Appendix:German cognates with English

There are many hundreds of German words that are cognate to English words, in fact a sizeable fraction of native German and English vocabulary, although for various reasons much of it is not immediately obvious. Yet many of them are easy to correlate, since the German words follow the rules of High German consonant shift, which is a German phenomenon and makes English stay closer to the Proto-Germanic language, from which both, English and German, derive.

For convenience of presentation this list has been limited to cognates whose etymologies can be established to the Proto-Germanic period at the earliest, or within the past 3000 years or so. The Modern English language includes in its vocabulary a large number of words of French origin many of which can be related as cognates to German words due to mutual descent from roots in the common Proto-Indo-European language (about 6000 years or so ago) from which both Germanic and Romance languages descend. This list ignores cognates of this linguistic depth.

Etymology resources for further investigation of cognates include:

For German words:

1. Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache (DWDS)
(direct link to a one-word entry: https://www.dwds.de/wb/[insert search word here])
2. Duden
3. Wiktionary (German)
(direct link to a one-word entry: https://de.wiktionary.org/wiki/[insert search word here])
4. Deutsches Wörterbuch von Jacob Grimm und Wilhelm Grimm (at DWDS and at woerterbuchnetz.de) (for advanced investigation; no modern orthography)

For English words:

1. dictionary.com
2. Oxford Dictionaries
3. Online Etymology Dictionary
(direct link to a one-word entry: https://www.etymonline.com/word/[insert search word here])
4. Wiktionary (English)
(direct link to a one-word entry https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/[insert search word here])

Mutual Inheritance from Proto-GermanicEdit

Both German and English descend from a single language which is conventionally called Proto-Germanic. The earliest written stages at which the daughter languages that ultimately evolved in to modern German and English are treated as separate languages are denoted Old High German and Old English, respectively. We may represent this in a simple diagram as:

  • Proto-Germanic → Proto-West-Germanic → Old English → Modern English
  • Proto-Germanic → Proto-West-Germanic → Old High German → Modern (Standard) German

As the languages evolved away from Proto-Germanic in a largely ordered way, there remain a large number of cognates in the two languages that are the result of the evolution of the two languages from Proto-Germanic to their modern, contemporary forms. In this section we exhibit regular correspondences between modern German and English resulting from their evolution from the common Proto-Germanic mother language.

A small but significant portion of Modern English vocabulary derives from the Old Norse language. For comparison we can look at the Old Norse language in similar terms as:

  • Proto-Germanic → Proto-North-Germanic → Old Norse → Modern Scandinavian languages

See also:

Proto-Germanic:

Schleicher's FableEdit

We can compare the grammar and vocabulary of German and English to each other as well as to that reconstructed for Proto-Germanic using Schleicher's fable (originally written in 1868). In order to facilitate comprehension of the historic German version and the Proto-Germanic version, modern English and German translations have been placed at the top as an introduction. Lastly, a schematic English word-by-word translation of the modern German version is provided to demonstrate how the ability to identify cognates by detecting regular correspondences can help English speakers when learning German. For example, in section 1.3.2.2 - German b ~ English v you can see how German b corresponds to English v and thus Silber corresponds to silver, and Grab to grave and so forth.


English

The Sheep and the Horses
[On a hill,] a sheep that had no wool saw horses, one of them pulling a heavy wagon, one carrying a big load, and one carrying a man quickly. The sheep said to the horses: "My heart pains me, seeing a man driving horses." The horses said: "Listen, sheep, our hearts pain us when we see this: a man, the master, makes the wool of the sheep into a warm garment for himself. And the sheep has no wool." Having heard this, the sheep fled into the plain.[1]


Modern Standard German version

Das Schaf und die Pferde
Ein Schaf, das keine Wolle mehr hatte, sah Pferde, eines einen schweren Wagen fahrend, eines eine große Last, eines einen Menschen schnell tragend. Das Schaf sprach: Das Herz wird mir eng, wenn ich sehe, dass der Mensch die Pferde antreibt. Die Pferde sprachen: Höre Schaf, das Herz wird uns eng, weil wir gesehen haben: Der Mensch, der Herr, macht die Wolle der Schafe zu einem warmen Kleid für sich und die Schafe haben keine Wolle mehr. Als es dies gehört hatte, floh das Schaf auf das Feld.
(Quoted from German Wikipedia: Indogermanische Fabel: Deutsche Übersetzung)


Historic German version
(This is Schleicher's translation of his Indogermanic fable. (Note: Unlike the modern version above, this text is grammatically incorrect by today's standards.)

