Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Near-er

One of the great things about studying another language is what you learn about your own. To wit (that is to say, "to know," since this is the only surviving use of "wit" as a verb in English, though wissen remains the ordinary German verb for knowing):

German

English cognate

nach

nigh

naher

nigh+er > near

nächst

nigh+est > next


So "near" has lost its comparative sense entirely, though "next" retains that sense.

1 comment:

Ron said...

I have the same to while I took Italian.

It was then that I took a hard look at English!