I am a native English speaker and I have started learning German. I have learned the German word "Wo" equates to "Where" in English, and the German word "Wer" equates to "Who"

If both German and English have there roots in Proto Germanic how did the words for "who" and "where" become reversed in the two languages?

  • 2
    "become reversed in the two languages" - that's a big conclusion that you're jumping to, that they were reversed. "wo" doesn't even sound like "who". The concepts of "where" and "who" and their equivalent in German have the same Germanic origin that evolved differently in German and English. No reversal involved. Just google "etymology of where" and "etymology of who" – Erwin Bolwidt Jul 16 '16 at 4:35
  • Realize that Proto-Germanic isn't Modern German. In Proto-Germanic, the word for "who" wasn't "wer" but "hwaz-" and for "where" wasn't "wo" but "hwi-." – Benjamin Harman Jul 16 '16 at 5:21
  • One of the etymology sites I was reading stated that the Proto-Germanic "z" survived as "r". So hwaz became hwar, then war, and finally wer. Is this the correct evolution of hwaz? – John S Jul 16 '16 at 5:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.