1. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I was surprised to read that etymonline.org considers 'gezellig' and 'silly' related, whereas I had thought 'gezel' had to do with 'zaal', room, German 'Saal'. Now I'll have to consider it linked with 'zalig' (blessed, perfectly happy, etc.) I guess, as this is wat etymonline.org writes:

    What is correct ?

    (BTW: I originally searched for the origin of solace, consolation, soelaas in Dutch, but thus arrived at this... )
     
  2. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Ags/OE gesælig or sælig is cognate to German selig (long "e") and NOT to gesellig (short "e"). German gesellig is indeed related to Saal and cognate to Dutch gezellig. You jumped to conclusions when you identified OE gesælig with Dutch gezellig.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2010
  3. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I see, thanks.
    (It seems to be my favorite sport: jumping to conclusions, wishful (and dreadful) thinking, and te snel door de bocht gaan... ;-) )

    By the way, Berndf:
    - is there some trace of a word like zaal/ Saal in English?
    - why is there 'ge-' at some point in time, and why does it disappear ?
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2010
  4. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    The OED gives examples dating from Beowulf to the 15th century of sale (Noun No. 1) =
    A hall or spacious chamber; a king's or noble's lodging, palace, castle; occasionally a tent; In Middle English alliterative poetry "in sale" is a frequent tag.

    The OED lists as a separate noun sale (Noun No. 4) = A hall (from French salle)! It gives examples from the 17th century. It doesn't explain how it can distinguish this sale from the other.

    The Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names also lists sele as a "dwelling, house, hall" in its Glossary of some common elements in English place names, but unfortunately I couldn't find any examples of place names including this element!

    Then there are cognates obtained through Romance languages - salon and saloon spring to mind.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2010
  5. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    I believe ge- was a prefix used in Old English to indicate a perfective form of a verb (i.e. past participle) then it gradually morphed and was virtually lost completely, but the system still holds in German I think (but I don't know much about German).
     
  6. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Yes, French Salon is related. It is related to French salle (=hall) which is of Franconian origin and obviously cognate to German Saal.

    That is correct. But the prefix in
    gesælig seems unmotivated. You find it only in Anglo-Saxon and OE, e.g. in Old Saxon of OHG. I agree with you that the later disappearance of the prefix is probably best explained by the general disappearance of ge- in past participles even though this isn't one.
     
  7. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    I suspect that I, and millions of others, still pronounce it regularly when we say, for example If I hadn't y-been here, ....
     
  8. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Interesting! Can you explain what you mean though?
    I thought I was familiar with the Yorkshire dialect but I've not heard this, can you put it into IPA what you're talking about so I can get a better understanding.

    Do you think this is something that's been preserved in regional speech although it's been lost from the spelling? (and has been for ages) but I recently found out about some (although morphed) uses of thou in regional speech in the midlands, so this doesn't surprise me at all..

    But, I'm a tiny bit sceptical about the millions claim though.
     
  9. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    This is going well off-topic now, but se16teddy gives more details about his hypothesis these two English Only threads:
    had(n't) have + past participle (#14)
    a-running ... prefix a- before verb. (#22)

    So far, though, I haven't seen any strong arguments to back up the idea that ge- survives robustly, but only in this specific irrealis construction.
     
  10. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    I agree. Especially not in this case because the ppl. been is of obscure origin. The oldest attested ppl. of beon-wesan is beon in late OE. There are no attested form *gebeon or similar.

    If there is really a case we should look for ppl. prefixes in different verbs.
     
  11. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Right, I read both posts, interesting.

    I also would probably naturally squeeze in a schwa in the same place, I’m going to deliberately listen out for this in the language I hear around me, I also have a bad habit of using the “If I hadn’t have done”, so I just thought I was one of the millions who are subconsciously rendering this schwa as had, although it’s contradictory to the 3rd conditional protasis format if I had + <past participle>.

    Maybe the origin of this hypercorrection is the sound that’s inserted in the speech of the people that use it, that generalise it to be analogous with something like should + schwa (should’a) where people are (somewhat) aware that “have” is rendered as just schwa, and then some sort of backformation has been mentally applied to link the schwa in question (prefixed to past participles) is also have, thus resulting in the hypercorrection in a form of If I hadn't have done it..

