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Historical Origins of English Words and Phrases

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yeast [Dec. 17th, 2009|02:15 pm]
Historical Origins of English Words and Phrases

word_ancestry

[gwoman]
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yeast, n. [yeest, yēst]
-Though we now consider yeast to be any fungi of the genus Saccharomyces (especially S. cerevisiae), which reproduces by budding and from ascospores and is capable of fermenting carbohydrates, Middle English yest, yeest specifically referred to the froth of fermenting beer. The Middle English term was developed from Late Old English gist ' yeast,' which first appeared around 1000 CE. Scholars are not sure of the Germanic ancestor of our English word, but they do believe it to be a Western Germanic word that also produced Middle High German gest 'foam, froth' and Old High German jesan 'to ferment.' Whatever the source is, it sprung from prehistoric Indo-European jes-, yes-.


Side note:
If anyone knows the definition of this PIE root, would you please let us know? I've been searching for about an hour now but just can't find it. I think this calls for a new reference book purchase. :)
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: dutchy1
2009-12-17 11:30 pm (UTC)
I am not a scholar, but in Holland the Dutch word is still gist.
And it is still used in beer, bread and some special dishes.
And during my time in Switzerland they used the word gist as well in so called "plat German or Sweizy-Deutch" as they call it themselves.
So middle german is very probably...
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[User Picture]From: gwoman
2009-12-21 11:57 pm (UTC)
thank you! so, the "plat German" - what kind of dish/drink is that?
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[User Picture]From: dutchy1
2009-12-22 01:24 pm (UTC)

Plat- German

Plat German is no dish, it is a kind of speaking, a kind of dialect or local language. The difference between Dutch and Frisian is they are 2 languages, the difference between German and Sweizy-Deutch is according the German no 2 different languages but a dialect and the Schweitzer people say it are 2 different languages even with differences in writing!
For me as a Dutch woman: the language of Switzerland and Luxembourg is more like Dutch from Holland in accents than in what the German call proper German. Do not ask me why, it is a matter of experience while I did live there and speak both.
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[User Picture]From: prettygoodword
2009-12-18 02:47 pm (UTC)
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the PIE root yes- means to boil, foam, bubble. Its only other important English derivative is eczema.

---L.
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[User Picture]From: gwoman
2009-12-21 11:59 pm (UTC)
THANK YOU! let me cyber-give you some of the holiday goodies i baked this weekend :)

and why dictionaries don't have appendixes of IE roots on their web versions makes no sense to me.

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[User Picture]From: plaidseven
2009-12-19 12:56 am (UTC)
Is this old English gist also where we get our modern "gist"? Or are they completely unrelated?
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[User Picture]From: prettygoodword
2009-12-21 03:59 pm (UTC)
Nope -- our gist comes out of Anglo-Norman from legal Latin jacere, to lie.

---L.
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[User Picture]From: gwoman
2009-12-22 12:00 am (UTC)
what ^ said :)
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[User Picture]From: plaidseven
2009-12-22 12:13 am (UTC)
Ah! Thank you very much.
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[User Picture]From: bravesaintash
2009-12-21 09:10 pm (UTC)
Any idea on the origins of the word/phrase brouhaha?
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[User Picture]From: gwoman
2009-12-22 12:01 am (UTC)
added!
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