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Etymology scriptorium

Welcome to the Etymology scriptorium. This is the place to cogitate on etymological aspects of the Wiktionary entries.

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January 2015

yiddish זיידע etymologyEdit

Etymology given currently is of russian, weinreich gives slavic etymology but russian in particular is unlikely: polish and iirc czech cognate went to an affricate (/dzed'/ or some such, also yiddish did not extend that far east until much later, given ubiquity of zeyde it must be earlier (jacobs 2005). Shall I edit the page to reflect this? I'm unfamiliar with editing policies re: etymologies (copied from tea room, I don't know how to move to section)Telmac (talk) 19:08, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

You may be right that it's not from Russian but there are plenty of Yiddish words of Russian or Ukrainian origin. See Appendix:Proto-Slavic/dědъ, which may give a clue to a better origin. It may be Polish or Belarusian or Russian palatalised /dʲ/ may have been perceived as "z", I don't know. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:40, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

Appendix:Proto-Italic/somEdit

The reconstruction som appears dubious in view of Latin esom attested on the Garigliano Bowl, which confirms Varro's esum, and the cognates in Sabellic. See here. (Personally, I'm partial to Schrijver's suggestion that subjunctive forms have intruded into the paradigm, especially considering the Celtic parallels. In this case, esom and perhaps also sumus and sunt, if they are likewise from *esumus and *esunt, would find their natural explanations in the subjunctive with secondary endings, while the subjunctive with primary endings yielded the future.) --Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:55, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

And yet, som is attested in Old Latin. Analogy could have easily worked in the other direction, too. And I think you're confusing the subjunctive and the optative. Etymologically, the subjunctive continues the PIE optative and had secondary athematic endings only. The PIE subjunctive became the future in Latin, and had thematic primary endings. —CodeCat 23:05, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
som is the predecessor of sum, of course, and assumed to have arisen per aphaeresis from esom. This is now essentially consensus, see the Fortson snippet I linked.
As for the PIE subjunctive, it is attested with both primary and secondary endings, for example in Vedic, and there is no reason why this state of affairs could not be projected back to PIE. (There may have been a semantic difference, but it is unclear from the attestations.) But this is not relevant for my point that the reconstruction som for Proto-Italic is dubious. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 00:11, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
Your link just led to a blank page. Anyway, you can move the entry if you want. —CodeCat 00:30, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
*h₁és- had zero grade in the plural, though, so sumus and sunt probably always had initial s-. Perhaps they are what influenced sum (*h₁esmi would normally have given *em in Latin), just as the singular apparently influenced estis. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:36, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
CodeCat: The Google Books link works for me. Weird. As for the subjunctive endings, see also García Ramón (sorry, German only), who suggests that primary endings are usual in the 2nd person singular (since the addressed person is present) as opposed to secondary endings in the 3rd person singular (no hic and nunc deixis, no imperative value). This article by Beekes on the same subject is unfortunately not available online. There's something strange, though: even Umbrian esu does not show rhotacism. Normally you'd expect *eru. Perhaps esu was influenced by an aphetic form *’su as in Latin.
Angr: Good point about *em, but: The phonologically regular reflexes would actually be (stressed vs. clitic forms) *em ~ *’m, es ~ ’s, est ~ ’st, *mos ~ *mus, *stes ~ *stis, *sent (compare Oscan sent) ~ *sent, so I don't think you can explain the attested forms this straightforwardly. The most attractive explanation of estis is that *stis was taken as an aphetic form (analogous to est ~ ’st) and a new stressed form estis was built on its basis. On the other hand, the subjunctive forms with secondary endings would yield *erum ~ ’sum, *eris ~ *’sis, *erid ~ *’sid (compare SAKROS ESED from the Forum inscription, with a secondary ending, compatible with García Ramón's suggestion!), *erumus ~ *’sumus, *eritis ~ *’sitis, *erund ~ *’sund (keep in mind that the -d vs. -t contrast in verbal endings was eventually levelled out in favour of -t, but not on a phonetic basis), and voilà, you find all the remaining forms directly: sum, sumus and sunt. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 05:34, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

-tas and -tusEdit

Both of these suffixes form abstract nouns. Is there an etymological connection between them? —CodeCat 19:21, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

@CodeCat: I've been curious about that. I had wanted to create a PIE page for *-tuHts and was curious whether it should be connected to *-teh₂ts. —JohnC5 (Talk | contribs) 19:45, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

teixobactinEdit

I believe the etymology is from teichoic acid- can anyone find a definitive source? DTLHS (talk) 05:27, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

sparkleEdit

I think this probably came from the diminutive of spark, which was then used as a verb. There is a very strong similarity with the German word Funke, which in the form of Funkel developed the verb of funkeln (there is also a Fünkel and fünkeln). I'm not sure though, and it might be something else. Is there any evidence that an -le would be added onto a verb to make an other verb in the way it appears in the etymology section for sparkle currently? Is this supposed to be a frequentative? 72.160.198.200 06:28, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

  • I've got an older copy (copyright 1992) of Houghton Mifflin's American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition. This lists the etym as (EN WT links added by me):

Middle English sparklen, frequentative of sparken, to spark. See spark.

