A Despotic River

Working on the study of Gallap's (Dardanian Province) place-names, I face very hard place-name Desivojca, attested as Dexiuoevzi in some Raguzian sources, later as Desilofc and Desivçe in Ottoman sources. Being aware that across this village goes homonym river and that in Albanian we have almost regular dissimulation i – i > e – i (cf. Sl. ličiti > Alb. leçit 'to deprive'), I came to conclusion that this place-name is motivated by river name and should be derived form prefixed form d- + is-il-/-iv-. Root *H1is-ro seems to be a suffixed zero-grade form of *H1eis-, attested in Greek hieros 'powerful, holly'. So, I think that *H1is- gets very early the meaning of 'powerful, holy river', attested in river Illyrian river name Isamnus, in Illyrian TN Histroi, in place-name Istra, in Dardanian place-name Istrina, as well as in Celtic Isaurus, Ukrainian river name Dn-ister etc.
To sum up, Illyrian-Albanian prefix d- is attested not only in river names, as: D-rin-us, D-ril-o, D-riv-astum, D-ab-anos, D-ab-esh-ec > Dabishec, due to dissimulation e – e > i – e (cf. Sl. beseda > Alb bisedë 'conversation, chat, interview') but as well as in D-is-il-/D- is-iv- etc.


The best contribution that Abdullah could possible make to the Albanian linguistic science would be if he could have kept his mouth shut.

Near Gacko (Bosnia) we can find the lake called Desivoj, and Desivoj is one of the oldest Serbo-Slavic personal names beside Desimir. Desirad. Desislav, Desa, Dejan, Desko, Tasa, Taško (from Tanasko ), family names Desivojević, Desković; Serbian Desivojska Reka is equal to another Serbian toponym – Gazivode (from Gon-Bel- basis).

If we compare the aboove Serbian Des- names with the Serbian words desiti (happen), nenadano (unexpected; hence the Serbian personal name Nenad) and iz-nenada (sudden) we will be able to understand that the Serbian name Desivoj is a compound word (an agglutination and assimilation of the primeval syllables Gon-Gon-Bel-Gon). When we observe the name Desivoje more carefully we would be heavily surprised seeing that this name is a counterpart to the Greek word δεσποτικός/ despotikos (autocrat, despotic) and Serbian gospodin (gentleman, lord, sir).

Compare the so-called Thracian Decebalus and Serbian Župan (from Gohpan/Gospan) ; all the above words are closely related to the words as English king, Serbian knez. Guess how it happened?

There is an Albanian family name – Desivojci – also derived from Desivoj; i.e. it came from Serbian Desivoj, Desivojević and turned to be Desivojci in a similar way as the Serbo-Slavic surname Konushevic/ Konjušević became Konushevci after their Slavic ancestors accepted the Islamic Religion.
Of course, Desivojci means nothing in Albanian and there was no Albanian who ever bore the name Desivoj

As everone can see, the family name Konushevci is meaningless in Albanian; in Slavic it is derived from the word konj- (horse; Konjević, Deri-konja, Konjić).
There is a great number of Konjušević family members in Klenak northern Serbian Province Vojvodina, Srem) where they settled after the first Great Serbian Migration from Kosovo (1690) .

I have already pointed out that the Slavic surname Konusevic could be found even in Russia: […26 [Konusevic] Konusevič, E. N. "Ivan Seregeevič Turgenev." Literaturnoe obozrenie, 1993, № 11/12, 4?10…]

In river-names a sense closer to Pokorny's 'to move rapidly' seems likely, something implying a swiftly or powerfully moving current.

Brian M. Scott

But it has nothing to do with neither the so-called Illyrian nor with the modern Albanian language. As I showed above: Serbian personal name Desivoj <= Desiboj <= Despot <= Gospod (Lord) = Greek Δεσποτης; all also related to the Serbo-Slavic name Gostivoj [Serb. gazda lord; cf. Serbian uspeti, uspeh (success; from h/uspeti), osvojiti, osvajač (conquerer; from h/osvajač)]; uspinjati, uspenje Bogorodice/Gospe (the elevation of mother Mary; Mary is also named Gospa in Serbian.

Explore posts in the same categories: Comparative Linguistics

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: