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Etymology scriptorium

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

Etymology scriptorium archives edit

August 2015


RFV of the etymology.

User:Prinsgezinde removed all references to the Philistines in this diff and the following one. A quick check of Etymonline and in the New Oxford American Dictionary app on my computer supported the removed material. Does anyone have more information on this? Chuck Entz (talk) 02:49, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

That the word Palestine derives from the word פלשת and is related to the word Philistine is the generally accepted theory. In various fora across the internet, at least part of the (non-scholarly) disagreement with this theory comes from people conflating questions about origin of the word with questions about the ethnic origin of the Palestinian people and/or the history of entities called "Palestine". Strong's has more on the Hebrew word.
Among the more entertaining folk etymologies (if they can be called that) is the one advanced by James Silk Buckingham and Henry Welsford in the early 1830s and 40s, that "the etymology of Palestine is Sanskrit, from Pali, a shepherd, and Stan or Istan, place."
- -sche (discuss) 04:58, 2 August 2015 (UTC)
Is פְּלֶשֶׁת "unattested", as has been claimed? DTLHS (talk) 05:22, 2 August 2015 (UTC)
No, e.g. Exodus 15:14 has פְּלָֽשֶׁת (KJV: "of Palestina", NIV: "of Philistia") and Isaiah 14:29 has פְלֶ֙שֶׁת֙ (KJV: "Palestina" NIV: "you Philistines"). - -sche (discuss) 05:48, 2 August 2015 (UTC)
My reasoning for it is that this particular word's origin and usage is extremely politicized. There is no certainty on the etymology, although many would like to claim there is a general agreement. I'd rather avoid it than potentionally supply false information. Also, see here.
More: Philistine - This has been used to mean "uneducated person" since the 19th century. That use in English originates with a conflict between university academics and the townsfolk of Jena, Germany, in the 17th century, apparently based on the Book of Judges phrase “the Philistines are upon you.” The Philistines - in Hebrew plishtim - were a coastal adversary of ancient Israel whose name simply meant "invaders."
-Prinsgezinde (talk) 16:35, 2 August 2015 (UTC)
The word Palestine and its etymology existed long before any political issues you may be referring to. --WikiTiki89 11:08, 3 August 2015 (UTC)
Can you point to modern scholarship that disputes the derivation of "Palestine" from פלשת? The alternative theories I've seen are: (1) the spurious folk etymology suggested by Buckingham and Welsford in the 1830s and 40s, which merits no mention; (2) a theory by David M. Jacobson that "Palestine" is not just from פלשת but is a modification of it by the Greeks to incorporate a pun/folk etymology (but Jacobson notes that "modern consensus agrees with" linking "Palestine" to "Philistine"), which might merit attributed mention; (3) the theory mentioned at Philistines#Etymology that the Philistines take their name from Palaestīnī who take their name from Palasë in Albania, which seems like an unlikely minority view. (I've also seen it suggested that the Plst mentioned in Ancient Egyptian records are not, as most scholars think, cognate to "Philistines" and hence "Palestinians", but rather Pelagesians who migrated eastwards.) The sources you link to which explain how "Philistine" came to mean "uneducated person" don't contradict or indeed have much to do with the cognancy of the place-names "Palestine" and "Philistia". - -sche (discuss) 18:49, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

Avena is to sheep as Haver is to goats?Edit

Different pages for Germanic words for "oats" (something like 'haver') claim that the etymology is from 'Kaper' because oats would have been fed to goats. Why oats would be especially distinctive of goats I'm not sure, but it occurred to me that "avena" sounded like "ovis", which was especially glaring when I stumbled upon Russian "овес" Just doing a little reading about goats and sheep, it looks like both are grazers, not regularly given grain. Sheep are a little more picky about what they can eat, but do better on grasses whereas goats apparently like vines and weeds best. If "haver" is "Kaper" why couldn't "avena" be a modified form of "ovis"? Then the association between the livestock and the grain would have been a (kind of) calque one direction or the other.

J'odore (talk)

Kluge's etymological dictionary also suggests a connection of Hafer ‎(oats) (< *habrô) with *kapro- ‎(goat), but I'm unconvinced. It seems like wishful thinking to me. The PIE "goat" word is attested in Proto-Germanic *hafraz. A connection of avēna with ovis seems even more far-fetched. I'm no zoologist, but I thought goats were browsers rather than grazers. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:22, 2 August 2015 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology:

From year + hundred. Cognate with Scots yeirhunder ‎(century), German Jahrhundert ‎(century), Danish århundrede ‎(century), Swedish århundrade ‎(century), Norwegian århundre ‎(century).

This looks to me like a self-conscious artificial calque from one or more of the "cognates". It has very limited usage, but it meets CFI, so it shouldn't be deleted, but, if I'm right, we should be honest about its unnatural origins. Is there any trace of usage outside of the past century or so, or any evidence at all that this was inherited rather than constructed? Bosworth-Toller doesn't seem to have anything like this- just SOP combinations of hund/hundred and ġēar in sentences, i.e. the equivalent of "a hundred years" and not "a yearhundred". I suspect this is about as authentic as phony archaisms like "thee sayeth". Chuck Entz (talk) 01:47, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

The way in which the Etymology is written doesnt suggest it was inherited. It suggests it was created in Modern English by combining year + hundred. ?? Leasnam (talk) 03:20, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

Irish ólEdit

Proto-Celtic had no long ō, but the PIE root page suggests that this form did have one. So what is going on? —CodeCat 16:38, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

This is usually said to be from *ɸotlom with compensatory lengthening for the loss of the t, though I can't say where the short o came from since Latin pōculum points to *pōtlom < *peh₃tlom. Maybe before ō became ā in Proto-Celtic it shortened to ŏ before clusters like tl? That's not an environment for Osthoff's law, though. Hmm... —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:57, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
Ranko Matasović, Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic, Leiden: Brill, 2009, ISBN 978-90-04-17336-1, page 137–38 has this to say:

The vowel *o in Celtic is unexpected, as the PIE laryngeal should have yielded *a between consonants. It is probably due to an early analogy with the full grade (*eh₃ > *ō > PCelt. *ā), or to vowel assimilation (*fatlo- > *fotlo-), or to Dybo's law (*peh₃-tló- > *pōtló- > *potló-). Original *peh₃-tlo- would presumably have given OIr. **ál.

In my opinion, the "analogy with the full grade" argument is weak, because what would be the source of the analogy? Vowel assimilation is possible, I suppose, but it's kind of a copout since there are so many words where a...o didn't assimilate to o...o. And I don't know what Dybo's law he's talking about since the only Dybo's law I've ever heard of applies only in Slavic and is an accent shift, not a vowel shortening. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:42, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
This Dybo's law refers to pre-tonic vowel shortening in Italic and Celtic. See [1] and [2]. Benwing (talk) 23:50, 6 August 2015 (UTC)

Placement of the -l- in *pleh₂- and *pelth₂-Edit

It seems that there can't be a single reconstruction for this root because there are two different forms: *pleh₂- and *pelh₂-.

