Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 5 00:22:30 UTC 2011

The "not clear" part was in reference to whether the phrase was in
Yiddish or a Latvian borrowing from German, not to why Latvian borrowed
from German--that part is indeed very clear. If my amateur analysis in
Ken Hale's class was correct, Latvian borrowed most from Russian and
Lithuanian from Polish--and, both historically and geographically, that
makes sense. (Lithuania was a unified kingdom with Poland at one point,
it shared a border with Poland--but also with Prusso-Germanic
territories, and it's largely Catholic; Latvia had always [for 600
years] had significantly more Russian ties and influence, is further
away from Poland--although it also had a lot of interaction with various
German groups, and it is not Catholic. But in their Balto-Slavic roots
the two are quite similar--in fact, /predictably/ similar. This does not
really say much about borrowing from German, but Wilson got all those
reasons right on the money--plus one more: it's neighbor Estonia,
although not Balto-Slavic, had significantly more German cultural
influence for hundreds of years, and some of it trickled down to Latvia,
in addition to all the direct contacts Latvians had with Germans.) But
all of this is peripheral to the point I was trying to make.


On 10/4/2011 1:53 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 4, 2011 at 3:10 AM, Victor Steinbok<aardvark66 at gmail.com>  wrote:
>> Latvian had some German loanwords too. [The reason why this is not entirely clear
> The German Order of the Teutonic Knights of Christ in Jerusalem? The
> German Order of the Brothers (in the religious-order sense) of the
> Sword? The Hanseatic League, of which Riga was a major component?
> --
> -Wilson

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