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Re: question - Turco-Japanese (British Vikings, 400 AD)

From:John Cowan <cowan@...>
Date:Wednesday, November 24, 2004, 13:24
Cowbert von Moo scripsit:

> Not to speak of the English grammar. It's not like _that_ came from > German, French or Latin. It's pretty much wholesale Norse. A Norse > friend of mine, who was on a MUD I was building for, once challenged > me to find a sentence I could say in English that required changing > the word order into Norse.
But English did not *borrow* its grammar from Norse. The similarities that exist are a result of the common descent of the two languages from Proto-Germanic, or in some cases are due to parallel but independent developments. In general, and with only a few and doubtful exceptions, languages do not borrow syntax from one another. Vocabulary, though, is a different matter. English borrowed thousands of words from Old Norse: such ordinary words as "uncle" and "sky" are of Old Norse origin. In some cases, the cognates of these words already existed in English, as in the Norse borrowing "skirt" next to the native word "shirt". (Words beginning "sk" are almost always borrowings, because a sound-change during the Old English period changed initial "sk" to "sh".) Note that when I say "Old Norse", I could equally well say "Old Danish". -- John Cowan If a traveler were informed that such a man [as Lord John Russell] was leader of the House of Commons, he may well begin to comprehend how the Egyptians worshiped an insect. --Benjamin Disraeli


Elliott Lash <erelion12@...>
Sally Caves <scaves@...>/S/ in old and middle High German; was: Vikings