E 0762 (TO) SAY

The verb " to say " is of Germanic origin .

H 0878 ח י ש ; ה ח י ש ; ח ח ש

Concept of root : to say

Hebrew word

pronunciation

English meanings

ח ; י ש

ה ; ח י ש

ח ח ש

sigh ;

sigh;

saghagh

to say;

conversation;

to speak

Related English words

to say

Comparison between European words and Hebrew

Languages

Words

Pronunciation

English meanings

Similarity in roots

Hebrew

ח י ש ;

ה ח י ש ;

ח ח ש

sigh ;

sigh;

saghagh

to say;

conversation;

to speak

s (i) gh

s . gh . gh

Latin

inseco

inseco

to speak, tell

s . c

German

sagen

zagen

to say

s . g

Dutch

zeggen

zghen

to say

s . g

Old English

secgan

to say

s . cg

Middle English

seggen

to say

s . g

English

to say

to say

s . y

Swedish

sga ;

han siger

sga ;

han siyer

to say ;

he says

s . g

Danish

sige

sige

to say

s . g

 

 

Proto-Semitic *SIGH, SAGH- --- *SĂG-, SÈG- Proto-Germanic < *SĂK- Indo-European

 

 

In this entry we see a nice clear-cut similarity between Hebrew and Germanic . But when in practical life we hear somebody in Israel say "lissoghagh " for "to talk", we will not immediately see a similarity with English " to say ", let alone that we would right-away detect a common origin . We will try to see how this came about.

 

The notions of using one’s voice have led to the creation of a number of different roots or words to express significant variations . Quite simply in English we already have " say, speak, call, talk, prate ", as well as others. Hebrew has a number of roots in this field as well, as will be shown below.

 

 

Note:
  • English in its development has changed many G’s into Y’s. It has done so both at the beginning and at the end of words, but more frequently at the end. A great number of words that today end on Y, once ended on G . English is not alone in this, the Nordic languages certainly do their part.

     

    Further examples are :

     

    EnglishGermanDutch
    wayWegweg
    laylegeleg
    maymagmag
    dayTagdag

     

    The Northerners usually maintain a written G but pronounce it often as Y . German and Dutch do so much less. How things developed with the word "to say" in English we already have seen in the above table. Old English and Middle English still had G , but then today we see Y.

 

Note:
  • Hebrew has many roots in the so important field of speaking and saying .

     

    There are :

     

            ר מ א , amar : say, speak, mention , think . See entry Hebrew 0038 , E 0555

    ר ב ד , dabar : talk ; dibber : talk , say ( intensive form )

    ל ל מ , malal : mention ; millel : talk, inform ( " mila " = word, talk ) . See entry Hebrew 0585 , E 0554.

         ח ו צ , tsogh : shout , cry

    ל ו ק , qol   : voice, cry ; speak . See entry Hebrew 0785 , E 0138 .

    א ר ק , qar’a : to call, cry , announce, read out loud . See entry Hebrew 0767, E 0217.

        א ט ב , bath’a : to talk loosely , chatter . See entry Hebrew 0285, GR 1149 .

    and our present ח ח ש , saghagh  : to speak

    as well as   ח י ש , sigh   : to speak, express oneself ( modern : say, speak)

 

Note:
  • Biblical Hebrew uses " ש י ח " also to express the concept of " to think over , give attention", besides " to speak " . This may as well be a case of just a similar root with different meaning , and perhaps of different origin .

 

Note:
  • Hebrew. The root " ש ח ח " has developed out of a shorter root " * ש ח, sagh " that has seen the, perhaps parallel or otherwise earlier development of another root " ש י ח , sigh ". Then the meanings , the messages for which the roots are used, have to some extent diversified .

     

    If "S Y GH" would have come first, this root or its possible predecessor "* S W GH " would have been shortened by abolishing the middle consonant, resulting in a new root "* S GH ". Subsequently , according to a frequent practice in Hebrew, the second consonant GH was doubled , with as a result a new root : "S GH GH".

 

Note:
  • Hebrew " lissogheagh " = " to chatter ". In modern Hebrew the infinitive is formed in a way comparable to that of English. The preposition "to" in English is used to express the infinitive, that in the past , in Old English , was shaped by adding a suffix " –an" , in a way comparable to what German and Dutch did by adding a suffix " -en". The Classic Greeks were not far away from this, using a suffix " –ein". Modern Greeks do not use the infinitive any more .

     

    "To" in English corresponds with "LE, LA or LI" in Hebrew and this is used as a prefix, as the word says " fixed in front of the word ". Thus we get "L S GH GH". But we cannot pronounce that, so we have to introduce vowels. For the infinitive these are an O and an E. That would make the word "LISSOGHEGH", but that is not liked. Before the GH at the end of a word Hebrew wants a vowel A. Thus we finally come to "LISSOGHEAGH". Complicated until one knows.

 

Note:
  • Proto-Semitic is considered to have used the same root "* ש י ח , S . Y . GH" we see in Hebrew . Some give it also the meanings of "to shout" and " to sing", but that is not very probable, especially seen the corresponding messages in the Indo European languages.

 

Note:
  • Latin " inseco " is composed of the prefix " in ", a root "S . C" pronounced with a vowel " E " and a suffix " O " for the first person singular. It is a very old verb, of which few forms were still used in Classic Latin. There also may have been some uncertainty about its spelling, as the imperative form instead of " C " has " QU " : " inseque ".

