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What is the origin of the word emergency? It appears to consist of emerge and -ency, but I'm not certain what word it was immediately derived from. Davidoko99 (talk) 02:20, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

I think the important question is how it went from its archaic meaning, which is close to the meaning of the Latin from which it seems to have come (emergo) to the current ones. That is the kind of thing that the OED could probably handle well. DCDuring TALK 03:10, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
This Google N-gram search tells a story which I render as follows:
In 1800 emergency was a relatively neutral term, requiring adjectives to characterize the situation as good or bad. It came to be applied more often to bad situations, ie, used with negative adjectives (though MW 2nd International (1934) did not reflect that in their definition). The Great Depression and WWII seem to have caused emergency to be used of adverse situations without any adjective. DCDuring TALK 17:07, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
I imagine use of "emergency" in reference to crises originated as part of the tendency of people to think and speak of crises and other distracting events as having 'arisen', 'come up', or 'become apparent', etc. ‘We were all set to leave town when something came up.’ ‘They were just about to launch the new product line when a flaw became apparent.’ Distracting problems and events arise, become apparent, emerge, hence they are emergencies. - -sche (discuss) 04:06, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Let's see how the term has been defined over the centuries.
The 1764 New, complete, and universal English dictionary defines "emergence, or emergency" as "the rising of a body out of any fluid, wherein it had been plunged", "the act of rising into view", "the first appearance of the sun or moon after an eclipse", "any sudden occasion, or unexpected casualty".
Thomas Sheridan's 1790 Complete Dictionary of the English Language defines emergence and emergency together as "the act of rising out of any fluid by which it is covered", "the act of rising into view", "any sudden occasion, unexpected casualty", "pressing necessity". Samuel Johnson's 1792 Dictionary of the English Language has exactly the same definitions as Sheridan, only with the note that sense 4 ("pressing necessity") is "not proper".
The 1914 Century Dictionary defines emergency as (1) emergence, i.e. "the act of rising from or out of that which covers or conceals; a coming forth or into view" (it marks this sense as obsolete and gives a citation that talks about "the emergency of colours"), (2) "a sudden or unexpected happening; an unforeseen occurrence or condition; specifically, a perplexing contingency or complication of circumstances", (3) "a sudden or unexpected occasion for action; exigency; pressing necessity" (synonyms: crisis, pinch and strait), (4) "something not calculated upon; an unexpected gain; a casual profit" (this sense is also marked as obsolete, and has a citation talking about "the rents, profits, and emergencies belonging to a Bishop").
- -sche (discuss) 04:02, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
John Donne used the more general sense " in every emergency and occasion" in a sermon of 1631, and Johnson (1709–84) called the urgency, pressing need usage "A sense not proper", but the most modern sense of crisis seems to have developed gradually, with the word emergence now being used for older senses. The earliest cites in the OED for anything like the modern sense are "In any Case of Emergency, [he] could employ the whole Wealth of his Empire" (Joseph Addison in 1716) and "Relief on sudden emergencies" (R Burn's history of the poor laws in 1764). Dbfirs 21:34, 25 August 2014 (UTC)


Is Old Russian вонꙗти (vonjati) reconstruction correct? I mean the spelling? Vasmer suggests obviously incorrect воняти (vonjati) and the same spelling for Old Church Slavonic. (Quoting Vasmer: др.-русск. воняти "пахнуть", цслав. воняти "olere", сербохорв. во̀њати "вонять", словен. vonjáti, чеш. voněti "пахнуть, благоухать", слвц. voňat', польск. wonieć.) --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 03:11, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