Does this suffice as a source? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 02:01, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
I split the entry to show the etymology of the words which coalesced in Modern English as sparkle. Leasnam (talk) 17:17, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

ChanceryEdit

The etymology given, "French chancellerie, from Late Latin cancellaria, from Latin cancellarius, from cancellus (“lattice”) (English chancel), from cancelli (“grating, bars”) (from which cancel (“cross out (with lines, as in a latticework)”)), from the lattice-work that separated a section of a church or court.[1][2]" makes sense, but I wonder why a chancery would be named after this. Or is it meant to mean crossed out as in the frame-ruled paper copyists may have used. Any experts in the area able to shed light on this? Muleiolenimi (talk) 02:02, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

dietEdit

I think we have a problem here. The "food and beverage" and "council; assembly" senses have completely different etymologies according to my Oxford, but our entry as it stands does not state this. ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:36, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

The Finnish -inen suffixEdit

@Tropylium: I've always been puzzled by the inflection of this suffix and other words declining like it, which has -nen in the nominative singular but -s(e)- in the remaining cases. I wonder how something like that could originate. Northern Sami has -laš, which is similar to Finnish -lainen (< -la + -inen), but it could have been loaned from Finnic rather than inherited. However, the Sami suffix has -žž- as the strong-grade consonant, which, if it's not borrowed, would have to represent something like Proto-Samic *-Nś- (with N being some kind of nasal). It's conceivable that this cluster is somehow also ancestral to the Finnic form, but I have no idea and I could be totally wrong. —CodeCat 21:44, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

To this day no one knows for sure why the nominative is suppletive. All the oblique case forms of -inen with -ise- are however thought to come from, yes, an adjectival suffix *-ńćV, which is also the source of e.g. Finnish -isa and Northern Sami plain (: -žža-). The longer form -laš is essentially a half-calque: la + inenla + š. --Tropylium (talk) 01:18, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for your reply. Are there any uses of this suffix outside Finnic and Samic?
The only mention of more distant cognates I've seen in sources is that some exist, but I don't know which ones this would be exactly. I checked a couple handbooks I have around and at least Mordvinic, Permic and Hungarian do not seem to have any widespread adjectival suffixes that would seem to descend from this. (Which is not to say that cognates could not exist in fossilized form, or in other meaning.)
Also, what can be said about nainen; is it from the root of naida like the etymology currently says? A combination of verb + -inen is kind of unusual, it's normally attached to nouns as far as I know. —CodeCat 01:34, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
The stem for 'woman' is naa-, cf. naaras. Evidently the verb, then, is derived using the frequentative -ia. --Tropylium (talk) 05:48, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

pizda, *pьzdětiEdit

Is there relation between the words? And what's origin of Proto-Indo-European *psd- (Derksen:431)? —Игорь Телкачь 23:47, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

The PIE word is more usually listed in its e-grade *pesd-. I don't know if its anterior etymology is known, but it's presumably related to *perd- of the same meaning; perhaps one was originally a euphemism for the other. I don't know if or how pizda is related; it seems somewhat unlikely both phonologically and semantically. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 00:25, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

forecastleEdit

RFV of the etymology.

Discussion moved from Wiktionary:Tea room/2015/January#forecastle.

That etymology seems doubtful to me. Is this not "fore-" + "castle" as aftcastle is "aft-" + "castle"?

I don't know much of Anglo-Norman vocabulary, but did they borrow the "fore-" prefix or did they use some variant of "front" or something that looks like it? Tharthan (talk) 19:14, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

