German learner (B1) here, and sorry if this sounds like a stupid question. I've heard about the "Je... desto..." conjunction and I'm familiar with it, but it just sounds different than the other conjunctions. To me, it doesn't even sound like German.

Did this conjugation come from another place, which would explain how it sounds different? I'm simply asking for the etymology, if it's known.

1 Answer 1


Je is from Old High German êo which is loaned from Latin aeōn.

Desto is a shortening of Old High German thes thiu which means thus.

  • 5
    DWDS mentions that "desto" imitates Latin, even though it roots are actually Germanic. Also, DWDS doesn't mention Latin in the etymology of "je", but to me "je" sounds just as German as anything else. A similar phrase is "je ... umso:, but that's not really a mystery; "umso" is just a compound of "um" and "so".
    – RDBury
    Nov 8, 2023 at 6:19
  • 4
    "je" isn't loaned from Latin aeōn (which was borrowed from Greek αἰών)--it's just cognate to it. See An Etymological Dictionary of the German Language
    – sumelic
    Nov 8, 2023 at 11:58

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