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Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium/2013/October

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Can anyone provide references for the suggestion that shaman derives from Chinese and/or Persian? - -sche (discuss) 05:46, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

I think the OED notes that it might be from Chinese 沙門/沙门 (shāmén, "Buddhist monk"). —Stephen (Talk) 06:41, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
All of the suggested sources are words for Buddhist monks. Given that the original language of Buddhism was Pali (with many early texts in Sanskrit), it's quite plausible that the word was borrowed, along with Buddhist teachings, into a great many other languages. That would mean that whichever language gave the word to the Evenks was only an intermediary, not the source itself. It then becomes a historical/geographical question as to which is the most likely route from Pali to Evenki. Geographically, Chinese makes the most sense, but Tokharian would work, too. I think Persian is the least likely link in the chain, given the other languages in between. It was shoehorned in by Irman (talkcontribs), who probably wasn't looking at it from a geographical or historical perspecive. Chuck Entz (talk) 07:52, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
I'm aware of two possible paths that have been suggested for this word: either Pali – Tocharian – Chinese – Tungusic – Russian – German (– English), or Pali – Persian – French – German(/English), if I remember correctly. Those who read German might wish to check Mayrhofer, Manfred, Kleines Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Indoarischen, vol. III, pp. 387f. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 19:06, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
Admittedly, the second path via New Persian šaman "idolatrous" (which was mentioned in shaman but was removed by -sche) is much less likely and I don't remember where it was advocated.
As for the path from Sanskrit/Pali to Chinese, Khotanese Saka ṣamanä "ascetic" is a conceivable alternative to Tocharian ṣamāne "monk" as the missing link, and Sogdian is also a possible intermediate. That the word was directly borrowed from Tocharian into Tungusic without a Chinese intermediate, as now suggested in shaman, sounds implausible to me, however. Any of the languages used in the Tarim Basin (Tocharian, Khotanese Saka, Sogdian, Middle Persian) could be the immediate source of the Chinese word, but I don't know which of them Chinese was in direct contact with, and whether there are Chinese words that are clearly borrowed from a specific candidate language. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 21:15, 17 October 2013 (UTC)


How do you get from Celtic t- to PIE dʰ-? And how does the Latin word for "thigh" fit in semantically? I am not aware of any etymology for femur (its origin is apparently obscure), but the connection with *dʰonu- does not work on any level, as far as I can see. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 19:18, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

femur does seem to be of PIE origin because it preserves a very archaic stem alternation. I think that it goes back to Old Latin *femor, genitive *fem(e)nes, from PIE *dʰémr̥, genitive *dʰm̥nés. This matches all the sound changes known for Latin as far as I can see, only the medial -i- in the oblique stem is analogical (with the n-stems like homō). The initial consonant in PIE could also be *bʰ. —CodeCat 19:25, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
And you're right, Celtic t can't come from PIE dʰ- (unless it's a loanword from High German, Hittite or Tocharian). There seems to be a lot of highly questionable material at tan#Etymology 1. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:28, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
Probably another case of mindless excerption of outdated sources.
Walde actually considers the variant nominative femen to be older rather than a later analogical transformation (which makes sense because it is attested early and not continued later); in fact he thinks that the transformation was from femen to femur in analogy with iecur, gen. *iecinis. Doesn't really help, though. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 21:54, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

-ka- as an "onomatopoeic" suffix in Slavic?Edit

I've noticed now that several Slavic languages have a suffix -ka- that seems to mean something like "say". It's found in Russian аканье (akanʹje, pronunciation of "a"), Slovene tikati (to address someone with "ti"), the Serbo-Croatian term ijekavski (of dialects that say "ije"), Russian гавкать (gavka, say "gav" like a dog) and similar words. Is this a common Slavic phenomenon? Some kind of common Slavic suffix for making verbs out of pronounced sounds? —CodeCat 18:17, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

These all ultimately stem from *-kati. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 20:49, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