Note that if it is reconstructed rather than attested, then the correct entry is *вонꙗти (*vonjati). My guess is that if it is attested, the more likely spelling in Old Russian would have been вонѧти (vonęti), even if it does not derive from a nasal vowel, and in OCS, it probably would have been spelled вонѣти (voněti). Also, the modern я (ja) is really just a graphical variant of ѧ (ę), so I wouldn't consider Vasmer's spelling "incorrect", but rather simply not conforming to our conventions. --WikiTiki89 13:41, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. I should have made it clear that I also wish to check if it was "ja" (as per Vasmer) or a nasal sound as well. Yes, вонѧти (vonęti) seems more likely. I will update the entry. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 14:02, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
But once again, that's a guess. The only real resource for this is manuscripts. --WikiTiki89 14:09, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
I may put "possibly" from... Will that be better? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 14:19, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
No, because we know it is from that word, we just don't know how it was spelled. I would just put an asterisk. --WikiTiki89 14:22, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Although, it's in this dictionary, which is enough for me for now. --WikiTiki89 14:42, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Ah, that one, good dictionary. Thanks again. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 14:45, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Even though the citation spells it as вонѩті (vonjęti), I think it is ok to normalize spellings, which we do for pretty much all old languages. --WikiTiki89 14:46, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Don't you think it may also be possible that "j" was there? Polish, Czech, Serbo-Croatian, etc. all ended up with palatalised [nʲ]. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 14:50, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Compare with пѩть (pjętĭ) -> пять (pjatʹ). --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 14:55, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that in Old Russian, palatalization had already fully taken place, so ѧ and ѩ were just spelling variants of the same sound. --WikiTiki89 14:57, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Palatalisation of consonants before front vowels was a dialectal thing in late Proto-Slavic. It was more prominent in the northern and eastern languages, and seemed to have disappeared very early on in the southern languages, if it existed at all. Consequently, -ne- and -nje- are indistinguishable in the palatalising languages, but are distinct in the languages that did not palatalise. Similar for -nę- and -nję-. So if a non-palatalising language like Serbo-Croatian reflects -nj- then it must be original. —CodeCat 17:43, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
I agree that the Proto-Slavic reconstruction should probably be *vonjati (although that does not explain Czech vonět and Polish wonieć), but I think that Anatoli was only asking about the spelling in Old Russian. --WikiTiki89 21:04, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
I know that Czech often raises front vowels before palatal consonants, so ja > je (spelled ě) is a regular change. I don't know about Polish but there may be something similar. —CodeCat 21:16, 2 August 2014 (UTC)

Re: that does not explain Czech vonět and Polish wonieć. In case it's not obvious, Polish and Czech terms both have [nʲ]. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 07:45, 3 August 2014 (UTC)

I was referring to the vowel. --WikiTiki89 17:31, 3 August 2014 (UTC)

Proto-Slavic *obrusъ

This entry for *obrusъ lists only Ukrainian, Polish, and Slovak descendants. Is this really enough to reconstruct this all the way back to Proto-Slavic? Especially since these three languages have always been in close contact. --WikiTiki89 17:37, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

There are more descendants, which I added with references. --Vahag (talk) 19:47, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
Oh ok, I'm satisfied. It just seemed like a really strange word to me (I've never heard it in Russian), and the choice of listed languages was suspicious. --WikiTiki89 20:15, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

Slavic rain, yet again...

Useigor (talkcontribs) has just moved *dъžďь to *dъždžь. Is this justified? --WikiTiki89 16:34, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

A little while ago we established in the ES that there is no discernable difference in any attested Slavic between -šť- and -šč-. So presumably the same applies to its voiced counterpart too? —CodeCat 16:36, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
If that's the case, then we need to standardize to one of them and use it everywhere. --WikiTiki89 16:44, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
It was back in may, in a discussion concerning this same word. —CodeCat 16:48, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
Oh wait, my bad. I was confused by the fact that we still had links to *dъžďь in etymologies, which is why I must've accidentally created the page there. --WikiTiki89 16:55, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
Actually it was in April. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:26, 7 August 2014 (UTC)


Are there any cognates in West or South Slavic? Vasmer does not list any. Is there enough information to reconstruct Proto-Slavic *sěmija? --WikiTiki89 14:47, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

According to Chernykh, also Bulgarian семе́йство (seméjstvo), семе́ен (seméen), семе́йна (seméjna). He remarks that in other Slavic languages the word vacat. --Vahag (talk) 14:02, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
I wish I could read that. What's a good in-browser djvu reader? --WikiTiki89 14:12, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
This one is good and official. --Vahag (talk) 15:45, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks! It seems your source reconstructs PS *sěmьja instead. This makes much more sense given семе́йство (seméjstvo), which I forgot to consider. I'm going to go ahead and create *sěmьja, and possibly also *sěmьjьstvo and *sěmьjьnъ. --WikiTiki89 17:45, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Latvian grēks

Is this derived from Slavic *grěxъ or a descendant? It's too similar to be coincidence, and borrowing from Slavic seems more likely than common inheritance as Slavic *x normally corresponds to Latvian /s/. Latvian also has no /x/ so it seems plausible that /k/ would be used as a substitute. —CodeCat 20:52, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

According to Karulis, vol. I, page 312, borrowed from Old East Slavic грѣхъ (grěxŭ). --Vahag (talk) 06:28, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. Could you add a reference to the source in the entry? I don't have access to it. —CodeCat 12:06, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I can. --Vahag (talk) 13:56, 12 August 2014 (UTC)


Until 30 July the etymology section of bubby said "See booby". Every source I've seen (including booby on Wiktionary) suggests that bubby is the older form. I added an etymology, "From German bübbi ("teat"). Although some speculate connection to French poupe, this suggestion is dubious." User:-sche asks, "according to whom?"

