The Blossomed Wheat

B&L quote Lithuanian <kvietỹs> as a Germanic loan. Obviously so, as Lithuanian would have šv- in an inherited word. I think the initial kv- dates the loan as either very old (Pre-Germanic) or fairly recent from some dialect with *hW- > /kv-/. Nowadays that feature is limited to West Scandinavian (including(?) Shetland) and some subgroup of Finland Swedish, and, since I'm not aware of a wider distribution historically, I'll go for Pre-Germanic. I suppose that the long y supports the reconstruction of a (Pre-)Germanic *-ija.

Trond Engen

There are other Lithuanian words beside kvietys (wheat), like kviesti (invite, ask) and kvitas (receipt). The corresponding Serbian words to those Lithuanian could be 'cvet' (flower), kazati (say) and hvat/ati (catch). All the words mentioned above are derived from the Gon-Bel-Gon basis. We shall also see that words kviesti and kazati are comparable to English ask (Serb. iskati, iskazati, Russ. skazat). Last time I compared wheat with wet (Latin aqua, Serbian kvasiti) and now it seems we can do the same with the Serbian verb okusiti (taste; from okvasiti /soak, suffuse/ => okusti /taste/; cf. Latin gusto). Nevertheless, this similarity appears to be accidental, thanks to the common Gon-Bel-Gon basis those words were delivered from.

The common "denominator" for the "senses" in Serbian language is the word čula (senses). Many unusual sound and morphological changes occurred in the process in which a primitive agglutinated form close to 'hneblhna' was "rearranged" into 'okolina' (surrounding; Lat. accola neighbor and conlegium corporation, guild) and finally "molded" into the modern Serbian word 'čula' (senses). Serbian 'slušati' (hear; from o/sluhnuti; Greek ακούω, ακουστικος acoustic) sprang from the same source as 'čula'.

Sometimes, the meanings of certain senses do not share much with the organs where that senses are placed. For instance, Serbian ukus (taste; Lat. gustus) and verb okusiti (to taste) are more related to oko (eye) and uho (ear) than to usta (mouth). At the same time 'usta' (mouth) are related to verbs okusiti (taste), 'ujesti' (bite) and jesti (eat). The same case is with words kazati (say) and iskati (ask). Serbian kazati (say) comes from ukazati (to point out) and it means, "to perceive with eyes". Similar logic is in case of the word okusiti (taste) because we need to say (kazati) what we have tasted. In other words, our tasting organs are "telling" (kazati) us what are we eating (jesti).

My above proposition that the Serbian words okusiti (taste) and kusati/jesti (eat) might be related to aqua and Serbian verb 'ukvasiti' (soak) appeared to be completely wrong.

Let us now see what the relation could be between Lithuanian kvietys (wheat) and Slavic cvet/kvet (flower). As we all know, there is know visible wheat flowering and it suggests that these two words (kvietys, kvet) cannot be directly related. On the other side, the process of flowering is usually connected to white color (best visible on the bloomed trees; English blossom; Lat. flos), what could lead us to Slavic svitanje (dawning, whitening) and *svet-lo (light, visible, white; svitanje (dawning) => cvetanje (flowering).

Explore posts in the same categories: Comparative Linguistics

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