off topic yards and gardens

Tim Eck
Tue, 11 Feb 2014 16:11:11 PST
Thank you!
That made it all worth while.

-----Original Message-----
From: []
On Behalf Of Rimmer
Sent: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 2:07 PM
To: Pacific Bulb Society
Subject: Re: [pbs] off topic yards and gardens

I passed this discussion on to a family member who is a language professor
specializing in Old English and this was his response regarding the ancient
root words for garden and yard as in back yard:

"All of these words are related.  Comparative study of Indo-European
languages suggests that an early Germanic word *war-, meaning "to watch or
guard" was the basis for all of them.  The variety in modern English is due
to overlapping waves of influence.  A noun form of the word, *gardo-z,
meaning a small piece on enclosed land, became garthr in Old Norse.  To the
south it was borrowed into popular Latin as *gardinumand thence in to modern
French jardin and Italian giardino.  It was also carried to England by the
Anglo-Saxons as geard, where the pronunciation of the initial g was softened
to y, giving modern English yard.  Later, when the Normans invaded England,
they brought a variant of the French version, gardin, which led to the
modern English garden.  This word had develop the more specific meaning of
an enclosed, cultivated space, so the two words continued to existed side by
side.  Meanwhile, Scandinavians entering the north of England brought
garthrwith them, and it left the word gard or gart in northern English

Guard and warden come from the same Germanic root but took different paths
that led to the different initial vowel sounds."

Rimmer de Vries
Southeast Michigan
continental Zone 5- coldest and snowiest winter in memory the pink and
yellow Velthiemia are blooming nicely by my window

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