This is according to the revised Oxford English Dictionary, among others. Wester's second says, "OF. poupe, a woman's breast." I don't have the OED here – it's at the office – but as I recall it says more or less outright that it's from bübbi and earlier etymologies via poupe are wrong. I don't think OED refers to Webster's 2. My "but that is dubious" was intended as less than outright rejection. As -sche notes, there are various references, many older, that say it is from French poupe (teat) or Latin pupa (girl). Cnilep (talk) 00:57, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

Ah. I don't have access to any full copy of the OED, so that's why I didn't know they were the source of the poo-pooing of the poupe theory. The version I supplied as a reference for the German theory →ISBN just happened to turn up on Google Books (though, oddly, it doesn't anymore) and didn't mention French at all. I've since found a snopes page which quotes the OED's etymology in full; from that, I've found that the OED has actually deprecated poupe since the 1887 edition. How's this? - -sche (discuss) 02:32, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

One can break in online.

† ˈbubby, n.1
Etymology: Compare German bübbi teat (Grimm). Connection with French poupe teat of an animal (formerly also of a woman), Provençal popa, Italian poppa teat, is very doubtful.
Obs. or dial.
A woman's breast.
1690 T. D'Urfey New Poems 206 The Ladies here may without Scandal shew Face or white Bubbies, to each ogling Beau.

booby, n.2
= bubby n.1 slang (orig. U.S.).
1934 H. Miller Tropic of Cancer 315 She was lying on the divan with her boobies in her hands.

boob, n.
4. [probably shortening of booby n.2] pl. The breasts. slang (orig. U.S.).
1949 H. Miller Sexus (1969) xiii. 305, I felt her sloshy boobs joggling me but I was too intent on pursuing the ramifications of Coleridge's amazing mind to let her vegetable appendages disturb me.

OED doesn't say so, but I believe it derives from bob 1 and 2:

bob, n.1
Etymology: Of unknown origin: Irish baban tassel, cluster, Gaelic baban , babag , have been compared. Some of the senses are < bob v.1
1. A bunch or cluster (of leaves, flowers, fruit, etc.). north. Still in Scotland the name for a bunch, nosegay, or small bouquet of flowers.
c1400 (▸?c1390) Sir Gawain & Green Knight (1940) l. 206 In his on honde he hade a holyn bobbe.
c1400 MS. Lincoln A. i. 17. f. 42 (Halliw.) , With wondere grete bobbis of grapes, for a mane myȝte unnethez bere ane of them.
a. A rounded mass or lump at the end of a rod or the like; a knob. Obs. in general sense.
1601 P. Holland tr. Pliny Hist. World I. 252 [Lobsters'] hornes..haue a round point or bob at the end.

bob, v.3
Etymology: Used since the 16th (? 14th) cent. Apparently onomatopoeic, expressing short jerking or rebounding motion. There is an obvious association with certain senses of bob n.1, especially those of the ball of a pendulum, plummet, tassel, pendant, all of which ‘bob’ when moved; but it is doubtful whether this is original or subsequent. There is also contact with the senses of bob v.2(Show Less)
a. intr. To move up and down like a buoyant body in water, or an elastic body on land; hence, to dance; to move to and fro with a similar motion, esp. said of hanging things rebounding from objects lightly struck by them.
[1386 Chaucer Manciple's Prol. 2 A litel toun, which that ycleped is Bobbe up and down Vnder the Blee in Caunterbury weye.]
1568 Christis Kirk on Grene in W. T. Ritchie Bannatyne MS (1928) II. 263 Platfute he bobbit vp wt bendis for mald he maid requeist.
1611 T. Coryate Crudities sig. Hv, Many tassels bobbing about.
pab shag, refuse of flax, wooly hair, and (M`A.) tassel (= bab), Middle Irish papp, popp, sprig, tuft, Early Irish popp, bunch, which Stokes refers to a Celtic *bobbъ-, *bhobh-nъ-, from *bhobh, *bhabh, Latin faba, bean, Greek @Gpomfуs, blister, pйmfix, bubble, Lettic bamba, ball, Indo-European bhembho-, inflate. English bob, cluster, bunch, appears in the 14th century, and Scottish has bob, bab correspondingly; the Gadelic and English are clearly connected, but which borrowed it is hard to say. the meaning of pab as "shag, flax refuse" appears in the Scottish pab, pob. Borrowing from Latin papula, pimple, root pap, swell, has been suggested.

