German: *gessen as a verb

dihydrogen monoxide

Senior Member
Slovene, Serbo-Croat
Was there ever a verb in German gessen or is it still in use now? I am basing this off of the verb vergessen witch is cognate with English forget. So if that gessen
actually existed or exists it would be cognate with English get. What would be the perfect form and past tense and imperative?
 
  • manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    Was there ever a verb in German gessen or is it still in use now? I am basing this off of the verb vergessen witch is cognate with English forget. So if that gessen
    actually existed or exists it would be cognate with English get. What would be the perfect form and past tense and imperative?
    Yes, there was the OHG (Old High German) form "geʒʒan" (erlangen) and 'ver-' is a negating prefix < see here>:
    [...] Es handelt sich um präfigierte Verben zu einem Simplex germ. *getan ‘erlangen’, das in ahd. geʒʒan ‘erlangen’ (8. Jh.), anord. geta ‘schaffen, erreichen, erzeugen, lernen, nennen, vermuten’ (woraus mengl. geten, engl. to get ‘erhalten, bekommen’), dän. gide ‘mögen’ erhalten ist, [...]
    And no, we don't have that base word in a similar form in modern German anymore.
    For verb conjugation you may want to look up an OHG dictionary or grammar book.
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    So, the standalone verb was probably used in Low German and survived as frozen in compound forms.
    No, I would think that it goes beyond Low German because my link also mentions Gothic bigitan ‘finden’ and Germanic getan ‘erlangen’ - both of which came before OHG.

    The one interesting and possibly connected word in modern German is "essen" (OHG ‘Nahrung zu sich nehmen’, ahd. eʒʒan (8. Jh.), mhd. eʒʒen, asächs. aengl. etan), because it uses the perfect gegessen as opposed to geessen and because of its meaning ‘Nahrung zu sich nehmen’ = Nahrung erlangen versus the general ahd. geʒʒan 'erlangen'.
    But I have to admit my OHG is a bit rusty - I haven't spoken it for good 1500 years now... ;)
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    In my home dialect it is "gassn=gegessen". Is this a relict or is this a cut off of the first syllable?

    It is itzgründisch and belongs to the franconian dialect.
    I'm not a language historian, so I can't give you a binding answer, but I would guess that it is just the common contraction in colloquial speech and dialects.

    I know that my own bavarian-type dialect does this all the time (gesehen -> g'sehn; geworden -> g'worden; gegessen -> gessn, etc.). Also the southwestern dialects do it (Er ist gelaufen -> Er isch g'laufe) and also in middle German forms I believe to remember this contraction. I have some friends from Nuremberg, Erlangen area and a bit further up and I think that is already a Franconian region because they have a distinct accent that's clearly different from nearby Niederbayern.
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    Germanic *etan “to eat” and *getan “to get” are not related. However, the NHG gegessen (the past particple of *etan/essen) appears to have been borrowed from the p.p. of *getan. It is an example of suppletion (different tenses of a verb deriving from different roots).
     
    Last edited:

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    Thank you for your input, I relied on DWB (obviously old), s.v. "essen 2", which has:
    Yes, Grimm discusses the issue at length. I didn't understand all of it but it seems that both forms existed at the same time in OHG and MHG. It suggests that some forms were predominantly seen in Bavaria and Austria - and then there was something about a Slavic influence or something.
    Interesting part (somewhere in the middle):
    erklärbar ist die schon früh auftauchende verdopplung des praefixes, gleich als sei die wurzel des verbums nicht ëʒʒen, sondern gëʒʒen und dieses mit den völlig unverwandten ergëʒʒen, vergëʒʒen, oblivisci in éine reihe zu stellen; ein goth. gaitan (wie fraitan, frëʒan) würde nichts verwirren, das ahd. giëʒan konnte zu gëʒan, giaʒ zu gaʒ werden und verführen, noch leichter mhd. gëʒʒen, giʒʒet, wobei man das ge in gleich, genug, glauben, geglaubt betrachte. bei Grieshaber 3, 53 lesen wir: daʒ du dës boumes hâst gegâʒ; 2, 66 warumbe ër den apfel hête gegâʒ.
    But they also mention:
    nhd. bilden wir heute zu essen, asz ein part. gegessen, statt des organischen, noch bis ins 16 jh. allgemein gültigen gessen, geessen, wie Keisersberg, Luther, Hans Sachs, Fischart und alle ihre zeitgenossen richtig schrieben: und Adam sprach, das weib, das du mir geben hast z einer gesellin, die hat mir geben von dem holz und ich hab davon gessen. Keisersb. s. d. m. 12b; die schlang hat mich betrogen und ich han geessen. bibel 1483, 6b. 1 Mos. 3, 13
    So, Grimm speculates a lot and they don't claim a definitive source or reason for 'gegessen', but with their citations they prove that both forms did exist simultaneously in the past. (asz, gaʒ and gessen, geessen and then some.)
     
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