Sounds like a calque claim that was not quite written out in full detail. --Tropylium (talk) 00:06, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
But then what is it calqued from? —CodeCat 00:38, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
…Nevermind, at the time of that comment the etymology claimed derivation from Anglo-Norman. --Tropylium (talk) 22:05, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
Well, "castle" certainly is a Norman word. But it's telling that Dutch has a word with the exact same components: voorkasteel. —CodeCat 22:09, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
Castle existed in Old English as well, if I do recall correctly. I am almost certain that some form of the word was attested in it at some point or another. Tharthan (talk) 21:47, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
I think they may have been trying to adapt etymonline, which has:
  • c.1400 (mid-14c. as Anglo-French forechasteil), "short raised deck in the fore part of the ship used in warfare," from Middle English fore- "before" + Anglo-French castel "fortified tower" (see castle (n.)).
This version doesn't try to say it came from Anglo-French, just that it was first attested in that language, but someone looking at the relative dates would be tempted to assume that the earlier attestation must mean it was the origin. The choice of fore rather than a French equivalent suggests to me that it probably originated as English, with technical vocabulary taken from French. I'm sure there was a lot of code switching, with the same people talking about the same things in different languages as the circumstances required, and I would guess that such people would be more likely to be writing in French than English. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:34, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

moolaEdit

Can anyone shed more light on the origin of this term? (Can anyone identify the supposed Pali etymon?) - -sche (discuss) 00:05, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

Dunno about Pāli, but Sanskrit has mūla 'capital'. --Tropylium (talk) 17:11, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Thanks for that. I've amended the etym at moola from Pali to Sanskrit accordingly. So far, this seems like the most likely.
FWIW, I think I might have some Pali materials around the place somewhere. I'll poke around my bookshelves and see what I can find. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 19:48, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
Pali has it too; see [1] at the bottom of the page (sense 6). Nevertheless I find it kind of difficult to believe that a Sanskrit/Pali word is the source of this 1920s American slang word. I bet it's something more prosaic like mo- from money plus sense 3 of -ola. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:08, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the Pali link. Re: source, I'll grant you that either Sanskrit or Pali seem too antique to be likely as the immediate ancestor of the English. Ultimate ancestor, sure, but something more recent would be needed as the vector. That said, mo- + -ola would be odd in that both have /o/, while moola has /u/. Given that this term likely arose in a purely verbalized context and not in writing, I'd expect /mo/ + /ola/ to become /mola/. /mula/ arising only makes sense to me if the term were coined in writing as ⟨mo⟩ + ⟨ola⟩. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 00:28, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Given what's currently listed at moola#Etymology, and the known histories, it seems most likely that the English arose from the Romani, which in turn derived from the Sanskrit. Does that seem reasonable? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 18:19, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

my wordEdit

In the last days of the month and with the danger of being forgotten in the next month's Tea room chat, the ety of my word says it's from an oath but not references. I would understand it's an euphemism for My Lord, but as it seems their <o> (of word and lord) are pronounced in a different way. Could it be? Anyway, a reference for ety?. Sobreira (talk) 11:06, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

I don't have a source for the etymology, but I can confirm that word and Lord are pronounced differently. The two words do not rhyme. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:40, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Chambers agrees that the older form was upon my word, and one's word can be an oath or promise (e.g. giving one's word that one will repay money). Equinox 13:45, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Ah, so it's not a minced oath. It's sort of like "I say!", or "I swear..." in a sense. That's good to hear. We should probably update the etymology at my word, then. Tharthan (talk) 14:14, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
my word already says "From upon my word, an oath", and has done for years. I think it's correct to call "upon my word" an oath, even if it's not explicitly religious in nature - like "on my life" or "on my mother's grave", it's pledge of honesty that uses something dear to the speaker as a token. Smurrayinchester (talk) 14:53, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks to y'all! Sobreira (talk) 10:26, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

Kurdish qaz and the likeEdit

How exactly can qaz and its counterparts in other Iranian languages (Persian, Pashto, Ossetic) descend from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰans-? Especially in view of the regular, expected Avestan reflex (which matches Indo-Aryan perfectly), this doesn't make any sense. The explanation as a Turkic loanword is the obvious alternative. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:27, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

You are right, of course. Those are Turkic borrowings. I have made Appendix:Proto-Turkic/Kāŕ with references. --Vahag (talk) 18:51, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

overlipEdit

Out entry says overlip ("upper lip") derives from Old English oferlibban, but that's a verb meaning "outlive". I think the old, non-specialist reference (Webster) which claims oferlibban as the etymon of overlip is simply in error. (It might even be a dord-style error, where the etymology was meant to go with the entry overlive, where it would have been correct.) The Old English words for lip were lippe/lippa, but oferlippe doesn't seem to have existed, so I'd like to just replace the etymology with something equivalent to what underlip has, mutatis mutandis. - -sche (discuss) 04:29, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:27, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
I also can find no attestation for Old English *oferlippe/*oferlippa, nor for any declined forms; only Middle English overlippe, which I have added to the entry. Certainly, oferlibban as an origin for this word is completely wrong. Leasnam (talk) 01:26, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

February 2015

copypastaEdit

The current page states "Blend of 'copy and paste' and 'pasta'" but I doubt that food has any part in this; perhaps "pasta" is a humorous corruption of "paste"? —umbreon126 06:15, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