  • Balto-Slavic *plāˀnas must derive from a full-grade *pleh₂-, as a zero grade *pl̥h₂- would develop into **pilˀnas or perhaps **pulˀnas, and the full grade of *pelh₂- would result in **pelˀnas.
  • Slavic *polje on the other hand must derive from the *pelh₂- variant (in o-grade).

The synonymous root currently at *pelth₂- suffers from the same problem:

  • Germanic *felþą requires *pelt(h₂)-, the reverse variant *plet(h₂)- would give **fleþ-.
  • Sanskrit प्रथस् ‎(práthas) appears to require *pleth₂-.

And then of course there's the relationship between the t-roots and the t-less roots, which goes beyond a simple root extension. I'm not sure what the best way would be to handle this in the entries. Should we just have four separate pages? This might be difficult because the zero grades coincide: *fuldō could come from both *pelt(h₂)- and *plet(h₂)- as they have the same zero grade *pl̥t(h₂)-. —CodeCat 21:01, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

Alternation *pel(t)h₂- ~ *ple(t)h₂- looks like an instance of Schwebeablaut. Roots appear to be unrelated. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 01:39, 4 August 2015 (UTC)

grem, greš, gre...Edit

Etymology of Slovene grem, greš, gre...? 02:25, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

أرثوذكسي (orthodox)Edit

I created this entry and put "Ancient Greek" for the etymology by force of habit, but I'm wondering if it should be listed just under "Greek." In particular, the ذ ‎() seems to indicate a late derivation reflecting modern ορθόδοξος ‎(orthódoxos) instead of ancient ὀρθόδοξος ‎(orthódoxos), but I suppose the Hellenistic (koine) pronunciation would have /ð/ for delta and still be considered "Ancient Greek." I have sought, with little luck, Arabic terms deriving from Ancient Greek words with intervocalic delta to see if they become د ‎(d) or ذ ‎(), excepting terms from Greek mythology or technical terms which are more likely to have been coined in modern times. This is really sort of a frivolous distinction but I would like to get it right, to the extent that there is a clear boundary between an Ancient or Modern Greek derivation, and I don't know nearly enough about Greek phonology, or even the evolution of the English word orthodox, to come up with a compelling answer one way or the other on my own. Any insight would be appreciated. Aperiarcam (talk) 04:52, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

Yes, you're right that δ was pronounced /ð/ already in Koine Greek, which is still well within what we consider Ancient Greek, so you can say the Arabic word is from {{etyl|grc-koi|ar}} {{m|grc|ὀρθόδοξος}}. The code grc-koi can be used as the first parameter of {{etyl}}, but is otherwise not a recognized language code; use grc instead. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:40, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
Not so fast; a fricative pronunciation of delta already in Koine Greek is by no means proven, see w:Koine Greek phonology#Consonants. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 14:00, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
I would guess this word was borrowed in the 600-1000AD period, hence probably coming from Byzantine Greek. I think we still consider that to be Ancient Greek; certainly, for other Arabic words probably borrowed in the same period, we say Ancient Greek. Benwing (talk) 23:41, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
Actually we have a separate code for Byzantine Greek, gkm. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:18, 8 August 2015 (UTC)
On the one hand, WT:AGRC (still) says to consider Byzantine as Ancient Greek, but (it says) only because that's convenient. On the other hand, there was a discussion where there was some support for treating Byzantine as its own language; WT:LANGTREAT says to consider gkm and grc separate languages; and we never did bother to delete Byzantine Greek's code, even when it was supposedly (quoth WT:AGRC) treated as Ancient Greek. Perhaps someone should update WT:AGRC. - -sche (discuss) 03:07, 9 August 2015 (UTC)


Per this source, the Proto-Germanic reconstruction *twinaz (and the variant *twinjaz) is wrong. Instead, the double -nn- of Old English getwinn is original and etymologically identical with English twine and German Zwirn. The reconstruction should therefore be *twiznaz. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 13:53, 6 August 2015 (UTC)

The link above doesn't show any information on the page... Leasnam (talk) 19:16, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
So what happened to the /z~r/ in tweeling and Zwilling? --WikiTiki89 19:17, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
According to Bosworth and Toller, it is correct. They reconstruct PGmc *tvina, *tvinia to support Old English twinn Leasnam (talk) 19:20, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
According to Philippa 2009, Zwilling is from OHG zwilling, contracted and assimilated from zwiniling, composed of zwinil/zwinal + -ing. —CodeCat 00:47, 7 August 2015 (UTC)
My question was actually if they derive from *twiznaz then what happened to the *-z- in Dutch and German? --WikiTiki89 01:17, 7 August 2015 (UTC)

Long vowel in Latin īsseEdit

I think the perfect infinitive of in Latin has a long vowel in the form īsse, but is given as short in Wiktionary. I don't recall where I've seen it as long, maybe in Moreland and Fleischer? Benwing (talk) 23:58, 6 August 2015 (UTC)

  1. Definitely long as it is a contraction of ivisse/ iisse. Aperiarcam (talk) 00:07, 7 August 2015 (UTC)

Proto-Slavic adjective comparative formsEdit

How do Proto-Slavic adjective comparative forms work?

For an example comparative of *vysokъ is *vyšьjь, or comparative of *soldъkъ is *solďьjь...

But what would be comparatives of adjactives ending in -st like for an example *čęstъ (similar adjactives are *pustъ, *gǫstъ, or *žestokъ) is it *čęstьjь, or is it *čęsťьjь or *čęščьjь?

Or adjactives ending with -s or z like *bosъ or *lysъ is it *lysьjь or *lyšьjь or is it something else? 05:07, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

I fixed your links, that should answer your first question. As for *lysъ, it would probably be *lyšьjь, but I don't know if the comparative exists for this particular word (it doesn't in Russian, as far as I know). --WikiTiki89 15:28, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
OCS has čęstъ com. čęstie, also čęsto com. čęstie / čęšte. So what would be correct proto-slavic form *čęstьjь, or *čęsťьjь or *čęščьjь? 16:58, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
Check our entry for *čęstъ, the answer is already there. --WikiTiki89 17:04, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

Did kebab come from Persian or Arabic?Edit

@Benwing, ZxxZxxZ, Dijan, Wikitiki89 Entry for the Persian کباب ‎(kabâb) lists the Arabic كَبَاب ‎(kabāb) as its descendent but according to Hans Wehr the Arabic term comes from the native Arabic geminate root ك ب ب (k-b-b), e.g. form II verb كَبَّبَ ‎(kabbaba) means "to form or roll into a ball". كَبَاب ‎(kabāb) may need some attention - plurals, inflections are not available in H.W.--Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 06:27, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