pap, n.1
Etymology: Origin uncertain. Perhaps < classical Latin papilla nipple (see papilla n.), or perhaps < early Scandinavian, though not recorded in Scandinavian languages until much later (compare Swedish regional pappe , papp , Norwegian regional pappe , Danish papa ; compare also North Frisian pap , pape breast; probably of imitative origin; perhaps compare Lithuanian papas (imitative and children's language) nipple), or perhaps an imitative formation within Middle English (compare pap n.2). Compare mama n.1
Now arch. and regional (chiefly Sc. and Eng. regional (north.)).
a. A woman's breast or (now rare) nipple. Also fig. Now chiefly arch. and Sc., Eng. regional (north.), Irish English, and U.S. (Midland).
?c1200 Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 6441 Hiss moderr..fedde himm wiþþ þatt illke millc Þatt comm off hire pappe.
a1250 (▸?a1200) Ancrene Riwle (Titus) (1963) 117 Eadmodnesse..hailses meaðlesliche..on his moder teares, O þe pappes [c1230 Corpus Cambr. tittes] þat he seac.

bean, n.
Etymology: Common Germanic: Old English béan (feminine) = Old High German bôna, modern German bohne, Middle Dutch bone, Dutch boon, Old Norse baun < Germanic *baunâ (strong feminine); conjectured by Fick to be for an earlier babna, cognate with Latin faba, Slavonic bobŭ, Old Prussian babo; but phonetic considerations render this doubtful.
1. A smooth, kidney-shaped, laterally flattened seed, borne in long pods by a leguminous plant, Faba vulgaris.
c1000 Sax. Leechd. II. 84 Genim bean mela.
2. The cultivated plant that bears this seed; it has fragrant violet-tinted white flowers, whence the often-mentioned ‘fragrance of the bean-fields’.
940 Chart. Eadmund in Cod. Dipl. V. 265 Of þistelleage to beanleage.


From Middle English bene, from Old English bēan (“bean, pea, legume”), from Proto-Germanic *baunō (“bean”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰabʰ- (“bean”). Cognate with Scots bene, bein (“bean”), West Frisian bean (“bean”), Dutch boon (“bean”), German Bohne (“bean”), Danish bønne (“bean”), Icelandic baun (“bean”), Latin faba (“bean”), Russian боб (bob, “bean”).


bubble, v.
Etymology: Found (in bubbling n.) a1400. Parallel words are Swedish bubla , Danish boble , modern Dutch and Low German bobbelen , modern German dialect bobbelen , bubbelen ; all of these are modern, and it is doubtful how far they are related to each other, or are merely parallel imitative words, suggested either by the sound of bubbles forming and bursting, or by the action of the lips in making a bubble. The English bubble can hardly be separated from the earlier burble n.1, common in the same sense from 1300; compare gurgle and guggle . In bubble the verb is the source of the noun as a whole, but 5 appears to be derived < bubble n. 3, and in turn to have given rise to bubble n. 5.
1. intr. To form bubbles (as boiling water, a running stream, etc.); to rise in bubbles (as gas through liquid, water from a spring, etc.; often with out or up); to emit the sounds due to the formation and bursting of bubbles.
1398 [implied in: J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomew de Glanville De Proprietatibus Rerum xi. xiv, And whan þat fyre is queynte in watry cloudes, þe bobelynge..and crakkes of þat quenchynge is clepid þonder. (at bubbling n. 1)].
1477 T. Norton Ordinall of Alchimy in Ashm. iv. (1652) 47 Remember that Water will buble and boyle.

