Friday, August 23, 2013

Update, 23 August

I apologize for my delinquency. I am currently writing an FAQ for historical linguistics over at Reddit which may answer a number of your common language questions - aside from being interesting in itself. Between that and the daily grind, I haven't had much of an opportunity to post here. Here are some facts about demonyms, names for people groups:
  • The word Jew is a corruption of a Greek word for Judean (person from Judah).
  • The original English word for any Germanic person (including Anglo-Saxon people) was dutch. Today it only means a particular Germanic culture in Denmark but its original sense is preserved in Pennsylvania Dutch and in the loanword Deutschland (Deutsch obviously being a cognate with dutch).
  •  Spanish gringo is a distortion of Spanish Griego "Greek," which several hundred years ago was a Spanish epithet for any foreigner.
  • Welsh originally meant "foreigner" or "stranger" (a word originally for any Celtic speaker). It gradually acquired a sense of inferiority which is preserved in words like welsh rarebit (a lower-class dish made of rabbit meat).
  • A person from the Isle of Man is called a Manx.
  • A Hittite to a linguist was a person who lived in Anatolia and spoke Nešili (but we usually just call the language Hittite for convention). But surprisingly, no one knows if the Hittites of Anatolia were the same Hittites we find in the Bible. When the Bible lists the names of Hittites, like Uriah, husband of Bathsheba, the names do not read as Hebrew or Nešili.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    First of all, awesome blog! Did you mean to write 'particular Germanic culture in Holland by any chance?

    Cheers.

    ReplyDelete