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Re: THEORY: irregular conlangs

From:Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...>
Date:Saturday, October 16, 1999, 18:26
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 ... -- "Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many ailments, but I never heard of one who suffered from insomnia." -- Joseph Wood Krutch ICQ #: 18656696 AIM screen-name: NikTailor