I would see bubo and pubes. These along with bob and papula show reduplication of a root that may be preserved in boil and bowl/boll/bole/bulla, parallel with ball and belly and descendant of bell. So the development goes as boob < booby < bubby < bubble < bob < boll < bell. Lysdexia (talk) 11:55, 28 August 2014 (UTC)


In what sense is the Finnish kakka "imitative"? Does it imitate the sound of defecation or what? Similar words in numerous Indo-European languages would suggest[1] that this is an Indo-European loanword. -- Puisque (talk) 18:16, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Imitative is perhaps not the right word, but it seems to be a very common baby-language word for poo that crosses language family borders, much like mama and papa/dada do. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:44, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Baltic (+ general vowel) questions

Could a hypothetical "Proto-Latvian" *kelias have been pronounced with the i as actual i, as in English ad hoc transcription kel-ee-us.

I probably make no sense but I'm trying to understand why "soft" Latvian sounds as in ceļš preclude vowel harmony/umlaut, in celts [tsælts] it is in operation because in *celtas the back -as made the e move further back to æ, why then the so called "palatal element" precludes vowel harmony? And it applies to j as well as in sēja [se:ja] as opposed to sēta [sæ:ta] when j is not even a vowel?

Two phonetics questions:

  • Is there such a thing as a "palatal vowel"? I suspect there should be some connection as front vowels (those who preclude harmony) are exactly the same that cause palatalization in Russian, Lithuanian and some varieties of Portuguese and palatalization even in the presence of a proceeding back vowel seems to preclude harmony as well. In that case all cases of e's not backing to æ could be blamed on "palatal something"
  • Is it meaningful to say that "æ is more back than e"? Vowel charts seem to be trapezoid for a reason with the bottom front back vowels being closer to each other but I don't know where to look for confirmation that æ is indeed more back than e (which is higher up the trapezoid and further away from the back vowels). Neitrāls vārds (talk) 22:58, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
It's been a long time since I looked into this, so I may be remembering this wrong, but I believe that a major difference between Latvian and Lithuanian is that Latvian fixed the mobile accent in one place, which tends to reduce the vowels in syllables after the accent. Looking at cognates in Lithuanian, which still has the mobile accent, may give you clues as to what the non-reduced forms of the vowels were. That's not to say that there are still underlying vowels hidden in final syllables, but that they may have blocked sound changes in an earlier stage of the language before disappearing.
As to your first "phonetics" question (I would call it more of a phonology question): palatalization can be described as both bringing the tongue forward and raising the tongue toward the palate. That means that any high vowel that's further forward than the consonant in question or any non-low front vowel is likely to have a palatalizing effect, though the phonological rules of the language will determine under what circumstances, and may induce similar effects from other sounds. If you think about it, the palatal approximant j is basically the semivowel counterpart of the the high front vowel i, so calling i a palatal vowel is not that much of a stretch.
As to your second question: I believe it is further back, but there again, a lot of what that means has as much to do with the phonological rules of the language as with the physical position of the tongue. It's not uncommon for a sound to be perceived one way in isolation and another in the neighborhood of other sounds, or to be perceived differently by people of different linguistic backgrounds- even though every physical measurement of its acoustic properties shows that it's exactly the same.
You also have to realize that much of what we consider to be a given sound often really comes from the effect it has on other sounds. The most extreme example of this is voiceless, unaspirated stops: they literally have no sound at all. What you hear as an unaspirated p is really the pattern of the frequency associated with the front of the mouth in a preceding vowel lowering as the rounding of the lips increases the size of the resonating chamber, and the same frequency rising in a following vowel as the lips are unrounding. Palatalization has as much to do with the neighboring vowels as it does with the consonants themselves. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:24, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, it seems there are not so much "palatal vowels" but rather "front consonants" or rather just good ole palatal consonants which have moved closer to where the front vowels are articulated – the palate. So instead of looking for a *kel-EE-us and similar mental acrobatics I could just assume that the place of articulation of soft consonants is close to the place for front vowels which preclude the "broadening" of e in vowel harmony and that's that.
I'm trying to wrap up/go over some passages I've written on and let's say it's not the most yielding subject as Latvian linguists seem to be absolutely obsessed and jealous of Lithuanian while Latvian phonology (I would say at this point) seems to be wholesale imported from Uralic even down to vowel harmony (disappeared in standard (Northern) Estonian and Livonian but still present in Võro spoken right along Latvian border.