Yes it is certainly a humorous corruption of of paste to create pasta. I personally have heard this used in the extended form of copypasta, marinade imply that one should copy, paste, and then alter slightly to make the copied material fit the goal. But you are exactly right that it was an intentional corruption towards pasta. —JohnC5 03:31, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
The two aren't mutually exclusive: a blend can be a "humorous corruption", too. It looks to me, though, that the actual source is copypaste, not "copy and paste", so I would change it to "humorous blend of copypaste and pasta".

fíllEdit

How is it possible for the Old Norse fíll to have been borrowed from the Turkish fil. Firstly, the geographic barrier seems rather large, and secondly the time period seems off. Are there any possible intermediaries, or perhaps is the Old Norse term from another source? DerekWinters (talk) 22:50, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

The geographic barrier isn't that large when you realize that the Varangians were Norsemen who lived in Constantinople. Granted, they lived there while Constantinople was still Greek-speaking, but Turkish and Arabic speakers weren't that far away. Besides, where else would Norse get a word for 'elephant' from? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 23:10, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
This certainly would be in line with the w:Volga trade route theory of Norse trade with Muslim countries. Out of curiosity, what is the source and date of the word fíll? —JohnC5 23:32, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
It's mentioned in the Heimskringla, apparently. I'll try and look up the quote shortly. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 23:39, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
As per usual, we are left to wonder how Snorri Sturluson knew everything that he did. —JohnC5 23:54, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
Cleasby/Vigfusson says:
FÍLL, m. [early Swed. and Dan. fil], an elephant; this interesting word, which is still in exclusive use in Icel., was borrowed from the Persian fil, and came to Scandinavia in early times, probably by the eastern road of trade through Russia and Constantinople; it occurs in a verse of the 10th century (Fb. i. 209), the genuineness of which may be doubtful, but at all events the word is old; freq. in Al., Stj., Flóv., and romances. But úlfaldi, Goth. ulbandus, A. S. olfend or olvend, a corruption of the Gr. GREEK, means camel. COMPDS: fíls-bein or fíla-bein, n. ivory, Al., Edda (pref.), Str. fíls-tönn, f. ivory, Mar.
No mention of Turkish, but directly from Persian. Most other references I've seen say similar. The reference to Heimskringla looks to be in the Prologue, "Svá var hann fagr álitum er hann kom með ǫðrum mǫnnum sem flá er fíls bein er grafit í eik", where "fíls bein" is "elephant's bone" = "ivory". --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 01:05, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
What I would question is not so much the source, but whether the language we call "Turkish" existed that far back. —CodeCat 23:48, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
It could have been Ottoman Turkish فیل. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 01:13, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
Except the Sturluson reference to "fíls bein" is from before the Ottoman empire existed. Seljuk is a possibility, though. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 01:19, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
I suspect the Norse word actually comes from Arabic, without the intervention of any form of Turkish. That's what 𒄠𒋛#Descendants says, too. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 17:14, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

*grysti or *gryztiEdit

How come that we have grysti instead of *gryzti ?

If this is assmilated then shoud all words suffixed with *orz-, *jьz-, *vъz- be assimilated as well ?

As a mather of fact should all words lacking ь or ъ be completely assimilated ? 78.1.247.2 23:54, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

азEdit

User:Kreuzkümmel and I have been having a merry little edit war over his changing the Bulgarian etymology from:

to:

With the claim that his is the only sourced etymology, and that any attempt to remove it is vandalism. To save you the trouble, the link (which I've nowikied so there won't be a ref-noref problem) goes to a page that is no longer there. I checked at the Wayback Machine, and it's simply a Thracian dictionary which has an entry for: "asn - 'I, me' , [IE *eg'hom, Lit. aš 'I, me']. "

Given that that the first has a rather plausible nearly-unbroken chain from a source that had a great deal of well-known inflence on Bulgarian, even if it's not, as many claim, a direct ancestor, through Proto-Slavic to Proto-Indo-European, and the second has a thousand-year-plus gap, has some unexplained differences, and is second-hand from an Ancient Greek word list for an extremely poorly-documented language, I'm tempted to block him for repeatedly adding nonsense and trying to intimidate others by accusing them of vandalism, but I thought I would get an opinion from people with more knowledge and better sources than I have, just to be on the safe side. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:53, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

Mate Kapović's Reconstruction of Balto-Slavic Personal Pronouns (2006) lists Bulgarian and Slovene as among the languages which have retained z in their descendants of Proto-Slavic *(j)azъ (Polish is among those which dropped the z). In other words, one could cite it as a <ref> for the fact that Bulgarian аз descended from Proto-Slavic *(j)azъ. Ivan and Vahag probably have access to even more informative references, but there's a start. - -sche (discuss) 05:59, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

Proto-Arawak reconstructionsEdit

Hi, I'm working on adding reconstructions of Proto-Arawak and in the main body of work I'm citing, the phonemes [ts], [tʃ] and [ʃ] are represented by /c̷/ (note the combining short solidus overlay), /č/ and /š/, which is what I'm using in the entries I've created thus far, ex. *ahc̷e. I'm wondering though if I should use /ts/, /ch/ and /sh/ instead, which is easier to understand and more in-line with their descendants. --Victar (talk) 04:05, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

I don't think there's anything wrong with using the symbols the sources use, especially if those are what readers familiar with Arawak historical linguistics will be expecting. I would use /¢/ instead of /c̷/ (which has display issues), though. You could also use plain, unadorned /c/ if that symbol doesn't already mean something else. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:18, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
I think most linguists dealing with Proto-Arawak are more familiar with standard IPA, as that's what's used in all other papers on the subject, i.e. Aikhenvald, at least as far as I can tell. So Payne's work is something of an anomaly using /c̷/, /č/ and /š/. --Victar (talk) 18:25, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
If most scholars use /ts tʃ ʃ/ rather than /¢ č š/, then I'd we should too. Ideally we shouldn't be using just one source anyway. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:30, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
I just found ȼ, which (if you do use those symbols) is a better choice than either ¢ or c̷. I just moved the entries for "tooth" and "horn" to *ahȼe and *ȼiwi. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:19, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
Oh yeah, that character is much better. I'm going to look more through the sources to get a good consensus. Thanks. --Victar (talk) 20:20, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

nectarineEdit

I'm surprised we lack the etymology for this common word. Can anyone help? ---> Tooironic (talk) 10:13, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

Online Etymology says: type of peach with smooth skin, 1660s, noun use of adjective meaning "of or like nectar" (1610s; see nectar + -ine (1)). Probably inspired by German Nektarpfirsich "nectar-peach." Earlier in English as nectrine. —Stephen (Talk) 21:06, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
  • American Heritage (dead tree) and Merriam Webster (entry here) both list the noun as deriving from the adjective, which both dictionaries also describe as obsolete. MW lists a first use of 1611.
Would anyone object to the addition of {{context|obsolete}} to the adjective sense? Or does anyone have a citation of recent usage? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 21:10, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

orisha: Chinese????Edit

The etymology of orisha is given as

From Yoruba Òrìṣà, literally ‘owner of chis’.

The wikilink on "chis" is to English etymology 2:

From former romanizations of Mandarin Chinese (), from Middle Chinese (kʰjɨ̀j or qi), from Old Chinese (*C.qʰəp-s, breath, vapor)

This seems extremely unlikely, to say the least. I don't believe it for a minute. To discuss, please {{ping}} me. --Thnidu (talk) 07:03, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

The etymology isn't saying the term came from Chinese, it's using a Chinese-derived English term to try to explain an African concept. Still, linking to "Etymology 2" is a really bad idea, and using a single word to describe something that has no real parallels in western culture is even worse. Chuck Entz (talk) 07:44, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
@Thnidu, Chuck Entz: There seems to be a sense of chi in Igbo religion that we are lacking, and perhaps this is what it is referring to. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 07:47, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
Except that this is Yoruba, not Igbo, and the term in question seems to be w:Ase (Yoruba). Besides, the etymology links specifically to "Etymology 2", which is the same sense of chi as it was at the time the link was added. Chuck Entz (talk) 08:39, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

Origin of halfEdit

Á (talkcontribs) has added information to half and its Germanic cognates claiming that Proto-Germanic *halbaz is a loanword from Proto-Finnic, sourced to this Finnish-language web page. I can't read Finnish; so my questions are (1) does that web page really say the Germanic word comes from Finnic, and (2) if so, is that web page likely to be reflecting scholarly consensus? Pinging User:Hekaheka in particular, but also anyone who can read Finnish and knows something about historical linguistics. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:51, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