Proto-Slavic word for ‘hair’Edit

We seem to have two competing theories as to the Proto-Slavic word for ‘(an individual) hair’: these entries say it was *volsь with a front yer, while these entries say it was *volsъ with a back yer. Lower Sorbian włos can be either masculine or feminine, and while the masculine can come from either proto-form, the feminine can come only from a form with a front yer. Is there any communis opinio about which form is the right reconstruction? Or were they both present in the proto-language? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:14, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

It's more than just the frontness or backness of the yer. A back yer could be an o-stem or u-stem, while a front yer would represent an i-stem. So which paradigms are found in the descendants? —CodeCat 16:29, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
Russian волос seems to be declined as an o-stem, but for all I know that's a later analogy. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 17:11, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
It's possible that this was a masculine i-stem or consonant stem. This was a rare class in Slavic and most languages eliminated them almost entirely by replacing the inflection. That might explain why it also appears as an o-stem. Maybe we should just start by making an inventory of all the forms that are found in the different Slavic languages, along with their gender and inflectional class. I'll start a list here and others can add to it, ok? —CodeCat 17:33, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
  • East Slavic:
  • South Slavic:
    • Slovene: lás - m, o-stem with accentual alternation, many irregular plural forms: nom. lasjé, gen. lás, dat. lasém, loc. laséh, instr. lasmí (see {{sl-decl-noun-m}} for regular endings)
  • West Slavic:
Ivan has just started Appendix:Proto-Slavic/volsъ, so I'd say Appendix talk:Proto-Slavic/volsъ is the better place for such a list than here. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 17:38, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
I think that's premature, we should keep the discussion here until there is consensus. Judging from Slovene alone, this is a masculine i-stem. While Slovene lost masculine i-stems as a class, all of the Slovene plural endings match the Old Church Slavonic masculine i-stem plurals exactly. —CodeCat 17:41, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
It turns out the Lower Sorbian probably really is only masculine. One dictionary claimed it was feminine as well, but apparently only because a plural włosy would be irregular coming from a masculine włos but regular coming from a feminine włos. But if it came down straight from sla-pro as a plurale tantum it could have retained its -y ending despite being masculine. (The regular plural włose is also attested.) —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 17:54, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
The Proto-Slavic masculine i-stem plurals are nom. *-ьje, acc. *-i, while those of o-stems are *-i and *-y. How does that work out with Sorbian? —CodeCat 17:58, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
The i-stem accusative plural and the o-stem nominative and accusative plural could all definitely yield dsb włosy. I'm not sure what *volsьje would give. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:09, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
Can you give a regular o-stem in Lower Sorbian and Polish, for comparison? Also, I noticed that Serbo-Croatian has an i-stem, but it's feminine. So I think that confirms that this was one of the rare masculine i-stems, which was converted into an o-stem in most languages (in Slovene only the singular and dual), but the gender was changed in SC instead. —CodeCat 18:12, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
A regular o-stem ending in -s is głos (both dsb and pl); its plural is głose in dsb and głosy in pl. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:35, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
So the noun is irregular only in Lower Sorbian but seems regular in Polish. What other Lower Sorbian declensions are there that have -y in the nominative/accusative plural? Are any of them masculine? Slovene -je doesn't appear in any regular declension at all, but some irregular nouns that are otherwise masculine o-stems have it. So its presence alone makes the noun irregular and therefore the -je is probably an archaism. It also matches the Slavic masculine i-stem ending *-ьje exactly, whereas the feminine i-stems (which are well preserved in Slovene) have *-i in the nominative plural. I don't know if all Slovene plurals in -je originate in i-stems. Some may also come from consonant stems (which had a plural in nom. *-e), which shared most of their endings with i-stems and probably merged with the i-stems before themselves being mostly eliminated as a class. —CodeCat 18:50, 5 October 2013 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology, which traces Proto-Germanic *hwelpaz from pre-Germanic *kʷelbos and that from Proto-Indo-European *gʷelbhos. No explanation as to how this and calf could share basically the same PIE root but have different voicing of the consonants. Chuck Entz (talk) 16:52, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

