German vs English
Kaffee - coffee
Koffein - caffeine
Mahagoni - mahogany
@anke oh hey i feel like i might have picked up enough linguistics via osmosis that i might be able to explain this lol
all of those words are relatively recent loanwords, but not recent enough that it would be were the spelling was more standardized. i know the coffee one vaguely off the top of my head, but i'm going to guess that mahogany is also something that enters the common tongue as export and import worldwide commerce ticks up in approximately the same era of 1600s or so.
it's clearer to see how it works with coffee, especially since the etymology lines up with who is growing the coffee, then on down through the chain of import. starts out with arabic qahwah (or possibly the region of ethiopia where it grows, as that is called Kaffa) > turkish kahveh, as they're the closest major consumers/importers > dutch koffie, showing how the dutch held a lot of sway in importing from this area into europe at large. but then at that point europe kinda gets that word all at once, so it's almost standardized. you could probably read kaffee, coffee, and koffie all aloud and be understood as saying the same word in all languages, just with a touch of an accent or some slightly slippery vowels.
caffeine just flows from coffee, so it makes sense there. and mahogany is something that follows the same pattern of being an exotic imported good that just really hits europe around the same period.
it's just gotten wiggly in the spelling because 1600s is like just enough time for every language to pepper in that individual stink LOL
@anke honestly what probs also makes the individual variance so wiggly is that this is like... right when printing press has happened, and literacy is really on the rise. especially in the category of people who went to coffee houses. they were the intellectual hotspot for awhile (at least in england, i'unno about the rest of europe), not replacing the pub but getting a different vibe going where it was not "come get drunk and sing and possibly drawl" but instead "come drink coffee, read the newspapers, and debate and talk among yourselves".
the downside of this sudden explosion in literacy and printing was that... again i know this only for english lmao make ur own jokes here about how me taking latin as my foreign language is Fucken Useless... it was cutting edge enough for things like spelling to be not standardized at all. it was very much "sound it out and you'll get close enough" for those new and unusual words. for commonplace words everyone kinda agreed on something pretty early due to simply more chances to get influenced by each other. (or for super SUPER common words, it got standardized by printers just going ahead and having those metal type pieces made for whole words instead of individual letters. when you can just pop in a 'the' instead of a t then an h then an e, you end up saving a lot of time.) for fancy imported words, it's gonna get squiggly LOL
it's funny to think about things like dictionaries being invented, but this is totally before that happened! it wouldn't surprise me that if in europe, where it's somewhat close quarters for different languages rubbing up against each other and influencing each other, there was still a lot of localized variants of languages kicking around. it takes travel being a lot more free and easy for regional dialects to take a harsher hit. i wouldn't be surprised at all if you asked some scholar about how the german word came about, and they would be able to tell you that in this time period, you'll see it spelled and said a few different ways - and those ways are influenced by proximity to french language, proximity to dutch, etc. especially because if i'm remembering right, this is before germany as a unified country really happened. so in the 1600s you're likely to not even get people saying they speak german as much as they speak austrian, or bavarian, or even something like flemish. which makes that spelling of a new word even more wiggly-squiggly lol!
tldr errybody just got real silly up in there
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