If I had to guess, the Arabic looks like a folk etymology; ar:w:كباب more or less dismisses an Arabic etymology. I would cast my stone in favor of a Turkish derivation, and apparently ultimately some sort of Semitic origin (Akkadian or Aramaic, neither Arabic nor a Semitic cognate of كَبَّ ‎(kabba)). The English kebab seems to have come from Ottoman Turkish, if not Persian; it certainly did not come via Arabic. Aperiarcam (talk) 06:51, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
Also, I haven't found a plural form for كَبَاب ‎(kabāb). The inflection is regular and triptote (here is an example of the accusative case being used). Aperiarcam (talk) 07:02, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
WP has this to say, with reference:
According to w:Sevan Nişanyan, an etymologist of the Turkish language, the word kebab is derived from the Persian word "kabap" meaning "fry". The word was first mentioned in a Turkish script of Kyssa-i Yusuf in 1377, which is the oldest known source where kebab is mentioned as a food. However, he emphasizes that the word has the equivalent meaning of "frying/burning" with "kabābu" in the old w:Akkadian language, and "kbabā/כבבא" in w:Syriac language. (Nişanyan Sevan, Sözlerin Soyağacı, Çağdaş Türkçenin Etimolojik Sözlüğü, Online, Book.)
Another reference claims the Kitab al-Tabikh contains an earlier mention of the dish. - -sche (discuss) 07:51, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the replies. I was more interested to know if the Arabic term was borrowed from Persian (or other language) or is native Arabic word. Hans Wehr dictionary doesn't specifically say the term is from native Arabic root letters but lists the term under the related root letters (as usually done with words from the same root). --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 23:31, 23 August 2015 (UTC)
I've modified the English, Turkish and Persian entries. - -sche (discuss) 20:32, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Wikipedia is misrepresenting Nshanyan, who does not even mention the Persian word. See Nshanyan's website. There is no Persian word "kabap" meaning "fry". The languages of the region, including Persian, borrowed the word from Arabic. The Arabic itself may be a native formation or a borrowing from Aramaic. I have expanded كباب with sources. --Vahag (talk) 20:56, 24 August 2015 (UTC)


ius and Appendix:Proto-Indo-European/h₂yew- say jus came from ævum, but w:ius says it came from jugum. Lysdexia (talk) 17:42, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

No one says that ius comes from aevum or from jugum; that would be silly. We do say that the PIE root that ius comes from itself comes from the same root as aevum. Cal Watkins, whose scholarship I tend to believe, takes it back only as far as *h₂yew-, without claiming that *h₂yew- comes from *h₂ey- as we do. I don't see any possible way it could come from *yewg-, and I've removed that bit of nonsense from the Wikipedia article. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:06, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
The etymology comes from De Vaan 2008, I've added that to the entry *h₂yew- accordingly. —CodeCat 19:58, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
I had expected you would say that. By a quoted word I meant its meaning, where the word's root's meaning is identical to the root's reflex's meaning. Lysdexia (talk) 02:02, 18 August 2015 (UTC)


Why did the proto‐Germans invent a new word for blood? Why didn’t they use the ones from Proto‐Indo‐European? --Romanophile (talk) 12:49, 22 August 2015 (UTC)

According to Wikipedia (w:Germanic substrate hypothesis), some linguists estimate that a third of Proto-Germanic vocabulary is not derived from Proto-Indo-European. I think I remember reading a hypothesis that this new vocabulary was brought by sailors who spoke some other language. Maybe *blōþą was one of those borrowed words. —Mr. Granger (talkcontribs) 13:12, 22 August 2015 (UTC)
Blood is also the sort of thing that could be subject to taboo avoidance and thus replacement by another word. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:50, 22 August 2015 (UTC)
Appendix:Proto-Germanic/blōþą suggests a possible PIE derivation which doesn't sound that implausible to me (although I'm no expert): that it derives from the same root as bloom (see Appendix:Proto-Indo-European/bʰleh₃-), presumably first as a verb describing the process of bleeding. Early PIE seems to have had two different roots for blood – *h₁ésh₂r̥ (the root of the Latin sanguis) for blood inside the body, and *krewh₂ (the root of raw) for spilled blood – so it seems plausible for a third root to emerge that covered both meanings (especially given that both roots eventually evolved distinct meanings in Germanic: *h₁ésh₂r̥ became iron, *krewh₂ became raw). Poetic use "bloom" to mean "bleed" is still quite common. Smurrayinchester (talk) 11:56, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Are we sure that sanguis derives from *h₁ésh₂r̥? The Wiktionary-voice etymology is clever but I've heard there is a dispute about this. References would be nice. Benwing2 (talk) 09:26, 27 August 2015 (UTC)


Is this in fact cognate to Boden? I can't find a source that links them, although chaff (German-language references which gloss *podъ as 'Boden') means I may have missed something. The editor who added that has been sloppy about linking German and Slavic terms in other places; see e.g. the recent edit history of Kaiser and for that matter hrob, where German is interpolated into the middle of a list of Slavic relatives. - -sche (discuss) 07:45, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

ak, aukEdit

Middle High German ouch, whence modern auch, is listed as deriving from ak via Old High German oh, but also as deriving from auk via ouh. None of the references I've found (see entries) mention the two roots merging (in OHG/MHG). Is that nonetheless what happened, or what's going on? - -sche (discuss) 03:20, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

Seems to me more like a case of ouch displacing och. Benwing2 (talk) 09:22, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
OTOH ak -> oh seems strange, I'd expect ah. Benwing2 (talk) 09:23, 27 August 2015 (UTC)


See Talk:boar. - -sche (discuss) 16:43, 26 August 2015 (UTC)


I heard someone trying to argue that the word "pussy", meaning coward, was not sexist because it was not derived from "pussy", meaning a woman's genitals, but instead from pusillanimous. Is there any evidence of this? It seems like it at least could be true, but I've never researched word etymologies, so I don't know how to find out. --Arctic.gnome (talk) 07:11, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

I think it's most likely to have come from the word for "cat", and the OED agrees . There is after all the similar (if less offensive) pussy-cat, and the English language associates cats with cowardice and meekness in quite a few ways - see kitten, scaredy cat, pussyfoot. pusillanimous isn't pronounced like pussy, which makes a clipping unlikely. However, trying to argue whether or not a word is sexist based on what it meant 100 years ago is what's known as the etymological fallacy – what matters is the way it's understood now. So for example, when Jay-Z raps "This ain't a ho in the sense of having a pussy [woman's gentials]/but a pussy [coward] having no goddamn sense, tryna push me"*, he's clearly linking the two meanings regardless of what the OED says. It ultimately doesn't really make much difference where it came from, if people now associate the word with women. Smurrayinchester (talk) 11:19, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
(*) Incidentally, that verse suggests a meaning of ho which we don't have, apparently meaning a cowardly or subordinate man. It would be difficult to cite though. Smurrayinchester (talk) 11:19, 31 August 2015 (UTC)


Not 颱風? —suzukaze (tc) 07:22, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