The only way this etymology would work is if it had undergone Grimm's Law twice, once to convert *gʷelbhos to *kʷelbos, and once again to change *kʷelbos to *hwelpaz. Seems pretty impossible. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 17:07, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
Yep, the consonants just don't fit. And it's not only the Germanic word: in fact, most of the words listed in whelp as presumably descending from *gʷelbhos are off with regard to historical phonology. They are apparently (almost?) all unrelated. Real descendants of *gʷelbhos include those listed under calf (see also dolphin). I suspect whoever created these entries relied on outdated compilations such as Buck or Pokorny, and either does not know about or care for sound laws. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 21:34, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

Editing impossibleEdit

Hello, I have noticed lately that if I want to edit a term in the Albanian section the page shuts down as it is deleted automatically. Can anyone tell me why it behaves like that? Thank you Etimo (talk) 23:27, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

What are some examples? I have noticed that you sometimes delete all of the content of a page, and I have assumed that you meant that the word was a mistake. If you empty the content of an Albanian word, somebody is probably going to delete the word. I have deleted a number of Albanian words where you have removed all of the content. —Stephen (Talk) 06:37, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

This is strange. I usually only revise entries, adding additional information or etymology, when I find it's the case, I don't delete it completely. Actually, there's some kind of "tag-war" going on with the user Torvalu4, he deletes my referenced etymology to put his own. He doesn't add just an alternative etymology, he deletes it completely to put his favorite author, V. Orel, in all his entries. This is becoming a nuisance, as I think this is counter-productive and t's just a waste of time for everybody. Now when I try to adjust an entry, this gets deleted altogether. I think this might happen because the term has been already changed and cannot be changed many times in a certain time span. Or the User Torvalu4 found a way to prevent me from editing. The last "incident" happened with the term 'shtalb', but I think this is irrelevant. I really have no idea what is going on, but I'd appreciate if someone could fix this situation. Thanks Etimo (talk) 10:14, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

In the case of shtalb, I don't know what you intended to do, but what you succeeded in doing here was to delete the entire entry, and Torvalu4 (quite rightly) reverted you. However, he's not an admin so he can't block you from editing, and indeed your block log shows you've never been blocked from editing. There's no restriction on the number of times an entry can be edited within a certain timespan, though if someone else edits the page between the time when you open it for editing and the time when you click "Save page", then you'll get an edit conflict notice. But that won't blank the page unless you explicitly confirm that's what you want to do. So I don't know what's going on either. Do you always click "Show preview" before you click "Save page"? Try that for a while, and see if that helps, as it will presumably show you when what you're about to do is delete all content. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:32, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

I didn't delete his entry, only a portion of it, as he had deleted important etymollogical reference from my previous entry so I tried to inserted it again. The user Torvalu4 keeps deleting my referenced entries in their entireness, while I only delete his/hers when I see an obvious conflict or an unjustified deletion of my contributions, replaced using always the same author (V.Orel), when no author at all!!. He's probably trying to give the impression that's actually the other way round. Anyway, I don't know why the system tells you I'm deleting the entire page, I'm not doing this. But when I try to edit, everything shuts down. I don't know why. I'll try your way. Thanks Etimo (talk) 13:40, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

I believe that you didn't intend to delete the entire entry, but if you look at the diff of your edit, you'll see that you did delete the entire entry, even if that wasn't your intention. And there have been other pages where you've deleted all content from the page, leading admins to believe you were saying they were unfixably wrong, so that the pages were deleted. As a result, Tiranë (for example) is now a red link. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:51, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

I see what you mean. I replaced some terms with another template, maybe this was recognized as deleting. But in the last case, with the term "shtalb", I only edited the etymology part, trying to add some information, and still it behaved like I was deleting everything. Perhaps is there anything specific I should do or shouldn't do when editing? Thanks Etimo (talk) 09:26, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

  • At any case, please undo such bad edits when you make them in the future. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 01:52, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
    • Try clicking "Show changes" and "Show preview" before saving; they will show you what changes you're about to make and what the page will look like when you're done. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:27, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Ok, but I can't undo things if I don't know what I am doing wrong. When I click show preview everything goes blank. The entries are simply uneditable. Not that I want to go paranoid or accuse anybody, but this began happening since I started a debate with the user Torvalu4, still going on. I haven't been able to edit my entries ever since. I kindly request you to investigate on this thing since I'm pretty sure it is part of the problem!! Thanks Etimo (talk) 11:12, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

