Otvet vs. Advise


I'd like to know the etymology of the russian words otvet (answer) and otvetstvennosti (responsability), and how they are connected historicaly.

In Portuguese, these words ("resposta" and "responsabilidade") have the same Indo-European root "espos-" (in Greek "spendo", to make a libation; in Latin "spondeo,ere", to promise, to ensure, to make a commitment). I think that the Russian "otvet" and "otvetstvennosti" don't have this Indo-European root, but I think they must have a similar root in Slavic languages.

Otvet 'answer' is an od- (from, of) prefixed vet (OSl vѣtъ; Proto-Slavic *větati 'advise, consult'; otъvѣtъ 'reply'). It seems that Vasmer hadn't been quite clear about this item. I suppose we could connect this word with other Slavic words as videti 'see' (OSl vidѣti 'see'), Serb. veće 'council', većati 'deliberate'; Russ. so-vet, so-veщanie 'council'; Cz. od-po-vědět 'answer' etc… It is interesting to mention that Slovenian od-po-vedati means 'cancel' (cf. Serb. za-po-vedati 'command'; Slvn. povedati 'say, tell'), and it makes a very unusual hint that it may be following a similar logic as English cancel and council. I'm not quite sure, but Slavic *od-ved- might possible be a "counterpart" word to English advice (Latin ad- + video; vision, visum).

I see no connection between the roots vět- and věd-.
In Czech: jednačenje po zvučnosti:
větiti = to speak (od-větiti to reply, vět-a sentence, oběceti < *ob-vět-ja-ti to promiss)
věděti = to know, a "new" verb formed from a (perfective?) stem of the verb viděti to see (he has seen -he knows).

IMHO these two verbs are of different origin, vět- is not related to wit (which is related to vid-/věd-).

No, -vetiti in Russian can be -vedati in Serbian (ispo-vedati 'profess') or po-vedati 'say, tel' in Slovenian; although it can also be vet- in some other Serbian words: pripo-vetka 'tale, story, narrative', sa-vet 'council, advice', za-vet 'conjure, oath'.

This is, obviously, a very difficult question. I think, first thing we have to do is to see if Serbian većanje (counsel, advising; Russ. so-veщanie, OSl sъ-vѣtъ) is related to viđenje (seeing, vision, sight; Russ. videnie, Cz vidění). Nevertheless, I do not think that there is a big problem with the different Slavic "roots": vet-, ved-, vet-, vid-, vod-, vad-, vat- because we acquired these forms thanks to the processes of assimilation and ablaut just in order to denote and to name another "close meaning". I suppose, the main problem lies in semantics and in the fact that all of the above-mentioned "roots" must have commenced from a common "source". And what such an assumed "source" may have looked like?

If the problem really has to be solved by comparing the meanings of any word from this group, one by one, then there is a big job ahead of us (voditi, sa-vet 'council', vaditi 'scoop', vidati 'cure', videti 'see'). Personally, I would start from two words that are morphologically and semantically rather distant: one is voda 'water' and the other is vlaga 'wetness'. My suggestion here is that voda 'water' may be the "key" for the above enigma because water has some characteristics which may be "incorporated" into our different ved- vet- and et cetera "roots".

Unfortunately, to fulfill similar task we must know the origin of the word voda 'water' itself and it is hard to tell if, for instance, the words as water (voda), fluid and wetness (vlaga) are mutually either more or less or none at all closely related. As I've already said, I believe that phonetic rules are of no use in this specific example ; i.e. they seem to be absolutely worthless here. It looks that words like voditi 'lead', videti'see' and -vedati/-vetiti 'speak' (Serb. propo-vedati 'preach') may have strong semantic connections; but even if it were the truth it would be very difficult (albeit not impossible) to prove beyond any doubt.

It seems that Old Slavic obѣtъ doesn't necessarily go to *ob + vět, although it is generally accepted among the linguistic circles. For instance, there is Slavic ubediti 'convince, persuade' (Russ. ubeditь; ubeždatь, Serb. ubediti); Vasmer compares that word to Russian beda (OSl bѣda/běda) 'misfortune, calamity, trouble, grief'. On the other hand there is a Czech adjective navádějící 'abetting' (Serb. navoditi), which clearly indicates to the Slavic verb voditi 'lead'. Finally, if we compare English bait/abet and Serbian/Slavic ubediti 'persuade' we may possible be able to understand the huge dimension of the problem we are trying to deal with. How to understand the semantic and phonetic similarity between Slavic obed/objed 'dinner, lunch, meal' and English bite/bait? Is it just a coincidence? Slavic obed (OSl obѣdъ) is a compound word: ob 'around' + eda, estь, jesti 'eat'; cf. Serb. imperative po-jedi! eat!). Maybe, in this case, we should pay more attention to the verb biti (beat; OE beatan).

A similar-confusing "relationship" could be "found" between Latin word suadeo -ere 'advise, persuade' and Serbian svađa 'dispute' (from svoditi, zavoditi 'persuade, seduce'; Russ. ob-suždenie 'discussion', ob-suditь 'dispute'; cf. Serb. svodnik 'pimp', Russ. svodnik). It seems that we here also have to deal with the Slavic verb voditi 'lead'.

That's a very strong suggestion indeed: that all those roots would go back to the same root because they "look similar". Especially as you are completely discounting phonetical/phonological evidence below.

OK. Let me ask you this: advocate sounds similar to Slovenian odvetnik 'advocate'; are these two words mutually related and are they both related to Russian otvet? Things appeared to be much more complicated as to be resolved with the use of the established sound laws and rules. For instance, is Czech odpovědnost 'responsibility' the same (but <po> infixed) as the Russian word otvetstvennost? It probably is. In that case, why we have the "stem" věd in Czech and vet- in Russian?

Advocate comes from Latin ad + voco -are 'to call' (from PIE *wekw-; cf. Serb. vikati, viče 'cry, yell, shout, scream'?) According to this, Latin advocātus is one who is "called as witness", while Slovenian odvetnik is the one who answers instead of the defendant. Then… is Slavic ved-/vet- also derived from *wekw- as vik-(Serb. vika 'noice')? Maybe, once Slovenian odvetnik sounded as od-vek-nik; cf. većnik 'counselor'? And Russian otvetitь was originally ot-vek-ik? Namely, one question imposes itself: is the Slavic vet- stem a "product" of a certain velar to dental sound change (vek => vet)?

As you see, all these questions are legitimate and they have nothing to do with a folk-etymological "adventure" that doesn't care about the internal structure of a word.

Finally, I haven't "discounted" neither phonetics nor phonology except in a specific situations where those scientific branches cannot really be of any actual help.

Please note that there's a "novelty theories rule" in EHL: what you wrote above is just folk etymology; if you want to continue pursuing this argument you must give us more than just vague suppositions or bold but unsustained claims.

There is no neither "novelties" nor "theories" in my previous writings; I just tried to instigate a curiosity among the respected members of this forum to help me to find answers to some questions. Of course, my questions may have been insufficiently substantiated and I may have missed a desirable "target", but my intention was far from thought to say anything new and let alone postulate new theories or axioms.

So you claim that "voda", looking phonetically not too different from those roots, might be a cognate?
Another bold claim which don't goes beyond folk etymology.

Once again, I claimed nothing, I was just asking some questions and was looking for some answers (suggestions) that I thought might be relevant in this specific case.

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