Merriam-Webster favors 大風, but they think the word is from Τυφῶν ‎(Tuphôn) and corrupted by the Sinitic root (the opposite of what most of us think). OED says "tai fung (big wind)"; presumably this is also a statement in favor of 大風, which is read "tai fung" in Hakka. Any phonetic evidence would be drawn from the southern Chinese dialects, so the superficial resemblance of the Mandarin form to the English word is a red herring. Personally, I find it all a bit dubious, because the Chinese word presumably went through Persian, then Arabic, and the resulting word was potentially influenced by Τυφῶν ‎(Tuphôn) before it entered European languages, and certainly influenced after. I would give up on any phonetically-oriented etymological investigation and default to 大風 per the lemming rule. Aperiarcam (talk) 08:24, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure why the Chinese word would have to go through that many intermediaries -- the Portuguese were quite active in the Chinese-speaking world around the time of this word's first apparent use in English, listed by the OED as the 16th century. Also, 颱風 (specific to the “typhoon” sense, as opposed to just 大風 in the “big wind; windstorm” senses) is also read in Hakka as thòi-fûng, and in Cantonese as toi4 fung1, raising the possibility that the purported Portuguese purveyors of this term might have confused the two Chinese terms, at least with regard to the initial vowel. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 21:15, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

From F. Corriente (2008), Dictionary of Arabic and Allied Loanwords. Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Galician and Kindred Dialects, page 457a

tifò (Ct.), tifón (Cs.) and tufão (Pt.): was prob. first acquired by Pt. during the initial explorations of the Indian Ocean, < Ar. ṭūfān "flood; hurricane", and phonetically contaminated by Gr. typhṓn, name of the mythical monster causing volcano eruptions and hurricanes.

--Vahag (talk) 21:50, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

etymonline.com thinks Tiphon "violent storm, whirlwind, tornado" is attested in English since the 1550s (from Greek typhon), earlier than the "Asian hurricane" sense. I wouldn't take their word for it, but it's worth looking into. - -sche (discuss) 22:42, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

September 2015

chow meinEdit

Is "chow mein" from Mandarin or from Taishanese? According to the Wikipedia article chow mein, it's from Taishanese. Justinrleung (talk) 01:41, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

I think that version of the etymology dates to when we split Chinese into all the dialects, and changed Chinese to Mandarin as the default when we didn't have any dialect specified. It looks like the etymology originally said "Chinese", and pinyin was used as the romanization just because we did that for all the Chinese entries. I'll leave the question of which lect the English word came from to others who know more than I do. I will say that The Mandarin form doesn't fit all that well. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:57, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
I replaced it with zh, which at least isn't inaccurate. The OED doesn't specify, and Wikipedia doesn't have a source for saying it's from Taishanese; from sound alone, I reckon Taishanese or Hakka would be good bets, but I don't know. As an added problem, yue-toi (for Taishanese) doesn't even seem to work as an etymology-only language. @WyangΜετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:28, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Taishanese seems right: [tsɔu55 mein32]. Wyang (talk) 04:00, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
You might have better luck with yue-tai instead of yue-toi. Either that or change the language name to Toishanese so they match... ;-p Chuck Entz (talk) 06:34, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
The langrev subpages were what had that error; I have now fixed them and updated the entry. Thanks, Wyang. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:08, 6 September 2015 (UTC)

Illyrian entriesEdit

There are a few recent entries in the as yet uncreated Category:Illyrian lemmas, but I'm a bit leery of entries in a basically unattested language like this. Yes, there are mentions and other indirect means of reconstructing terms in the language, but I'm not so sure that the person who added these knows anything at all about the language, let alone can sift through the uncertainties associated with indirect attestation. Probably the most clear-cut example of what I'm concerned about is Dalmatae, which may be based on an Illyrian demonym, but which looks very Latin to me.

I should mention that this person has been adding a lot of etymologies to Albanian entries that seem to be somewhat indiscriminately pulled out of various references. Given that the question of whether Albanian is descended from Illyrian is rather emotionally loaded, I'm concerned: I don't know much about Albanian etymology, but the pattern makes me nervous.

I realize that it only takes a mention to verify one of these, but I would like to know if there's anything reliable that corroborates them as they're currently constituted. Thanks! Chuck Entz (talk) 03:28, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

The user who created these, 8mike, seems to be a problematic editor. @Etimo, Vahagn Petrosyan: What is the story behind his edits? Is he as relentlessly POV-pushing as he seems to be? If so, he should be warned that he will be blocked if he continues; I don't know the linguistic context well enough to judge.
As for the entries: I made Dalmatae into a perfectly good Latin entry, which is of course what it should have been. I'm not clear how the other two are sourced, so I'm going to RFV them and see what happens there. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:12, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
I appreciate that he's added a lot of Albanian entries. I can't speak to the accuracy or inaccuracy of the etymologies in general (in the case of adur specifically, I'll comment on RFV), but hopefully we can resolve this in such a way that he gets to continue adding Albanian entries/translations. - -sche (discuss) 06:52, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
I have interacted with the editor in question. I don't think he is a relentless POV-pusher but his (good-faith) etymologies are unreliable original research and should be removed. The Illyrian entries too are probably unreliable and hopefully will fail rfv. --Vahag (talk) 08:03, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
What is it with Albanian editors recently? —JohnC5 12:54, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Probably something in their water. --Vahag (talk) 14:06, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Not just recently. Albania is in a part of the world that's been through a lot of ethnic conflicts where they haven't fared too well, they're still recovering from an extremely harsh, isolationist dictatorship, and they belong to a very distinct branch of the Indo-European languages with no sources going back very far and relatively little attention from scholars. The latter factor means that there's an obvious void that it's tempting to fill with guesswork, and the rest means that there's an emotional vested interest in connecting to something grand and glorious in the ancient past. There have been problems with all of the more prolific adders of Albanian etymologies that I can think of Chuck Entz (talk) 14:26, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Very interesting. I wish I knew more about Albanian so that I could help. I just have a copy of Orel and this, which are useful from a PIE standpoint but not from an adding entries standpoint. —JohnC5 01:17, 2 September 2015 (UTC)

I honestly don't know. I went through this user's contributions, but I didn't find emotional writing (perhaps some unreferenced etymological explanations which smell of folkish), perhaps you could bring some examples that I have overlooked. Some of the entries and edits are not referenced (pishë, llohë, haromë, kursej, kërnalle), others are, some others seem quite arbitrary or dubious (brerore, katërshor, ish, ëzë), some even wrong (tokë, prrar, mpiks, vervele), while others look ok. As far as the toponym Dalmatia (or Delminum) goes, there are many scholars who have linked it with Albanian delme, as with other toponyms related to animals and vegetation throughout the Balkans which are better explained through Albanian (Ragusa, Ulqin, Dardania etc), BUT, considering the lack of Illyrian writings and the dearth of inscriptions, these are to be considered only as assumptions, not facts, and this should always be mentioned. Etimo (talk) 19:28, 1 September 2015 (UTC)


The etymology of 因特網 in Chinese is currently as follows:

However, 因特網 comes from the transliteration of "inter-" (not "Internet") + the translation of "net". Is there a special term for this type of translation? Justinrleung (talk) 02:06, 2 September 2015 (UTC)

A partial calque. DTLHS (talk) 02:59, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
We have a template {{calque}}, maybe we should have one for partial calques, or modify {{calque}} so it accommodates partial calques. A famous English example is liverwurst, where we translated the Leber part of Leberwurst but borrowed the Wurst part. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:26, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
And conversely, Germans might wash their Wurst down with a glass of Milchshake. Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:33, 3 September 2015 (UTC)

Old English þonEdit

Campbell´s Old English, love it though I do, seems only to say of this form that its 'classification as instrumental is traditional, but reflects neither its origin nor prevailing use.' Perhaps he finishes his thought elsewhere in the book, but I have no patience to scour it. Am I correct in assuming the following: þon < earlier þan < *þáne (unaccented Indo-European final 'ĕ' lost in Germanic, cf. G οἶδε, Goth wait) < IE *to(i)ne (whence Sanskrit तॆन tēna, OBulgarian тѣмь tēmĭ)?

A trifling question, I know, but when I can't find it on this site I have no other recourse. —Colin

Puerto RicoEdit

Why is "Puerto Rico" borrowed from Spanish and pronounced as if it were Portuguese or something? ばかFumikotalk 01:43, 3 September 2015 (UTC)

Probably because monolingual English speakers recognize puerto as a cognate of port, and pronounce it like the latter. Besides, the normal US English way of sounding out spellings would probably produce something pronounced like pure + toe, which is kind of odd, and the original Spanish pronunciation doesn't fit very well with English phonotactics. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:20, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
It even used to be spelled Porto Rico; see note a at w:Puerto Rico#Notes. And it still is spelled that way in French, Italian, and Portuguese, of which it could be considered a translation only in Portuguese (to be a translation in French it would have to be "Port-Riche" and in Italian it would have to be "Porto Ricco" with a double c). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:25, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
I don't buy the phonotactic explanation; it could easily have been pronounced p-ware-to. It must be a historical reason. Perhaps (I'm 100% speculating here) the dialect of Spanish that was first brought there pronounced the word more like puorto or porto. Do we have any experts here on historical Spanish dialects? --WikiTiki89 15:41, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
Some Asturian dialects have puortu. — Ungoliant (falai) 15:44, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I noticed that (some apparently even have puorto), but it would have to match up historically, and I'm not an expert on the history of the settling of Puerto Rico. Another theory I just thought of is that it was meant to be pronounced /pwɚ-/, which could much more easily have morphed into what we have now, but this does not explain the spellings in other languages that Angr mentioned. --WikiTiki89 15:57, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
  • FWIW, the island of Vieques (administered as a county of Puerto Rico) has a distinct accent where they drop a lot of "s" sounds, perhaps via a process similar to what happened in French. For instance, the island's name of Vieques is often pronounced (and has been written historically) as Bieke. The common Spanish verb form está comes out more as /e̥hta/. I've been told that this accent is a remnant of the Asturian accent of the island's Spanish settlers. I note too that the Puerto Rico WP article mentions that Asturians were a sizable proportion the Spanish migrants to the islands. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 08:55, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
For what's it worth, the few times I've heard the name said by British English speakers, they've pronounced it the Spanish way. Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:31, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
If you pronounce the t in the British way, it is not difficult to say puerto like the Spanish. But if you use the American pronunciation of the t, it is difficult to pronounce that word in English. I speak Spanish (I have a degree in Spanish), and I have no problem saying Puerto in Spanish; it is difficult for me to say puerto in English, however, and I would never use that English pronunciation unless I was pretending to be pompous and pedantic. In English I say porto, regardless of the spelling. —Stephen (Talk) 16:40, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
In older books, other Puertos are (not always consistently within a work) also rendered Porto, including Porto Bello (Portobelo, Panama, but with older works giving Puerto... as the Spanish name), Porto Cabello (Puerto Cabello, Venezuela), and Porto Principe (Puerto Principe = Camagüey, Cuba). This suggests a general process may have been at work on Porto Rico, rather than one-off Asturian influence. That process might have been anglicization, or the 'levelling' of the Spanish Puertos and Portuguese Portos to one word.
- -sche (discuss) 19:23, 29 September 2015 (UTC)

arrop i talladetesEdit

Can anyone reference or confirm this etymology? A direct borrowing from Catalan seems more likely. — Ungoliant (falai) 03:47, 5 September 2015 (UTC)

Icelandic klifa from *klibjaną?Edit

I don't pretend to know much about Proto-Germanic, but looking at the descendants in other languages from *klibjaną ‎(to stick) one would expect an Old Norse/Icelandic form klifa. There is such a word in Icelandic which is nowadays only used in the set phrase klifa á ‎(to harp on about (something)). It doesn't seem too unlikely to me that a figurative meaning such as this could have arisen from an original meaning of "to stick". Opinions? BigDom 07:58, 5 September 2015 (UTC)

Icelanidic klifa comes from the Old Norse klifa ‎(to repeat, harp on"; also "to climb), which seems indeed to come from *klibjaną. Leasnam (talk) 20:39, 5 September 2015 (UTC)
added. Leasnam (talk) 20:44, 5 September 2015 (UTC)
FYI, "to climb" is klífa (from *klībaną), not klifa. BigDom 06:24, 6 September 2015 (UTC)
I don't quite see how any of the attested forms could have come from *klibjaną. Where did the -j- go in Old Norse? Shouldn't it be klifja? And why no gemination in West Germanic? Shouldn't it be clibban in Old English? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:13, 5 September 2015 (UTC)
The reconstruction of class 3 weak verbs is not really settled. The forms we have are based on Ringe's reconstruction, which admittedly leaves a lot of question unanswered. But the most common alternative, to reconstruct -ēną as the ending, is equally puzzling as the long ē apparently fails to become ā in West Germanic. Also, some class 3 weak verbs do have a clear -j- in both Old Norse and West Germanic, such as *sagjaną. —CodeCat 23:38, 5 September 2015 (UTC)
This verb is iterative, meaning 'to repeat' as BigDom mentioned (from Vigfusson-Cleasby). It is, then, in all likelihood a class 2 weak, especially because it lacks the features pointed out by Angr. The Proto form would be *kliƀōjōn, and so by regular rules Norse would lack the -j- ("blocked" by the bimoric vowel) and, therefore also, the geminate -f-. If it really derives from the mentioned *kliƀjaną, it was perhaps removed early to this class in ON because of its meaning, as sometimes happens. —Colin
I have updated the entry to show that klifa may not be a direct descendant Leasnam (talk) 18:17, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
Gerhard Koebler's Old Norse dictionary has this: klif-a, an., sw. V. (3): nhd. wiederholen. So the "repeat" sense dates to Old Norse, but it was also still a class 3 weak verb. It must be a direct descendant. —CodeCat 18:23, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
Thats what I used in the first place...okay so the parentheses can come off (barring any objections, of course). Excellent. Leasnam (talk) 04:11, 8 September 2015 (UTC)

mee#Etymology 2Edit

I believe this should be Min Nan, not Cantonese. (see 麵#Pronunciation)—suzukaze (tc) 06:50, 6 September 2015 (UTC)