If you click on preview and everything goes blank, it means that you have emptied the page. If you save it, you will be saving an empty page. You can always undo things by clicking cancel instead of save. If you have saved and the page is empty, you can click on the HISTORY tab at the top, then click on the page version prior to your edit, open it and save it.
I cannot imagine what you are doing that empties a page without your knowledge. —Stephen (Talk) 11:58, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
Here are some other pages that you emptied and which were then deleted: sulm, trikё, bjeshkë, heqë. Do you want those pages to be restored, or were they really incorrect? —Stephen (Talk) 12:11, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
Whatever is happening with your edits, I'm certain it has nothing to do with your debate with Torvalu4. There's simply nothing he (or anyone else here, for that matter) could be doing to cause this. Yet it doesn't seem to be happening on this page—you haven't blanked the Etymology Scriptorium once in this whole discussion. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:34, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Latin quaeroEdit

Any idea about the etymology of quaero? --Fsojic (talk) 19:16, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

Based on the attested verb forms and the related forms with -s-, I think it's fairly certain that an earlier form of the root was *kʷais-. It may be from the same stem as quis, which was a general Indo-European interrogative stem. It was not a verbal root, so I don't think it can be traced back to PIE, it's likely a later formation with some suffix -s- that I don't know. —CodeCat 19:37, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
That's what the Online Etymology Dictionary thinks too. Partridge says it might go with queror (I complain) (cf. querulous) but that seems a little far-fetched. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:45, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
If you can read at least a little German, check LIV and the Addenda and Corrigenda to it (available online), which analyse it as a hidden compound. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 20:18, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

Ton < OHG tonus?Edit

German Ton (2) "tone" is given as coming from Old High German tonus, which I presume is a mistake for Latin - there is no OHG entry under tonus - but I'd like an expert to check. 13:15, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

I've double-checked Kluge and corrected the etymology. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:40, 14 October 2013 (UTC)


The etymology here is questionable both Collins and OED give Dutch/German (marlijn/marren/marlinc/...) - I hope that someone more familiar with format might edit here. thanks — Saltmarshαπάντηση 10:28, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

The ety I entered came from Webster 1913. I can see a little possible support for the French verb in Google Books ("merliner une voile", "merliné") but I don't have personal knowledge. Equinox 15:14, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Multiple equally valid reconstructions, how to lemmatizeEdit

Typical problems:

  • Proto-language has multiple reconstructions, not mutually compatible and both equally "valid" since there is no generally established consensus in the linguistic community. E.g. Proto-Balto-Slavic.
  • Proto-form is uncertain, e.g. the PIE word for "name" which has various reconstructions *h₁nómn̥ *h₁néh₃mn̥, h₃nómn̥

Possible remedies:

  • Include all of the forms in the page title, e.g. PBSl. *źombos, *žambas.
  • Lemmatize using cover symbols and parentheses, e.g. *CVmbVs for both *źombos and *źombos, or PIE *HnV(H)mn̥ for the abovementioned proto-forms (H=unknown laryngeal, V=any vowel).

Naming scheme must be neutral because of NPOV. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 00:14, 20 October 2013 (UTC)


(Multilingual: “A taxonomic genus within the family Alligatoridae — the alligators.”)

Any evidence this is from Latin alligator (one who ties or binds)? Surely it must be from the English name. — Ungoliant (Falai) 11:57, 21 October 2013 (UTC)


Tauber (2) is described as

From a Celtic (likely Gothic) word meaning "water."

Well, I would be surprised if Gothic was shown to be a Celtic language.

Seeing that, I looked at Tauber (1)

Variant of Taube.

