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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 +/-

June 2014[edit]


I'm doubtful of the English origin of Gujarati ઇસ્પિતાલ (ɪspɪt̪aːl). I believe this may actually be from the Old (or Middle?) Portuguese espital. My reasons are:

  • The dental (t̪); most loans from English that contain a t (alveolar) become a retroflex (ʈ) in Gujarati. Ex. કીટલી (kiːʈliː) from kettle, ટિકિટ (ʈɪkɪʈ) from ticket, etc. However, it is a regular result from Portuguese words (which also have dentals or alveolars) (Ex. ઇસ્પાત (ɪspaːt̪) from espada (steel))
  • The initial (ɪ) is a regular result of Portuguese words with a leading e (Ex. ઇસ્પાત (ɪspaːt̪) from espada (steel), ઇસ્ત્રી (ɪst̪riː) from estirar (to iron)). The leading ho in the British English would probably result in a Gujarati (h)aː.
  • Finally, the stress in espital would fall on the final a, resulting in the lengthened found in the Gujarati. The stress in the English would be on the first syllable, lengthening that one in Gujarati.

Does anyone disagree or have other information on the topic? DerekWinters (talk) 17:11, 4 June 2014 (UTC)


Please see Talk:gappen. (I'm posting a pointer here because comments on isolated talk pages often go unnoticed.) - -sche (discuss) 01:11, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

I think the poster is right. The sources collected at etymologiebank.nl are usually reliable, in particular M. Philippa's dictionary ({{R:Philippa EWN 2009}}). —CodeCat 09:03, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
It's also really hard to see how ganef could become gappen. Yes, in the history of Hebrew *np became pp while *nep became nef, but that's surely irrelevant for a borrowing from Yiddish into Dutch. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:53, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Also, here the original Hebrew has b/v, not p. --WikiTiki89 19:20, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

Gender of Slavic and Nordic herring[edit]

Russian сельдь (selʹdʹ) is feminine, while other Slavic languages have it as masculine, for example, Polish śledź, Serbo-Croatian слеђ. Lithuanian silkė and Latvian siļķe both seem to be masculine, but we don't have entries for them. Nordic languages have it either as common gender, such as Swedish sill, or feminine, such as Norwegian sild and Icelandic síld. Our Proto-Germanic entry *sīlą claims it was neuter. I assume the Proto-Slavic form would have been *seldь and probably would have been masculine. The questions are, why does Russian have it as feminine? Why do we reconstruct neuter for Proto-Germanic when the Nordic languages have it as feminine? What was the gender in Old Norse (if it was not attested, then we should probably remove the mention in the etymology section of the Icelandic entry)? And finally, why does the Balto-Slavic gender differ from the Germanic gender? --WikiTiki89 19:18, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

The Serbo-Croatian form can't be descended from the same form as the Russian. đ/ђ exclusively derives from Proto-Slavic *ď < *dj, but this would give ž in Russian. —CodeCat 19:28, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Oh... Maybe they were reborrowed from West Slavic? --WikiTiki89 20:35, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Aren't most nouns that end in soft consonants feminine in Russian? Maybe this one became feminine over time by analogy. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:33, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Re: Aren't most nouns that end in soft consonants feminine in Russian? No, there are many masculines that end in soft consonants - конь (konʹ), я́корь (jákorʹ), дождь (doždʹ), пень (penʹ), зверь (zverʹ), день (denʹ), па́рень (párenʹ), я́сень (jásenʹ). With hissing consonants "ь" is used to distinguish feminines from masculine. Is that's why you probably think that only feminines can end in "ь"? --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 12:47, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
I didn't say only feminines can end in ь, I just said most nouns ending in ь are feminine. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:28, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't know the statistics, but it feels like it's about half-and-half. But I'm sure there could have been quite a bit of confusion back and forth. --WikiTiki89 20:35, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
There are two different types of soft consonant. There is the "historically soft" type, which include j, š, č, ž, c, nj, lj, rj, not all of which are considered soft in modern Russian. Then there's the type that is palatalised in modern Russian because of a historical following front yer vowel, which did not palatalise the consonant in Proto-Slavic but did so only later in Old East Slavic. The nouns ending in the historically soft consonants are a different type from the nouns ending in "modern" soft consonants. The former belong to the Slavic soft o-stem nouns, while the latter are i-stem nouns. Soft o-stem nouns are masculine, while i-stem nouns are generally feminine (Proto-Slavic had some masculine i-stem nouns too, but these have been converted to o-stems in most Slavic languages, with some remnants). In this case, сельдь (selʹdʹ) is an i-stem. —CodeCat 22:27, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Interestingly, *lososь (salmon) is also a masculine i-stem. --WikiTiki89 02:43, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
I think Lithuanian silkė is feminine. --Fsojic (talk) 22:32, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, my source for that was very untrustworthy and I know very little about those languages. Of course that makes me less sure of the Proto-Slavic gender. --WikiTiki89 02:43, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
I can confirm that silkė is feminine, as is siļķe. Interestingly, Cleasby-Vigfusson and Köbler both say Old Norse síl is neuter (Köbler glosses it as the Tobias fish, apparently erroneously), while síld is feminine. - -sche (discuss) 22:48, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
síld looks somewhat suspicious, because Germanic does not normally have "overlong" syllables consisting of a long vowel and two consonants, especially not if the first consonant is a sonorant (see w:Osthoff's law). So the only explanation that I know of is if there was historically an intervening vowel which underwent regular syncopation in Old Norse: *sīlVd-. —CodeCat 23:08, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Alf Torp's old (1906) Etymologisk ordbog over det norske og det danske sprog says of síld "fra nord. stammer russ. selĭdĭ, seledka, lit. silkė, silkis (gjennem lilleruss.), opreus. sylecke, finsk silli". Max Vasmer also seems to considers the Russian word to represent a borrowing from Norse. (And we currently treat Finnish silli a loan from Swedish.)
On Usenet, someone claims that de Vries suggests that síld and síl might derive from "parallel forms *sīðlō and *sīþlō[,] from *seitlo, connected with Lat. <saeculum>"; someone with access to de Vries' work could check this (it sounds strange to me). Köbler, and our entry [[sile]], derive the Norse words from a feminine proto-Germanic root *sīlō. - -sche (discuss) 03:57, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
-þl- and -dl- do not normally become -ld in Old Norse. Compare *nēþlō for a parallel. The -ld- of Old Norse can only be explained as being inherited from -lVd-, or possibly -lVþ- (if the change -lþ- > -ll- occurred before syncope). So *sīlō cannot be the original source of this word, it would give Old Norse *síl. —CodeCat 10:18, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
It did give Old Norse síl, síl is one of the attested Norse words/forms. (What is our source for *sīlą?) - -sche (discuss) 16:52, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
But was it feminine? A hypothetical *sīlō would regularly become síl in Old Norse, but decline as a feminine ō-stem. Although, it's also possible that u-mutation would occur here, resulting in sýl. I don't know how systematic u-mutation of long í was. —CodeCat 17:01, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
To expand on my earlier mention of Vasmer: he writes that not only the Russian word but also the Lithuanian and Latvian words were borrowed from Scandinavian, with the borrowing into Russian occurring in or before the 12th century "невероятно посредство саам. тер. sildte, вопреки Итконену"(!). - -sche (discuss) 05:52, 8 June 2014 (UTC)

Someone requested the page from de Vries on síld and síl. Enjoy. --Vahag (talk) 06:57, 8 June 2014 (UTC)

Thanks! Citing that and Vasmer, I've added an etymology section to сельдь (selʹdʹ). - -sche (discuss) 20:04, 8 June 2014 (UTC)

sain, saining[edit]

Do these English and Scots words derive from Latin via Old English, or via Old Irish? Please join in the discussion on Talk:saining. - -sche (discuss) 20:04, 8 June 2014 (UTC)


