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View Full Version : Are tomorrow and morning the same thing? (language question)


mongrel_8
07-18-2001, 03:46 PM
I have noticed that several of the European languages have the same word for both tomorrow and morning. In Spanish they are both mañana. In Portuguese morning is manhã, tomorrow is amanhã. In German, Dutch, and Danish they are both morgen. So what gives? Why do a couple of the Romance languages have the same word for morning and tomorrow, whereas French doesn't? I would guess that even though English is Germanic language it doesn't because of a French influence.

bordelond
07-18-2001, 04:08 PM
Words that various languages use for "tomorrow" and "morning" are arbitrary. There is no concrete reason why German uses "morgen (Morgen)" for both while English uses "tomorrow" & "morning".

Actually, the French words are fairly closely related. "Demain" traces back to "de matin" -- and there's your word "matin", for "morning".

I suspect the same is true of "tomorrow" and "morning".

It's a little more complicated than that, but the gist of my post is that "morning" and "tomorrow" are commonly related concepts across many cultures, and the specific "choice" of which words would become standard was never particularly rational.

ShibbOleth
07-18-2001, 04:36 PM
They are at least partially related. Morrow is an archaic form of morning, coming from morn, by way of morwen (both middle english*), and so on back to Old German (you get the picture). Tomorrow is just from to + morrow.

Morning of course is coming straight from morn, then add on the ing, just like evening. So sort of like second cousins.

*What they speak in middle earth. LOTR

pluto
07-18-2001, 05:39 PM
IIRC, Tomorrow was the pitcher but I don't remember Morning being in the lineup at all.

I don't know. (Third base!)

uglybeech
07-18-2001, 08:37 PM
I had to look it up. Because I thought there might actually be some relationship between English, Portugese and French needing to add the adverb to get tomorrow from morning and other languages not.

There isn't. For one thing, you can't really compare the romance and the germanic languages on this word, since their words for morning come from an entirely different indo-european roots and have had very different evolutions:

Here's the etymologies I found (more than you wanted to know):

The Romance language words for morning come from the IE ma- ("good" or also "seasonable, early"). Latin mane and Spanish Manana comes from one suffixed form of that (mani). The french matins comes from another - matuta (latin goddess of the dawn).

In english, morning and tomorrow come from (roughly):
IE mer- ("to flicker") ----> Germanic murgana/morgan ("morning") ---> OE/ME (to) morgen, (to) morn, (to) morwen (to) morowen (plus a few dozen variants) which basically all mean the same thing ---> Mod. Eng. (to)morrow, tomorrow, morn and morning.

I specifically don't see any evidence that the french "demain" had an influence on the development of tomorrow as a distinct word from morrow and morning. My OED says that "to morn" (tomorrow) existed in 897 well before the norman conquest, and tomorrow was usually written as two words until about 1500 and wasn't standard as a single word until 1750.

sailor
07-18-2001, 10:35 PM
Well, if you ask someone "when will you do this?" and he says "I'll do it in the morning" I would think it is quite clear it will be tomorrow morning so it is easy to come to use morning for tomorrow. I looked up the ethymology of "mañana" and it comes from Latin meaning "early (hour)".

regnad kcin
07-19-2001, 07:02 AM
In German to differentiate between "I'll do it tomorrow" and "I'll do it tomorrow morning" you have to say "I'll do it tomorrow (morgen) early (frueh)".

There are parts in the north where people say something similar to "morn" for "good morning". It sounds like "moin".

bordelond
07-19-2001, 11:12 AM
Originally posted by uglybeech
I specifically don't see any evidence that the french "demain" had an influence on the development of tomorrow as a distinct word from morrow and morning.

Oops -- sorry uglybeech -- didn't mean to say that "demain" and "tomorrow" are etymologically related. Re-read the following sentence from my first post thus:

Originally posted by bordelond
Actually, the French words for "morning" and "tomorrow" are fairly closely related to one another. "Demain" traces back to "de matin" -- and there's your word "matin", for "morning".

Finagle
07-19-2001, 01:41 PM
It's easy to see why, in a pre-clock culture, "tomorrow" and "morning" might express the same concept. Without a clock, sunrise is a pretty non-subtle clue that a new day has commenced.

It would be interesting to learn if "evening" and "tomorrow" are linguistically similar in cultures where the new day begins at sundown.

And a complete digression, but interesting enough to mention, Patrick O'Brian in his Aubrey-Maturin books makes many a reference to the naval day beginning at noon. This also makes sense because this is the one time of the day that can be measured with great precision.

uglybeech
07-19-2001, 03:57 PM
Originally posted by bordelond
Originally posted by uglybeech
I specifically don't see any evidence that the french "demain" had an influence on the development of tomorrow as a distinct word from morrow and morning.

Oops -- sorry uglybeech -- didn't mean to say that "demain" and "tomorrow" are etymologically related.


My oops! :) I wasn't clear who I was referring to. I actually read your post correctly (or as you intended). I was referring to the OP's supposition that English has a separate word for tomorrow because of the influence of French.

I liked your post, in fact, and the only thing I took issue with was the comment that word use was arbitrary. "Not rational" I agree with, but there is sometimes a convoluted logic to why languages evolve the way they do.

e.g. I wondered whether the fact that German and Danish are heavily inflected languages (and English and French aren't) meant that in English and French you would need to add a preposition to distinguish between morning and tomorrow where in German maybe you could just add a noun ending. Also I thought, well maybe the AngloSaxons picked up on the French use of "demain" instead of matin and started thinking of tomorrow as a separate word from morrow. Something like that.

Anyway, I don't think any of that was born out. And that was really what my post was about. And in this case, I think you're right - it is pretty arbitrary.