Most words aren't a variant of a word including a full stop, but anyway if Tauber would be related to German Taube, I would rather expect a "Tauber" to be a Taubenvatta or a duivenmelker. -- 01:33, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

The connection with Dover makes sense if we assume an Old High German form *tūbar, from a (post-)Germanic *dūbr-, which can then be connected to the Latin form Dubris. It's interesting that the vowel was lengthened in the borrowing, though. —CodeCat 01:38, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Compare also Old Irish dobur. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 01:48, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
I've cleaned up and expanded the entry. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:34, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
I meant "Gaulic", not "Gothic." I was tired from a long day's work. Sorry about the confusion. Tharthan (talk) 12:29, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
No problem. It's called Gaulish at Wiktionary, though, which is its most common name in English. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:53, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Alright, I'll remember that in the future. Tharthan (talk) 18:54, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Even then, why would one assume Gaulish, at a place so close to Hallstatt and La Tène? -- 00:26, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

My entry was denied because it was identified as harmfulEdit

I tried to add to the discussion of puttana some additional information. I received the following error message:

This action has been automatically identified as harmful, and therefore disallowed. If you believe your action was constructive, please inform an administrator of what you were trying to do. A brief description of the abuse rule which your action matched is: New user adding external link

First of all, I'm not a new user to Wiki, although most of what I have posted has been posted to Wikipedia. Second, the "external links" are a link to Wikipedia and the url to a Wiktionary entry. Is Wikipedia really considered external and automatically forbidden.

Since it didn't say how to contact an administrator, I am posting it here as I figure there must be several administrators here.

If possible, would you please add my entry to the discussion page for puttana?

P.S. It wouldn't let me add the link here either and flagged them as harmful, so I removed the Wikipedia article's url and turned the second url into an internal reference.

Proposed Entry:

There's also a Hindu goddess named Putana. (See Wikipedia article Putana) This may possibly precede use of the word in Greece and Rome, although that depends upon how much contact the latter had with the Indian subcontinent in classical times. In addition, the entry for πουτάνα attributes the origins to the Classical Latin word "putidus (“dirty”)." So did the name for girl (puta) also arise out of the word for dirty (putidus)? Is there any etymological connection at all?
The Greek πουτάνα may also precede the Latin since the Greek language came first and Romans were taught by Greeks. This is just speculation, as I don't know Greek. Did the Romans create a new language or is Latin derived from Greek? Ileanadu (talk) 18:43, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
The abuse filter has no access to Wikipedia records. It strictly goes by Wiktionary edits. It's not a terribly strict filter, anyway- as I understand it, a couple of edits to pages that aren't deleted should be enough (one more would have done it). As for the "external" links, all you need to do is wikilink rather than use the complete url, as you've done with this post. Wikilinks to Wikipedia are prefixed with w:, as in w:Putana. So, really, there's no much to worry about, but you had no way of knowing that. We need to figure out how to inform people better. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:42, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Try the opposite for a week: long term users can only edit if they give an online source. In my opinion that would be a less capricious filter. -- 00:33, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
The filter does perfectly what it's supposed to do, which is blocking spambots. The hard part is keeping it from causing too much collateral damage of this sort without letting the bots bury us in search-engine spam. Chuck Entz (talk) 06:56, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
Special:AbuseLog shows what all filters are doing, I wouldn't call it perfect. I can't check the disallowed contributions, but Special:Contributions/ and Special:Contributions/Rotlink seem OK, Special:Contributions/MargaritaOrr don't. -- 17:44, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
Allowing people who have passed the captcha to edit, would help a lot. That would include all IP contributors. -- 17:44, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
About "collateral damage": like I said, imagine being the victim of damage caused by your compatriots/co-admins, before you tell the victims that the damage is "collateral". -- 17:44, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
If it means unregistered users can't post links, that's fine with me. Mglovesfun (talk) 17:46, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
I suppose you missed Special:Contributions/Rotlink and their edits stopped by this filter ([1]). -- 18:26, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
That's funny, let's try to add "their edits stopped by this filter". -- 18:29, 27 October 2013 (UTC)


I do not agree with the etymology of this word. It is far more likely to have come from medieval Latin, sal + siccus, salsiccus, which also sounds like sal + sic + que, salsicce, meaning salted and dried. The proof would be in monastic records, but I have no access to these in Australia. Monasteries kept detailed records of payment in kind and actions taken to preserve and store food.

