Archive for the ‘etymology’ category


December 19, 2009

My congratulation Mr. Liberman!

I haven’t read anything more inspiring for a long time (at least as far as etymology is in question) and I am really sorry I haven’t seen your articles earlier.

First, let me make a small digression and compare tram to drum (Ger. Trommel) and to Greek δρόμος (course, race-course, lap, public walk, road, track, way)… and to Serbian drum (road) in addition. Vasmer mentions the Russian words ударить, деру́, драть, раздор (from O.Slav. оударити ’slam, strike, hit, ram’; Serb. udariti, udar, udaram ‘blow, stroke, strike, beat, kick, knock, push’; s-udar-anje ‘clash, shock, collision, crash, impact, smash’) and compares it to Greek δρις, -ἡ ‘battle, contest’. Here it seems also to be interesting to mention that Old Slavic дерѫ, дьрати (d’rati ‘tear, flay’) is a cognate to Sanskrit dr̥ṇā́ti (tear, split) and Greek δέρω (separate by avulsion, skin, flay; hence the Greek noun δέρμα ’skin, hide’). All these words are derived from the same proto-form similar to *xər-bhl-gən.; i.e. from its contracted basis – *xər-gon.

English track is probably the source of Serbian traka (band, ribbon) and it is farther (reversibly) related to Serbian trag (trace, footprint, mark, track) as well as to the Russian word дорога (road, path). One of the first thing we must have in mind here is that the most of those *thər- words are derived from an earlier agglutinated form, which sounded similar to *thuer-bəlgon (Eng. turbid, turbulence, turbine, curving, trouble, Gr. τύρβη ‘tumult, disorder’, Lat. turbidus; cf. Serb. turoban ‘mirky, gloomy’). In this case, the semantic shifts are remarkable: for instance, German trommeln (drum, beat out, pound, batter) is the word from the same “arsenal” as Serbian grmljavina (thunder, thundering; hence Serb. grom ‘thunder’; OSlav. громъ; Gr. χρόμᾰδος ‘crashing sound’, τρίβω ‘to rub, thresh’; τριβόμενος ‘frictional’; Serb. trljanje, trenje ‘friction’, Russ. трение ‘friction’; Cz. tření).

Another word, that should be thoroughly examened, is English group (Ita. gruppo). This word has been developed following the same logic as the above-mentioned “turbulence”. As a matter of fact, turbulence must be a “descendent” word in comparison to group, because the grouping is a precondition for a certain kind of “turbulant activities” in the future. Group is closely related to grab (Ger. graben ‘dig, grub, burrow’, Serb. grabiti ‘catch, grab’, OSlav. грабити, Serb. grablje ‘rake’) and grave (Ger. Grab, Serb. grob; OSlav. гробъ). Serbian krupno (big) and ukrupnjenje (making bigger) are the close relatives to Serbian ogroman (large, big, enormous, giant, huge), and all of these words are derived from the above-mentioned ur-basis – *xər-bhl-gən.

The protoform *xər-bhl-gən is in fact a “twofold or doubled roundness”. It entails  that the primary meaning of such agglutinated word was ring + ball : Gr. κρίκος ‘ring’ + ἀμφέλκω ‘be surrounded by’; Serb. krug ‘circle’ + oblo ’round’; Ger. Ring + Ball, like in kurbeln ‘wind’, Kurbel ‘winder’; Lat. circus + oval or bulla ’round swelling’, OE hring ‘circle’ + bolla ’round object, cup, bowl’; cf. OE hring-boga ’snake’ and Icel. hring-laginn ‘coiled up’, both from hypothetical *hring-bləg(n), i.e. in sense ‘bent in circle’ or ‘coiled being’ (hence probably the Serbian n. rugoba ‘a monstrous creature’ and adj. rugoban ‘monstrous, ugly’). Greek Charybdis (Χάρυβδις) is a word equal to Serbian grdoba ‘monstrous creature’, while Serbian grdoba is just a variant of the above-mentioned rugoba (from *h/rugoba => *gruhoba => grdoba). The name crocodile appears to be obtained in a similar way –*hro(ho)b(d)ile; (cf. Ir. crogall, Sc. eireallach ‘a monster’, eirbleach ’slack-jointed or crippled person, Sc. hirplock ‘lame creature, cripple‘, OSl. хромъ, Serb. hrom, hramati ‘lame, to limp’, Skt. स्राम srāmá ‘lame’, Eng. horrible ‘horrifying, ugly’). Alslo there is Gaelic rìbhinn ‘maid, nymph, serpent, beautifull female’, which might be related to Old Slavic рыба ‘fish’ (Serb. riba; cf. Lat. rubeta ‘toad’) and German Raupe ‘caterpillar’.