That's what it says. The article is published in the Finnish monthly magazine "Tiede" (Science), the writers to which are researchers and scientists. I would consider it a reliable source. The article is based on a doctor's thesis recently approved in the University of Copenhagen. The writer of the thesis is Adam Hyllested, and the title of his book is "Word Exchange at the Gates of Europe – Five Millennia of Language Contact". It's too new to appear in BGC. According to the article Hyllested claims that the relationship between Uralic languages and Indo-European languages is not as unidirectional as has been believed. He basically says that as the vast majority of linguistic research in Europe is carried out by researchers who speak Indo-European languages (which outnumber Finnic-background researches by about 100 to 1), they have the tendency to explain any common vocabulary in Uralic languages as Indo-European loans. Hyllested (who is a Dane, not Finn) says he has good reasons to believe that words have been transferred to both directions, from Uralic especially to Slavic and Germanic languages. "Half", according to him, is but one of the many Uralic words that have been assimilated into Germanic vocabulary. His theory is a new one and does thus obviously not represent scholarly consensus. --Hekaheka (talk) 23:45, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
The abstract of the thesis is in the web, and I copy it here. What I wrote above is based on the article in "Tiede". The writers of that article have most likely read the entire thesis, which explains any differences:
Abstract
The Indo-European and Uralic (Fenno-Ugric) languages dominate present-day Europe, but both families are newcomers which replaced most of the indigenous languages step by step from the Bronze Age onwards. The encounter between indigenous and intrusive cultures, however, was most certainly not the only interaction that took place. By the time of arrival in Europe, the Indo-European and Uralic populations had already broken up and constituted a patchwork of languages and cultures that continued the process of convergence and interchange. Whether contacts were connected to trade, war, social interaction, or exchange of inventions is revealed by the character of the loanwords in each individual case – while the shape of the loanwords expose the time depth and the direction of borrowing.
Traditionally, scholars have thought that basically all loanwords between Indo-European and Uralic languages went in one direction – from the former to the latter. Such an asymmetry is supposed to reflect a past relationship between two peoples where one had the upper hand, technically and politically, at the time of borrowing.
In this dissertation it is shown that cultures of the Northeast played a surprisingly important role in the shaping of our continent from prehistoric to medieval times; and it is shown how these circumstances are reflected even in the vocabularies of modern European languages.
The Indo-European tribes, shortly after their migrations into Europe, came to form part of new cultural communities, influenced by Uralic populations from the North. This had a significant impact on specific parts of the vocabulary, notably terms for religion and warfare. Many trade terms (such as Danish pung ‘purse’), and words for tools (e.g. hammer) and religious concepts (e.g. hell) originate from Fenno-Ugric and other languages spoken in North-eastern Europe at the time. Even our word half can be shown to derive from an old Fennic trading term meaning ‘reduced, cheap (of prices)’.
Some terms denote animals hunted for their pelt (e.g. mink) and were exchanged in connection to centuries of fur trade along the Baltic coasts from the Roman Ages to the Hanseatic period. Other words for animals, among them quite a few used for pigs and boars, are, quite astonishingly, much older loans going back the pitted-ware culture around 3000 BC. Some loanwords show, for the first time, that (Proto-)Celts and Fennic peoples must have been in direct contact with each other.

The entire thesis may be downloaded here [2] --Hekaheka (talk) 00:23, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