Hi Hayshiv,
As far as I can tell you doubt the step from Latin salsus (salted) to Late Latin salsīcius (seasoned with salt), I think that's a reasonable step
OTOH, I know w:nl:droge worst, w:nds-nl:dreuge worst, and w:af:droëwors, which support "siccus". -- 19:47, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
But sic does not mean "dried" in Latin; it only means "so, thus, like this".
If you doubt the derivation from salsus and are certain there is proof in some monastic records somewhere, find the proof, publish it in an academic journal, and we will add your conclusion. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:14, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
You omitted a step: find the proof, publish it in an academic journal, gain the consensus of the academic community, and we will add your conclusion. We don't usually include etymologies that aren't believed by anyone but their proposer, even if published. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:16, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
(@Florian Blaschke), siccus#Latin does mean "dry". -- 21:44, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
He never denied that. But the OP's comment that salsiccus "also sounds like sal + sic + que, salsicce, meaning salted and dried" won't work because sic by itself doesn't mean "dry". Nor, for that matter, does sal mean "salted". —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:53, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
Florian said 'sic does not mean "dried" in Latin', but it does, see siccus#Latin. -- 22:14, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
There's a difference between sic and siccus. The latter means "dry" (not "dried") in Latin, the first doesn't. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 11:15, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
There are almost no sausages which are dry, but not dried. For the etymology of "sausage", it's rather useless to state the only "siccus", but not "sic" means 'dry", the stem of "siccus" is "sic". -- 23:11, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
The stem of siccus isn't sic, it's sicco-, and it doesn't matter whether sausages are dry or dried because the word salsīcius doesn't contain that stem anyway (note the long vowel and the single -c-). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:00, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

Some Arabic-Hebrew particle correspondencesEdit

There several pairs of Arabic-Hebrew particle correspondences that I am unsure about (note I give the scholarly Hebrew transliteration, which we do not use in entries, to show the similarities more clearly):

  • Is Arabic إِنْ (ʾin, if) related to Hebrew אִם (ʾim, if)? If so, what explains the /n/ versus /m/? This phoneme correspondence is common only due to Arabic's nunation versus Hebrew's mimation, which does not apply here.
  • Is Arabic إِنَّ (ʾinna) related to Hebrew הִנֵּה (hinnē)? These terms have similar meanings and usage in both languages, and the initial /ʔ/ and /h/ correspondence is normal. If so, why the Arabic a-vowel ending versus the Hebrew i-vowel ending?
  • Is either or both of the following Arabic interrogative particles related to the Hebrew interrogative particle הֲ־ (hă-)? If both, why did two different forms arise?
    • أ (ʾa-)? The initial /ʔ/ and /h/ correspondence is normal, so this seems very likely.
    • هَلْ (hal)? If so, what happened to the /l/ in Hebrew (or where did it come from in Arabic)?
  • Is Arabic لٰكِنْ / لٰكِنَّ (lākin / lākinna, but) related to Hebrew לָכֶן (lāḵèn, therefore)? If so, why the large difference in meaning?
  • Is Arabic إِذْ (ʾiḏ) (and its forms) related to Hebrew אָז (ʾāz)? If so why does Arabic have an i-vowel, while Hebrew has an a-vowel? The Arabic /ð/ versus Hebrew /z/ is normal.

If anyone can help with any of these questions, I'd appreciate it. --WikiTiki89 15:38, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