This seems possible, since it is pronounced as in Min Nan. Justinrleung (talk) 22:46, 20 September 2015 (UTC)


The etymology section (English) is confusing and reads like it was written by several arguing people (who have nothing but contempt for each other). WurdSnatcher (talk)

Pretty dreadful - and also most of the "information" pertains to Niger, not Nigeria. I've shorn it down to a barebones "From Medieval Latin" etymology, and directed people to Niger#Etymology for further information. Smurrayinchester (talk) 09:40, 11 September 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! WurdSnatcher (talk)

Proto-Germanic *ēlazEdit

Why do we reconstruct an e-vowel when all the descendants seemingly have a reflex of an a-vowel? --WikiTiki89 22:02, 11 September 2015 (UTC)

If this is a general rule, then let's say this question is about Germanic phonology in general. --WikiTiki89 22:08, 11 September 2015 (UTC)
I believe the derives from PIE / *eh₁ and is continued in Gothic as ē; though not for this etymon (See *dēdiz). —JohnC5 22:51, 11 September 2015 (UTC)
Also, more information here. —JohnC5 23:00, 11 September 2015 (UTC)
In all the descendants, the vowel is long. That points to an original long ē. There was no long ā in Proto-Germanic. —CodeCat 23:08, 11 September 2015 (UTC)
If this word were attested in Gothic it would be els (e is always long in Gothic). The vowel that shows up in Gothic as e and in North and West Germanic as ā (but ǣ in Old English and ē in Old Frisian) is usually reconstructed as *ē, sometimes written *ē₁ or *ǣ. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 06:18, 12 September 2015 (UTC)
For words like this where there are clear differences, it might be useful to list the reconstructible Northwest Germanic form (*ālaz) somewhere, perhaps in the list of descendants, or under a ===Reconstruction=== header.
(Also, PGmc did have *ā, from earlier *aja, in e.g. *stāną ‎(to stand).) --Tropylium (talk) 15:05, 12 September 2015 (UTC)
Is there a case of this *ā that has a Gothic descendant? We don't seem to have one listed at *stāną. --WikiTiki89 19:33, 12 September 2015 (UTC)
It's an invention particular to Ringe, used to explain these verbs along with class 3 weak. So the only descendant of ā would be in the class 3 weak verbs in Gothic, if this explanation is valid. Other than that, the only source of Gothic ā is the sequence -anh-. —CodeCat 19:39, 12 September 2015 (UTC)
So you're saying that the Gothic reflex of this hypothetical *ā is ā? --WikiTiki89 19:55, 12 September 2015 (UTC)
Yes. —CodeCat 21:07, 12 September 2015 (UTC)


RFV of the Latin etymology.

This shows signs of too much rearranging by people who didn't understand what they were rearranging. As User:Dave crowley pointed out on the talk page, the un-metathesized hypothetical Latin equivalent isn't compatible with the metathesized Proto-Italic form, and the current wording is very confused about what changes happened when and why. Chuck Entz (talk) 06:54, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
Besides the incorrect *volquus, I don't see much that's wrong. I cleaned it up a bit and added a reference for what I changed. (The putative form that should have come about would be *luquus/*lucus, but I don't see much point in mentioning it. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 07:40, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

Terms with both known and unknown etymologyEdit

We normally categorize words in multiple etymological categories if their history can be traced thru multiple languages (e.g. Category:Spanish terms derived from Latin has, or at least should have, substantial overlap with Category:Spanish terms derived from Proto-Indo-European).

However, this practice might not work very well when it comes to "non-source" etymology categories, e.g. Category:Spanish terms with unknown etymologies. Consider matar: the page presents several possible etymologies, two from Latin and one from Arabic. Yet it is also classified together with words like lacha, with no known origin. But clearly we're dealing with two different things here: actually unetymologized words, and words with competing etymological proposals. (We do have e.g. Category:Spanish terms with multiple etymologies, but this appears to be actually for etymologically distinct homonyms, not for cases of disputed etymologies.) — Another type of example: Finnish hiili, which derives from a Proto-Finnic root; but it is also categorized as being of unknown origin (since the PF root is as well).

I suggest that the use of {{unk.}} should be restricted for terms whose origin is actually non-trivially unknown:

  • if a single term has multiple etymologies, we could bring in a category like "LANG terms with disputed etymologies" (or, I guess, leave the conflict only in the text).
  • if a term in a parent language is of unknown origin, only that entry should be categorized as being of unknown origin, not the descendants in the daughter languages.

("Non-trivially" in that we do not know the "ultimate" etymology of most words; all non-neologisms can at best only be traced back to oldest known proto-languages like Proto-Indo-European.)

I'm not sure if any editors are actively following either of the usages I'm questioning, but I'll raise this here for the record, before editing the template documentation and/or WT:ETYM. --Tropylium (talk) 15:05, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

I definitely agree on point 2. All words can only be traced so far, so there is always a point where we don't know anymore. As for point 1, I think "uncertain" or "unclear" is better than "disputed". —CodeCat 15:09, 13 September 2015 (UTC)


This is so obvious it discredits professional etymologists for not figuring it out. It is related to Latin digitus "finger" and Greek deiknumi "show." So dog originally meant "pointer." —This unsigned comment was added by The Sage of Main Street (talkcontribs).

  • Ho ho. We have a place for these but I've forgotten what it's called. Anyway, since most etymology is makebelieve I might as well leave it. SemperBlotto (talk) 14:09, 14 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Funnily enough, these words do appear to have common relatives in modern English... but these are teach (*taikijaną), token (*taikną) and toe (*taihwǭ). There was a strong tendency for the d sound to become t – hence why we say two when the Romans said duo. Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:21, 15 September 2015 (UTC)
    • Not so much a strong tendency as a law. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:59, 15 September 2015 (UTC)


(see this rather hasty example of Australian politics)

Noun sense 8 is:

(Australia, politics) A declaration that the leadership of a parliamentary party is vacant, and open for re-election. Short form of leadership spill

Which sense of spill does this derive from? I've found this memo from February 2015, which talks about "a motion to spill the leadership positions [of the party]", which sounds like it's a reference to throwing away the current leadership. But that still doesn't really explain why the word "spill" is used, rather than, I don't know, "election"? Any Aussies know where this jargon comes from? Keith the Koala (talk) 15:58, 14 September 2015 (UTC)