I'm having a rather hard time believing that the Persian نیلوفر (nīlūfar) came from the Sanskrit नीलोत्पल (nīlotpala) as there seem to be far too many letter discrepancies for it to have been borrowed. Unless the Persian term here is a reborrowing from Arabic (which can't handle the 'p'). Also, are there any attested intermediates between the Arabic and the English terms? Medieval Latin is mentioned in the etymology but no term is given. DerekWinters (talk) 22:32, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

I have created नीलोत्पल (nīlotpala). Look at the Descendants section. --Vahag (talk) 09:01, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for making this. I added some terms as well. However, I just have a few questions. Is an Ancient Greek term from Arabic possible chronologically? Also, the Byzantine Greek νούφαρο page states that it comes from an earlier νενούφαρο. Could this be a valid intermediate? And finally, I have a Pashto نيلوفر (nilofar) but I don't know where it would go. DerekWinters (talk) 18:03, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
The etymology in νούφαρο (noúfaro) was copied from Λεξικό της Kοινής Nεοελληνικής. I don't think it is reliable and I do not find νενούφαρο in any dictionary. Borrowing from Arabic نوفر (nūfar) is much more likely, as indeed stated by three sources: To Mείζoν Eλληνικό Λεξικό, Mέγα Λεξικό της Ελληνικής γλώσσας and Πολυλεξικό. As for Ancient Greek νοῦφαρ (noûphar), it is attested only in Aristotle and is glossed in one Russian dictionary as “a kind of medicinal plant”. I do not know enough about the chronology of Arabic borrowings in Greek to comment. Pashto نيلوفر (nilofar) should probably go under Persian. --Vahag (talk) 21:13, 13 June 2014 (UTC)


Could somebody check what Mallory really says, please? The Ugaritic loanword claim makes no sense at all. Geographically who knows, but how can a PIE word be borrowed from a language first attested in the 14th century BC?! --Florian Blaschke (talk) 11:31, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

From this edit summary, it appears that the claim is originally from Szemerényi, not Mallory. What gives?! --Florian Blaschke (talk) 11:37, 14 June 2014 (UTC)


Isn't hormone derived directly from ὁρμάω, ὁρμῶ and not from the noun ὁρμή? The form is pretty obviously the present participle ὁρμῶν, and the French link given in the article derives it from the participle rather than the derived noun as well. --Blarkh (talk) 11:09, 15 June 2014 (UTC)


I don't believe it is possible for the Spanish alcanfor to derive from the Arabic كافور (kāfūr). However, the initial al- does seem to indicate an Arabic borrowing. Does anyone know of any Arabic and/or Andalusian Arabic term that may be a predecessor? 05:31, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

This is borrowed from attested Andalusian Arabic [script?] (alkafúr), according to most sources. --Vahag (talk) 09:17, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Why do you think it isn't possible for it to derive from كَافُور (kāfūr)? Is it because of the extra -n-? --WikiTiki89 14:01, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Sorry this is late, but yes, I didn't believe it to be from Arabic also because on the camphor page itself it states that the Medieval Latin term is camphora is also from Arabic, and I felt there may have been an intermediate. DerekWinters (talk) 03:16, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
Oh and also, on the camphor page, it states that the Middle Persian term derived from the Malay kapur, and while the phonology seems adequate, the time period seems terribly off. Perhaps a Kawi or Old Malay word? I also believe that Persian traders didn't much come to Southeast Asia, but more Arabic traders did, as there are few if any Persian loanwords in these languages. Would a Pali or Prakrit language have possibly given derivation to the Middle Persian 𐭪𐭠𐭬𐭥𐭫 (kāpūr)?
Also, I believe I read somewhere that many regional words were taken into Pali and the Prakrit languages of the era and then, as Sanskrit was also used concurrently, the word was adopted into Sanskrit as well, but that because of the well known sound changes between Sanskrit and the Prakrits, the Sanskrit speakers added a hypercorrected 'r' in between. This may be the result of the Sanskrit कर्पुर (karpura). I believe it is good to note that the camphor laurel is not found on the Indian subcontinent natively —This unsigned comment was added by DerekWinters (talkcontribs).
According to latest research (Mayrhofer), the word is of Austronesian origin (not modern Malay, of course). Sanskrit borrowed it, as did Middle Persian and Arabic. Mayrhofer says the variation kar- : kam- : ka- observed in the descendants should be explained by prefix-variation in Austronesian. The borrowing routes require further research, but I have built a tentative list in kapur. --Vahag (talk) 11:08, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
Austronesian sounds pretty reasonable. However, I think it's unlikely that Medieval Latin borrowed directly from the Austronesian ancestor(s). Also, if alcanfor (Spanish) can derive from alkafúr (Andalusian) with a euphonic 'n', then it seems then more likely that the Middle Persian lent to the Byzantine Greek which in turn underwent an 'm' insertion (probably euphonically), which was then borrowed into Medieval Latin, leading to the entire host of European words (save the Iberian and a few others perhaps). And even if the ka- and kam- are just variations (which is possible), the kar- does not seem to be viable, as there seem to be no Austronesian or Austoasiatic daughters that demonstrate it. Only Sanskrit, which has been known to add in a hypercorrect 'r' when borrowing from its daughter languages to make the word sound more Sanskrit. The daughter languages were spoken concurrently, and the sound changes that occurred were known by the upper class which spoke both. The Prakrits simplified all of the conjuncts. This might help: http://www.academia.edu/472464/The_influence_of_Dravidian_on_Indo-Aryan_phonetics. Sorry about my Indic rant, I'm really into those languages right now. But otherwise, I think we're pretty good with camphor. Should we move the whole descendants list under the Proto-Austronesian *qapuR? DerekWinters (talk) 17:25, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't think Medieval Latin and Byzantine Greek were borrowed directly from Austronesian, but since I had contradicting sources on the intermediaries, I preferred not to make any bold statements. Yes, we should move the descendants to *qapuR (lime, calcium). I have asked Wyang to provide sources on the latter, before it is created. --Vahag (talk) 19:07, 19 June 2014 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology.

Am I descending into pareidolia, or is there a connection to molāris or some other derivative of molō? After all, there's not much distance, semantically, between "grind up" and "destroy" (the phrase "run through the mill" also comes to mind).

The arrangement of senses within the different etymologies needs to be cleaned up, too. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:47, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

A more prosaic explanation might be muller (grinding stone for preparing paints and powders) and mull (pulverize, grind up thoroughly). Dictionary.com also has a sense of mull "to make a mess or failure of", and a broader sense of muller "any of various mechanical devices for grinding", both of which we currently lack. In any case, the pronunciation with a /ʌ/ speaks against derivation from Müller, as does (as noted in the entry) the early attestation of the term. - -sche (discuss) 15:34, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
I've modified the entry to note the various theories, including derivation from either or two Germans or derivation from Romani. - -sche (discuss) 05:48, 25 June 2014 (UTC)


Did this have a by-form *edъnъ? The West Slavic forms look like they come from *edъnъ. I see OCS has a by-form ѥдьнъ (jedĭnŭ), but that would give palatalized consonants in West Slavic (Polish *jedzien instead of jeden; Lower Sorbian *jeźen instead of jaden, etc.). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:54, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