I guess this is easy to understand as Lithuanian saw a Cinderella story in the formative years of modern comparative linguistics from this tiny languages no one GAF about it turned into a celebrity overnight, all the archaic features, Sanskrit cognates, etc. It's easy to understand why lv's where so jelly. The glamour of "ancient eastern wisdom" extended well into 20. century (Hitler's Aryans anyone?) Hunger for eastern goods was the reason Americas were discovered to begin with...
So, now I'm trying to deal with some of this crazy Lithuanian jealousy in my lv phonology write ups, just now I read a passage by Endzelīns where he'd managed to dig up some tiny Lithuanian dialect (spoken near Latvian border from what I understand) that also exhibits (Uralic-inspired according to more "impartial" English language sources) vowel harmony, goes without saying he doesn't attempt to explain it in a more in-depth manner...
Thankfully "aerial linguistics" seem to be coming en vogue in English academia and with Latvian being one of the more heavily "creolized" languages outside of Balkans this is good news. Finno-Ugristics also seem to be becoming more fashionable in Latvia so I'm really looking forward to some less sh*tty lv linguistics in the future (i.e. people who are actually able to pin-point the processes in lv based on their fiu knowledge instead of trying to somehow sweep them under the rug not to depart from the usual party line "hey we are just like Lithuanians, look we have Sanskrit cognates too! Guys, guys?")
So, that's my back story, in case you were interested :D Neitrāls vārds (talk) 21:30, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
On's article for palatalization there has appeared a sentence the term palatalized vowel is also sometimes used, to refer to a vowel that has become fronter or closer, now, if I could find some external references for this then I would be all set. Neitrāls vārds (talk) 22:32, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
@Neitrāls vārds w:I-mutation. --WikiTiki89 22:37, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks! I didn't know it included /j/ (which is exactly what I'm looking for) I would only need to flip it upside down as in lv back vowels are causing backing of e's (to æ's) and i's and j's are those that preclude it and make e's stay e's (more front). Neitrāls vārds (talk) 23:06, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
My personal theory is that it's the mobile accent that makes Lithuanian so archaic: it's harder to simplify the morphology if any part of the word might be accented. There are plenty of consonant and vowel changes, but the overall structure is maintained, which allows for morpheme-by-morpheme comparison of the sounds with other branches of Indo-European. I don't think it's a coincidence that other archaic Indo-European languages such as Sanskrit and Greek have some version of the original PIE mobile accent as well.
That's not to say that Latvian is of no interest to students of PIE: it preserves some things that Lithuanian doesn't- it's just harder to see them because of the changes Latvian went through. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:03, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
A very striking archaism in Latvian is its "broken tone". This feature is a direct continuation of vowels lengthened by laryngeals, at least in most cases. —CodeCat 23:06, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
@Chuck Entz, yes, moving stress to first syl. sets off an entire chain reaction yet again a Uralic influence (although I recently read Endzelīns going on a mental acrobatics stint trying to claim that Latvians themselves decided to do this and that Livonians provided only "coincidental, side-inspiration." One word: lol) If I could choose I'd rather have Latvian be completely ignored by Ide. linguistics if this would mean that its phonology would be explained in a more appropriate manner, i.e., by fiu trained linguists instead of desperate scrambling for some tiny Lithuanian dialects near Latvian border when you have to look for the source of the phenomenon in question north(!) of Latvian border.
@CC, yeah, that's what I've heard. lv linguists identify broken tones in non-stressed (not first) syllables as well (although personally I'm not sure if I hear them, of course my motivations are very utilitarian, level is the default and broken tone (in the stressed syllable) in some rare cases helps distinguish near homophones.) Neitrāls vārds (talk) 23:37, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
  • This is a board for specific issues involving Wiktionary etymologies, not general questions like this. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 16:02, 16 August 2014 (UTC)

Proto-Slavic *svirěpъ

There are two things that confuse me about the descendants: the seemingly random dispersion of svi- and sve-, and the lack of Serbo-Croatian Ijekavian svirjep (having svirep instead). --WikiTiki89 18:11, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

Ivan answered my second question in this edit. --WikiTiki89 14:36, 18 August 2014 (UTC)


Other editors' input is requested at Talk:Goídel. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 05:56, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Proto-Slavic *ogǫnь

Most Slavic languages inserted an epenthetic *-ъ- into *ognь, making *ogъnь. But, is it possible that Proto-Bulgarian inserted an epenthetic *-ǫ- instead, making *ogǫnь? Although and merged in modern Bulgarian, the word was written огѫнь (ogǫnʹ) in the old orthography, and they did not merge in Macedonian, which has оган (ogan) (*ogъnь would have produced *огон (*ogon)). This would also explain why the -ъ- (-ǎ-) in огън (ogǎn) is not dropped in the definite form огънят (ogǎnjat). --WikiTiki89 20:06, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