The emphatic particles הִנֵּה and إِنَّ (ʾinna) are related; I've added references stating as much to both entries.
لٰكِنْ / لٰكِنَّ (lākin / lākinna) has a cognate in Hebrew, but it doesn't seem to be לָכֶן (lāḵèn, therefore). The 1910 Journal of Biblical Literature, volumes 29-30, says on page 104: "In lakhen, not at all, by no means, we have this adverb ken, thus; but here the prefixed la represents the negative, so that lakhen means originally not so (= lo khen, Gen. 48:18). [] In Arabic this [Hebrew] lakhen appears as the adversative particle lakinna."
T. Muraoka's 1985 Emphatics Words and Structures in Biblical Hebrew, on page 163, likewise says that the word lōʾ ki ("not so") which the angel in Genesis 18:15 uses "is most probably to be identified with the Arb. lākin or lākinna, which 'rectifies or amends the preceding statement' (Wright, Arab. Gram, ii, 334C).
- -sche (discuss) 22:02, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
Wow, thanks! I guess that means that لٰكِنْ / لٰكِنَّ (lākin / lākinna) is cognate to לָכֶן (lāḵèn, not at all), but not to לָכֶן (lāḵèn, therefore). --WikiTiki89 23:23, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
إِنْ (ʾin, if) and אִם (ʾim, if) are discussed extensively in Meir Moshe Bravmann's Studies in Semitic Phonology. He derives "the Common-West-Semitic conditional conjunction ʾim, ʾin, [] "if" [] from an original yawma" which is in turn derived from the noun *yawm- (day). He adds: "The structural development may be described as follows: yawma > ʾama > ʾam > ʾim, ʾin [] . The semantic-functional shift "[on the day] when" > "when" > "if" (cf. German wenn = "if"), [...] is the basis of the morpho-phonemic shift of yawma to ʾim, ʾin (etc.)."
Arab Linguistics: An Introductory Classical Text (1981, ISBN 9027245061) is more concise: "The [Arabic] particle ʾin "if" is generally held to be cognate with those of similar form and meaning in other Semitic languages (e.g. Hebrew ʾim), but see Brockelmann, Grundriss II, 635 for other possibilities."
On the other hand, Syntax and Meaning: Studies in Hebrew Syntax and Biblical Exegesis (1973, ISBN 9004037853) considers that הנה and הן (the latter of which it considers "nothing but an extended form of הן") "developed in a parallel way from an original deictic interjection "behold" to their secondary meaning "when", "if", "even if", etc. [... and] are etymologically related with other original deictic forms in Hebrew, such as the definite article ה, the interrogative particle ה, and with the conjunction אם, and with [...] Arabic ʾinna and ʾin."
So, the word for "if" either came from the word "day" or the word "behold"? (!)
- -sche (discuss) 02:57, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Although I can see both of those happening, they still seem a bit speculative. Unless there are any attestations of intermediate forms, I'm gonna just put that they are cognates on the entries without giving the origin. --WikiTiki89 03:13, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
John Elwolde mentions in passing in The Mahberet of Menahem: Proposals for a Lexicographic Theory (included in Words Remembered, Texts Renewed: Essays in Honour of John F. A. Sawyer on page 468) that إِذْ (ʾiḏ) and אָז (ʾāz) are cognate. Specifically, Elwolde says that when Menahem uses the phrase "the meaning of its cognate" in regard to אָז, the cognate he is referring to is إِذْ.
Also, in Hebrew in Its West Semitic Setting by A. Murtonen, on page 479, there is the following apparently-relevant but nigh-incomprehensible patch of Abkürzungsdschungel:
ʾZ(Y): PTa then. Hbr: aPal /ʾz/. Q = , (Mur 42:5) /ʾzy/. Sam /ʾaz/, /ʾãz/, /(mîyy)az/. Pal /ʾaz/ vi I etc., /ʾa2z/ GS 4 45 etc. Bab /ʾaz/ Ant 795 Gn 13:7 etc.
Ug /ʾid/ when, /ʾidk/ then. Aram /ʾ(ä)dayin/ = . Arab /ʾiδ/ = ; when, since. ESA /ʾδ/ when. G&z /yʾze/ now. Te /ʾäze/ = .
Pal /ʾdayyin/ Ed 19 20 is a loan from Aram (Dn 7:19). The entry is apparently cognate with the PNd sg. for the nearer object. With PTpr /min/ it functions occasionally as a conjunction of preposition.
δ not ð sic. Also, "Ge'ez" abbreviated "G&z" sic! - -sche (discuss) 05:32, 30 October 2013 (UTC)


Changed in diff from "{{confix|apo|olide}}" to "from hypothetical (unattested) Greek α-πολις stateless". I would have expected it to be a third option: a- + something, with the component parts coming from Greek. So, which is it? - -sche (discuss) 20:44, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

Ancient Greek ἄπολις (ápolis) is attested, though. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 23:15, 30 October 2013 (UTC)