All the South Slavic forms are consistent with ѥдьнъ (jedĭnŭ). Maybe Proto-West Slavic developed *edъnъ, in the same manor that South Slavic developed ѥдьнъ (jedĭnŭ). What does Upper Sorbian jedyn indicate? --WikiTiki89 21:38, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
There are other unusual things about this word as well. It's one of the words that shows alternation between initial o- and e-. This alternation occurs in several words in the Baltic group as well, and is (as far as I know) reconstructed back to Proto-Balto-Slavic times, although the exact conditioning of the alternation is still not known. This means, in any case, that *odinъ must be reconstructed as an alternative form within Proto-Slavic. —CodeCat 22:09, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
I thought the e- > o- change was just in East Slavic, compare олень (olenʹ) < *elenь and озеро (ozero) < *ezero. --WikiTiki89 22:28, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
There's a bit more at w:Proto-Balto-Slavic language#Alternations. —CodeCat 22:36, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't know that much about Upper Sorbian, but AFAICT jedyn would actually have to come from *edynъ, which only Bulgarian еди́н (edín) is consistent with and which no other language requires (since the Bulgarian can also come from *edinъ). The Bulgarian isn't actually consistent with *edьnъ, is it? Wouldn't that have given *еден or *едън? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 07:07, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes, you're right about Bulgarian. I overlooked it when I said that, but it is still consistent with *edinъ, which we know existed. As a side note, Ukrainian один (odyn) is also consistent with but does not require *edynъ. Also note that English one also had an anomalous sound change. --WikiTiki89 14:18, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
Also note Polish jedynka which also points to *edynъ. It seems that in West Slavic, the palatalization was simply lost. --WikiTiki89 14:20, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
The difference between y and i in Proto-Slavic wasn't one of palatalisation. The palatalisation was simply an allophonic consequence of a following front vowel. i was front, y was centre or maybe back. Etymologically, Slavic y goes back to pre-Slavic ū, or in some cases ūn or even ъj > yj. —CodeCat 15:05, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
In Proto-Slavic sure, but by Proto-West Slavic there was a correlation of front vowels with palatalized consonants and back vowels with nonpalatalized consonants. So say PS had two by-forms *edinъ and *edьnъ, which normally should have given *jedʲinъ and *jedʲьnъ in PWS. Then if for whatever sporadic, unlautgesetzlich reason, PWS decided to depalatalize the d in this one word, the syllable harmony rules would automatically back the vowels to accommodate the depalatalized d, yielding *jedynъ and *jedъnъ, from which all our West Slavic forms can (and some must) derive. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:36, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
What he^ said. --WikiTiki89 14:24, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

Riemen and remenʹ[edit]

I assume that the similarity in form and meaning between German Riemen and Russian реме́нь (reménʹ) is not a coincidence. Is the Germanic word a loanword from Slavic, or is the Slavic word a loanword from Germanic? Or are they both descended from a PIE word, or both borrowed from some third language? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:14, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

Some old Russian dictionaries (e.g. Chudinov's) do derive the Slavic word from Germanic, but Vasmer writes: "Праслав. *rеmу, род. п. *rеmеnе. Ввиду ст.-слав. примеров [...] заимствование из герм. (ср. д.-в.-н. riumо "ремень", ср.-в.-н. rieme) невозможно. В противном случае ожидалось бы *rjumenь." — "Proto-Slav. *remy, gen. *remene. In light of OCS examples [...] a borrowing from Germ. (cf. OHG riumo "ремень", cf. [MHG?] rieme) is impossible. Otherwise, one would expect *rjumen."
In turn, Pfeifer and Köbler trace the German word straight back through Proto-Germanic to a Proto-Indo-European root *reu̯ə-, related to Russian рыть (rytʹ).
- -sche (discuss) 20:04, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
Is it possible to derive it from Middle Low German rēme? —CodeCat 21:32, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
Kluge gives Western Germanic *reumōn and Old English rēoma (beside Old High German riomo and Old Saxon riomo), but doesn't derive it from PIE. —Blarkh (talk) 08:56, 3 July 2014 (UTC)


I just recently created a page on the Gujarati લાજવર્દ (lājvard) and I had assumed up until today that it had derived from the Sanskrit राजावर्त (rājāvarta) even though some of the sound changes were a bit strange. However, today I found that it most probably comes from the Persian لاژورد (lāžaward) or some related form, itself from Lajward, a place in Turkestan (as noted by etymonline.com under the word azure). My question here is that can anyone identify the relationship between the Persian term here and the Sanskrit term given above?

The sources I have say that the Persian is from the Sanskrit (which would be I believe somewhat consistent with known sound changes) while another states the opposite noting that the stone is not native to India.

Also, many sources use राजवर्त (rājavarta) and लाजवर्त (lājavarta) instead of राजावर्त (rājāvarta) which is used in some dictionaries and the Hindi and Marathi wikipedias. Normally, I would believe the dictionaries, but the first two seem more likely in light of the Persian term to be the real words, or all three may simply be variations of one another. Please help. Smettems (talk) 05:10, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

(pinging: Vahag, ZxxZxxZ, Dijan from workgroup ira) Team Iranica, let's sexify لاجورد (lâjvard). --Vahag (talk) 06:34, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
Ok, لاجورد (lâjvard) is ready for viewing. Sanskrit rājāvarta-, rājavarta-, lājavarta- are all attested variants. They are borrowed from Persian and reshaped folk-etymologically under the influence of राज (rāja), राजन् (rājan, king). See Mayrhofer. The Gujarati form is probably directly from Persian. --Vahag (talk) 09:48, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

Conjugation of *směati[edit]

If someone knows, please put the conjugation table for *směati (*smějǫ/*směaxъ), its table could also be used for verbs such as *grěati, *sěati, *lěati... 07:48, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

*směati or *smě(j)ati[edit]

*směati or *smě(j)ati? Did Proto-Slavic had a sliding j between ě and -ati? Some reconstruct as *směati others as *smějati or *smьjati, the last is most likely incorrect, because ě is definitely in.

Wiktionary:About Proto-Slavic says not to include prothetic j and v in page names, so I'd say the same should apply to predictable hiatus-breaking j as well. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:16, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
Are there any modern Slavic languages that don't have the internal /j/ in this word? (Not counting the regular elision in West Slavic) --WikiTiki89 21:29, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
Polish and Slovak; OCS had směati, smiěti, směěti. So is *směati better then *smějati? I would say that j wasn't in in the first place, or it was insecure. Une nymphe (talk) 21:33, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
In West Slavic languages, such as Polish and Slovak, elision of /j/ is a regular phenomenon, even if it was there in the first place, which is why they shouldn't be counted. --WikiTiki89 21:53, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
But Polish has sprzyjać and nawijać so not true. Especially Polish should be used as an example. Une nymphe (talk) 02:22, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
Compare also Polish siać from *sě(j)ati. There is clearly elision here, so you can't say it's proof that the lack of /j/ survived. --WikiTiki89 16:46, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
This is proof, where j originally didn't existed there Polish has elision siać from *sěati, śmiać from *směati, ziać from *zěati... but (s)przyjać from *prijati, nawijać from *navijati, pijać from *pijati.... So you see there where j is in Proto-Slavic there Polish has j, but there where is ěa, Polish has ia. This is more than a proof to me of primal nonexistence of j in words such as *směati, *sěati, *věati, *zěati, *lěati... because if there were j Polish would have śmiejać, siejać, ziejać... or śmijać, sijać, zijać... Une nymphe (talk) 19:13, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
There's a detail you overlook here. The lack of -j- always occurs in verbs that originally had -ě-, while Polish keeps -j- when it's preceded by -y- or -i-. So your proof is not really proof until it can be ruled out that this is not a regular rule of sound change. —CodeCat 19:28, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
What is with Polish klej from *klějь? or with present śmieję from śmiać... See also where j is original it stays, and therefore no elision. Une nymphe (talk) 20:25, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
Here are some examples of regular loss of intervocalic /j/: pas < *pojasъ, bać < *bojati. --WikiTiki89 20:36, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
But, this is also present in other Slavic tongs. So not limited to Polish. And also pas is from *pasъ and bać is from *bati. So I'm not really sure about that this is some proof. Une nymphe (talk) 20:43, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

What is with j in *dojiti? Polish, Russian and OCS have oi (but OCS does not have j, so hence) not oji. Une nymphe (talk) 21:42, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

