of "ugly, difficult, mean" . It has a sisterword "brughiera" with as well as the same meaning, be it perhaps a bit shifted towards a heatherlike landscape.

 

Note:
  • English "barren" is well-nigh identical to Hebrew and Dutch, but it is considered to come from French "baraigne" or older "baraihne" that would be the same as Italian "baraggia". There is quite some difference in actual meaning though . We have mentioned the words bear and boar for the reason we will now expose.

 

Note:
  • Bear and boar were those living in the wild, of the most typically important animals of Europe. True, not in grounds without vegetation, but in relatively accessible wild grounds.

     

    Well, the common hypothesis for the name of the "bear" is that it really means "the brown one", invented because the people were afraid of pronouncing the real Indo-European name of this dangerous animal, like the Greek word "arktos (bear)". We have some problem in believing this kind of reasoning. We rather think that some impressive and even dangerous animals may have taken a name that refers to the place where they were found.

     

    So the "bear" as well as the "boar" are those who live in the wild. In Dutch these two animals have the same name, "beer ,br". The English more wisely diversified between the two names.

     

    A comparable development there has been with the sister root "P . R", that has given its name to other large animals, such as the bull and the horse. For this one may see the entries number E 0322 (Hebrew 0703) , E 0102 (Hebrew 0706), E 0081 (Hebrew 0707) and E 0679 (Hebrew 0721) regarding the root "P R".

     

    The distinction in Hebrew between "B . R" and "P . R" may be that the first indicates the rougher wilderness where one mostly could find bears and boars, and the second one the more accessible kind of grounds where equines and bovines would live. In this respect it is interesting to see that in Indo-European languages words for "swines" are found both with "P . R" (pork) or "F . R" ( fearh in Old English) and with "B . R" ( boar ). It is also possible that there has been just a shift in sound, that often occurs between P and B .

 

Note:
  • Brown. Touching upon this word, like French "brun", German "braun" and Middle Dutch "bruun", we point out that they in all probability are related to and perhaps have been derived from the root of "to burn", and not as many think , from a root meaning "bright" or "shining". Brown really is not a bright or shiny color. "Bruun" in Middle Dutch means "dark" as well as "brown", and the color is typically produced by a burning or baking action. Curiously we again see the same phenomenon in Hebrew, be it with a different word.

     

    " ח ו ם", pronounced "ghom", says "dark" as well as "brown". "To burn" has a root with B and R, but the root of "ghom" also stands for heat, up till incandescence. That may very well produce a dark-brown colour !

 

Note:
  • Proto-Semitic. Proto-Semitic already used the same brief Hebrew root for "wild grounds, open (uncultivated) fields". It is seen in Aramaic and Syriac "ב ר א, B R Aleph, bar' = open field" and "ב ו ר, B W R , bur = to lie uncultivated". Then Arabic has "barr = open country" and Akkadian "bāru, barru = open country". Probably Proto-Semitic already used the two consonant root " *ב ר, B . R" and perhaps as well for the use as a verb " *ב ו ר, B W R".

 

Note:
  • Proto-Germanic. We refer to some notes in other entries .

     

    Bear, entry E 0081 (Hebrew 0707) The words that are found in older Germanic languages clearly indicate that the name of the "bear" has little or rather nothing to do with the colour brown. Old English "bera", Old High German "bero", Middle High German "br, br", Middle Low German "bare, bar, bere", Middle Dutch "bere, beer, bare" must lead to the hypothesis of "*B A R" changing over to "*B Ē R", with variations with a final vowel, dull "E" or "A". The Nordic word "bjrn" is already found in Old Norse and seems a bit puzzling, but then we see "bera" used for "female bear", and the word for the male bear might be a specific Nordic development. It is in fact explained as such : a hypothetical Germanic word, that has the basic part or root "ber" , followed by two suffixes: "*bernunz" that through a metathesis has given "björn".