[Das] schaf und [die] rosse
[Ein] schaf, [auf] welchem wolle nicht war (ein geschorenes schaf) sah rosse, das [einen] schweren wagen fahrend, das [eine] groſse last, das [einen] menschen schnell tragend. [Das] schaf sprach [zu den] rossen: [Das] herz wird beengt [in] mir (es thut mir herzlich leid), sehend [den] menschen [die] rosse treibend. [Die] rosse sprachen: Höre schaf, [das] herz wird beengt [in den] gesehen-habenden (es thut uns herzlich leid, da wir wissen): [der] mensch, [der] herr macht [die] wolle [der] schafe [zu einem] warmen kleide [für] sich und [den] schafen ist nicht wolle (die schafe aber haben keine wolle mehr, sie werden geschoren; es geht ihnen noch schlechter als den rossen). Dies gehört-habend bog (entwich) [das] schaf [auf das] feld (es machte sich aus dem staube).


Proto-Germanic

Awiz ehwōz-uh
Awiz, sō wullǭ ne habdē, sahw ehwanz, ainanǭ kurjanǭ wagną teuhandų, ainanǭ-uh mikilǭ kuriþǭ, ainanǭ-uh gumanų sneumundô berandų. Awiz nu ehwamaz sagdē: hertô sairīþi mek, sehwandē ehwanz akandų gumanų. Ehwōz sagdēdun: gahauzī, awi! hertô sairīþi uns sehwandumiz: gumô, fadiz, uz awīz wullō wurkīþi siz warmą wastijǭ. Awiz-uh wullǭ ne habaiþi. Þat hauzidaz awiz akrą flauh.
Many more versions can be found at Wikipedia: Schleicher's fable


English translation of the modern Standard German version using as many recognizable cognates as possible, retaining German sentence structure

The following text is identical to the modern German version. Obvious cognates are written in bold font. Non-obvious cognates and obvious cognates that differ in meaning in this specific context are written in bold font and italics. In the second line, corresponding English translations are given, retaining German sentence structure (word-for-word). Starting at the third line, explanations are given for non-obvious cognates. Note that (both generally speaking and in this particular text) not all cognates have Proto-Germanic roots; most however have Proto-Indo-European roots, and some (such as "sheep"/"Schaf" might e.g. have roots in West Germanic, but not trace back further to the earlier Proto-Germanic, or Proto-Indo-European, which explains why the Proto-Germanic text starts with "awiz" (whence "ewe", a female sheep)).


Das Schaf und die Pferde
The Sheep and the Horses


Ein Schaf, das keine Wolle mehr hatte, sah Pferde, eines einen schweren Wagen fahrend, eines eine große Last, eines einen Menschen schnell tragend.
A sheep, that no wool any more had, saw horses, one a heavy wagon {faring}, one a great weight, one a {man} quickly {dragging}.
{fahrend: faring; driving}
{Mensch: man, human; the -sch corresponds to "-ish", thus "man-ish" (man-like, human)}
{tragend: dragging; carrying (cf. "drag": carrying clothes)}


Das Schaf sprach: Das Herz wird mir eng, wenn ich sehe, dass der Mensch die Pferde antreibt.
The sheep spoke: The heart becomes me tight when I see that the {man} the horses drives.
(note: for "wird", cf. "worth" (archaic): "woe worth the day"; becomes)
{eng (tight): cf. anguish, angst: from a feeling of tightness, thus distress}


Die Pferde sprachen: Höre, Schaf, das Herz wird uns eng, weil wir gesehen haben:
The horses spoke: Hear, sheep, the heart becomes us tight because we seen have:
(no comments)


Der Mensch, der Herr, macht die Wolle der Schafe zu einem warmen Kleid für sich und die Schafe haben keine Wolle mehr.
The {man}, the {hoar man}, makes the wool (of) the sheep (in)to warm clothes for himself and the sheep have no wool (any) more.
{Herr: hoar man; master (also: Mister)}


Als es dies gehört hatte, floh das Schaf auf das Feld.
As it this heard had, {fled} the sheep {up (=to)} the field.
{floh: fled: cf. fliehen: flee}
{auf: up; (here:) "to")}


Notes:
1. In modern German, "Pferd" is usually used for "horse". The modern German cognate to' "horse" is "Ross" (horse). "Ross" is essentially a synonym to "Pferd", though not used as frequently (e.g. poetically or regionally), or in compositions such as modern Standard German "Schlachtross" (warhorse).
2. In modern German, in the context of this story, "Last" is used for "weight, burden". The modern German cognate to "weight" is "Gewicht", which also means "weight" and is used in particular in the context measurement. "Load" is not a cognate to German "Last". However, German "Last/lasten" ("weight"/"to weigh") is etymologically connected to the German verb "laden, beladen" ("to load")[2], which is a cognate to English adjective "laden" (German: "beladen" (participle)).
3. In modern German, in the context of this story, "Herr" is used for "master". The German cognate to "master" is "Meister" ( "foreman"; "master" (1. crafts: professional qualification: e.g. Elektriker-Meister; 2. to master s.th./to be a master of s.th.: etw. meistern/ein Meister von etw. sein)). In academia, "Master of Science/Arts" has been introduced to replace the German "Diplom" qualification, i.e. the anglicism "Master", not "Meister" is used in an academic context.


