What does the phrase “It’s an ill wind that blows no good” mean? There are a couple of other sayings like this in English, but if I gave them to you, you would be able to get the meaning of this saying. There is also a cool saying in German along these lines. This saying is not heard much, but I like it myself. I believe my parents used to use it, especially my mother. My father didn’t use this phrase, and he would have been unlikely to believe in such a concept anyway due to the nature of his worldview..
Category Archives: Balto-Slavic-Germanic
S. D. writes: I’m German American. Half my family is Prussian German and the other half is from Munich in the South. I can answer this, sort of.
English is actually from Denmark.
These folks were never from Germany, they were from Saxony and Angles They were Scandinavians.
Normans brought a great deal of Latin words into the English language but they themselves were Norwegians.
Brits have no German in them. They are Scandinavian and Celtic. Their language reflects this.
Wait a minute. English is a West Germanic language. It is in the same branch of Germanic as German. The most closely related language to English is Frisian, which is spoken as probably up to seven separate languages in Northwestern Netherlands and Northwestern and Far Northern Germany.
Scandinavian is North Germanic. All of these languages are straight up from Old Norse.
English is up from Old German, or more properly the Anglo-Frisian branch. Frisian is straight up from Old Saxon, which gives you a clue to what the Anglo-Saxons were speaking.
A man who knows how to speak Old English recently went to Frisia with a TV crew. He stopped and talked to an old farmer who was a Frisian speaker. He could actually communicate with this guy with him speaking Old English and the farmer speaking Frisian (“Modern Saxon”). If you look at Old English, it looks like German. If you hear a tape of someone reading Beowulf, it sounds like someone speaking German. Not only that, but you cannot understand a word.
The British are mostly a Celtic or even a pre-Celtic people. On top of that is layered some German (the Anglo-Saxons), some French (the Normans) and some Danish on the east and north, formerly the Daneland.
I have heard stories about the Normans being Vikings or Norwegians, but I am not sure about that. They were living in France when they invaded. One of my distant ancestors is Eleanor of Acquitaine, Queen of England. She was from the West Central Coast of France.
The Normans brought a lot of French words into English. Actually they spoke Norman, which is a completely separate language from French and is still alive to this day, though it is endangered. But it is related to French. Norman split off from Old French in ~800-1000 CE.
The Scottish and especially the Irish have a lot of Scandinavian blood in them due to a lot of Viking raids in those places. That is why there is all the red and blond hair and green and blue eyes there (red hair and green eyes in Ireland and blond hair and blue eyes in Scotland).
It is true that a lot of Latin borrowings came into English during the Norman period and even afterwards, as Latin was the language of science, technology and government. Some Danish words did go into English from the Daneland. Scots and a lot of the incomprehensible English dialects from northeastern English such as Geordie have heavy Danish influence.
However, there is a little something to your theory. The three tribes in that area that all invaded England were called the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes. The Angles and Saxons lived from northeastern Netherlands through Northwestern and Far Northern Germany, but the Jutes actually did inhabit Far Southwest Denmark. They speak a language down there called South Jutish, and I am told that Danes cannot understand it at all. However, I have heard that a Jutish speaker and a Scots speaker from Scotland can actually somewhat communicate along the lines of the Old English speaker and the Frisian farmer!
RL: “Low Franconian is just Dutch.”
Anglo-Saxon Maverick: I would assume that low German, comes from the Northern regions of Germany close to the North Sea, where the elevation is lower?, as opposed to further South where the Alps rise? Holland is topographically lower than France, hence the name?
Yes, the Netherlands is very low in elevation, in fact, I believe it is even below sea level, hence the need for dikes to keep the sea out and polders or reclaimed land formerly flooded by the sea.
Yes, this exactly where Low German comes from of course.
And yes, Upper German comes from the region by the Alps, and Middle German is in between the two. These are actually at least three completely different languages, but Germany will not officially recognize them as such and neither will many German speakers. Even Bavarian and Swiss German are completely separate languages – those are not the same languages as German at all.
A German speaker cannot understand a Swiss German, Low German or even a Bavarian speaker at all. I heard a story about a White man who even learned Munich Bavarian who said he sat in a hot tub with two women who were speaking some Bavarian dialect to the south of Munich near the Austrian border. Over a 2-3 hour period, he said he did not understand one single word that they said, even though all three spoke Bavarian. Bavarian speakers to the south of Munich often cannot understand people even 15 miles away. In these cases, they all communicate via Hochdeutch or Standard German.