    I have to say I find this theory pretty interesting, it seems a very possible explanation, I just had no idea it was deep-rooted in the language our ancestors have passed on to us on a spoken level since it dropped out of literary writing.

    Very interesting!

    [Edit]: I also think that while we're talking about linguistic analogy of forms, even if this form was present in only certain words, it is certainly possible that over-generalisation has again occured, resulting in the insertion of the sound in past participles that don't have an attested form with a ge- prefix, but maybe have been said but never written, as it is only fairly recently that we've been able to study language in this specific way.

    But now we're getting into skeptical hypotheses that can't be proven and much of what will be said is outside of any realm that we can ever check so is based soley on hypotheses, which is where I usually like to stop speculating, when I know I might never get to know the true answer :p
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 21, 2010
  12. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    ??? The OED gives gebéon from the 11th and 12th centuries, and forms with prefixed y- or i- up through the 14th century. Anyway, the insertion of schwa between irrealis had(n't) and the past participle is possible with all verbs, not just been.

    I think this explanation is much more plausible. And it can certainly be "proven", inasmuch as anything can be in linguistics.
     
  13. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Now you baffle me. Does it give quotes? (I am not able to access the OED where I am now). It is not here and that is what I recall having learned.
     
  14. 0m1 Member

    Budapest / Tripoli Lebanon
    Arabic - Lebanese / English
    I haven't read thoroughly all that has been said, but isn't se16teddy's y-been a derivative of Chaucer's yseyde (y-said), yspared (y-spared, l. 2301 of Merchant's Tale) etc etc? I give such random examples as I open my copy of the Riverside Chaucer at random, and am in a rush, but of this type of initial y- there are countless Middle English examples... and might it be possily preserved in our modern "enough", which in Chaucer was y-nogh? I'm not sure
     
  15. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Quite possibly! But I'm no expert, I know the ge- / y- didn't happen in Scandinavian and the modern (and I presume older) Icelandic word for enough is nóg, so it looks like our enough could be a cognate form with the ge- (y-) prefix attached.

    But this isn't related to the verbs and I presume it was used for a different purpose, not sure exactly what though. But it'd explain why we have the -e- at the front of enough that isn't present in Scandinavian (which is also known not to take the ge- / y- prefix.

    Moderator note:
    Discussion of enough, its cognates and relatives move to this new thread.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 21, 2010
  16. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    • a1107 OE. Chron. (Laud MS.) an. 1096 He heafde ebeon on þes cynges swicdome
    • c1175 Lamb. Hom. 159 Wel longe ich habbe child ibon
    • 1205 Lay. 8325 Þu hafuest ibeon ouer-cumen.
    • c1230 Ancr. R. 316 Ich habbe ibeon fol.
     
  17. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2010
  18. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    After unsuccessfully trying to find more OE examples I am still not convinced. The examples in the OED are 12th to 13th and not 11th to 12th century and still look to me like a Middle English innovation and not an original Old English form.

    You find the ppl. of beon-wesan with or without ge- only very late. It seems to be like in Romance languages where the ppl. of esse didn't exist in Classical Latin but has a VL innovation which became necessary because compound tenses (J'ai été - I have been) require a ppl. for every verb.
     
  19. robbie_SWE

    robbie_SWE Senior Member

    Sweden
    Trilingual: Swedish, Romanian & English
    I hope this isn't too off topic, but is there a relationship between the discussed words and the Swedish salig which means "blessed" or "blissful"?

    :) robbie
     
  20. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    This is the link, Robbie. That was where I got led astray. Do you have anything like 'gezellig', cosy, comfortable, in Swedish ?
     
  21. Meyer Wolfsheim Senior Member

    East Egg
    English
    A little out of the previous discussion, but you did ask for any traces of the word "saal" in reference to a room in English.

    Here in Northeast United States, we use "sale" (or maybe salle?) to refer to a fencing club/studio, the room in which most of the activities of the fencing takes place.
     
  22. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Thanks for the information; seems quite plausible !
     
  23. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)

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