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Re: THEORY: irregular conlangs

From:Paul Bennett <paul.bennett@...>
Date:Monday, October 18, 1999, 10:01
Nik writes:
Eric Christopherson wrote:
> Well, that was my idea, but I recently looked it up in a dictionary of > etymology, which said that it came from an OE verb meaning something > like "inflict," if I'm not mistaken (which I quite possibly am, as I > don't have the book in front of me. In any case it seemed to come from > a different root).
Okay, according to my etymological dictionary, wreak comes from the Germanic root *wrek-, forming the verb *wrekan, "drive", this is the descendant of "wreak", and also, thru Old Norse, or "wreck". Wreak originally meant "drive out", and came to mean "give vent to anger or other violent emotions", from which the modern meaning comes from. *wrek- came from Indo-European *wreg-, a variant of which may be responsible for English "urge". A variant of *wrek-, *wrak-, is the origin of English "wretch" (i.e., someone "driven out", and "exile"), and possibly French "garc,on". So, a pretty productive root. Work, on the other hand, goes back to Germanic *werkam, from IE *wergon, a derivative of *werg-, *worg- "do, work" (also the source of energy, organ, orgy - from Greek "orgia", a religious festival). "Wright" (craftsman, as in "shipwright", "playwright", etc.) comes from the same source, via metathesis of the r and the vowel. And, of course, "wrought" was the past participle of "work" So, they come from different IE roots. Nevertheless, *werg- and *wreg- are quite similar. One wonders if one was originally a variant of the other? To drive and to work are similar enough meanings ... <<<<<< Hmm... Is there a chance (I don't know the literature) that *wreg- is a variation of *werg- that occured around the invention of the yoke / wagon / plough? It seems that *wreg- is related to work-of-travel whereas *werg- is related to work-of-labour. Just my .02 --- Pb ************************************************************* This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the sender. This footnote also confirms that this email message has been scanned for the presence of computer viruses. *************************************************************