belief, love and liberty

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Gale_, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. Gale_

    Gale_ Junior Member

    I wonder about cognation of these words and concepts in English:
    (From Wiktionary)
    (From here

    Does it mean that in Old English to believe is to trust so much that believing person gives himself/herself into the hands of that one he/she believes, i.e. he/she gives an access to his/her own fate, and that almost the same is to love?

    And by the way has Latin libēre from the third quote any relation to the word liberty (as well as to leave)?
    I've got confused a bit when I tried to clarify it myself. It was a very long chain which has led me even to such words as to grow, leaf and book, to say nothing of our Russian word люди (people)! :confused: :)
    Does it mean that English "to leave" and "leaf" (pl. "leaves") historically are cognate too?
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
  2. NorwegianNYC

    NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Well - leave (v) is not a cognate of love, nor is leaf. However, leave (n) is. Also, do not confuse Lat. liber and libēre/lubēre. They are not from the same root, although lubere is indeed related to Rus. lyodi and Ger. Leute
  3. Gale_

    Gale_ Junior Member

    Thank you, NorwegianNYC!
    So what about that part of the quote and my first question concerning their (belief and love) cognation:
    What does the word "compare" mean here: compare two different words and roots just close to each other in a sense and to some degree in spelling?
    They say that ġelīefan had both meanings, ġelēafa was closer to belief, trust, and lēof to dear, beloved.
    And I'm confused again: what leave (n) did you mean? Leave as permission, or as what? And how then can't the verb be cognate to one word while the noun with the same meaning can?
  4. Gale_

    Gale_ Junior Member

    I try not to confuse them, but it's not so easy to sort one out from another!
    So līber relates (cognates) to people and grow(liudan), and to liberty, and to lubere (love),
    but liber relates to book and to bark or bast(lubŭ) as well as leaf does.

    And that "older form *luber" doesn't relate to libēre/lubēre, does it? I haven't found anything concerning this.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013
  5. CapnPrep Senior Member

    Do not confuse Lat. līber and libēre :rolleyes: Līber is the one that may be related to ljudi and Leute, as the Wiktionary entry Gale_ just quoted makes clear. Although in general I would recommend double-checking any information from Wiktionary…
    Good question… Compare is kind of an all-purpose connector that just means "now look at this other thing" and the author should explain exactly why they think it's useful to compare this thing with the preceding thing. In this case, unfortunately, they don't do this, so we can't conclude anything about their etymology. This is a poorly written Wiktionary entry. According to the OED, believe is an alteration of yleve (< OE gelīefan), by prefix substitution. In other words, they do have the same root. But the identity of this root is "very uncertain": it may be cognate with love and lief (and the noun leave), but there are some alternative hypotheses.
    It happens… ;)
    The OED does not support Wiktionary's claim that believe is "equivalent to be- +‎ leave (“to allow, permit”)". Anyway, whatever the etymological links may be among all of these words, they do not completely determine the later semantic evolution of the words. My guess is that the link between believe and love was already as inaccessible to OE speakers as it is to us today.
  6. Gale_

    Gale_ Junior Member

    I realize too, that it's Wiktionary.
    That's one of the reasons why I ask you all.
    And it's such a pity, because if only people understood impossibility or defectiveness of love without belief and trust (and on the contrary), they wouldn't be so confused about love, and never would think that love is weakness. :idea:
  7. NorwegianNYC

    NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Thank you, CapnPrep - that what I meant! Sometimes these late night postings end up all over the place...
  8. AutumnOwl

    AutumnOwl Senior Member

    Swedish - Sweden, Finnish
    Could the origins of the word love have to do with to promise and/or to prize someone/something from the beginning? To love someone can be said to give a promise to that person, and/or that you value him/her. Swedish have the words lov, and lova, meaning both promise, to promise and prize someone/something, and the etymology for those words are similar to those of leave and love in English.
  9. relativamente Senior Member

    catalan and spanish
    In Latin there are two words that I do not know if they come from the same root or not

    On the one hand the adjective Līber ĕra, ĕrum (old form, loebesum et loebertatem antiqui dicebant liberum et libertatem. Ita Graeci λοιβὴν et λείβειν, Paul. ex Fest. p. 121 Müll.; cf. 2. Liber), adj. Gr. root λιφ-, λίπτω, to desire; cf. Sanscr. lub-dhas, desirous; Lat. libet, libido.

    Compare with the expression "ad libitum" used in musical notation meaning the singer or player is allowed to improvise or play more freely.

    On the other the noun līber , ĕri Plur., children (freq.; but in class. Lat. only of children with reference to their parents: pueri = children in general, as younger than adulescentes; cf. Krebs, Antibarb. p. 657 sq.).

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