But morphology is different: *směati is made of smě-ati whilst *dojiti from doj-iti.
It should be noted that in Old Church Slavonic, usage of iotated letters was inconsistent, and ě often stood for ja, but never for a. So the form směěti unambiguously points to *smějati. smiěti seems like it should be read likewise, as *smijati. This looks a lot like the Ijekavian/Ikavian Serbo-Croatian reflex, smijati. —CodeCat 22:40, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

*smijati, or *smьjati couldn't be, the frain is whether is *směati or smějati? Morphologically j is phonetic later add, I would also say that this isn't like *pьjati, *pijati which is made of *pьj-ati; cognate with *pojь, from where is clear that j isn't present in *směati. Une nymphe (talk) 01:09, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

I think the answer is pretty simple: It started out as *směati and later became smějati, probably still in Proto-Slavic. --WikiTiki89 01:36, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
It wouldn't if ě sounded like /ai̯/ then j wouldn't be needed. So j was added when ě started to shift. Une nymphe (talk) 02:09, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
Not necessarily. /ai̯aː/ > /eːaː/ is easily possible. --WikiTiki89 02:13, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
A pre-Slavic -ajā- would become -oja- in Proto-Slavic anyway. Compare the difference between infinitive *-ovati (< *-aw-ātei) and present *-uje- (< *-au-je-). —CodeCat 11:44, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

Similar to imperfect of *byti where we have *běaxъ, *běaše.... Also j isn't present. I would leave *směati and perhaps put smějati as alternative, like *nečьto, *něčьto or mьčь, *mečь for an example. Une nymphe (talk) 02:00, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

But the imperfect is never written with -ěě- as far as I know, which indicates that, uniquely, there really was a hiatus in this case. —CodeCat 02:05, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes, probably later shift, otherwise elision would not had happened. Une nymphe (talk) 02:10, 27 June 2014 (UTC)


Someone has tagged three etymologies with rfv-etymology. I clicked "+", which brought me here. The three etymologies are the following ones:

My expectation is that the etymologies will be removed in a month or so unless sourcing is provided. I expect the result to be archived at Talk:kibosh, or at least linked to from Talk:kibosh. --Dan Polansky (talk) 17:41, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

Mr. OED says: "Origin obscure. (It has been stated to be Yiddish or Anglo-Hebraic: see N. & Q. 9th ser. VII. 10.)" (I have no idea what N. & Q. is). --WikiTiki89 17:56, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
w:Notes and Queries Chuck Entz (talk) 18:03, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
I think I found the right issue, but you need a subscription to read it, which I don't have. --WikiTiki89 18:09, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
Arrowred.png Leo Rosten's New Joys of Yiddish (2010, ISBN 0307566048) has the following summary of other dictionaries' theories:
  • The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology [...] says kibosh is of uncertain origin.
  • Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, third edition (1966), says that kibosh's ancestry is unknown.
  • The Oxford English Dictionary laconically says that kibosh is of "heraldic" origin—which is of no help.
  • Eric Partridge, in his Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (1961), agrees with the OED (above) but says that "to put the kibosh on", meaning to seal the doom of, comes from Yiddish. Why, I don't know; he offers no evidence.
  • Padraic Colum, the Irish poet, asserts that kibosh comes from Irish Gaelic cie báis, meaning "cap of death".
  • [... Rosten then discredits the suggestion that kibosh is an abbreviation of a Yiddish or Hebrew phrase for "18 British shekels". ...]
  • Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language says of kibosh: "earlier ... kybosh, prob. Yid.?", which puts it indecisively and proceeds to cite Germanic possibilities I find no more impressive. (Why should kiebe, which means "carrion" in Middle High German, lead to kibosh?)
  • H. L. Mencken [...] did not stick his neck out anent kibosh's parentage [...].
  • William and Mary Morris, in their Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins (1962), repeat the Yiddish-origin and the Gaelic-origin attributions [...].
  • [...]
  • Julian Franklyn, author of A Dictionary of Rhyming Slang (1960), suggests that kibosh originated in the heraldic caboshed or caboched.
The last of those may explain what the OED meant when it said the word was 'heraldic'.
I would remove the mention of Hebrew and add a note to the effect of "Sometimes ascribed, unconvincingly, to Yiddish." - -sche (discuss) 18:47, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
The Slang Dictionary (1870) says "Kibosh also means one shilling and sixpence.", which is also confirmed by some other 19th century sources I found, but the OED does not have this sense, and I don't know how to go about look for citations. This 1874 edition of Notes and Queries says "but this word ["bosh"] is probably an abbreviation of the slang term kibosh or kybosh, doubtless corrupted from cui bono.*", which I think is an unlikely theory, but the footnote says "* In the sense of 1s. 6d., kibosh has been derived from the Hebrew.", so at least that one sense (if it in fact existed) is derived from Hebrew, and it is possible that the main sense is derived from the monetary sense. --WikiTiki89 19:27, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm not yet convinced this derives from Hebrew; one source may say it (or some sense of it) does, but other sources have a number of other theories, asserted with equal confidence...
Rosten's comments on the 'British coins' theory, which I mostly left out of the blockquote above, are:
In Phrase and Word Origins, Alfred. H. Holt says that a ‘Mr. Loewe, who ought to know,’ traces kibosh to a Yiddish word ‘formed from four consonants, representing eighteen pence. When, at a small auction, an eager bidder jumped his offer to eighteen pence, he was said to have “put the kibosh” on his fellow-bidders.’
But I have not the faintest notion what those ‘four consonants’ could be or why they represented ‘eighteen-pence.’
One suggestion is that kibosh is an acronym composed of the initial letters of three Yiddish words for ‘18 British coins.’ In Hebrew, chai was often used to signify 18; the sh might by the initial sound of the word shekel; but this linguistic reconstruction falls down on the ‘b’ sound. It might stand for ‘British,’ but would not the acronym then be ‘kibrosh?’
The number 18 possessed magical properties, since the letter equivalents formed the word life. Thus, by extension, its use could presumably put the ‘hex’ on an opponent.
But a search for google books:"put the kibosh" bid, restricted to pre-1900 works, turns up nothing. (Post-1900, it turns up hits where someone stopped a bid by putting the kibosh on it, i.e. the usual meaning, which doesn't help to verify the connection to British coins or bidding.) - -sche (discuss) 02:26, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
As for Padraic Colum's suggestion, cie is not a possible spelling of a word in any variety of Gaelic. The Irish word for death cap (as in the mushroom) is caidhp bháis (pronounced /kəɪpˠ wɑːʃ/), but the basis for claiming this is the source of kybosh seems to be mostly wishful thinking. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:28, 28 June 2014 (UTC)


Proto-Slavic words with *šč like *ščit, *ešče, *-išče... I was wondering if there was perhaps t instead of č, so *št? OCS has just that štit, ješte, -ište... This would have much more sense, because č or k wouldn't shift to t, while t would shift to č, or am I wrong? Une nymphe (talk) 19:44, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

The regular outcome of -šče- in OCS and modern Bulgarian is -šte- (written -щє-). This -šče- can come from a variety of pre-Slavic sources, including: -ske-, -skje-, -skja- (= -skjo-), -stje-, -stja- (= -stjo-). —CodeCat 20:08, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
The change of [ʃtʃ] to [ʃt] is not phonologically unlikely at all; it's straightforward cluster simplification and/or dissimilation. It's important to remember that OCS is not Proto-Slavic; there are sound changes that OCS went through that make it distinct from Proto-Slavic, and *šč > št is one of them. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:20, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
What about Čakavian where is šć not šč? This would be if Proto-Slavic had stj or štj, perhaps similar with *notjь, where even older form is *noktjь, so it is posible that older form of *šč is is *skt or smomething like that, and then *št and then *šč. 23:06, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
Does Čakavian also have šč, alongside šć? If so, is there a regular correspondence with Pre-Slavic sequences? —CodeCat 23:57, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
piščan from *pěščnъ as far as I know, and similar words.