We can see that Gaelic cruimhean ‘worms’ sounds close to rìbhinn and cruimh ‘worm’, and Latin vermis (worm) must be obtained from the same language “depot” of “curved creatures” (Ger. gekrümmt, krumm ‘bent, curved, curled’; Lith. kirminas, kirmėlė ‘worm’; Skt. कृमिन् kṛmin ‘worm’) as it happened to PSl. *čьrvь (OSl. чрьвь ‘worm’, Russ. червь, Serb. crv). In fact, in this case, the “curved line” is a basic “motto” in depicting some unusual or even unnatural characteristic (Serb. kriv-ljenje ‘bending, distortion’, Russ. кривой ‘distorted’, искривление ‘distortion, deformation, curvature’).

In order to understand how the initial *kərb- “root” (from proto-form *xər-bhl-gən) changed its appearance and became *kərp-, *kərv-, *kərm- or *kərf let us compare Latin crimen ‘a judgment, charge, accusation, reproach’ (Gr. κρι̂μα ‘a decision, judgment’) with the South-Slavic krivica (guilt, culpability; krivina ‘curve’; OSl. кривъ ‘crooked’, Serb. kriv ‘crooked, incorrect, guilty’; Cz. křivý ‘crooked, awry, incorrect, improper, deceitful’; Gr. κροιός ‘having deformity’; Lith. kreivas ‘crooked, curved, wry, wrong, false, unfair’). The crucial question here is whether the Latin word crimen is or not related to Serbian krivnja ‘culpability’.

Of course, worm (Serb. crv ‘worm’) is not guilty (Serb. kriv ‘guilty’) for his curly or curved (Serb. kriv ‘curved, crooked, bent’) appearance. Similar can be spoken about the relation among Slavic crevo (OSl. чрѣво, Serbian crevo; Cz. střevo), which has two meanings: intestine and hosepipe. In both cases, we have to deal with the curved/hollowed – cablelike objects. The same ‘curved’ logic is well visible among the Greek words κοιλία ‘cavity of the body, belly, abdomen, intestines’, κοῖλος ‘hollow, concave, cavernous’ and σκολιός ‘curved, winding, twisted, tangled’ (cf. Slav. kolo ‘wheel, circle’; OSl. коло). Even the word for worm followed the same pattern as it was seen above (Gr. σκώληξ ‘worm’; literary, a twisted, curved creature) in Slavic and Germanic languages.

In Old Prussian, intestine was named grābs, phonetically very close to German Grab ‘grave’ and Slavic grab (hornbeam; genus Carpinus). Is there anything at all that would be able to connect those three words? On the other hand, OPr. kērmens ‘body’ (Latv. ķermenis ‘body’) appears to be related to Ger. Körper and Lat. corpus, while OPr. kīrms ‘worm’ (Latv. cērme ‘worm’) seems to be related to ‘body’ (corpus) in a certain, maybe unusual way? Latin trabs ‘a beam of wood, tree-trunk’ is a possible cognate to the Serbian word trup ‘body, trunk, torso, corpus’ (OSl. троупъ, Cz. trup; Russ. труп) and there is another Serbian word (trupac ‘beam of wood, tree-trunk’) – whose meaning is exactly the same as the meaning of Latin trabs.

One thing is very interesting here. Namely, the English words tramp, trample (MLG trampen ‘walk heavily, stamp’) and stamp (OE stempan ’stamp’) are the cognates of the Serbian verbs trapati ‘walk heavily’ (n. trapanje; adj. trapav ‘awkward, clumsy’) and stupati ‘march’ (n. stupanje ‘marching’). Both of these Serbian words are related to the tree stem (Serb. stablo ’stem, bole, trunk’; Russ. стебель, ствол; Cz. stéblо) or tree-trunk (Serb. trupac, truplo ‘tree-trunk’). Not casually, Serbian stablo ’stem, stalk’ is used in naming of the most distal part of human leg – stopalo ‘foot’ (OSl. стопа; Russ. ступня, стопа; Cz. stopa), because of the similarity between tree stem and human leg. The almost same relation could be seen in Germanic: Eng. stem (from *stebh-l-; Ger. Stiel, Stamm, Stengel ), step, Ger. Stufe ’step, stair, grade, degree; cf. Serb. stepen, stupanj ‘grade, degree’, stepenice ’steps, stairs’.

