Last modified on 26 May 2014, at 16:42


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These are not three different etymologies. What is marked as etymology 3 is just a verbal noun from etymology one. Etymology 2 (rabies, thirst), is also from etymology one. I believe that etymology 2 (dog) is also related to etymology one, although it is possible that the dog sense preceded the verb sense instead of the other way around. Arabic dictionaries place the dog beneath the verb, but it may be more a conventional order than the true order. —Stephen 15:42, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Do Arabic dictionaries mention Proto-Semitic terms at all, or try to explain everything synchronically by morphological decomposition (root + transfix) ? --Ivan Štambuk 15:06, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
No, I haven’t seen an Arabic dictionary that mentions Proto-Semitic. But most words are regularly-formed derivations of the root, and the root is almost always the 3rd masculine singular perfective verb. Most cases of backformation that I know about where the verb evolved after the noun are borrowings from other languages (e.g., تلفن). But what occurred in Proto-Semitic I can’t say. —Stephen 14:27, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
Well technically you can always analyse a word in two different ways:
  • synchronically, with respect to regular morphological rules. So one can say that e.g. English ecology = eco- + -logy, Russian девица (devica) = дева (deva) + -ица (-ica) etc.
  • diachronically, with respect to ancestor language (either older form of language, or reconstructed etymons).
Recently in BP there was a discussion about this "morphological etymologies", to what extent are they correct, i.e. is it more proper to say that smoothness = smooth + ness, or is more proper to say that it's inhereted from Middle English smoothenesse.
Strictly speaking, they are both correct, and paper dictionaries often employ both techniques. However, precedence should be given to the latter approach, whenever there's a clear evidence for it.
Some months ago there was this User:Athang1504 who added Ancient Greek etymologies based on 12th century w:Etymologicon magnum. Needless to say, back than historical linguistics didn't exist, and the language was explained in terms of itself, as a self-contained explanatory instrument. While this may sound a good approach for languages that retain a good deal of predictive morphology (such as most Semitic languages, of IE that would be Sanskrit and a few other long time extinct ones), it's relatively pointless for language such as English that has over it's history exhibited extensive intrusions of foreign borrowings, and massivly changed it's internal structure (even pronouns and adjective gradability patterns were borrowed and morphologized).
For English (and other ones) those two approaches can basically co-exist. However for Semitic languages, there might be a general problem, because now it seems collision may occur. I've also came across a fewHebrew lexemes that mention "from root a-b-c" in their etymologies. Some subsense (or subderivative) of what is traditionally grouped as ==Etymology 1== from a basic lexical root might be fairly confindently reconstructed, almost beyond any doubt, to ancient prehistory.
I believe *kalb- is one of those terms, as it is attested in basically all relevant Semitic branches ("Semitic" here used only in strict linguistic sense) over the course of 3500+ years. Akkadian kalbu is attesed in Old Babylonian period, which is dated 1950 – 1530 BCE [1], and the Ethiopian Semitic languages have had basically no contant with their western brethren for for at least 1-2 thousand years before that. Obviously the "dog" sense existed long time ago, because it's presence in all the Semitic branches cannot be explain by any other means other than by inheritance from a common source. It is very unlikely that all of those languges independently developed the "dog" sense from the root that meant "rage" or "covet".
Feel free to rearrange the etymologies as you think is best, but pleas keep Proto-Semitic *kalb- somewhere there, for it is of most importance, especially in the light of fact of it's usual absence from lots of Arabic dictionaries, as you say. --Ivan Štambuk 15:29, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I remember the User:Athang1504 stuff, and I agree that it’s better to have smoothness < Middle English smoothenesse whenever possible. I rearranged كلب the way I think is best. The noun and adjective forms are made from the verb in the same way that we add -ing, -er, or -ed in English, or in Russian from -ать to -ение and -ающий. —Stephen 17:16, 21 April 2008 (UTC)