July 2014[edit]


Is it true that, as claimed on w:Flip book, a flip book is also sometimes called flick book? I just randomly wondered if, since a flip book is a primitive kind of film, the expression flick for a film might be derived from this. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 19:43, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

Possibly, but I think it's more likely that it comes from flicker, which old movies are wont to do. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:07, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
I guess the question is was "flick book" in common use in the time and place of the first attestation of "flick"? --WikiTiki89 21:59, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
Effectively yes, I just wanted to throw the thought that crossed my mind out into the public here. But Angr's explanation makes sense too and is simpler. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 00:09, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

*anьjelь or *andjelь[edit]

Possible Proto-Slavic word *anьjelь or *andjelь ('angel') from Latin angelus, from Ancient Greek ἄγγελος (ángelos, messenger). This is possible to Proto-Slavic, as likely as Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic *angiluz.

I doubt it. SC đ/ђ is a regular palatalization of Greek /g/ before front vowels, so the only evidence for *andjelь is the Czech anděl, which could have simply been borrowed from SC instead. I find Polish anioł and Slovak anjel harder to explain, but I doubt they go back to PS (Belarusian анёл (anjól) was probably borrowed directly from Polish). --WikiTiki89 15:21, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
In any case, Proto-Slavic did not allow closed syllables, so a cluster *-ndj- was not possible and must be of post-Slavic date. —CodeCat 15:45, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
Not quite, SC does not have regular palatalization of Greek /g/ before front vowels, only standard Serbian does (and this too isn't consistent), but this is, either French or Italian influence. In Croatian anđeo from older anđel and anjel (Čak.), Slovenian anjel and angel. In OCS we have ⰰⱀⰼⰵⰾⱏ (anⰼelŭ) (anďelъ) and ⰰⰳⰼⰵⰾⱏ (agⰼelŭ) (agďelъ) alongside with ⰰⱀⱏⰳⰵⰾⱏ (anŭgelŭ).
I am proposing reconstruction *anъdjelъ. Une nymphe (talk) 18:38, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
Why would a non-Christian people have a need to borrow terms for Christian concepts? —CodeCat 18:52, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
See w:Proto-Slavic#Introduction. Proto-Slavic by definition is the period just before the Christianization of the Slavs. It is of course possible that this word was borrowed into Late Common Slavic, but we do not refer that as Proto-Slavic as far as I know. --WikiTiki89 20:01, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
Same frain is why did Proto-Germanic borrowed Proto-Germanic *angiluz, they were also pagans. Une nymphe (talk) 21:14, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
Why is this a problem? I don't believe in UFOs, but I still have a word for them. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:02, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
Cultures were far less homogenous than they are now. People generally didn't have much knowledge of cultures outside their own, and they probably didn't have a pressing need to talk about foreign religious concepts either. In fact, I would say that Proto-Slavic speakers had probably never even heard of Christianity except for a few maybe. In any case, Proto-Germanic had no word *angiluz, it's a later borrowing. It must be, because Proto-Germanic was spoken in Old Latin times, before the Roman Empire and hence Christianity even existed. This is also shown by the fact that Gothic has two forms attested: aggilus and aggēlus. —CodeCat 22:39, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
You might want to look at the etymology for angel. It looks like Leasnam's "early Germanic" got switched to "early Proto-Germanic" as templates were replaced with other templates, though it wasn't the best wording in the first place. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:43, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
UFO has two different meanings. UFOs in sense 1 clearly exist, sense 2 is what Angr seems to mean ... :-)
BTW, I've witnessed UFOs myself, although they looked too small to host aliens unless the aliens were really tiny. I've only learned of sky lanterns right now, that must be what they were. Although they were already prohibited back then in this part of Germany, I think. Hmm. But they sure looked like balloons with candles in them. I must add that it was already quite dark, that's why I was puzzled even though I never seriously contemplated the thought that they were alien spacecraft. :-) --Florian Blaschke (talk) 13:46, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I meant "alien spacecraft", not "anything flying that you don't know what it is". I've seen sky lanterns here in Berlin too, even though they're almost certainly illegal. The first time I saw one it kind of freaked me out because I had never seen one before, so I didn't know what it was, and it was really dark so I couldn't see anything of it except this light floating slowly and mysteriously through the air. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:56, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
It was a whole swarm in my case, and its movement was completely consistent with miniature hot-air balloons, so considering your experience I'm virtually certain now that they were sky lanterns. Neat. I was only weirded out a little bit – the objects piqued my curiosity more than anything – because I soon figured out roughly what they were. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 14:20, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
Apparently it was two years ago – my mother was with me and sighted the UFOs too. Sky lanterns were already explicitly forbidden at the time here. Still, I don't think gnomes from outer space are a better explanation. :-Þ Thanks for sharing your experience, Angr. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 02:59, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

Origin of the instrument name "Jew's harp" in English and other languages[edit]

Origin of the instrument name "Jew's harp" in English and other languages

[ etymology, English Jew's harp ]

( A "Jew's harp" is a small musical instrument of great antiquity which is like a kazoo. )

Here's some ideas by me. I got a BA in Linguistics and work a lot with foreign languages and etymologies. I wrote this up, wanted to put it online, but couldn't find a good place where it would accessible. I'm going to try the Talk page for "Jew's harp", too, because it's empty and I might be the only person who cares and is qualified to have a say. Why "Jew's harp" ? It's just been on my mind and is interesting etymologically.

I think the answer might lie in foreign languages' terms for Jew's harp.

I think the phenomenon is limited only to English and Dutch, that it's phonetically (sound-wise) related to the French guimbarde *gwimbaarda and other Eurasian words for Jew's harp. I speculate that it went from something like

[ (Continental original, something like **gwimbaarda > (calque and or phonetic borrowing) *jaw-harp > *jaw-harp > *Jew-harp > Jew's harp

I think that this was adopted as a variant because the instrument is small, whereas a harp is much bigger, Jews being commonly regarded as stingy in Europe. Likewise, other English variant forms are "juice harp" and "jaw harp". Phonetic borrowings don't even have to make sense, look at eggplant (from Persian).

Wiktionary lists many of them. ( Wiktionary, "Jew's harp". > translation)

Most call it a "mouth drum". Only in Dutch do we get Jew's harp. In Germanic languages we see Danish: jødeharpe c : Jew-harp Dutch: mondharp f : mouth-harp German: Maultrommel (de) f : mouth-drum Icelandic: gyðingaharpa f, kjálkaharpa f, munntromma f x-harp, x-harp, mouth-drum Netherlands: mondharp m mouth-harp Norwegian: munnharpe mouth-harp Swedish: mungiga (sv) c mouth-x

When we look up "jaw" in Wiktionary, we find : Middle English jawe *dZaawa, jowe *dZowa , geowe *dZowa (my reconstructions) Middle Dutch kauwe : fish jaw Middle Dutch kouwe : mouth cavity dialectal German Ka:u , Keu : jaw, donkey jowl Irish gob : mouth

What was "Jew" in Middle English ? Wiktionary says Giw *Juu and Ju *Juu, which, not surprisingly, is the same as today's.

So then the variant form [ West-Germanic *Jew's-harp ] must have arise and given rise to modern English Jew's harp and Modern Dutch jødeharpe sometime between Proto-Germanic and today. If you go back far enough in time, the West Germanic peoples probably did not know that Jews existed, so maybe it's a Roman Empire onward thing.

This is just from the data given in Wiktionary.