There are a few problems with the suggestion. First there's the meaning. Finnish halpa means "cheap", while its Estonian cognate halb means "bad", which corresponds reasonably enough (cheap = bad quality). It's not clear how that meaning corresponds to the Germanic meaning, which is unambiguously "half" in all attested languages right back to Gothic, which split off from Proto-Germanic first. This last point shows that it's clearly of Proto-Germanic date, which means that if it was borrowed, it could have been borrowed no later than about the last few centuries BCE, which is the time that the Goths split off from the larger Germanic continuum.
This presents a possible second problem. The Finnic phoneme *h originates from an earlier sibilant *š, and the change *š > *h is known to have occurred relatively late in the Proto-Finnic period, perhaps only by the time it started to break up into dialects (although it spread to all of them). This implies that if half was borrowed, it must have been borrowed in the dialectal Proto-Finnic stage at the earliest, so there is both a lower bound and an upper bound in time. I'm not sure if the split of Finnic happened before that of Germanic, though. If Germanic split up first, then the dating can never be made to add up.
Most Germanic loans into Finnic are borrowed with Finnic *h in place of Germanic *h, and *s in place of *z, meaning that the *š > *h change had already taken place, and the borrowing thus took place in the later part of Proto-Finnic. But there is one case I found on Wiktionary where a Finnic *h possibly derives from Germanic *z: vaate. If that's true, then that word must have been borrowed before the *š > *h change (*z was borrowed as *š, which shifted to *h only later). But the word was also borrowed with aa replacing a Germanic ē, which is not easily explained; ää or ee would be much more likely. However, Old Norse and West Germanic both underwent a change of ē > ā, so it's very likely that vaate was borrowed after this change and thus after Proto-Germanic broke up. Yet it also shows that at this same time, Finnic still had an *š phoneme that was similar enough to the early Norse *z to replace it (that is, it was still a sibilant). So we now have a contradiction: vaate must have been borrowed after Proto-Germanic broke up but before Proto-Finnic broke up, but half must have been borrowed after Proto-Finnic broke up but before Proto-Germanic broke up!
It's also interesting that Finnish itself borrowed puoli (half) from Slavic at a relatively late date (after about 600 is my estimate, as it shows the a > o change of Slavic). Cognates of this form are found throughout Finnic as well. I don't know what word, if any, Finnic used for "half" before this borrowing.
@Tropylium: Can you add anything to this? —CodeCat 00:33, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
There's by now a fair-sized body of Finnic words known where Germanic *s or *z was first substituted as *š, which then developed to *h. Some other examples include hakea ← *sākja- > *sōkijaną, hidas*sīþuz, keihäs*gaizaz. However vaate is not one of these: it comes from Proto-Finnic *vaatek and not **vaateh < **vaateš, and its ending must have been added on the Finnic side. So it tells us nothing about the dating of *š > *h.
A couple other words exist though that suggest the same chronology: *ē > *ā in Northwest Germanic (and hence the splitting of Germanic) being earlier than the splitting of Proto-Finnic. So yes, the etymology requires that *halbaz would have to have been transmitted to early Gothic and West Germanic from Proto-Scandinavian. This is certainly possible in principle: whenever a new loanword happens that has a suitable shape, it can end up adopted in all languages of a group so that it looks like an inherited word. Nominally it's possible to reconstruct e.g. Proto-Finnic *risti (cross), even though Christianity reached Northern Europe something like 500 years after the initial splitting of Proto-Finnic into dialects.
(As for puoli though, per the most recent research isn't from Slavic; it regularly continues Proto-Uralic *pälä. If anything, the Slavic word, which last I checked lacks a credible IE origin, looks like a loan from earlier Finnic *palə.)
I would hold the idea that Finnic *halpa is in turn from Germanic *salwaz more probable than Uralic inheritance, but that does not directly affect the explanation. --Tropylium (talk) 02:07, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
So what shall we do with the recent edits? We certainly shouldn't just baldly state that *halbaz is a Finnic loanword without some sort of disclaimer that that's just one person's suggestion, but should we mention it at all? The diss is new enough that it hasn't really had time for other linguists to respond to it yet, but if the association between *halbaz and halpa has both semantic and chronological difficulties that even we amateurs notice, it seems unlikely ever to become consensus. (Which is not to say that other Uralic-to-Germanic loanwords proposed in the diss won't be accepted, just not this one.) So should we annotate the recent edits to indicate that this is a minority view, or should we just remove them? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:10, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

Hyllested explains his reasoning for the connection between halpa and "half" in pp. 103 to 105 of his dissertation. He discusses the problems he finds in the assumption that halpa would come from Germanic and goes as far as to state that "Balto-Fennic *halba- cannot be a loan from Germanic as it is cognate with Mari (Cheremis) Nw W šul-δ􏰌, E Ki U šul-δo ‘cheap’ (cf. UEW 782)10 and thus come from a Fenno-Volgaic *šal". Anyone interested may check his reasoning by following the link above. As we most likely cannot learn the truth by arguing between ourselves, I suggest we mention the Finnic-Germanic route, not as the final truth but as one reasonably justified possibility. --Hekaheka (talk) 09:39, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

I've added the Finnic theory to Appendix:Proto-Germanic/halbaz, but I've removed it from the etymologies of the modern languages' words. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 11:36, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
That's reasonable. - -sche (discuss) 00:03, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
Only indicating etymologies in mainspace as far as they are not especially disputed sounds like a good idea. This could make a decent policy, even. --Tropylium (talk) 21:19, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

Boycott (and "boycott")Edit

I've seen a claim that this placename comes from Old English *Bōiacot (Bōia's Cottage). Is this true? Tharthan (talk) 01:05, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

BUMP. Tharthan (talk) 03:23, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
Domesday has it as "Boicote". The standard etymology copypasta'ed all over the internet says 'either "boy's cottage" or "Boia's cottage".' I think the latter is more likely. Old English bōia is a hypothetical step in the etymology of boy, linking the Germanic root with the attested Middle English, but it's not attested in the Old English corpus as far as I know, and it's not in Bosworth-Toller. The given name Boia, however, is far better attested.
TL;DR: I can't be certain, but Boycott < Middle English Boicote < Old English *Boiacot ("Boia's cottage") looks plausible.
--Catsidhe (verba, facta) 03:55, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

RockEdit

In the sense of "to be cool", does it come from the music genre, or is it a modification of "to rule", which has the same sense as a meaning? Tharthan (talk) 01:50, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

BUMP. Tharthan (talk) 17:19, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

mfalmeEdit

I reckon I should know this one, but I don't... —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:03, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

