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Q&A

Where, here, and there: What is the origin, and can it be generalized?

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I recently stumbled upon this wikipedia page and it got me thinking. Take a look at the following table (terms are lifted from the Wikipedia page)

W (interrogative) H (proximal) T (medial)
what ? that
when ? then
whence hence thence
whither hither thither
where here there

These are the ones that I could find an obvious correspondence for, but I'm curious about the general pattern, especially since there are a number of outliers ("who" has no corresponding H- or T-word, for example, and "these" has no W- or H- word).

Was this a general form at some point, and English simply lost some of the entries that would be in this table, or were these the only cases where the W-H-T forms have ever existed? If the former, what were those lost forms? If the latter, why?

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English did lose some entries and not just entries (6 comments)

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