Latin ramus ‘bough, branch, twig’ looks as if it has nothing to do with Serbian grana ‘branch’. Nevertheless, both words are probably derived from the same “root” (*grəbh-gn-), which is, in fact, one of the variations of the primeval form *xər-bhl-gən (”a curved line”). Perhaps this would be clearer if we compared Latin ramale -is ‘brushwood’ with the Serbian grmlje ‘brushwood’. The Greek word for thicket is δρυμός; as we can see, phonetically very close to δρόμος (a public walk, colonnade, from δραμει̂ν , aor. inf. of τρέχω ‘to run’). Now it becomes possible that Lat. ramus is a cognate to above-mentioned trabs ‘beam of wood’. In Russian, the noun хребет ‘ridge, edge, spine’ (Serb. hrbat ‘back’, greben ‘ridge’) is the antecedent of грань ‘verge, edge, margin, boundary’ (Serb. granica ‘boundary, border’, grana ‘twig, branch, limb’).

Semantic shifts in these cases seem to be unexpected, but if we supposed that thousands and thousands of words were sprang from the same source, then such shifts should not be seen as startling. For instance, Serbian grumen ‘lump of soil, clod, clump, turf’ (Russ. грум) is probably the same word as Latin gramen ‘grass, turf, herb’ and these two words may be distantly related to Serbian trava ‘grass’ (OSl. трава, Pol. trawa) and Latin herba ‘herb, grass’. In this context, the Slavic appelative d(e)revo (OSl. дрѣво; Russ. дерево; Pol. drzewo) might be from the same origin as trava ‘grass’. As it is quite obvious, now we are entering the field of pure guessing.

Maybe it would be interesting to mention the Czech words křoví, křoviny ‘bush, shrub, scrub’, travina ‘grass’ and dřevo ‘wood, timber’, i.e. dřevina ‘woody species’. Czech křoví ‘bush’ is probably a false friend to Serbian korov ‘weed’ (cf. Serb. adj. za-korovljeno = za-travljeno ‘weedy’; Russian сорная трава ‘drossy grass, weed’). The OE syntagm grēne græs might be an indication that green is related to grass. Swedish gren has the same mening as Serbian grana (branch; Dan. grene sig ‘branch out’), and both of these words must be derived from the same proto-word (*grebhn-; Serb. greben, hrbat, hrid ‘ridge, cliff’). The OE compound word hrycg-weg an elevated piece of ground, ridge-way’ (Serb. greben ‘ridge’, hrid-ina ‘cliff’) is composed of two words: hrycg ( from hring ‘ring’) and weg ‘road, way’(from IE *bhelg-; Russ. бежать, убегать ‘run’, Cz. běh, běžet ‘run’; Latin pello, pellere, pepuli, pulsus ‘drive out’, veho, vehere ‘carry, ride, sail’; also Serb. beg, bežati ‘running away’, voziti ‘drive’; cf. Serb. vozilo – from *vogi-kolo ‘drive the wheel’ or *begi-kolo ‘the running wheel, cart, wagon’ – and Lat. vehiculum, vehi-culi).

Let us now try to resume what we have been talking about until now:

1) German trommeln is equal to Serbian grmljenje (grmeti ‘to thunder, grom ‘thunder’); while Eng. thunder appears to be related to Serb. tandaranje ‘rattle’ (Serb. tandarati from *hun-dar => udar ‘blow, bump, kick, knock, strike, hit’, udaranje (cf. OE þunrian ’striking, beating, kicking’; probably a metathesis from *hundrian). These sound transpositions are the reason that there are different Germanic words for thunder: Ger. Donner, Dan. torden ‘thunder’ (cf. an ancient Germanic thunder deity – Donar, Thor; OE Þunor, Þūr; Celtic Taranis). Latin tono -are ‘to thunder’ also came from the protoform similar to *hundrian. In reality tono -are is a distant cousin to Latin torno -are ‘turn’ and these two words may be compared to Germ. Donar and Thor. Hence Spanish tronada ‘thunderstorm, tornado’; i.e.  from Latin turbedo, turbedinis ’storm’.

