cunnan

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Old Dutch[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Proto-West Germanic *kunnan, from Proto-Germanic *kunnaną.

Verb[edit]

cunnan

  1. to know, to be familiar with
  2. (auxiliary) can, to be able to

Inflection[edit]

This verb needs an inflection-table template.

Descendants[edit]

  • Middle Dutch: connen
    • Dutch: kunnen
      • Afrikaans: kan (from inflected form kan)
      • Berbice Creole Dutch: kan (from inflected form kan)
      • Javindo: ken
      • Negerhollands: kan, ka (from inflected form kan)
      • Petjo: kan, ken
      • Skepi Creole Dutch: can (from inflected form kan)
    • Limburgish: kónne
    • West Flemish: keunn

Further reading[edit]

  • cunnan”, in Oudnederlands Woordenboek, 2012

Old English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Proto-Germanic *kunnaną, from Proto-Indo-European *ǵneh₃- (to know).

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

cunnan

  1. to know, to be familiar with
    Iċ wāt þæt hē hīe cann, ac iċ nāt hwanon.
    I know that he knows her, but I don't know from where.
    Iċ nime þone hring, þēah iċ þone weġ ne cunne.
    I will take the ring, though I do not know the way.
    Nāwiht nis hefiġre þonne dēad līchama. Atlas self ne cann þæt ġewiht.
    Nothing is heavier than a dead body. Atlas himself knows not the weight.
    Ne cūðe iċ hine wel, ac iċ cūðe hine oft.
    I didn't know him well, but I knew him often.
  2. (auxiliary) can, to know how
    cann ēow lǣran.
    I can teach you.
    Þrēo manna cynn sind: þā þe tellan cunnon and þā þe ne cunnon.
    There are three kinds of people: those who know how to count and those who don't.
Usage notes[edit]

Old English used several different words to mean "to know":

  • Witan meant "to be aware of," and was used with facts and pieces of information: wāt þæt iċ nāt nāwiht ("I know that I know nothing"), Hwā wāt hū fela ōðerra manna sind mē ġelīċe? ("Who knows how many other people are like me?"), Hwanon wāst þū mīnne naman? ("How do you know my name?"), Þū wāst hwæt tō dōnne is ("You know what to do").
  • Cunnan meant "to be familiar with," and was used with people, places, concepts, and skills: Mæġ iċ hine lufian swīðor þonne iċ hine cann? ("Can I love him more than I know him?"), Ne sorge ġē, iċ cann þis sċræf swā æftewearde mīne hand ("Don't worry, I know this cave like the back of my hand"), Ealdenglisċ cunnan þyncþ mē unnytt ("Knowing Old English seems useless to me"). With verbs, it means "to know how": Þū āna cūðest mē hreddan ("You're the only person who knew how to save me"), Wisson ġit þæt hē singan cann? ("Did you know he can sing?")
  • Ġecnāwan and oncnāwan meant to recognize or identify, and could be used almost interchangeably: Þā stefne iċ wolde āhwǣr ġecnāwan ("I'd know that voice anywhere"), Ġecnǣwst þū þisne wer? ("Do you know this man?"), oncnāwe gōd handweorc þonne iċ hit ġesēo ("I know good craftsmanship when I see it"), Be þon oncnāwaþ ealle menn þæt ġē sind mīne frīend ("That's how everyone will know you're my friends"). Though cnāwan is the ancestor of modern know and was probably a synonym, it was many times less common than these two prefixed forms in the Old English period, being attested only a few times in the surviving corpus.
  • Tōcnāwan meant "to distinguish" or "discern": riht and wōh tōcnāwan ("to know right from wrong").

Conjugation[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Descendants[edit]