Monday, 2 March 2015

Es ist ein Kind

I watched a neat Sci-Fi film last night called Cargo. It's a German film and was just what I needed: not too deep, a bit hackneyed but overall well-made.

As it was in German I had to use subtitles (in French on this occasion given the constraints of Netflix!) and I was struck at one point by the proclamation by a protagonist of, "Es ist ein Kind!". What I thought of immediately of course was the similarity with Dutch: "Het is een kind".

I was initially tempted to read a link with English when you think that sometimes for 'k' in Dutch (or German) we can read with a 'ch' in English.

You can see this in words like cheese or church (Käse, Kaas / kerk, kirche) so I thought I saw a similar link with child->kind.

But no! Upon further investigation we see that child comes from the Proto-Germanic root of *kiltham meaning newly born, foetus or infant (also cognate with the Danish kuld meaning 'litter' or 'brood').

So what of 'kind' (as child) and its relation to children in English? Well, it seems we do retain some feel of this in English through kin (related to the family) or indeed kind (as in a sort or type of things). These stem from the Old English 'cynde' which originally meant the natural order of things and from which by extension we can see a link both with children and kin and 'a sort, type of something'.

Es ist ein Kind
Het is een kind
It is a child.

Unsurprisingly 'it' is very closely related to 'het' in Dutch. In fact in Old Frisian it was 'hit'. points out the h in Old English was dropped due to it being in an unemphasised position.

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