Dwarfkingdom (talk) 01:51, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

I don't quite understand your comparison with eggplant. Could you please elaborate? Leasnam (talk) 12:14, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps he/she means aubergine (= eggplant)? That has a mention of a Persian in the etymology. Equinox 13:16, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
The term "eggplant", itself isn't a phonetic borrowing- some varieties are white and actually look sort of like eggs. They're probably referring to aubergine, which is in the same stratum of borrowings from Arabic as orange and apricot. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:47, 4 July 2014 (UTC)


I don't speak any of the daughter languages, but there's quite a bit of this new entry that looks questionable. The main issue is highlighted by the fact that the descendants section is made up of nothing but redlinks- which doesn't seem to be a coincidence. If you look at the translation table for apple, the Slavic languages all seem to have reflexes of the derived form *ablъko, not this term. One can deduce that it existed from the derived forms and their descendents- but are there any actual descendants of the un-suffixed form? Chuck Entz (talk) 04:13, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

I have rfd'ed it. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 04:17, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
And now un-rdf'ed it again. So it is legit. Cool, wasn't aware of this etymon. What's interesting is that Balto-Slavic as a whole exhibits a lengthened vowel, unlike the other cognates: *ābōl- ~ **ābl- (else Lithuanian and Old Prussian would have †ab° and Slavic †obl°). The reconstruction given at *ablъko does not reflect this fact. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 13:13, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
That's Winter's law at work. —CodeCat 13:15, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
Ah yes, d'oh, of course. So it was probably PBSl. *abōl- ~ *ābl- originally, but the short-vowel variant was not continued in Balto-Slavic. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 13:18, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
Not everyone agrees that Winter's law only applied in closed syllables though. —CodeCat 13:30, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
True, but not everyone agrees that it even existed in the first place. I believe the closed-syllable interpretation is fairly widespread. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 14:02, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
Maybe, but postulating a short-vowel version like you did in the etymology probably doesn't add anything, as it's not attested in Balto-Slavic and there is no linguistic consensus for the sound law that reconstructs it anyway. —CodeCat 14:07, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
Ah, but the short-vowel version was there before I edited the page. I first added a macron and then undid this, adding the long-vowel variant stem as a parenthetical instead. Feel free to implement a different solution. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 14:24, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

Old Croatian[edit]

I was wondering if we could put Old Croatian (11th-15th century) in, for i see we have Old Polish? If so, we would need to use new script; so called angular glagolitic script. I would very much like to contribute on that, for Old Croatian is very rich and diverse language, linguistically very similar to OCS. Une nymphe (talk) 02:11, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

I thought that Old Croatian is OCS (or a dialect at least). --WikiTiki89 03:18, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
No, Old Croatian started as some kind form or variation of OCS, but early separated from OCS, here is exemple of Vinodolski zakon ('Vinodol law') from 1288. Une nymphe (talk) 09:34, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
w:Old Church Slavonic refers to it as the Croatian recension of OCS, and therefore not clearly distinct from OCS as a whole. —CodeCat 12:44, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
Agreed. Old Church Slavonic is essentially yet another polycentric language. For example, most "Old East Slavic" texts are really South Slavic with East Slavic influences. There are few materials in the vernacular. The situation is roughly analogous to Swiss Standard German vs. Swiss German, or Austrian German vs. the local Bavarian dialects. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 02:51, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
Not true; Baška tablet, Povaljska listina... these are written in Croatian recension of OCS. Vinodolski zakon is written in seperate Croatian language, in it we have phonetic shifts unique to Croatian, grammar as well: ě - started to change into i and e, žd - is always j, št - is šć, verb dual is lost, syntax is different. Orthography is completely different. There is clearly separate (but similar, even so mutually comprehensible) South Slavic language. And, on my opinion, it deserves it's place in Wiktionary. Une nymphe (talk) 11:16, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
But it would have to be treated as a form of Old Serbo-Croatian, since the "Croatian" language didn't exist before it was invented in the 1990s. There is nothing "Croatian" about the language of Vinodol codex and Baška tablet. It is not ancestral to modern Croatian, and it is certainly not Croatian recension of OCS (apart from few Church Slavonicism in Baška tablet, which is a short monument anyway). --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 11:24, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
Is this for real? I am seriously wondering if administrators here on Wiktionary are demonstrating such ignorance, not to mention some pathological fanaticism, how much of anything here on Wiktionary is trustworthy. Everyone on this planet knows that Croatian and Serbian merged from completely separate backgrounds; Serbs until 19th century didn't even write on Serbian. Croats have ten centuries of extraordinary rich literature on four different scripts and always called their language harvatski, hervatski, horvatski, hrvatski, illyrski, slovenski, slovinski. Entire notion of some union between Croatian and Serbian was an invention of 19th centuary. This term "Serbo-Croatian" was coined by Jacob Grimm, who was a very good friend of Vuk Karadžić who was famous for his notion Serbs All, and Everywhere!. What is this? How can anyone stand this? OK, if someone is for "Serbo-Croatian" (for his practical/ideological reasons), but all of this is pure nonsense, this is almost unseen linguo-historical revisionism par excellence. How can even be "Serbo-Croatian language" when there is not one historical document written on it. If this doesn't change in near future, I am very concern about trustworthiness of this entire project. Unbelievable. Une nymphe (talk) 11:51, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
We only follow modern linguistic consensus, which is that Serbo-Croatian is a single language. —CodeCat 12:05, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
@Une nymphe Everyone on this planet, really? Treating Serbo-Croatian language as one language is an explicit Wiktionary policy, supported by the majority of editors, it's based on various facts, such as shared 9*% of vocabulary. It's a fact. Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, Montenegrins all speak this "invented" language "naš jezik". I will omit this discussion about the origins of the language name. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 12:08, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
@Une nymphe: Croats can call "their" language whatever they like, it's still the same language used by Serbs. Nations were invented in the 19th century as well, so there was no such thing as Croats at the time that the monuments that you mention were written; Slavic was by far the most common autonym used. It is debatable to what extant regional literatures of the SC speech area written in various dialects and scripts before the 19th century can be treated as separate languages, though I'd prefer that it all be dumped under the Old Serbo-Croatian label, apart from Church Slavonic recensions which have their own distinct literatures, tradition, grammar, dictionaries and so on. I've added several SC words from Glagolitic attestations but in Latin script (from sources such as s:hr:Muka svete Margarite and s:hr:Svit se konča) which should probably be recategorized as "Old Serbo-Croatian" and transcribed back to Glagolitic, though that could be problematic due to lack of cursive Glagolitic fonts and the lack of support in Unicode for hundreds of Glagolitic ligatures which were commonly used.. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 12:19, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
The problem is that current standard Croatian isn't a continuation of most of pre-19th-century Croatian, nor is current standard Serbian a continuation of pre-19th-century Serbian, etc,:all of the modern standard languages are derived from one tiny sliver of the pre-19th-century diversity. Although what you call Old Croatian may have been spoken only by Croats and not by Serbs, it bears exactly the same relationship to current standard Serbian and current standard Bosnian as it does to current standard Croatian- so from the viewpoint of continuity, it could just as easily be called Old Serbian or Old Bosnian. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:36, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
FYI, this discussion has been copied and is being discussed in the Croatian Wikipedia: Hrvatski jezik na engleskoj Wikipediji i Wiktionaryju. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 23:26, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
From what I've read, the Croatian Wikipedia is very badly managed and has a high number of nationalist-leaning editors and sysops alike. There are plenty of stories on Wikipedia (I don't remember where) about people being blocked for not adhering to the "Croatian" POV. So if Une Nymphe is a regular there, that is reason for caution alone. —CodeCat 00:14, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
She is not a regular there, they are inviting her to join. She has taken it very personally, saying words like "this disgrace" (about our responses), "so ridiculous", "shameful", "we all speak, write and breathe a language that has no past, present and future (i.e. Croatian)"... --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 00:27, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
Woah, we're getting dissed by the Croatian Wikipedia? The site that one historian described as "only a tool used by its administrators to promote their own political agendas, giving false and distorted facts"? The site that's so biassed (nationalist and homophobic) that even the Croatian Minister of Education issued a statement advising pupils to use Wikipedia in English, not in Croatian, because "a large part of the content of the Croatian version of Wikipedia is not only dubious but also [contains] obvious forgeries"? (See Meta and en.WP's summaries.) Hahaha! Pardon me if I don't shed any tears. - -sche (discuss) 00:43, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

