I was considering calling plant people in a setting, "skoagraz," which is a combination of the words for forest (skogaz) and flood (agraz).

Flood seemed a good word to imply inclusiveness, as the original people would've seen major floods as something which effects all plants in a forest, something which "covers everything," and hearkens back to a universal flood which covered even the mountains. And so, they are the forest flood, all the intelligent plants that cover the world.

I was thinking there might be a better way to convey this in proto-German, and was hoping someone could suggest a cleaner alternative.

To put it really simply: What is a linguistically correct method of combining the proto-german words for forest and flood within that language as the name for a faction?

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to worldbuilding, fodder feline. Sorry, but this question doesn't really fit our standards, which you can find in the help center. We request a problem to be answerable with objectively measurable answers, and how to call a planet is a matter of opinions, as you can see from the different names humanity has given to the planets of solar system: some after gods, some other after substances just to give an example. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Dec 9 '20 at 9:01
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding SE! I like your question! Some might consider it close to being what we call opinion based, but I disagree. Questions like "what should I name this thing" are generally frowned upon, as the answer could be anything and it's hard to argue that one is better than another. This question asks about how to convey a specific thing in a specific, and tricky, language. A good answer should refer to sources on Proto-Germanic languages. @L.Dutch-ReinstateMonica: I think this question can be edited to DO fit our standards. $\endgroup$
    – EdvinW
    Dec 9 '20 at 9:11
  • $\begingroup$ @EdvinW if the edit solves the opinion based issue of course $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Dec 9 '20 at 9:14
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you @EdvinW I'd upvote your comment, if I could. I have edited the question to make it even more clear what I was asking for. Sadly, I think it may've cut out some possible solutions, but that's necessary to avoid what some call, "opinion based." What I find particularly strange, is there was no effort from Dutch to say how I could make the question less "opinion based." In fact, I don't think he read it, as his comment was about "planets," and how there are "many naming conventions"; when I was presenting a race of plant people, one naming convention, and a possible answer. $\endgroup$ Dec 10 '20 at 2:48
  • $\begingroup$ Now that you have clearly defined what is "better" you have taken out the opinion based. And, yes, I read the questions. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Dec 10 '20 at 3:35

For a direct inference for the proto-Germanic word for "plant-people" one might arrive at something like :

Buskfulk(a) (Bush-People) or even Walthfulk(a) (Forest-People)

The latter formation is well attested in the development in North-Germanic and English languages:

  • bjergfolk [Danish, Mountain-people meaning trolls]
  • troldfolk [Troll-people in Norwegian]
  • herefolc [Old English poetic term meaning an army, band or congregation, usually military related]
  • Englisce folc [Middle English term used to refer to the English]
  • Lundenisce folc [Middle English term used to reference Londoners]

The term used to refer to a group of people even appears in West-German although less frequently than in the North-Germanic languages. For example, the infamous Modern German "Herrenvolk".

The only caveat here is that this term may appear to indicate that these people lived in the forest or thickets, rather than being made from plants.

Buskmann(iz) (Plant-persons) or Walthmann(iz) (Forest-persons)

This formation is also well attested and may better serve the function of denoting some fundamental attribute rather than just a location of dwelling:

  • wifmenn [Old English term meaning women]
  • Bergmann [Norse, A miner but can also refer to a mountain giant]
  • Many German words which denote a person with a given inherent attribute [Gefolgsmann, Hampelmann, Lebemann, Blödmann]

For something connecting to flooding you might end up with


Although connecting floods to plant-people might be a difficult task for one word.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the good and detailed answer, user. To explain the words I used for skoagraz, I actually combined the worlds skōgaz for forest and agraz for flood, then attempted to combine them into a plausible shorthand. I'm sorry for not clarifying that earlier. With your answer, it's interesting to me that the plural is Walthmanniz, rather than Walthmanner? Your suggestions are good, though I have the awkward narrative thought of whether walthmann will be taken as "wolfman" by English readers.. so while I liked that suggestion best, I'd probably have to consider something else. Thank you! $\endgroup$ Dec 10 '20 at 7:01
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    $\begingroup$ @fodderfeline Ah my apologies that makes a lot of sense, I'll remove my note on your word. I chose the reconstructed proto-Germanic nominative plural ending (iz) instead of the modern rhotic consonant ending. Personally, I think the rhotic ending looks and sounds better but that may be because there are not any languages left which retain the /z ending so it looks and sounds strange to me. $\endgroup$
    – user110866
    Dec 10 '20 at 7:12
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    $\begingroup$ Walthfload(uz) or Skogagr(az) to denote "Forest flood" maybe. Its probably about which sound you like more. I think that the words "Skogaz" (Forest) and "Agraz" (High? Tide) are more likely proto-Scandinavian than proto-Germanic. Both Skogr (Forest) and Agr (or Athr) are only attested to in Old-Norse or languages derived and influenced therefrom. Whereas Walth (Forest) and Fload (High or flooding tide or running water) in some form are attested to in all Germanic languages. $\endgroup$
    – user110866
    Dec 10 '20 at 8:02
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you, user. I agree it did seem more Norsk... in fact, I was originally researching Norse linguistics for them, but somehow was recommended what they listed as proto-German. Sorry for the confusion, I posted links in the OP if you're interested. Looking over the suggestions, I really like Skogagraz, which might sometimes be said as Skogagr by them to denote both oneness (some of them are literal clones) and a further shortening of the term. I really appreciate your help in making the terms effective, I can't thank you enough. $\endgroup$ Dec 10 '20 at 8:25
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    $\begingroup$ To add to the formations in -mann, we have of course the Alemanni ("all men"), who have given the name the French use for Germany to this day, Allemagne. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Dec 10 '20 at 9:37

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