Were ancient ‘wives’ women?Word Origins. And Just How they are known by us

Were ancient ‘wives’ women?Word Origins. And Just How they are known by us

Whenever we handle the foundation of ship and ship (the names of things with respect to material tradition), dilemmas are very nearly predictable. Such terms might have been lent from a language that is unknownor from an attested language, but definitive evidence of the text is wanting) or created in ways our company is struggling to reconstruct, but spouse? Yet its etymology isn’t any less obscure. My proposition will increase the stock that is existing of, while the future will show whether this has any potential for survival, let alone acceptance.

The things that are few may be stated about spouse without hedging are as follows. Within the past, it had been pronounced wif, because of the vowel such as Modern Engl. wee. It implied “woman,” not “female spouse,” because it nevertheless does in housewife, midwife, old wives’ tale, German Weib, and Dutch wijf. Very early, man(letter) “person” had been included with it, and also by a few phonetic modifications wifman became girl. Old Engl. wif had cognates in German, Dutch, and Frisian. Old Icelandic wif (i designates “long i,” the exact same vowel as when you look at the Old English word) took place poetry, but whether it had been indigenous in Scandinavian or borrowed from English (a far more likely choice) is confusing. In any case, wif had not been a typical Germanic term, as it failed to arrive in Gothic, a Germanic language, recorded in the 4th century CE. Neither is it an extension for the primary Indo-European term for “woman,” which we detect in gynecology and whose Germanic cognate may be the now obsolete Engl. quean (quean is linked to queen, however they are various terms).

Wife, present in a sizable but restricted area, seemingly have been a phrase endowed with a specific sense; otherwise, a cognate of Gothic qino “woman” (compare gyne-, above) might have pleased the speakers. Similarly problematic may be the beginning of bride, this time around a typical Germanic term. Continue reading “Were ancient ‘wives’ women?Word Origins. And Just How they are known by us”