Vocative of *domъ[edit]

Why do we reconstruct *domu as the vocative of *domъ? Of all the languages that still have vocatives (at least of those that have declension tables on Wiktionary), only Polish has the vocative domu, while the others all point to *dome. Also, the PIE vocative was *dóm, Lithuanian has nãme, and Latvian has nam. --WikiTiki89 16:48, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

This noun is a u-stem, and u-stems have mostly disappeared as a distinct inflectional class in the Slavic languages. They have largely been converted into o-stems, with only a few older endings lingering in some nouns, like plurals in -ov and genitive singular in -u instead of -a. So the evidence of the modern Slavic languages is not very reliable. In Old Church Slavonic this class was still present in its inherited form, however, and OCS has the ending -u for the vocative of u-stems. —CodeCat 17:03, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
Then there must be a mistake in our declension table for домъ (domŭ). --WikiTiki89 17:09, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
Well, it's more likely that this form is not attested at all in any OCS texts. After all, it's not often that someone directly addresses a house. But for another u-stem noun, both сꙑноу (synu) and сꙑнє (syne) are attested, at least according to Lunt's OCS grammar. He explicitly mentions that the former is an archaism while the latter is an innovation from the o-stems. So the process of converting u-stems to o-stems was already happening in OCS, and probably was in Proto-Slavic as well, but had not yet progressed as far. In any case, the ending -u is certainly the more original one. Its retention in Polish is certainly an archaism, judging from this bit from w:Polish morphology: "The masculines pan, syn ("son") and dom ("house") have -u in the locative singular rather than -ie, and also in the vocative (but pan has the regular panie)." —CodeCat 17:22, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
In the case of *synъ, Baltic evidence confirms the -u ending, but in the case of *domъ, it does not. Also, many Slavic languages have descendants of *synu, but not of *domu. --WikiTiki89 17:27, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
Baltic has an o-stem inflection. All that means is that the noun was likely still a consonant stem at the time Slavic split off, and the two groups went in different directions. Baltic innovated an o-stem inflection, while Slavic went for u-stem inflection. So Baltic doesn't really help at all in this case. For *synъ it's different of course, as that was inherited from PIE as an u-stem and no innovation took place in either branch. —CodeCat 18:13, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
And I suppose sons are more frequently addressed in the vocative than houses are, and so synu was retained in more languages than domu. --WikiTiki89 18:16, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
Something like that. Something similar happened to *bože (god) as well. It retained the effects of the Slavic first palatalisation in the vocative of many languages, even when this alternation was undone in all other nouns. Frequently-used forms tend to preserve irregularities the longest. —CodeCat 18:45, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
For curiosity's sake, can you give an example of a word where the consonant alternation in the vocative was undone? --WikiTiki89 18:50, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
Not for the vocative specifically. But some languages have a stronger tendency towards levelling out the alternations than others. Slovene for example has no more consonant alternations in nouns and adjectives, except for a few irregular forms. It also lost the vocative though, so there are no examples there. I would imagine Bulgarian and Macedonian have a fair number of examples of this, as both retain the vocative but have radically simplified their declension system. —CodeCat 18:58, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
The reason I'm asking is because in Russian, even thought most consonant alternations in noun declensions have been dropped (such as in the prepositional case: о боге rather than *о бозе), the vocative case, when preserved, retains the consonant alternation (боже, отче, старче). --WikiTiki89 19:16, 8 July 2014 (UTC)


My mother, raised in the North Carolina Mountains by her grandparents who were adults during the American Civil War used the term "shebang" usually in a negative way such as if someone was lieing they were making up the whole shebang. I don't recall her ever using it in a positive fashion

lie + -ing = lying. Anyway, it can be used either positively or negatively. Anyway, see our first definition. --WikiTiki89 15:28, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
Second definition, now that I've cleaned up the etymology slightly and re-ordered the senses by date of first attestation. - -sche (discuss) 17:33, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

PIE *gʷṓws, *gʷéh₃us[edit]

Kroonen, de Vaan and Beekes all give the root for cow in Proto-Indo-European as *gʷéh₃u-, *gʷéh₃us, which Kroonen derives to the root *gʷeh₃- (to graze; keep), compare Ancient Greek βόσκω (bóskō, to feed, tend) < *gʷh₃-sk-, Lithuanian gúotas (herd) < *gʷeh₃-to-. Beekes and de Vaan state the circumflex in Greek βοῦς (boûs, cow) implies a hiatus from a lost intervocalic laryngeal. de Vaan states the inflection goes back to a proterodynamic u-stem, "as revealed by Skt. obl. gav- from *gʷh₃ew-". Beekes states that a proterodynamic inflection is expected, but doesn't explain Sanskrit gáuh or gā́m.

Kroonen states the Germanic languages point to two root variants in Proto-Germanic, an originally ablauting nom. *kōz, oblique *kū-, from nom. *gʷéh₃us, obl. *gʷh₃u-.

Could we verify whether the root in question is Proto-Indo-European *gʷeh₃u- or *gʷew-(*gʷṓws)?

Ringe 2006 gives the *gʷṓws reconstruction, and says it's an acrostatic noun. He also states that the oblique stem *gʷew- was replaced by *gʷow- in all descendants. Somehow I think that's a bit of a cop-out, because it conveniently explains away the lack of palatalisation in Indo-Iranian. An e-grade stem *gʷew- would palatalise to *jav- ~ *jo- in Sanskrit. So it's a bit like saying "We know it must have existed, because... well it just did. There's no evidence, but it did, promise!" —CodeCat 23:37, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
Actually, now that I've had a while to sit down and think it out, I'm not really sure how *gʷh₃u- would give Proto-Germanic oblique *kū-, it should give *ku-, while the instrumental is the only form that could have become *kū; unless the instrumental form was leveled throughout the oblique. Also, to have developed nominative *kōz, the accusative and vocative forms would have had to become *kǭ and *kō(u), yes? Anglom (talk) 05:35, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

Proto-Slavic prepositions[edit]

Did the Proto-Slavic prepositions *jьz and *bez really end without a ъ? How do we know this? And how do we know that *nadъ, *otъ, *perdъ, and *podъ did? In (Cyrillic) OCS, for example, отъ (otŭ) was almost always written as the single character ѿ (otŭ), which is composed of an Cyrillic omega ѡ and a т, but no ъ (ŭ). So how do we know whether it was actually supposed to have one or not? --WikiTiki89 17:24, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

Slavic words could not normally end in a consonant. But in the case of prepositions, the final consonant could be retained if it could be reanalysed as part of the next word. This is what happened with prepositions ending in -z or -s, but also in a few other cases. —CodeCat 17:30, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
But in some cases, there is still a vowel there. Also, you didn't answer the other part of the question. --WikiTiki89 17:34, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
The problem is that if it was *ot, then the final consonant would have disappeared in the majority of cases just like it did with *o(b). But as far as I know there is no evidence anywhere of forms which lack the final -t. —CodeCat 17:38, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
It could have been an epenthetic vowel, just like the one that was added to *jьz and *bez. --WikiTiki89 17:47, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
But those prepositions had no final vowel. They simply kept the final consonant in almost all cases because Slavic always allowed initial clusters to be extended with s- or z-. —CodeCat 17:49, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
An epenthetic final vowel was added to them at some point (before words that started with an initial consonant cluster), as attested in every modern Slavic language as far as I know. I see no reason to believe that the epenthetic vowel was not added in the same period as the one added to *otъ, and I see no reason to believe that this period was later than Proto-Slavic. --WikiTiki89 17:54, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