Could it have something to do with take a spill? Chuck Entz (talk) 01:51, 15 September 2015 (UTC)
My guess would be noun-sense-2: "A fall or stumble." (same sense as take a spill). If it was called an "election" that would imply a public election, but the election was internal (voted on by elected members of the party), so it's a spill. A public election is not a spill. No idea where it originates. Didn't realise it was an Australian thing, and really I'm not even sure any more which part of the process gets called a spill or how broadly the term can apply. Also I notice there's also an obsolete sense of "spill" meaning "to overthrow a person" listed in OED which might be related, but might be a coincidence. —Pengo (talk) 15:26, 15 September 2015 (UTC)
Our definition probably needs some work. Neither OED nor Macquarie definitions even mention re-election or leadership. OED: "A vacating of other posts after one important change of office." Macquarie: "the declaring vacant of a number of positions when one above them falls vacant" These definitions make it sound like "spill" refers to the change "spilling over" to the less senior positions, though I don't feel like any of the news coverage was really referring specifically to this. It was more about the contest ("Turnbull wins spill"), and treating the spill as the overall event rather than just the declaration ("Tony Abbott's love of onions recalled on social media during leadership spill") and to refer to the subsequent change of leadership ("the spill changes nothing"). But overall I'm more confused now than when I started looking into it. —Pengo (talk) 15:55, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

source in Appendix:Proto-Slavic/sinjьEdit

I find most interesting and credible the explanation for the meaning of Ἄξεινος as "Black sea" and I am quoting it on French wiktionnaire, Ἄξεινος, but it lacks a source... --Diligent (talk) 13:37, 18 September 2015 (UTC)

The source is Max Vasmer, but his explanation is possibly wrong. Read The Name of the Black Sea, an article by De Blois. --Vahag (talk) 17:13, 18 September 2015 (UTC)


A lot of craziness was going on in the etymology, so I notched it all down, but it would be nice to have something that could be referenced. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:46, 20 September 2015 (UTC)

Proto-Germanic entries of

This IP obviously knows a thing or two about the sound changes between Proto-Germanic and Old English, but a significant number of their Proto-Germanic entries have exactly one descendant, which doesn't exactly inspire confidence. I hope they're not going through an Old English word list and running the sound changes backwards to arrive at a "Proto-Germanic" reconstruction- but that's exactly what it looks like. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:37, 20 September 2015 (UTC)

Having only a single descendant doesn't automatically invalidate an entry — if there's a higher-level i.e. 'parent' i.e. PIE root with other descendants, then the Proto-Germanic step probably existed, unless loaning happened — but if there's no 'parent' root and only one descendant, it is suspicious, and it becomes downright implausible when there's ae process that would have created the form within the 'descendant' language. The scattered references I looked at analyse botettan as a compound formed in Old English, suggesting the Proto-Germanic page bōtatjaną should go. The situation is similar for Grīmaz (Köbler's etymological note on Grímr is to see gríma), and I can't find evidence of aikulaz either, nor ballukaz, baswaz, bōkōną, hampijaną or snigilaz (though I can find references for snagilaz), only some of which assert (without citing references) descent from PIE. þrawwaz is interesting (not necessarily invalid) in that it doesn't list regular descendants, only loans. - -sche (discuss) 17:44, 21 September 2015 (UTC)

Proto-Slavic *velťi or *velkti?Edit

See Russian воло́чь ‎(volóčʹ) (source: Vasmer) and влечь ‎(vlečʹ), Polish wlec (source: Derksen). Pls fix appropriately. (I used *velkti from the Polish entry in влечь). --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 13:25, 21 September 2015 (UTC)

ť and kt are essentially equivalent in Proto-Slavic. We used to use kt, but a while ago we switched to using ť. --WikiTiki89 14:49, 21 September 2015 (UTC)


Discussion moved from WT:FB.

Where did you find fokka? I’m having trouble finding it anywhere. -- 05:30, 21 September 2015 (UTC)

I sometimes wonder about etymologies marked "dialectal Swedish" (it sometimes seems to be a way for the linguist to give an otherwise obscure Germanic term a root), but in this case it's in Merriam-Webster, and I did find a couple of books that make the same claim: 1, 2. I don't know enough Swedish to verify whether it existed (if a dialectal word for "fuck" would be recorded hundreds of years ago), but it seems plausible - the closely related language of Danish has the cognate fokken. Smurrayinchester (talk) 20:54, 22 September 2015 (UTC)
Verifiable from Svenskt dialektlexikon (1862-1867), p. 188 ("Bhl." = Bohuslän). --Tropylium (talk) 15:34, 23 September 2015 (UTC)
Good find! Smurrayinchester (talk) 17:25, 23 September 2015 (UTC)

I made the Swedish section for it recently. fokka#Swedish --Romanophile (talk) 11:51, 25 September 2015 (UTC)

"Bahusia"? Can we use common terms please? I've never heard of this one. —CodeCat 18:31, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Indeed, that context label bordered on the useless. After poking around Wikipedia a bit, I think I've fixed the label. Or, I've completely screwed it up. Someone more familiar with Swedish should please have a look. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 23:58, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

*vesti vs. *veztiEdit

(Notifying CodeCat, Ivan Štambuk, Atitarev):

A while ago CodeCat decided that the infinitive of Proto-Slavic *vezǫ should be spelled *vesti rather than *vezti claiming in this discussion that "z automatically devoiced to s before t in Proto-Slavic". Only now I realize, how do we know that this is true and that devoicing didn't occur at later stages? Old East Slavic spelled this word as везти ‎(vezti), unlike Old Church Slavonic, which spelled it вести ‎(vesti) (at least based on our entries that was the case), indicating that it may have been pronounced with a [z], and Ukrainian still pronounces it with a [z]. So why are we so sure that it was devoiced in Proto-Slavic? --WikiTiki89 19:22, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

