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I was wondering whether von and from shared the same common root.

They do have a quite close meaning, and the pronunciation sounds similiar too.

EDIT I had already looked at the relative Wiktionary entries (1,2), and they didn't seem to be that connected after all; that's why I was curious.

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@RegDwight, you ought to know better than to put correct answers into comments :). – JSBձոգչ Jan 26 '11 at 16:33
@JSBangs: I'm on an awfully slow machine right now, and putting every second word in italics takes decades. – RegDwigнt Jan 26 '11 at 16:40
up vote 4 down vote accepted

No, they have separate roots. See von and from.

The German von is more related to the English of.

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Wiktionary to the rescue!


From Middle English from (“from”), from Old English from, fram (“forward, from”), from Proto-Germanic *fram (“forward, from, away”), from Proto-Indo-European *pr-, *pro-, *perəm-, *prom- (“forth, forward”) from *por- (“forward, through”). Cognate with Old Saxon and Old High German fram (“from”), Danish fra (“from”), Swedish fram (“forth, forward”), Swedish från (“from”), Icelandic fram (“forward, on”), Icelandic frá (“from”). More at fro.


From Middle High German von (“from”), from Old High German fon, fona (“from”), from Proto-Germanic *afána, *fana-, *funa- (“from”), compound of *áfa ( from Proto-Indo-European *apo, *ap- (“from, off”)) + *ana ( from Proto-Indo-European *ano (“on”)). Cognate with Old Saxon fana, fan (“from”), Old Frisian fon (“from”), Old English of (“from”). More at of, on.

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i can't see any clear indication that they are related from what you posted :) – asymmetric Jan 26 '11 at 17:28
Precisely. It's pretty clear to me that they are not. – RegDwigнt Jan 26 '11 at 18:21
It would be helpful to have that conclusion in the answer itself. – mskfisher Jan 26 '11 at 19:37
it would also be interesting to check how reliable wiktionary is, at least in this case, seeing how it seems to be the source of every answer – asymmetric Jan 27 '11 at 0:10

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