     

    Pork, Fearh . See entry E 0102 (Hebrew 0706) The German word "Ferkel" is a diminutive, as the final "L" expresses. The sister words of German "Eber" and Dutch "ever" are found in older Germanic languages only. Old High German "ebur" and Middle High German "eber" have a "B", Old English "eofor, efor, eofor, ofor, eafor" all have an "F" and Old Saxon "evur". Dutch, Middle Dutch and Middle Low German have "ever" with a "V". Proto-Germanic probably had "*E B E R".

     

    Besides this a lengthened root has been developed, with the addition of a final "K", but also changing the initial "B" into an "F": "F Ĕ RK-". It is not fully certain why, but the final "K" seems to distinguish tamed swines from wild ones. The Germanic language Lombardic , spoken in Italy around the 7th Century, used for "boar" the word "pair", with the consonants "P . R" ! This indicates that Proto-Germanic indeed may have had also "P Ĕ R-".

 

Note:
  • Indo-European. Regarding " Pork, Fearh (Old English):

     

    Balto-Slavic. Old Church Slavonic has a prefix "Ve" in "veprj", continued in Russian " в е п р ь, veprj = wild boar", with sister words in other Slavic tongues and Latvian "vepris", which indicates a Balto-Slavic "*VE PR-". The function of the prefix "ve" is a localizing one, so that the word "veprj" might have an origin as "being in the wild". The vowel between the consonants "P" and "R" has been absorbed.

     

    There is though another group in Baltic, with Old Prussian "parstian = (young) swine", Lithuanian "parshas = castrated swine" and "parshelis = (young) pig", to which probably may be added in Slavic : Old Bulgarian, Chech and Serbian "prase = pig", as well as Russian "п о р о с е н о к, poroshonok = (young) pig". This indicates a Balto-Slavic without prefix, with "A": "P Ă R-".

     

    But then Russian still has, again without that prefix, the word "б о р о в, borov = boar". This word is very interesting , as it is based on "б о р , bor = pinewood", the typical wild environment where in Eastern Europe large animals could be found. Then we also note the word "б о р о в о й, borovoy = growing in a pinewood". Further a pine-mushroom is called a "б о р о в и к, borovik = pine-mushroom" . And do boars eat them! This brings us very near our original supposition, in which the "boar" and the "bear" have received their "titles" as "those who live in the wild".

     

    It also shows that besides the mentioned Balto-Slavic "*VE PR-" there probably were two forms without prefix, "B Ō R-" and P Ă R-.

     

    Celtic with Gallic "orco-" and Middle Irish "orc = young swine", may be related and would in that case as often have abolished the initial labial.

     

    Indo-European, on the basis of the mentioned information, may have had "*B Ē R-" for "wild animal", with the species not or not always defined. Further a "B Ă R-" and "P Ă R-" are also quite probable. They may have resulted from a tendency towards differentiation, opting for a vowel "E" for swines and a vowel "A" for bovines. But such a choice, if it has existed, has not been followed to the end if we see for example Dutch "varken = pig". The (re-)introduction of a vowel " Ă " or as in Latin "Ŏ", may be connected to the extension of the root with a final K-sound, used to diversify towards tamed swines.

     

    Regarding "Bear": In Indo-European languages there are names for bears that are quite different from the word "bear. Latin has "ursus", Greek "arktos" and they have sister words in Old Indian, Avestan, Celtic (Old Irish "art") and Armenian. But besides this there is some further indication for the origin of "bear" in Indo-European. Old Indian also had "bhalla-gh = bear", supposedly developed out of an earlier "*bher-n". Slavic with a root "B E R" for "wild animal" also in other tongues, probably had this *B Ē R-, even if it did not specify "bear".Proto-Germanic" had "*B Ē R-

 

 

Note:
  • Note for Dutch readers. Bar and baar have the same origin, but diversified meanings, easily distinguishable by quoting "de barre woestijn ( the barren desert)" and "baar goud (pure gold)".

 

 

 

 

 
Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 25/09/2013 at 10.22.41