on the germanic roots of certain english words

Remember those rude Frenchmen in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, yelling at the English knnnnn-igts? Or something every English language student comes up across at some point, pronouncing fight like fig-t and might like mig-t?

Turns out they’re probably being a lot closer to English’s Germanic roots than most other English speakers are. While ‘ight’ is pronounced ‘ite’ it might not have always been the case (language historians would know when but I don’t). Look at the English words (on the right) and their German parallels:

Macht (strength) -> might
Nacht (night) -> night
Recht (right) -> right
Knecht (servant) -> knight
dicht (dense) -> tight
acht (eight) -> eight
Licht (light) -> light
ich (I) -> I

There are a few exceptions but I think there’s a pattern more or less that ‘acht’, ‘icht’ and ‘echt’ in old German evolved into the ‘ight’ of English, and that the latter was probably pronounced something similar, ie. a vowel followed by a hard consonant and then ‘t’. It changed somewhere down the line to ‘ite’.

So yeah, those rude Frenchmen, they were a lot smarter than I thought.

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