Kopf and the Grimm Reaper
A few weeks ago, I was walking the dog and listening to The History of English Podcast, and I realized that the German word Kopf (head) is an exception to Grimm's law, which changes an initial
k sound to an
h sound. Compare:
- Latinate canine versus German Hund and English hound
- Latin centum versus German hundert and English hundred
- But German Kopf versus Dutch hoofd and English head
This made me think that Kopf must have been borrowed into German at some time in the past, after Dutch and Old English split off.
Apparently it's derived from "cup", which seems to have some grisly connotations!
(Another exception: Körper (body) is definitely a Latinate borrowing - it's cognate with corpus and corpse)Published on 2020-01-01