(Notifying CodeCat, Ivan Štambuk, Atitarev): Re-pinging people, since no one responded. --WikiTiki89 18:12, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
You're right. Vezti and vesti are two related but different verbs with different senses, inflections, descendants and pronunciations, including the infinitive. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 21:53, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
That wasn't the point. The question was only about the infinitive and only about how it should be spelled, which for a reconstruction reflects how we think it would have been pronounced. For example, if we were reconstructing Russian, we would spell both infinitives as vesti, because вести and везти are pronounced exactly the same. --WikiTiki89 22:28, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
Then the modern Ukrainian pronunciation should be taken into account. Why the two inflection paradigms shouldn't matter? The two verbs should be split in any case. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 23:36, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
The two verbs are split (see the entry), and if you read my original post, I already did mention Ukrainian. --WikiTiki89 02:47, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
  • You can't pronounce [zt] without some kind of (glottal) break, which either Ukrainian inserted (by analogy to present stem or under the influence of written forms) or the reconstruction of Proto-Slavic is wrong with respect to voiced-unvoiced sequences (which are unassimilated in uk in general). Another possibility is that uk (or perhaps OEsl.) recreated the form везти after that kind of assimilation ceased to be functional). Historical grammars of uk should be consulted if anyone has access to one. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 08:53, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
    • No, it's phonetically quite pronouncable, especially if you admit a degree of variation in where the voicing switches exactly (ranging from [z͡st] to [zd͡t]). --Tropylium (talk) 09:50, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
    • I agree that it is very possible that OES used везти as an etymological spelling, rather than a phonetic one, and that Ukrainian may have extended this to the pronunciation as well. Strong evidence of voicing in PS would be if we found a word with root-internal [zt] in OES or Ukrainian. If no such word is found, we are left to speculate. Do we know what respective infinitives of *wedʰ- and *weǵʰ- would have looked like in PIE? --WikiTiki89 14:59, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
      • PIE possess no infinitive form. Many descendant, including PS, take their infinitives from the PIE nominal suffix *-tis. This is, however, misleading because the descendants of original *-tis-stems all have the stressed zero-grade root in all of their descendants (e.g. *méntis > *mń̥tis > PS *pamętь, *wéh₁itis > *uh₁ítis > PS *vitь). If we found the PS descendant of *wédʰ-tis (which does give PG *gawissiz, we would expect to see *wédʰ-tis > *wét-tis > *wétstis > *útstis > PS ?*ъsti. In this situation we would not only see a different root grade in the stem but also dental assimilation and assibilation in PIE. Similarly *wéǵʰ-tis should probably produce PS ?*ъzti, though I do not know whether the *z should assimilate in this case. As such, either form *vesti or *vezti should be a PS formation. —JohnC5 15:43, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
        • @JohnC5: The intent of my question was to determine whether voicing assimilation occurred before PS in each case. You seem to be saying that with *wédʰ-tis it occurred early on, before the frication of the *-dʰ-, while for *wéǵʰ-tis, it may be that no voicing assimilation occurred at all before PS. Is that correct? Also, why do you suggest *weC- > *uC- > *ъC-? There is no word-initial ъ in PS. --WikiTiki89 15:59, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
        • (edit conflict) There was voicing assimilation already in PIE. Anything spelled -ǵʰt- for morphological reasons would have been pronounced -ḱt- in PIE and would (barring analogical re-formation) have developed exactly like any other -ḱt-. If any Slavic language truly has phonetic [zt] in this (or any other) word, it can't be very old, but must be a relatively new case of analogy/paradigm leveling. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:02, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
        • P.S.: word-initial ъ got prothetic v in PS, so *ъsti and *ъzti would be *vъsti and *vъzti respectively. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:04, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
          • @Wikitiki89: Sorry for the confusion on my part. My guess of word-initial stemmed from a lack of knowledge of how word initial PIE *u descended into PS. My long-winded and tangential answer was to say that the full-grade stem form prevented either infinitive from being a direct PIE descendant regardless of PIE assimilation rules. Also, Aɴɢʀ is absolutely correct that *-ǵʰt- would become *-ḱt- in PIE. —JohnC5 16:15, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
            • There is no evidence that assimilation occurred in PIE already. In fact, w:Bartholomae's law requires its absence. —CodeCat 16:47, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
              • …yes. Regardless, the point about the root grade still stands. —JohnC5 16:57, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
                • But *vъsti / *vъzti > *vesti / *vezti through leveling is also possible. Anyway, the change *ved-ti > *vesti could not have occurred within PS. --WikiTiki89 17:30, 30 September 2015 (UTC)


Claims that it came from PIE, but it did not name a specific root. Hillcrest98 (talk) 21:52, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

According to zolfo (Italian), it's from *swelplos, from the root *swel- ‎(to burn, smoulder). Sounds plausible (it would correlate with Proto-Germanic *sweblaz) - any PIE experts able to back that up? Smurrayinchester (talk) 13:39, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
According to Kroonen[1], we are dealing with a pre-IE Wanderwort reflected in Latin, Germanic, Armenian, Hebrew, Mongolian, Turkish. --Vahag (talk) 14:36, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
So De Vaan[2] would like to derive the original form sulpur from an unattested ablaut r/n-stem *sólp-r from *selp- ‎(fat) and compares it to ὄλπη ‎(ólpē). This root does have an s-stem *sélpos that gives AG ἔλπος ‎(élpos, olive oil)/ἔλφος ‎(élphos, butter)[3], Albanian gjalpë ‎(butter)[4][5], and Tocharian A/B ṣälyp/ṣalype[6]. Also *solpéh₂ > PG *salbō, a secondary -ís formation > Sanskrit सर्पिस् ‎(sarpís), and *sl̥prós > सृप्र ‎(sṛprá).[7] Beekes, however, does not believe that ὄλπη and ἔλπος are related, though the LIN[8] derives ὄλπη from *solpéh₂. None of the sources discussing *selp- derived sulpur from it except De Vaan, though the semantics of fat, oil, ointment > sulfur do not seem plausible to me. With this information, I am more inclined to trust Kroonen's claim that it is a non-IE Wanderwort. —JohnC5 16:18, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
Let's try to map this out. So far, this is mostly guesswork, so feel free to add to it or modify it:
Still not sure where to put Slavic forms *sěra and OES цѣрь ‎(cěrĭ) (and whether they belong here at all). --WikiTiki89 17:30, 1 October 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ Guus Kroonen (2013), Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic, Leiden, Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, page 497
  2. ^ “sulpur” in Michiel de Vaan (2008), Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages, Leiden, Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, page 598
  3. ^ “ἔλπος” in Robert S. P. Beekes (2010) Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Leiden, Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, volume I, pages 415-516
  4. ^ “gjalpë” in Bardhyl Demiraj (1997) Albanische Etymologien: Untersuchungen zum albanischen Erbwortschatz, Leiden Studies in Indo-European, volume 7, Amsterdam-Atlanta: Rodopi, page 182
  5. ^ “gjalpë” in Vladimir Orel (1998), Albanian Etymological Dictionary, Ledien, Boston, Köln: Brill Academic Publishers, page 129
  6. ^ “ṣalype-” in Douglas Q. Adams's “A Dictionary of Tocharian B.” Leiden Studies in Indo-European 10 (1999).
  7. ^ Guus Kroonen (2013), Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic, Leiden, Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, page 424
  8. ^ Dagmar S. Wodtko, Britta Irslinger, Carolin Schneider (2008), Lexikon der indogermanischen Nomina, Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, pages 612-613

October 2015

Is Crimean Gothic descended from Gothic?Edit

Regarding diff, is Crimean Gothic descended from Wulfilan Gothic? I thought it was a separate East Germanic language. Pinging @Ivadon as the one who made the edit in question. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:13, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

It is currently described in Wikipedia as a Gothic dialect, although this had been changed a couple of times. At least my source supports that claim. --Ivadon (talk) 20:31, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

φέρω - suppletive formsEdit

Can the source of the 2-3 suppleted roots of this word can be found? I ran into this on WP while searching for suppleted words in IE languages. I haven't really studied ancient/proto- languages unlike many of you (I use pure lookup to get etymologies), but this sort of word origin stuff interests me. Hillcrest98 (talk) 23:42, 3 October 2015 (UTC)