*ǫ was essentially the nasal variant of *ъ. As there was an immediately following *n here, it's possible that this caused some fluctuation between a nasal and non-nasal vowel. There are a few attested examples of denasalisation in OCS, but I don't know if it could happen in reverse. It seems like a rather sporadic change in any case. —CodeCat 20:16, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
But was also a long vowel, while was short or even ultrashort. --WikiTiki89 20:17, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
That only applies up to Middle Common Slavic. By Late Common Slavic, accentual changes had disrupted the distribution of original vowel lengths so that there was no correspondence anymore. —CodeCat 20:29, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Yet it was only the yers, not the yuses, that were dropped, so there must have been some difference other than nasalization. By the way, where can I read in detail about all these accentual changes? --WikiTiki89 20:41, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
w:History of Proto-Slavic has a lot of information. And yes, there definitely was a difference but it was dialectal as they show different outcomes in different languages. —CodeCat 20:45, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
But the yers were dropped in all languages, while the yuses were kept in all languages. --WikiTiki89 20:53, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
  • огѫнь seems to be some kind of made-up non-etymological spelling and not listed in the dictionaries. Where did you find it? --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 19:43, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
    @Ivan Štambuk «Френско-Български Рѣчникъ» s.v. Feu (p. 185). But after investigating further, it does seem that that dictionary overuses the letter ѫ. I think that it should probably be moved to огънь (ogǎnʹ). --WikiTiki89 01:15, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
    It's an old spelling. Bulgarian used both ѣ and ѫ in normal writing until 1945. —CodeCat 01:26, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
    They are both old spellings, the difference being that огѫнь (ogǫnʹ) does not seem to exist outside of this one French-Bulgarian dictionary. --WikiTiki89 19:58, 14 September 2014 (UTC)


I know the OED does not agree with me on this, but I am sure that the word 'trice' in the sense of 'an instant' is just a transposition of 'tierce', meaning 'a sixtieth of a second'. There might have been some influence from 'trice' meaning 'tug', but it seems unlikely, given that it has no connotation of speed. It is more likely that the prefix 'tri-' meaning 'three-' was the cause, given that it was the third sub-category of 'hour'. Any thoughts? OsmNacht (talk) 10:49, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Has tierce ever been used as trice is in the sense of "an instant"? DCDuring TALK 12:09, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
The OED makes a good argument, with cites going back to 1440 (though tierce is equally ancient). Tierce is really a third part, not a tertiary division unit. When did this derived sense of a sixtieth of a second appear? (My guess is that it's relatively recent, though, of course, the Babylonian unit is over 3000 years old.) The usage from a "brief tug" goes back 500 years. Compare Spanish en un tris and French tout d'un coup (parallel developments, not origins). Dbfirs 21:03, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
I can't help much with this, but I can say that the second and tierce/third as units of time are surprisingly old - older than clocks capable of measuring these time periods accurately, in fact, since the ability to work with very small units of time was needed for astronomical calculations. In 1267, Roger Bacon calculated the time of the full moon right down to the "quarta" of a second (i.e. a sixtieth of a tierce), according to Wikipedia. He used the Latin equivalents in writing, of course - I'm not sure whether the English equivalents were used in speech. Smurrayinchester (talk) 09:37, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

Both prefix and suffix

If for example, you have a word with both a prefix and a suffix, like "disestablishment". And you want to show both the prefix "dis-" and the suffix "-ment" in the etymology. How do you do that? It seems that you're only allowed to put either prefix or suffix. I'm asking this for a word in another language, you see. Because in English, you can just like use "disestablish" as the etymological root word and add the suffix "-ment", but in the word of another language I'm editing, just placing the prefix to the root word is a non-existent word. So, is it possible to put both prefix and suffix in the etymology at the same time? Thanks. --Mar vin kaiser (talk) 03:33, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

