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208                The Loom of Language

element of comedy in this peculiarity which puts German apart from
its sister languages Internal vowel change,, winch is subsidiary to
external flexion m the group as a whole, is the trade-mark of the
Semitic family The Semitic toot-word consists oi three, less often of
two or four, consonants Thus the consonantal group s//~m~r signifies
the general notion of "guarding," and g-n~b the general notion of
"stealing " Into this fixed framework fit vowels, which change accord-
ing to the meaning and grammatical functions of the word From the
root A/J-M-T we get ihanar, he has guarded, ?//a?wr, guarding, tfianmr.,
being guarded From the root #-w- b we have #07;^ he has stolen >goncb.>
stealing, #fl;z//ij being stolen Though Semitic languages form derivatives
by addition of prefixes and suffixes, such additions have a much smaller
range than those of the older Indo-European languages It is therefore
misleading to lump Semitic together with the Indo-European languages
as flexional types, Semitic languages constitute a sharply marked type
characteri7cd by root-wflcxwn> in contradistinction to amalgamation^
which is characteristic of the old Aryan languages such as Sanskrit,
Latin, or Russian

The student of German will find it useful to tabulate some essentially
Semitic features oi the language Excluding minor irregularities and
such comparatives as hoch~hohei (high-higher), we can distinguish the
following categories

(r) In the conjugation of the second und third person singular of
the present tense and sometimes m the imperative ol many
strong verbs, e.g. *

sprcchen (talk) geben     (give) nehnwi (take) kscn      (read)
	* ich sprcchc : ich gcbe * ich nehnie ich ksc
	cr tpncht cr gibt er mmrrtt cr host


(2)  In the formation of the past subjunctive oi strong verbs, e g
cr gabs, cr nahmc* cr Ibse* when the vowel of the ordinaly past
is long as in er gab, cr n&fan, cr las
(3)  In many couplets of intransitive veibs and transitive ones
(p* 149) with a causative significance, e.g tnnhcn^tmnkcn
(drink-give to dunk), wwgcn^wagtfi (weigh), \migen-\angen
(4)  Plural derivatives of neuter and masculine nouns with the stem
vowels aa o, u> a3 e,g Kalb~K&lbcr (calf-calvch)> Budi^Buchcr
(boofc-books)^ StQck$tbcke (stick-sticks), Haus-H&user (house-
(5)  Adjeaival derivatives for materials^ e.g* Hote-hSlxern (wood-
wooden), Erde4rdm (earth-earthen).