Vulgar Latin "barra"Edit

Do we have any reason to believe that this is not ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *bʰAr-? Tharthan (talk) 19:13, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

Proto-Slavic *krabъ?Edit

I can't find source that can prove existence of this word in Proto-Slavic. Vasmer says Russian краб (krab) is borrowing Dutch or German, in addition Černyx says краб (krab) is known since the end of the 18th century. —Игорь Телкачь 09:46, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

grouse: back formation?Edit

The several dictionaries I've consulted give "origin uncertain" as the etymology for grouse (the bird). However, I remember a linguistics professor explaining that it was a back formation. He said it came into English as "grice", a singular noun, meaning a gray bird, from French gris (gray). Then it was presumed to be plural, on the analogy of mice/mouse and lice/louse, and the false singular "grouse" was formed. Comments? Jane Elderfield (talk) 22:26, 18 February 2015 (UTC)Jane Elderfield

That certainly seems plausible. Are there any sources you can find to back that up? Leasnam (talk) 03:45, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

panEdit

Is pan in the sense of "face" from the same etymology as the normal word "pan". If so, is the evolution similar to that of mug? Tharthan (talk) 16:29, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

I believe that it is the selfsame word, yes. But I am more familiar with its use meaning "skull" (cf. headpan). In Danish, the cognate pande also means "forehead" in addition to "pan". Leasnam (talk) 02:36, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
I see. Thank you for the confirmation. I was unaware that it there were parallel semantic evolutions in other Germanic languages. Very interesting. Tharthan (talk) 04:35, 22 February 2015 (UTC)

Appendix:Proto-Finnic/jää and Appendix:Proto-Finnic/jäädäkEdit

@Tropylium: The first means "ice" while the second means "to stay, to remain". It's conceivable that these two meanings are related, via the meaning "to be frozen in place". Is there any merit to this, or is it just a coincidence? —CodeCat 15:51, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

It's conceivable of course, but the morphology doesn't really match up, we'd expect a zero-derivation to simply mean something like "to be icy". Contrast jäätää.
I've seen two proposed etymologies for the verb: loaning from Indo-Iranian (the 'go' root, Sanskrit जहाति (jahāti)); or affiliation with an Ugric root for "to come" (Hungarian ). --Tropylium (talk) 21:14, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

Polish istnieć "to exist"Edit

What is origin of this word? I can't find etymology. It resembles Latin existo, Slavic *jьstъ (there is dial. Polish ’istny (the same; true, genuine)). —Игорь Телкачь 23:30, 22 February 2015 (UTC)

The term is archaic (see scan ).
From istny (see scan at PWN "istnie przestarz, przysłów od istny").
from isty (see scan at Google Books "istny jest pochodnikiem z isty"),
Looking at usage of isty in Słownik polszczyzny XVI wieku v.9 pp. 11–13, I would guess that isty comes from a germanic ist or from Polish jest / być, but I will not research that. —BoBoMisiu (talk) 19:08, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

-aula epithetsEdit

So on the word amydraula is on the topic of WT:WE, and I have been trying figure out its etymology. The term comes from Meyrick (1916b) Exotic Microlepidoptera II, which pertains to moths. I can figure out the first element of the word (ἀμυδρός (amudrós, faint, dim)), but the second element is mysterious to me. It does appear in these other taxa from Meyrick:

Could it be from αὐλός (aulós, flute), and if so, why and can we find a corroborating source? If not, where did Meyrick get it? JohnC5 06:38, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

There's also the very real possibility that it doesn't have a direct classical origin at all. Microlepidoptera are a rather specialized niche of entomology, so there are a small number of truly prolific contributors with their own idiosyncratic naming conventions that others borrow. Here is a list of all the lepidopteran names that contain "aula". Ignoring the other Greek-based morphemes such as aulax/aulac-, this seems to be always an ending. Meyrick seems to be the first to use the suffix, and is the source of the vast majority of the names in the list. My hunch is that it's a variant of the feminine of the diminutive suffix -ulus, with the initial a perhaps being the first-declension ending -a. That is, of course, only a hunch, and I haven't found anything to support it yet. Chuck Entz (talk) 19:38, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

March 2015

singletonEdit

This has "Sense 1 is from Old French (see ciclatoun)." Fair enough, but I'd like to know what the Old French derivation actually is, and I can't see how ciclatoun is at all linked (we have it as coming direct from Persian, not Old French). This, that and the other (talk) 08:25, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

  • The semantics certainly don't fit very well. User:Dbfirs added the mention of Old French in this edit. @Dbfirs: can you shed any light on this? How does an Old French term for expensive cloth wind up meaning “the only card of its suit in a hand”? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 20:39, 3 March 2015 (UTC)