In Austria, every region or county speaks its own version of Bavarian and it is said that none of them can understand each other. At least in the 1970’s, people from 3-4 counties in the west of Austria could sit at a table and talk and none of them could really understand each other. Even pure Viennese Bavarian which is very much dying out nowadays simply cannot be understood outside of the Vienna region and nowadays a lot of Viennese themselves cannot even understand it.
So, concerning Low German, is it a sub-classification of North Sea Germanic or Low Saxon-Low Franconian? Glottolog and Wikipedia say the former, Ethnologue says the latter.
I would say that it is Low Saxon – Low Franconian. Low Saxon in Germany anyway for all intents and purposes is Low German. This somewhat includes Dutch Low Saxon, but not so much anymore, as it seems to have merged a lot with Low Franconian. Low Franconian is just Dutch. Middle Franconian is more like Ripaurian and Moselle Franconian Middle German to the south and southeast of the Netherlands in the part of Germany near the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Northeastern France near the Lorraine.
I do not even kn ow what North Sea Germanic even is – is that Ingaevonic? That’s almost English – but Low German is nearly English itself – the Angles, Saxons and especially the Jutes spoke something like English, and South Jutnish, probably a separate language from Danish spoken in southeastern Denmark, is supposedly nearly intelligible with Scots!
At one time there was a “North Sea Fisherman’s Language” which was something like Ingaevonic, and they could all understand each other. Either their own speech was close enough to each other or they all adopted this sort of jargon based on their speech and that of the other North Sea fishermen, but at any rate, when they spoke this Sailor’s or Fisherman’s language, they could understand each other and sailors and fishermen could communicate with each other in all of the ports of the North Sea regardless of where they came from.
How about the Romanization of the Celtic World?
In our modern era, Celtic languages only (barely) survive in Ireland (Irish), Scotland (Scottish Gaelic), Wales (Welsh), the Isle of Man (Manx) and Cornwall (Cornish) in England, and Brittany (Breton) in France. In Eastern Europe, Celts were supplanted by Germanic, Iranian and Slavic tribes. In France, Iberia and the Balkans, the Celts were assimilated to the Roman Empire.
It is not particularly difficult to convert a native elite to the language of a conqueror, but converting an entire population to a new language in a short period of time is quite a feat. The Romans did this mostly by showing the superiority of the Latin language and convincing the natives to give up their Celtic words.
In fact, the Romanization of Dacia where the original Celtic speaking people were completely converted to Latin which then turned into Romanian is cited by Wikipedia as one of the worst cultural genocides ever.
Of course there are many other examples of cultural genocide, some of them ongoing.
Look at how many publications Israel has in that are Hebrew-only. Publications of every type and subject matter you could possibly think of! There even appear to be some journals. Look at all of the Hebrew language magazines!
I am not wild about Israel, but it does seem that they have built up a true society in this land, complete with a national land, a national culture and even a national architecture and a national cousine, though the last two were pretty much stolen from the native Arabs.
As a linguist, I am happy that there are so many Hebrew language outlets. I had no idea! The propagandists of “English as the new world language” are a bit disgusting. They had me believing that all Israelis spoke English (not all of them do) and not only that, but that English was spoken and used most of the time in Israel, and Hebrew was little used.
Yes, there is an English language press of the major newspapers, but but there are Hebrew language editions of all of those major papers. And you often get a much more truthful analysis of Israeli subjects if you read the Hebrew press. You will find a lot more Gentile-hatred and Christian-hatred there, along with some extremely self-critical views of Jewry and Israel itself, mostly of Jewry.
Jews really let it all hang out and beat themselves up pretty well when the doors and closed and they’ve been assured that no Gentiles are listening. Jews are not supposed to engage in Gentile-hatred or talking crap about themselves if the Gentiles are listening. Other Jews will quickly tell them to shut up – “What are you trying to do? Start a pogrom?”
I am going to republish this older piece that has been called into question. Supposedly this language is totally made up. However, that is almost certainly not true, although I am looking into it at the moment. A Croatian professor even wrote a 27,500 word dictionary of this language. I am enclosing here 97 different references that discuss this language in the hopes that this puts an end to the Gan-Veyan controversy once and for all.
Robert,Is it true that 1,000 yrs ago a German & a Persian spoke basically the same language?
No, it is not true at all that Old German and Old Persian were the same language 1,000 years ago.