2) On the other hand, Serbian drmnuti, drmati ’shake, quake, strike’ is clearly related to grom ‘thunder’ (OSlav.  громъ; Serb. grom je drmnuo ‘the thunder struck’) and trema ’stage fright, shaking, shudder’ (Lat. tremo -are ‘tremble, shake, shudder’). There is another Serbian word – trepet ‘tremble’ (OSlav. трепетъ; Russ. трепетать Gr. τρόμος ‘trembling’, τρέμω ‘tremble, trepidation’), a cognate to Latin trepido -are ‘tremble, be afraid, waver’ – which shows that the above mentioned trema and drmati are derived from the “root” *trebh-; i.e. from a certain ur-word similar to the Latin adj. turbatus -a -um ‘disturbed, disordered, restless, troubled’.

3) Serbian trpljenje ’suffering, troubled by pain or loss’ appears to be logically related to trljanje ‘rubbing’ and trenje ‘rubbing, friction’ (Lat. tero, terere, trivi, tritus ‘rub’; Gr. τρίβος ‘rubbing, attrition, worn truck’; τριμμός ‘beaten truck/path’; Serb. trošan put ‘a worn path’); all probably related to Latin turbulentus -a -um ‘turbulent, stormy, tumultuous, be agitated’. In fact, the English noun storm (Ger. Sturm ’storm’, Strom ‘currennt, stream’; OE styrian ‘disturb’) should be in a close relation to Latin turbulentus as well as to Serbian strujanje ‘current, flux, stream, circulation’ (being stormed = being in trouble).

– Of course, there are a lot of different IE words, which are derived from the same *xər-bhl-gən protoform. One of the interesting words is German treiben (OHG trīban: Goth. dreiban; OE drīfan)’propel, drive, push out, force, pursue’; it seems to be an undisputable cognate of Serbian teranje ‘driving’. On the other hand, Serbian isterati ‘oust, expel, drive out’ looks as if it is a cognate of Serbian istrebiti (Russ. истребить, истреблять)  ‘exterminate, annihilate, wipe out, root out’.  Serbian trebiti ‘root out, exterminate, eradicate’ can be compared to the above-mentioned words, trljanje/trenje ‘rubbing’ and another Serbian word that links trljanje and trebljenje ‘extermination, eradication’ – it is trvenje ‘a  process of mutual annihilation’ (hence Serb. po-tiranje, za-tiranje’annihilation’, sturiti, štrojiti ‘make sterile’). Now, with a high probability, we can say that Serbian teranje, trebljenje and trvenje are derived from the same source as English drive (Ger. treiben, ver-treiben = Serb. pro-terati ‘oust, expel, banish’).

4) Latin termen, terminis ‘limit, boundary, end, terminus’ (Gr. τέρμων ‘boundary’) may be related to Latin trabs ‘beam, tree-trunk’ and this one to Serbian taraba (from truplo, trupac ‘tree-trunk’) in a similar way as Latin palus, pali, which, at the same time, has the meaning ’stake, pole’ as well as the meaning ‘fence’ (cf. Eng. palisade, Serb. palica ’stake, stick, pole, club, rod’, from oblica ‘a round shaped pole’; Serb. oblo ’round’, obala ‘coast’, belega ‘mark, boundary’; hence Serb. obeležiti zemlju ‘to mark the land boundaries’). Although it is said that Serbian taraba ‘fence’ is a Turcism (P. Skok, Etimologijski riječnik hrvatskog ili srpskog jezika, Zagreb 1971; book III p. 443), in reality, it can be compared with Latin trabs (the fence made of treetrunks?; Gr. τράφηξ/τράπηξ ‘beam’) or Serbian trupac ‘treetrunk’ (from trubac; cf. Serb. truba ‘trump, trumpet’; OSlav. трѫба). Old English trem, trym ’step’ is probably related to German Treppen ’stairs’ (MLG trame, treme ’stair, rung of a ladder’; M.Du. trame ‘balk, beam’) and, indirectly, to the above mentioned Serbian taraba ‘a fence made of wooden logs’ (cf. Gr. τράφος ‘ditch, trench, fence’). A similar logic might be used to explain the origin of the Serbian word trem (or trijem) ‘portico, lobby, porch’; in fact, it is a porch made of wooden beams (Gr. τέρεμνον).