You are looking for confix. Equinox 03:33, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
Personally, I prefer something like this: {{prefix|dis|lang=en}} {{m|en|establish}} {{suffix||ment|lang=en}}: dis- +‎ establish +‎ -ment --WikiTiki89 11:50, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
That's exactly what {{confix}} does though. —CodeCat 15:01, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
I know, and I prefer not to use it. --WikiTiki89 15:18, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
Any particular reason, Bartleby? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 17:29, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
I think it's easier to read on the code side. I've even been thinking about proposing that single prefixes and suffixes be used like this as well: {{pfx|en|un}} + {{m|en|do}}: un- +‎ do. It's not like the "+" is so hard to type, and additionally it makes it easier to add transliterations and other annotations and even to mix languages when necessary. Also, most people don't know what a confix is. --WikiTiki89 17:58, 26 August 2014 (UTC)


Anyone have any clue why Kroonen reconstructs the root with *h₃-? (Some proposed Anatolian cognate perhaps?) The cited Russian cognate has e-, which points to *h₁-, and the obvious root is *h₁erǵʰ-, which LIV glosses as "besteigen, i. e., to climb, mount, ascend", and adds that per Watkins, it can (besides its neutral meaning "steigen, i. e., to rise, ascend", hence "gehen, kommen, i. e., to go, come") refer to copulation in animals (just like besteigen and mount) and is the source of *h₁orǵʰi- "Hode, i. e., testicle". I happen to find that explanation completely plausible and fail to see the need for the proposal of an additional root starting in *h₃-, especially in view of the Russian cognate, which also points towards *h₁-, even if the Lithuanian variant starting in e- can easily be explained away differently. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:29, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

Hittite arkari, ark- (to mount, cover, copulate), Ancient Greek ὄρχις (órkhis, testicles), Middle Irish uirge (testicles), Armenian որձիք (orjikʿ, testicles), Albanian herdhe (testicles). The latter seems to be the source of the reconstruction as *h₃-, according to Matasovic, who suggests that the h- could be secondary. Kroonen, Beekes and Kloekhorst all list *h₃-, and Martirosyan prefers it to *h₁-, so that's what I went with. If you like, I could list the other reconstruction as an alternative. Anglom (talk) 16:54, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

κατά and Appendix:Proto-Germanic/gadōną

Are these cognate? Lysdexia (talk) 07:45, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

Greek initial k- and Germanic initial g- can't be cognates. According to Grimm's law, k becomes h. —CodeCat 11:52, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

If that were so, there should be almost no voiced stops in Germanic. But co- and ge- disprove Grimm's law. Lysdexia (talk) 12:07, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

Grimm's law has stood the test of time over centuries- lack of understanding on your part doesn't prove anything. Please read up on w:Grimm's law before you embarrass yourself any more: it's a chain shift, so aspirates became voiced in German, voiced became voiceless, and voiceless became fricatives. There's also voicing via w:Verner's law, but that only happened after unaccented syllables in the same word. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:32, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

The lack of understanding and embarrassment are on your end. w:Grimm's law was where I went earlier today and months ago and still it has no solution for my case. Your Wiktionary disagrees with you also:


From Old High German ga-, gi-, from Proto-Germanic *ga-, from Proto-Indo-European *ḱóm. Cognate with Low German ge-, e-, Dutch ge-, Old English ġe- (obsolete English y-, i-, a-), Gothic 𐌲𐌰- (ga-).

A palatal stop became a voiced stop or fricative g or ɣ. There was no voiced aspirate stop *gʰo- to show of. Lysdexia (talk) 02:57, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

I'm sorry for being rude: I overreacted to the "disprove Grimm's law" bit, which makes it look like you're saying that Grimm's law is completely wrong- at most, we're talking about a possible exception or complication, not the complete overturning of centuries' worth of scholarship about the relationship between Germanic and Indo-European. If you have evidence besides Wiktionary's etymology of a single morpheme, and it turns out you're right, I'm quite prepared to admit being wrong. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:25, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Unstressed affixes and function words often undergo spontaneous voicing in various languages; normally PIE *kom- should have become *xa- (also spelled *ha-) in Proto-Germanic, but it underwent spontaneous voicing to *ɣa- (also spelled *ga-). Other examples include the change from Old Irish co to Modern Irish go, and all the English function words starting with /ð/ such as the, this, that, there, then, etc., all of which had /θ/ in Old English; as well as the function words ending in voiced fricatives like is, was, of and so on. But since PG *gadōną isn't a function word it couldn't have undergone this spontaneous voicing, so it must come from something along the line of *gʰodʰ- or *gʰadʰ- and be unrelated to κατά. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:48, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
There is a Germanic cognate to Greek κατά; it is *hind- (English: behind, hinder, hind-, asf.) Leasnam (talk) 14:46, 1 September 2014 (UTC)