However there are some Croatian dialects such as Archaic Islander Čakavian spoken on the islands off the coast of Croatia that are quite similar to Persian or Iranic. They are actually closer to Kurdish and Zazaki though. They are actually completely separate languages, as the lexical similarity with Croatian is only 4%! There is a theory that the pre-Slavic Croatians may have come originally from Persia, and there may be something to that.
These ancient tongues are the remains of the pre-Slavic languages spoken in this area before the Slavs came. The language that these tongues are closest to is called Liburnian. The Liburnians inhabited that region thousands of years ago. Liburnian is an ancient Indo-European language.
I did a study on one of those old languages, an Archaic Islander Čakavian tongue called Gan-Veyãn. I obtained a short dictionary of Gan-Veyãn and went through half of it from M-Z looking on my guesses as where the roots seemed to have originated. The results were remarkable and are listed in order with the language with the most roots first and the language with fewest roots last.
I will go down the list now and describe these languages.
Indic means all of the Indo European or IE languages related to Hindi.
Persian is well known.
Avestan is best described as Old Persian.
Hittite is an ancient IE tongue formerly spoken in Turkey.
Akkadian is a language isolate formerly spoken in Iraq by the people of that name who had a kingdom there.
Basque is the well known language isolate and pre-IE language spoken in northeastern Spain. Although it formally has no relatives, I would say it is related to NE Caucasian languages like Chechen. In fact the placename Iberia has deep connections to the land of Georgia.
Tocharian is an ancient IE languages formerly spoken by Caucasian people who lived in what is now Xinjiang in far western China where the Uyghurs now live.
Sumerian is an ancient tongue, a language isolate formerly spoken in the Sumerian Kingdom in Iraq.
Lithuanian is interesting because for some reason it is one of the most archaic living IE languages.
Aramaic of course is the language of Jesus spoken in the Levant, Mesopotamia, Iran and Turkey. It is still spoken by Assyrian Christians in Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey to this day.
Hurrian is an ancient IE language like Hittite formerly spoken in Turkey.
Etruscan is an ancient language isolate formerly spoken in Italy.
Gothic is the ancient Germanic language of the Visigoths who lived not only in Germany but also in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.
Russian and Ukrainian are well known. This ancient language may have roots close to these two Slavic languages because in a way Russian and Ukrainian are ancient Slavic languages being heavily based on Old Church Slavonic, a liturgical language that originated in northeastern Greece with roots close to Old Slavic or even Proto-Slavic.
Kurdish is the well known Iranic language of the Kurds.
Armenian is a living language, but it is rather ancient and archaic as IE languages go.
Latin is well known and these islands were part of the Roman Empire for a while.
Arabic is well known and quite a few languages along the European coast of the Mediterranean Sea have some Arabic in them.
Mittani is a language isolate formerly spoken around northern Iraq and Iran that nevertheless seems to have some relationship with Indo-Iranian languages.
Apian is an ancient IE language formerly spoken in Italy.
German is well known. How German words got into this language is a head scratcher but Croatia itself is quite close to Germany as a former part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire which had German as an official language.
Geez is the ancient language of the Ethiopian and Egyptian Coptic Christians which was thought to be long dead. However a family in Cairo was recently discovered who spoke Geez at home.
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Judith Mirville,commenter, weighs in on English spelling reform. I really love this person’s wild prose.
It would be far easier to force Americans into Anglish, that is to say, English as it would have looked liked had William the Conqueror’s invasion of England never taken place. Or better still had The Normans themselves feared more for words of French, Latin and Greeks origin to give ideas of Greek democracy, Roman law and French sensuality to their subjects, than for their own Anglo-Saxon parlance to produce Robin Hoods. And seen in Anglo-Saxon a language having remained closer to their own forebears’ that the French-like one they had been forced to adopt in Normandy proper for political reasons.
I am now surrounded by people who are so intent on seeing Greece stifled with more economic sanctions, and are so resentful against that country for having given the world the idea of democracy (whatever the efforts I deploy to prove that their accusation to that effect is downright false: no other city than ancient classical Athens did more to vindicate the notions of Heaven-willed human inequality and human powerlessness as well as to make the quest of sheer contempt towards the downtrodden the noblest aim in life of all), that they have asked me, as an amateur linguist, to devise Greekless versions of English, French and other Western languages.
The World elites seem dead intent on suppressing the very notion of humanism not only as a form of benevolence towards fellow humans but also in the older Renaissance sense of the word meaning open-mindedness through knowledge of classical languages and cultures.