5) It seems that Sanskrit करभ karabha ‘trunk of an elephant, wal, metacarpus’ might be of a great help here. Namely, Sanskrit karabha seems to be related to Serbian truplo ‘trunk’, grana ‘branch’ and surla ‘proboscis’ (all from *hər-bhl-gn-; cf. Serb. osoran ‘with a big snout, with a nose turned up (contemptuously), surly’ (from *osurlen). If we compare Lithuanian straublys, Serbian surla and Dutch slurf, all with the meaning ‘trunk, proboscis, virile-member’ (Serb. surlav ‘having a big snout’) we may possible be able to understand the process of sound changes, which started from the above-mentioned *hər-bhl-gn agglutinated ur-form, whose original meaning was close to “curved line” or ’rounded object”.

6) The Old English verb treppan to tread, trample‘ appears to be the same word as Serbian noun trapanje ‘a heavy walk’, trampling’. Hence the Serbian adjectives trapav ‘awkward, clumsy’ (Cz. trapný), traljav ’sloppy’, noun truljenje ‘decay’, trulja ‘rag’, dronjak ‘rag’ (from *dro[b]ljnjak), droplja ‘bustard, wading bird, slow bird’ (Russ. дрофа; Cz. drop; Ger. Trappen) and even drolja ‘a tramp, prostitute’. According to Vasmer, Russian трамбовать ’stamp, trample’ is a borrowing from German trampeln ‘trample’

A New Young (Noble-Nibelung) King

January 25, 2009

The PGmc. *k of these forms is not surprising, because that is the expected outcome of PIE *ǵ (or velar *g, for that matter); and we expect *r to survive without change in Germanic.  But the vowel of the root doesn’t fit; inherited *ē should have remained *ē in PGmc. and in Gothic, becoming *ā in all the other daughters (with various further devel­opments, especially in OE).

Don Ringe

pdf version (243 kb)

When Proto-Germanic *rik- is in question, I would say that Ringe is making a mistake by observing only words related to king in this case. Namely, the PIE root *h3reg– (or Hor-Gon basis in my HSF) gives an enormous number of derivatives in all IE languages. For instance, Gothic raíhts (Recht) is a “counterpart” word to Celtic *rektu– (Old Irish recht, Welsh rhaith); and German Reich/reich is clearly related to Recht (right), richtig1 (correct) and Richtung (direction) because those meanings were shifted from Reihe (raw) and Ordnung2 (order; this may be a borrowing from Latin ordo -inis line, raw, order, but not ultimately). All these words must be carefully examined before any final conclusion is reached. Compare Serbian words red (row, line; Russ. ряд; Cz.  řada, řádek; Pol. rząd), uređenje (system, arrangement; Cz. po-řádek; Russ. по-рядок; po-rządek), uredno (orderly), na-ređenje, na-rediti (order; Cz. na-řídit); do they not sound like the Latin loan-words? However, they are not from Latin, they are clearly inherited Slavic words. If a Serb says “sve je u redu” it means “it’s all right” (Ger. alles in Ordnung). When something is properly arranged (Serb. uređeno) it must be right (Serb. u redu, uredno). Sometimes things are more simply “arranged” than anyone would have ever expected. For instance, who would say that English empire (from Latin imperito -are) is an analogous word to Slavic poredak3 (system; from po-ređati to line up).

As I said before, I am convinced that vowels have no big/significant importance in studying the history of words. Vowels seem to be just necessary “tools” to make words shift/pass from one meaning to another (Serb. uraditi work, urediti arrange, uriktati put in order; Ger. Reihe row, Recht right, Richting direction; Richtigkeit accuracy). Who would suppose that Greek παράδεισος4 (paradise, heaven) is also related to Slavic poredak (system) and Latin im-perito? Serbian raj (paradise; Russ. рай, раек; Cz. raj; OSl. раи) is nothing else but an “arrayed area” (Serb. uređen kraj).


1) The German verb berechtigen (to authorize; i.e. “to make it right”) is close in structure and meaning to berichtigen (to correct) and it is clear that these two words have different connotations thanks to the one simple /e/ to /i/ vowel mutation. If we try to dig deeper into the relation among the “similar” words we will be able to understand that German rechnen (count; Serb. računati) is genetically related not only to regieren (reign) but also to Recht (right). It is very unusual that Don Ringe “skipped” some words that couldn’t fit into his presented theory. For instance, there are words for queen in Germanic like OHG quena, ON kvin (beside kvæn). There are also forms as OS sêhan (sow; Serb. sejanje sowing) and OFries. sêa  where the vowel /e/ is kept instead of expected /a/.  Don Ringe also mentioned Proto-Germanic *dēdiz, maybe without seeing that his “deed” is going back to the root *dailjan and the notion of “dealing” (Serb. delanje working, deljenje dealing; dejstvo effect; Russ. действовать to work; деятель [deyatel’] worker); cf. Goth. táujan, OHG zouwen to do, make. The PIE root *dheigh also goes back to *dailjan or more precisely to *dai(b)l-h2n.