  • When spoken all such prepositions formed a phonological unit together with the following word, so there were never actually any closed syllables. They never existed "on their own" with final -s or -z. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 13:01, 3 August 2014 (UTC)
    But neither did the ones ending in -d(ъ) or -t(ъ). --WikiTiki89 17:48, 3 August 2014 (UTC)

Proto-Semitic *kabkab-[edit]

Looking at the descendants, I'm wondering, on what basis do we reconstruct *kabkab- rather than *kawkab-? It seems that the only language supporting the former is Ugaritic. --WikiTiki89 03:25, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

Probably based on the fact that [b] may lenite to [w], but normally [w] may not become [b] in that position. --Z 21:02, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
It is kbkb in Phoenician as well ([1], #3082), and the former reconstruction fits well for Akkadian kakkab-.[2] --Z 21:25, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
Another equally plausible explanation is that *kabkab- was a result of leveling to the qalqal- paradigm. It seems strange to me that the /b/ would have irregularly lenited in so many languages, but not in others, for example in Hebrew, but not in Phoenician, which were very closely related languages. --WikiTiki89 13:04, 20 July 2014 (UTC)


"Transliteration of Proto-Slavic *baba (grandmother), and Yaga, a probable diminutive of Jadwiga."


"雅加 Yǎjiā (Transliteration from Slavic Yaga, a probable diminutive of Jadwiga) + 婆婆 Pópo"


"From Slavic languages via Russian Баба-Яга (Bába-Jagá)"

RFV of the etymologies, which all have their own odd ways of putting things.

This obviously can't be a transliteration into Chinese from either "Proto-Slavic" or "Slavic", and I'm not sure what's meant by "Slavic languages". It looks to me like the most reasonable guess for how it got to East Asia would be some combination of either borrowing from English, which got it from Russian, or directly from Russian.

By the way- the translation table at Baba Yaga looks fairly well-rounded, until you notice that it's mostly redlinks, with the rest mostly linking to Baba Yaga (English and Portuguese sections), Baba Jaga (Polish), and Баба-Яга (Russian). Some of the redlinks point to interesting alternative forms in West and South Slavic, which supports the assertion that this goes back to Common Slavic and weakens the assertion that Yaga comes from Jadwiga (which seems to be a Germanic borrowing). The Wikipedia article has some interesting theories as well.

Thoughts? Chuck Entz (talk) 01:37, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

I would say it's almost certainly a recent borrowing either from Russian or as an "international" term from an international language such as English/French/German or whatever. No other Slavic language had contact with the Far East. --WikiTiki89 13:10, 20 July 2014 (UTC)


I came across an interesting project: Etyfish. The authors are attempting to explain the etymology of fish taxa beyond merely the source of the words or morphemes, including the not-always-obvious rationale for the use of the words and morphemes, eg, affinis (used as a specific epithet) to what? I hope to be able to include these in our etymologies, with reference credit to them, of course. They don't seem to have thought that through yet. DCDuring TALK 21:33, 20 July 2014 (UTC)


Why is this not *dъlgъ? --WikiTiki89 17:47, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

Well, it's дльгъ (dlĭgŭ) in OCS, forming a minimal pair with длъгъ (dlŭgŭ, debt). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:17, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
In East Slavic ьl = ъl as in TelT/TolT clusters, both yielding ol after jer vocalizations, if that's what's bothering you. See Shevelov p467. Developments of TьRT and TъRT in Lechitic are very complex and you can find them in the literature. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 19:46, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
That makes sense, just like *melko > moloko, but what about West Slavic and South Slavic (other than OCS)? --WikiTiki89 01:56, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
South Slavic merged the two yers in all environments at an early period, so they show the same reflexes in that group. I don't know about West Slavic but Ivan says the developments are complex. —CodeCat 07:28, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
I thought only Serbo-Croatian did, not Bulgarian, Macedonian, and Slovene. --WikiTiki89 10:45, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
Slovene certainly did. Now that I think about it, Bulgarian and Macedonian merged them only in some environments. One of those environments is next to l or r. —CodeCat 10:57, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
pes < *pьsъ, mah < *mъxъ. --WikiTiki89 11:12, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
But also dan < *dьnь. The /ə/ vs. /a/ difference is not determined by the type of yer, but on accentual differences in early Slovene, similar to the distinction between ę and ą in Polish. Usually /a/ develops when it's lengthened under stress by a variety of late Slavic accentual changes, and /ə/ develops in all other cases. In most words, a former /a/ has been levelled out in favour of /ə/ though. —CodeCat 11:19, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
Oh ok. I guess I'm satisfied now. --WikiTiki89 11:44, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
While we're talking about these words, is there any particular reason Proto-Slavic *dъlgъ (debt) has to be a loanword from Germanic? Couldn't both *dъlgъ (debt) and *dulgaz come from *dʰl̥gʰ-, just as Proto-Celtic *dligo- (to owe, be entitled to) did? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:27, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Sounds reasonable to me. --WikiTiki89 21:28, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
The problem is accounting for the ъ. Normally -l̥- develops into -il- in Balto-Slavic, not -ul-. —CodeCat 21:34, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
From Terence R. Carlton, Introduction to the Phonological History of the Slavic Languages, (Slavica 1990) p. 95–96: "The resulting vowel [when syllabic sonorants become vowel + consonant sequences in PSl.] is always either ŭ or ĭ, but we are still unable to define the conditions under which ŭ as opposed to ĭ arose. It is simply not known why, for example, should give ŭr in some roots but ĭr in others, thus, tr̥g- > tŭrg- vs. tr̥p- > tĭrp- (torg vs. terpet’ in modern R[ussian]). Most likely, the conditioning factors were the nature (whether labial, dental, etc.) of the consonant both preceding and following the syllabic sonant." Now that was written 24 years ago; have things changed since then? Do we now know why tr̥g- > tъrg-, but that explanation doesn't apply to *dъlgъ? Or is *tъrgъ believed to be a loanword too? Otherwise, if there are several Slavic roots with ъr and ъl vocalism, I don't see any reason to assume *dъlgъ is borrowed rather than inherited. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:07, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

Was *drugъ also an adjective in PS?[edit]

It seems almost all Slavic languages have an adjective descendant of this with the meaning "other" or "second". Perhaps this sense already existed in Proto-Slavic, in which case we should create it and split the descendants section accordingly. --WikiTiki89 15:13, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

It probably would have been. I wonder if the two senses could be related. —CodeCat 15:29, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
They definitely could be. I will split it out now. Do you think it had both senses "other" and "second" or just one of them? --WikiTiki89 15:31, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
Probably both. I meant whether the "friend" sense is related to the "second/other" sense though. —CodeCat 15:33, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes I got that. I think they could be related (I can see a possible semantic connection), but I have no evidence as of yet. --WikiTiki89 15:40, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

Proto-Slavic *mъnoju[edit]

Why is the first person singular instrumental pronoun *mъnoju, rather than *mъnojǫ? --WikiTiki89 14:40, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

Probably a mistake. —CodeCat 15:12, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Excellent, fixed. --WikiTiki89 15:26, 29 July 2014 (UTC)


RFV of the etymology. Gdbf137 (talkcontribs) rewrote the character etymology in this edit. My dim recollection is that the previous etymology might be more correct, and this user's track record for correct edits isn't very good. Could someone more deeply intimate with Chinese etymologies have a look? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 17:00, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

August 2014[edit]


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[edit]

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...[edit]

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[edit]

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 0199571120) 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)


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[3] 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[edit]

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 en.wiki 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 en.wiki'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[edit]

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[edit]

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)


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 appear? Dbfirs 21:03, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

Both prefix and suffix[edit]

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)