When I started learning German, it was funny to see how Lego-like the language was. It made it easy and fun when you could pick apart the words and remember the meaning from its constituents. For example, “to buy” is kaufen, “to sell” is verkaufen, and “to do shopping” is einkaufen.
Nevertheless, all languages work like that to some degree. It just might happen that in some cases the root is a bit more subtle because the original word is no longer used or it has mutated.
Let’s take Latin iacto (to throw) and see what is a building block of:
- Things that are thrown under (sub-) a situation are subjects
- Things that are thrown next (ad-) to nouns are adjectives
- Things thrown in front (pro-) of something are projected
- Things thrown inside (in-) are injected
- And finally, things thrown outside (ex-) are ejected
These terms were made still inside Latin. I just so happened that the children words reached English but the original iacto did not — though its present infinitive iactare became jeter in French, for example.
So I can imagine a German person learning French and also marveling at how the language is so Lego-like 😉
Originally published in The blind mouse.