2) German ordnen (to sort out) is related to Latin ordino -are (order, arrange) and Serbian urediti (to arrange) and uredno (arranged).  It shows that it is almost impossible to say that any of these words is a loan word from another language. Most probably, in all the mentioned tongues those words must be of native origin.

3) The Serbian verb poređati (to line up, arrange; Russ. приводить в порядок literally “to get in order”; Cz. pořádný orderly)  seems to be related to Latin imperito (to govern; from in + perito; Serb. u poretku in order?). In order to understand the history of these words we have to start from the PIE root h3rebh ‘turn’ (proposed by Michael Weiss from Cornell University  ᅳ “Latin Orbis and Its Cognates,” Historische Sprachforschung, 2006) and its transposed form h3berh ‘rotate’. Namely, the Serbian word obrt (turn, rotation) appeared to be a metathesized form of Latin orbit, while Latin orbit might be compared to Serbian krivulja (curve; Pol. krzywa, Cz. křivka, Russ. кривая; Serb. kriva linija curved line; Ger. kurbeln to wind [wound; wound], Lat. curvus). Now  it becomes clear that the above-named Weiss’ PIE root h3rebh can be modified to h3rbelh (Hor-Bel basis in HSF). The Serbian verbs porediti (com-pare), poraditi (to work on), poroditi (to give birth), poređati (to line up, command) have a clear-cut relation with English words produce, pare, produce, apparatus, birth. In reality, all these words are derived from the above *h3br- (Lat. abrado -radere -rasi –rasum to scrape, shave; Serb. obrada arrangement, production, workup, obrt trade, obrtnik craftsman); i.e. all these words are connected to the notion of the “cyclic rotation” (turning).

4) One question can be very interesting here. Is the word paradise akin to park? It is hard to say, but one thing is sure: Παραδείσος (garden, orchard) is an abraded, nicely “shaved” and cleaned area. In addition, is there anything that can be taken as common for the words park and part (from Latin pars partis)? Serbian parče (piece, mouthful, part) is derived from obruč (ring, enclosed area), which from its side comes from the agglutinated h3b(l)-h3rg root (Gon-Bel-Hor-Gon basis in HSF). It means that Serbian obruč (ring; Russ. обруч) and parče (part) are both coming from an earlier form, ob(l)-krug (“oval circle”; Serb. oblo round + krug circle); okrug (district, area) <= ob-krug => obruka (barrel fastener) => obruč (ring).

PIE *gwḗn ‘woman’ (OIr. bé, Jasanoff 1989) >→ PGmc. *kwēniz ‘wife’ > Goth. qens, ON kván, OS quān, OE cwēn;

Don Ringe

There is a well-established “scientific” belief that Slavic knez (prince; OSlav. кънѩѕь) is a Germanic loanword (Vasmer p. 2,266.). The following analysis will show that such an assertion is completely unsubstantiated and essentially wrong. In addition, this could possible be an indirect proof that Don Ringe’s assumption about Celtic loan words in Germanic couldn’t be more reliable than the above-mentioned Vasmer’s statement about *kuninggaz => knez relation.