Old English and Old NorseEdit

Modern English developed from dialects of Middle English that developed within regions of Anglo-Saxon England that experienced the densest settlement of speakers of Old Norse (itself a daughter language of Proto-Germanic). The resulting Middle English was therefore heavily influenced by Old Norse, taking words from both Old English and Old Norse, and, where the words in the two languages were very similar, words that were influenced by both. This article therefore indicates cognates for the Modern English in Old English and/or Old Norse as appropriate to better reflect this state of affairs. Old Norse forms are only indicated when they are either the source of the modern English word or the difference between the Old English and Old Norse word stems is due to vowels.

Organization of tablesEdit

In general, only the singular forms of nouns, the principle parts of verbs, and base forms of other words are given. Other forms are given when they are of specific interest. Portions of words in German or Modern English that have been separated out by parentheses indicate either elements that have been added to those words since the Proto-Germanic period or the presence of stem of interest in a compound.

These portions are thus part of the word and cannot typically be omitted: E.g., "Schade(n)" means the German word is "Schaden", and the "n" has been added since the Proto-Germanic period. Likewise, e.g. ", treffen, traf, (ge)troffen" is "treffen, traf, getroffen". There is no such past participle as "troffen" since the participle always requires a prefix (treffen - getroffen; übertreffen - übertroffen).

This article indicates Old Norse cognates using a standardized Old Norse from a period later than the Old English period. The dialects of Old Norse present in Great Britain during the Old English period were earlier forms of the language and differed from the standardized form in some respects. In particular, the v's in these Old Norse dialects would have been pronounced more like an English w, and would thus have been pronounced more like their Old English cognates than the spelling appears at first to indicate. Also the Old Norse p when appearing in the combination pt would be pronounced close to the English ft.

Regular cognates with matching consonant valuesEdit

Regular cognates with differing consonant valuesEdit

Proto-Germanic Voiced Stop Consonants (*b, *d, *g)Edit

/Regular cognates with differing consonant values/Proto-Germanic Voiced Stop Consonants

Proto-Germanic Unvoiced Stop Consonants (*k, *p, *t)Edit

/Regular cognates with differing consonant values/Proto-Germanic Unvoiced Stop Consonants

Proto-Germanic Fricative Consonants (*f, *h, *s, *þ)Edit

/Regular cognates with differing consonant values/Proto-Germanic Fricative Consonants

Proto-Germanic Liquid Consonants (*l, *r, *z)Edit

/Regular cognates with differing consonant values/Proto-Germanic Liquids, Nasals and Semivowels#Proto-Germanic Liquid Consonants

Proto-Germanic Nasal Consonants (*m, *n)Edit

/Regular cognates with differing consonant values/Proto-Germanic Liquids, Nasals and Semivowels#Proto-Germanic Nasal Consonants

Proto-Germanic Semivowels (*w)Edit

/Regular cognates with differing consonant values/Proto-Germanic Liquids, Nasals and Semivowels#Proto-Germanic Semivowels

Proto-Germanic Consonant ClustersEdit

/Regular cognates with differing consonant values/Proto-Germanic Consonant Clusters

Proto-Germanic *∅Edit

/Regular cognates with differing consonant values/Proto-Germanic *∅

Irregular and Singleton CognatesEdit

/Special cases#Irregular and Singleton Cognates

Archaic, Dialectical, Obsolete, Poetic, Rare, or Regional CognatesEdit

/Special cases#Archaic, Dialectical, Obsolete, Poetic, Rare, or Regional Cognates

Borrowings into Proto-GermanicEdit

/Mutually inherited borrowings#Borrowings into Proto-Germanic

Borrowings into Proto-West-GermanicEdit

/Mutually inherited borrowings#Borrowings into Proto-West-Germanic

Borrowings into Old German and Old EnglishEdit

/Mutually inherited borrowings#Borrowings into Old German and Old English

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Beekes R. S. P., Comparative Indo-European Linguistics: An introduction. — 2nd ed. — Amsterdam; Philadelphia: John Benjamin’s Publishing Company, 2011. — xxiv, 415 p. — P. 287. — →ISBN, →ISBN.
  2. ^ https://www.dwds.de/wb/laden