To that effect they have tried several times to disfigure etymological orthography in many languages, but the Anglo-Saxon egregor could never be convinced to accept what other European languages submitted to under the pretext of making school learning easier. So the thing to do with English is to bring it back to a purely Barbarian one so to speak, where scientific, political and other specialized terms would derive only from Germanic or Scandinavian roots through Nordic and Indic, not Greek-inspired metaphors, with the exception of a few monosyllables easy to seam into the fabric, such as joke, graph, rate…
The only rather proximate language I know of to be nearly devoid of Renaissance-inspired terms compounds is Arabic, safe for a few dozens no more of Greek words such as philosophy, democracy, geography that are half-heartedly accepted as temporary linguistic manpower so to speak, more to be humiliated as pariah words denoting concepts that will remain always alien and to be considered as foreign propaganda concepts than to render real communication service, it is the language now closest to the anti-humanistic ideal fostered by the world elites, a language where the higher level of cultural reference always refers to dogma, scripture, and military strategy at the service of predation, never to history or to former cultures of open-mindedness and research, a language where any notion of historical or political consciousness sounds like pollution by foreign intruders.
Hebrew hasn’t made such a meritorious effort and is half-Western, half-Oriental to the point it is now called an Euromitic language rather than a Semitic one (I rather say an emetic one, for modern Hebrew is downright ugly, vulgar, unwieldy, and unfit for information rendering, it is doomed to become rapidly a modern low-grade Westernized Arabic dialect like Casablanca Moroccan bound to flow into Globish).
The changes I would bring or bring back to English would be the following:
First of all, to make back English into a full-fledged Germanic language the passive form with “to be” should get replaced with “to get” as the most correct form, as is more or less the popular tendency.
German has the marvelous auxiliary verb “werden”, unfortunately the English cognate “worth” (“wirth”, “werth”) is worn out phonetically, but hadn’t it been for the late Latin style awkward French model with be (for it being ambiguous between perfect and present meaning and therefore less used in conversation for clarity’s sake) it would have been the medio-passive form of get, to git, I gat, which should be reestablished as the most regular form (many ghetto people already use git plus participle to form passives and do form it more frequently that active forms).
All Latin words such as allusion should be rebuilt for that instance as onplay, and Greek ones such as misogyny should be clearly understood as for that instance bitch-hunting, but forgotten medieval-sounding words should also be introduced to bring to the new language a more lurid and barbaric aspect as is the case with video games.
Social class distinctions as there are in Japanese should be implemented, by more regular and stringent rules than nowadays in class-conscious Britain four or five levels of status should be defined for each concept.
The ghetto and lower middle class people should be left out more or less with their vulgar parlance provided it be purged from forbidden elements, but the higher classes applying for qualified jobs should be given or imposed the luxury version of the language with a syntax imitated more or less from Icelandic minus the declensions, so as to smack of a perpetual Dungeons and Dragons game.
The highest version of it together with many terms should be forbidden of use by the lower ranks. Women should also be given a different version of the language, as well as different rules for pronunciation and this can be marketed through feminism before it be too late for these girls when they realize they have closed themselves back into gunaikeions smacking of Old Constantinople.
Of course I am speaking like some psychopathic nerd who would have been given the job to redesign English like is done with a computer programming language threatened with obsolescence and also, as a frustrated non-Anglo, with the afterthought of curbing the world-wide imperialistic prevalence of that language through ridiculous and gratuitous ideological impediments, with the most probable practical effect of breaking it for good into one thousand impoverished broken dialects no longer capable of intercommunication and yielding to a more civilized civilization language to come, I just want to give the American Republicans the neuroleptic dosage of obscurantism they need no longer to be able to use Monsanto’s products, I want them to become exactly like Haitian sorcerers in the middle run in the name of Jewish and Aryan racism not for real.
It must be noted as you showed it yourself that High German as has been imposed as Germany’s common language is a very artificial and quite recent and very ideological creation, with among others the objective to get the language rid of as many foreign coinages as possible, as if it were to become the new classical language owing nothing to any foreign one.
This objective has misfired as since the defeat of 1945 German is being flooded with English importations and with Greek and Latin terms again that come through English.
It is time for English itself to embark upon that kind of task, and the German experience that could have been successfully completed had the Nazis won over is the proof that it can work with a sufficiently fanatical regime acting at the behest of corporations dead intent on bringing back obscurantism and cut everybody, especially the new bailiff class, from the literary works of the free-thinking past.
Can you read this?
Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with Iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and Iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants. Bai Iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez “c,” “y” and “x”–bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez–tu riplais “ch,” “sh,” and “th” rispektivli.Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.