Here I think it would be interesting to mention that the Serbian word knez (count, lord, prince, duke; Russ. князь; Cz. kníže) sounded first as (prior to g => ž palatalization) kneg , like in kneginja (princess; Russ. княгиня, княжна; Ger. Königin; Pol. księżniczka; Cz. kněžna). Now let us compare Slavic words for book (Serb. knjiga book, knjižica booklet; Pol. książka, książeczka book, booklet; Russ. книжечка booklet; Cz. kniha, knížka) with the above-mentioned Slavic words for ‘prince’ and ‘princess’. What else can we see here? Is there anything here beside the pure phonetic resemblance and analogous morphology? What is that that Serbian kneževina (principality; Pol. księstwo; Russ. княжество; Cz. knížectví) may have in common with the Serbian word književnost (literature)? Are these two words anything more than lookalikes? On the other hand, in what mutual relations are the English words, count, know, and king? Why count is at the same time ‘the act of counting’ and a ‘noble man’? Might it not be related to English king (Ger. König) and the verb know (Ger. kennen? What about the possible kinship among the Serbo-Slavic words znanje (knowledge), nauka (science), knez (prince) and knjiga (book), on one side, and the above-named Germanic words on the other? Also, there seems to be a clear parallel to English words duke (from Lat. dux leader; ducere lead) and education (Lat. ex-ducere lead out)? Now we can suppose that king was not only the ruler and the one who oppressed his people (cf. Ger. Knecht servant; Serb. ugnjeten oppressed; kmet servant; from knet; ultimately from goniti chase, drive, prosecute), but he also was the leader, the one who teaches, educates, counts… Nevertheless, is it possible that English teacher (again Latin ducere, dicere, dictio) is related to Serbian douka (teach), dokaz (evidence, token, testimony), dokučiti (to find out, see through), tečaj (cours; from teknuti, teći flow) and učiti (learn, teach). Of course, all these words go back to the ur-form *(h)obli-gn or to the PIE root *bhleugh- (hence Serb. oblinuti/obliti suffuse; from ob-h-liti, h-linuti, s-linuti, d-linuti, and obučiti teach, educate). As we can see, we need here an in-depth phonetic expertise in order to be able to describe all the phonetic mutations that occurred in these examples.

For instance, Serbian odlučiti (decide; odluka decision) is the “older” form of the Serbian verb tumačiti (comment, inerpret; Ger. dolmetschen interpret) and is related to English talk and Russian толковать (interpret). Let us now concentrate on the PIE root for talk and tale –  *del- (Pokorny 1. del- 193). Can we not say that English teach belongs to the same group of words as tale and talk? No, we cannot because teach is derived from the PIE root *deig-! Yeah, but why talk wouldn’t be related to token (from talken?) and Serbian dokaz (Cz. důkaz token, evidence, argument; Russ. доказательство evidence, доказывать to assert) and odluka (issue, evidence, judgment, verdict, decision), odlučiti (decide, determine)? Why wouldn’t Latin decisio -onis (decision) be related to Slavic dokaz (evidence, proof) and what is the history of the Latin word documentum (evidence)? Greek δοκῐμάζω (approve, test, assay) appeared to be the same word as Latin documentum. Serbian dokazivanje (proving) is the same word as doznavanje or doznati (get knowledge; from dognavati, dognati; i.e. it is a cognate (!) to Lat. cognitio!). Also, if we compare English knowledge and the Serbian adjective znalački (knowingly) we will see that these two words are structured in the same way.

Above analysis should (and must) go much deeper and for that hundreds of pages wouldn’t be enough, but in this specific case I tried just to make some outline “inspection” of the words that potentially could be related to king and queen. Next word that can capture our attention is the word noble! Surprisingly or not, here we may mention the Egyptian god Kneph (also known as Chnoubis, Chnoumis, Chnouphis, Nebo, Naba, Nechi, Necho), who appears to be related not only to our king/knez but also to ‘wisdom’; i.e. to ‘knowledge’ or Serb. ‘znanje’ (by Eusebius Kneph is identified with the Logos; Jamblichus identifies him with Brahma since he says of him that “this god is intellect itself”). How it happen that Ethiopian negus (king) is present in Serbian language today in the name of a town Njeguši (best known as birth place of Serbian’s royal dynasty of Petrović in Montenegro)? Actually, it seems that Serbian Njegoš/Njegoš is the same word as English king, German König or Serbian knez/knjaz. The other name that could be helpful in this case is Serbian name Nemanja, which could go back to Nebo (sky; from nasalized NeMbagna, something close to the name of Nabunaid, king of Babylon), which also could be related to Noah (New Man, Serb. Novak; from novo new; Neu Man). This shows too that the Germans might not have been called Nemci in Slavic in a conformity with the Slavic words for mute (Serb. nem; Russ. немой; Pol. niemy), but in accordance with the word know (Serb. znati, Pol. znać; Russ. знать; Gr. γνωσις, γνομε knowledge, skillfulness).