     

    Usually this old verb is linked to rather well-known words like " inquam = I say " and " inquit = he speaks " Also these words have a prefix " in " . They are used in an emphasizing sense . For example when one repeats or resumes something one says . And also in order to provoke a counterword . Or to refer to something certain that is said generally . And finally in citing things said , mostly important things said by important people .

     

    At the origin of inquam a root "S Q " is supposed : " * insquam ". The hypothesis is that there has been a vowel E between the S and Q before: " *insequam ". In our view "-m" is a suffix indicating the first person singular , just like in English " I am ". This is much rarer than the common suffix " -o", but it is not limited to the famous word " sum " for " I am ".

     

    The Latin root " S . C " or " S . Q " is certainly similar , also in meaning, to the Hebrew and Germanic roots of this entry .

 

Note:
  • Hebrew and Germanic. The similarity in meanings, expressed by these Hebrew and Germanic roots , is considerable . Together with the similarity of the roots this makes a common origin quite possible. The hypothetical Proto-Germanic words have the same root as modern German .

 

Note:
  • Proto-Germanic . Older and newer Germanic languages have in common the initial consonant "S", except Dutch that has a "Z" and German that pronounces its "S" as "Z". The second consonant is "G", except in English that changed as so often the "G" into "Y" and some pronunciations of the Nordic "G" also as "Y". Old Frisian has changed the second consonant and doubled it, in "sizze".

     

    The used vowel in West Germanic is mostly "E" in the verbs , but German has "A", English has "A" pronounced "E" and descended from Old English "E". Important is that in related words, especially nouns , the vowel "A" is found. Middle Dutch had in verbs both "segghen" and "saghen". The situation in Northern Germanic is more complicated, with some languages using a vowel "I", that we also find in Hebrew. Danish has "sige" and Old Danish had both "sghi" and "sigh". Faeroese simply "siga", Old Swedish had "sia, siia, sighia", Norwegian says "si" and as mentioned Old Frisian had a vowel "I" in different "sizze".

     

    Proto-Germanic probably used both "*S È G-" and "S A G-" as well as "*S I G-".

 

Note:
  • TO SAY , TO SEE. Many scholars see these two verbs as having a common origin . This is not the place to go further into the relative discussion, but it is interesting to point out that also in Hebrew such a supposition could be made. One may compare the words of this entry with those of entry E 0759 (Hebrew 0849).

 

Note:
  • Greek. The first phrase of Homer’s Odyssey that tells the story of Odysseus says : " Ανδρα  μου  εννεπε  Μουσα , Andra mou ennepe Mousa" : " Tell me Muse , about the man …..." and the verb used is "εννεπε = tell " . It also means "to say , call, name, explain" .

     

    This verb is rather generally considered as related to the words of our entry . It is seen as built from " en " + " *sep " . This is convincingly explained by further verbal forms that have an S and a P. Then "* sep " is linked to Latin "in-seco " with the same prefix as Greek " ennepo " . Regretfully there is no explanation at all for the difference between the Greek P and the Latin C ( K-sound ). Therefore we have not inserted " ennepo " in our table .

     

    There is another couple of Greek words , like the verb "ιαχω , iakho = to shout, cry out , call out , make noise " , with the noun "ιαχη , iakh = voice, shout, noise " . This verb should be a contraction of "*FιFαχα, wiwakha ", obviously shaped by the doubling of the first letter, and derived from a root "* wakh" . Now we have our KH , but the W is rather far from the S of " to say " .

     

    This root has also given the word , or better name "Ιακχος , yakkhos = Iacchus ". This is another name for Bacchus and certainly emphasizes more the boisterous use of the human voice than the concepts of " to say " and " to speak ".

     

    Scholars link this same antique root to another old word "ηχη , kh = sound, clamour, noise, cry, word etc." and to "ηχεω, kheo = to resound, re-echo , buzz ". And of course to the well-known "ηχω, kho = echo " . Here we have a relation, as English has loaned the word " echo " via Latin from Greek . And thus " echo" would be related to " to say " . But we do not feel sufficiently certain of this and have left it out of the above table . An extra reason for this is that Greek words that have lost an initial S , in Classic language mostly begin with an H-sound . The loss of initial H -sounds is then a common development to Greek and Latin .

 

Note:
  • Indo-European. The similarity between Germanic "* S È G- " and Latin "* S E Q- " seems rather clear. But further convincing information is hard to come by. An existing theory says that words for "to say" have developed out of words for "to show", but in Germanic one sees a "*SK Ō W- = to show" developed out of identical "*SK Ō W- = to observe", a usance still present in modern languages. These Germanic words are clearly developed out of words with shorter roots that meant "to see", like "*S E-" and even more "*S A G". A further idea sees "to say" and "to see" as of common origin. True, one may say what one sees, but not very frequently the infinite things we are "seeing" take us to "saying" so. "To say" is a very basic human activity that right from the start required to be indicated by a specific root.

     

    Baltic has hypotheses of "*sek-" and "*sak-", with Lithuanian "sakaū, sakyti" and Latvian "sacî" for "to say".

     

    Indo-European may indeed have used the forms "*S È K-" and "*S Ă K-". The striking thing is that once more the Germanic words are nearer to Semitic than are the other Indo-European branches.

 

 

 

 

 
Created: Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 22.30.54 Updated: 25/09/2013 at 12.37.39