on buying and selling

bizarre as it is able to seem, the starting place of the verb purchase remains a count of uninspiring debate, at least in part due to the fact we don’t understand what this verb supposed earlier than it acquired the contemporary experience. to us the method of purchasing or buying contains no thriller: it refers to obtaining items in trade for cash. but, in the remote past, human beings did now not purchase goods: they produced them for his or her personal intake or exchanged them for other items. often, cash and mint are words of romance starting place. buy is also a borrowing from vintage french, and it, too, intended “to reap, to acquire,” in preference to “to buy.” in our oldest germanic texts, items were frequently exchanged but rarely offered and purchased. although the corpus of vintage english texts isn’t so small, the verb bycgan, the ancestor of purchase, came about within the extant literature best within the 12th century (that is, with reference to old english, very past due). at that point, it intended “to redeem, to ransom.” a century later, this verb became up with the experience “to expiate.” the feel recognised today is later.

inside the germanic-speakme world, handiest icelandic preserved rich antique local prose, and, at the same time as studying the sagas, one notices with wonder how seldom any items are sold or offered. money existed and become substantially valued, but no person ever “went purchasing.” silver and gold, and artifacts made of valuable metals, were continuously used as gifts and as repayment for murder and different crimes, but banks, money creditors, usurers, and the many appurtenances of later economic system did no longer exist. but one should buy a ship and a slave. one of the relevant characters in the saga of njal attempted, on the time of famine, to buy hay and cheese from a neighbor, however this isn’t always a regular case. besides, the neighbor became down the request, and we don’t know the details of a probable bargain. in any other tale, the king desired to buy a polar bear. for that reason, change turned into now not the spine in their economy. apparently, a cognate of bycgan existed in vintage icelandic, but this verb, spelled byggan, intended “to shop for a wife; marry” (exactly as in hebrew: makar!) and “to lend or rent.”

in the fourth-century gothic bible, translated from greek, bugjan (extensively utilized with numerous prefixes) takes place many times. it renders the greek verb meaning “purchase.” and with a prefix the identical verb means “to promote.” the word that bishop wulfila, the translator of the gothic bible, saw in greek is agorádzein. now, greek agorá intended “(a public region of) meeting; market.” it occurs in luke xiv: 18. wulfila of route knew the which means of the noun agorá, however it isn’t clear how he understood the verb. normally, a verbal noun with the identical root as in bugjan and a prefix, particularly faur-bauhts (the variation in the vowels is regular and consonants is ordinary) intended “redemption” and corresponded to greek apolútrōsis,” and we’ve seen that antique english bycgan also supposed “to redeem.”

the oldest feel of the verb that has come down to us as vintage english bycgan seems to have intended “make a bargain; redeem; acquire a wife” and had something to do with change. several tries join buy with the germanic verb which means “to bend,” such as, as an instance, german biegen. english bow “to bend” is an precise fit for biugan. the development from “bend” to “submit, carry something below one’s control” is thinkable but now not too persuasive. goods alternate hands, that is, “pass,” as evidenced, for instance by using greek pōléō “to promote” versus pélō “to move.” the posited tie to “bending” isn’t always unreasonable. predictably, even the ones researchers who accept it are not too enthusiastic, whilst the extra careful dictionaries opt for to say about purchase “starting place undisclosed.”

the ordinary spelling of purchase recurs in busy and construct. old english had a vowel like german ü. (this is why the oldest shape become spelled bycgan.) this vowel changed otherwise in specific middle english dialects: it both became quick i or evolved into quick e or brief u (as heard in these days’s puppy and placed). the cutting-edge form purchase has the pronunciation of the south and the spelling of the west (one of the pleasures of our unreformed spelling).

some other hypotheses regarding the foundation of purchase are both not better (possibly from the basis meaning “to experience,” that is, “to collect and experience using, to very own, to own,” with a unmarried connection with sanskrit) or fanciful (b- is a prefix, and many others.). best one aspect is probably: inside the past, purchase intended “to strike a good buy; to loose by paying ransom” or some thing love it. “bending” does now not come close enough to such senses to arouse regularly occurring enthusiasm.

the verb promote exists inside the equal clean difficult to understand. its gothic form –saljan takes place in wulfila’s text two times, each instances with a prefix (for this reason my hyphen), and the prefixes vary. however, it method “to provide sacrifice.” the verb has regular cognates anywhere in germanic, but german lost it (the german for “sell” is verkaufen, associated with english reasonably-priced; this word is of latin starting place). the problem is that, as simply referred to, gothic saljan supposed “to sacrifice,” instead of “to get for a price.” manifestly, for promote to mean what it does to us, human beings needed a system of replacing items for cash. words with the same root and greater or less corresponding meanings exist outdoor germanic: in greek and celtic. however s and l aren’t concern to the germanic consonant shift, which turned non-germanic p, t, and okay into f, th, and h, so that each one forms of threat coincidences (unrelated s-l formations) are viable on this organization of words. in gothic, any other saljan “to be a visitor of” has also been recorded. the few tries to lessen them to the same etymon, although imaginitive, do no longer deliver conviction.

if saljan is certainly related to greek ‘eleîn “to take” (the initial aspiration within the greek verb is going again to s), then gothic saljan “to sacrifice,” which, naturally, presupposed offering, giving something, ought to be twisted into the feel “to accept, to get hold of.” this excursion de pressure isn’t unthinkable, because verbs do from time to time combine opposite meanings, but in reconstructing the origin of an obscure phrase, the less assumptions we make, the higher.

 

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