Sunday, December 23, 2007

Stimme (voice)

Matt 3:3 reads in part:
Es ist eine Stimme eines Predigers in der Wüste
φωνἢ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ
A voice of one crying in the wilderness

Believe it or not, German Stimme has an English dialectal cognate, steven:

G Stimme < OHG stimna < Gmc *stemnō, stiβnō > OE stemn, stefn > E dial. steven.

According to the OED, steven (with a short vowel almost like /stevven/) means "voice," esp. a "loud voice", "outcry," "noise," or "tumult."

Possibly related is Greek στόμα, "mouth."

Buße tun (to repent)

The revised Luther translation renders μετανοεῖτε ("Repent!") in Matt 3:2 with Tut Buße!

Now, Buße means "repentance," "penance," "fine," or "damages." It actually has a direct cognate in English:

G Buße < OHG buoza < Gmc *bōt- > OE bōt > E boot.

No, not the footwear boot but the commercial term:
Cash or other property added to an exchange or a transaction in order to make the value of traded goods equal.
Whence comes phrase "to boot."

taufen (to baptize)

German taufen (to baptize) has no direct reflex in English, though a reflex of it enters English as to dope via Dutch:

G taufen < OHG toufen < Gmc *daupjan *gt; MDu dopen > Du doopen, noun doop (sauce) > E dope.

A relative of Gmc *daupjan, however, has both English and German reflexes:

G tupfen (to dab) < OHB tupfen < Gmc *duppjan > OE dyppan > E dip.


The German word Glaube, "faith," is actually a partial cognate of English belief:

G Glaube < OHG giloubo < WGmc *galaubon > OE geleafa > E belief with a different prefix.

Online Etymology Dictionary

Monday, December 10, 2007

What She Said

Justice Ginsburg, concurring in the judgment.

It is better to receive than to give, the Court holds today, at least when the subject is guns. Distinguishing, as the Court does, between trading a gun for drugs and trading drugs for a gun, for purposes of the 18 U. S. C. §924(c)(1) enhancement, makes scant sense to me. I join the Court’s judgment, however, because I am persuaded that the Court took a wrong turn in Smith v. United States, 508 U. S. 223 (1993) , when it held that trading a gun for drugs fits within §924(c)(1)’s compass as “us[e]” of a firearm “during and in relation to any … drug trafficking crime.” For reasons well stated by Justice Scalia in his dissenting opinion in Smith, 508 U. S., at 241, I would read the word “use” in §924(c)(1) to mean use as a weapon, not use in a bartering transaction. Accordingly, I would overrule Smith, and thereby render our precedent both coherent and consistent with normal usage. Cf. Henslee v. Union Planters Nat. Bank & Trust Co., 335 U. S. 595, 600 (1949) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting) (“Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late.”).