If queen is related to Greek γῠνή (woman; Serb. žena, ženka) than king must be related to Greek κυνηγία (hunt, chase; Serb. goniti chase, gonič hunter). We shall see that Greek κυνηγός (huntsman) sounds almost the same as PGerm. *kuninggaz (OE cyning; Goth. kuniggs). Slavic knez (OSlav. кънѩѕь) is also the above mentioned gonič (hunter). Originally, knez is hunter (Serb. ženik bridegroom) who chase/hunts the woman (Serb. žena, ženka). In Russian, knjaz’ (князь) has the additional meaning (possible related to English knave) – bridegroom (!) (Russ. жених; Serb. ženik, mlado-ženja). Now we can see that Slavic knez may be compared to Serbian neženja (bachelor, neženjen unmarried), and it shows that neženja comes from earlier *gnegenja or *gnaganja. What really happened here? Could it be possible that English young (OE geong) is related to king and then to Slavic neženja (bachelor, unmarried young man).

Now we are going to try to prove something what at first sight looks completely impossible. Namely, comparing the Latin word iuvenis (young) with German jung and Russian юный (young) we might have logically supposed that these words are closely related; but the question is how? In our everyday speech the word young can be often replaced with new (Latin novus fresh, joung, new; Serb. nov; Russ. новый;Cz. nový; Serb. pri-nova a newborn child). Is it not amazing? There must be something in it: if Latin novus is derived from novellus (cf. Serb. novajlija a new one, fresh) then juvenis must have previously sounded as *juvelnis (*jubelgnih; from *g(n)-ubelgnih). Hindi navayuvā or naujavāna (youngster; literally “new young”) is a compound word of nāva (new, young) + javāna or yuvā (young; cf. Hind. śāvaka young, jīvana live; Serb. živahan quick, jovial, lively). One of the possible evidences that proposed ur-form *g(n)ubelgnih is correct (or close to correct; Gon-Bel-Gon basis in HSF) is the Serbian noun ob-navljanje (re-newing) and English novelty: i.e. the above-mentioned Latin novellus (young, fresh, new). And the first thing we have to do when we meet a novelty (or a new thing) is… what? Yes, you are right, we must give it a name! In many IE languages the word for name is derived from the PIE root *nomn-. English adverb namely is Serbian naime (namely). Serbian naimeno-vati (to give a name, assign, denominate) is analogous to English naming. Naturally, there is nothing unusual in it, but if we say that English name is at the same time related to the Serbian verb zvati/zivkati/zovnuti (to call, name) it must be totally unexpected. This Serbian word (zvati call), and its numerous forms as zovnuti, zov, zivkati, zvuk (sound) etc., shows in the best way that vowels are of very little importance for the understanding of history of any specific word.

Above mentioned Serbian naimenovati (to name) and naime (namely) are prefixed forms of the noun ime (name; Russ. имя; Cz. jméno; Pol. imię; Slv. meno; OSl. имѩ), na-ime (”on name”). It means that Serbo-Slavic ime lost its “laryngeal”, which from its own side was born from the gn proto-cluster (similar as in Latin nobilis, from gnobilis “knowable”) and sounded like Greek γνώμη; i.e. PSlav. *gnime => *hime => jime => ime (name). Now it becomes clear that Greek γνώμη (the faculty of knowledge, opinion) and Latin gnobilis (noble, knowable; knowledgeable) are cognates and it clearly indicates that “gnome” was born from “gnobe”, probably through the nasalization (gnoMb- => gnom-). Slavic synonym for ime (name) is naziv (appellation, name, term, title; Pol. nazwa, Russ. название, Czech název;OSl. зъвати, зовѫ call; Serb. zvati call; Skt. hava-s/hávatē call, Avest. zavaiti; Hind. āhvana call; Serb. zvanje calling), and that word’s -ziv morpheme (from na-ziv name), as well as its unprefixed forms (zov call, zvanje calling, vocation and zvuk sound) were derived from the same above-mentioned ur-basis *g(n)ubelgnih, just like all the words from different IE languages we were considering here.

The Roman preanomen Gnaeus or Cnaeus sounds like Serbian Knez. Is it just a chance resemblance or is it something more than that? Gnaeus is believed to be derived from Etruscan Cneve (also Cnaive), Oscan and Old Latin Gnaivos, wich preserved the sound /v/ that is replaced in Roman Gnaeus with /u/. Does it not suggest that Slavic/Serbian knez was subjected to the similar process (knez from knevs)? In an attempt to find solution to this “mystery” we started from the ancient Egyptian (“intellectual”) god Kneph (Logos?) or Babylonian Nabu/Nebo (god of wisdom and writing; Roman Neptun?) and then we “visited” the Ethiopian sovereign Negus (probably from Nevgus, with the loss of the initial k/g; Knevgus => Negus). Also we mentioned the Babylonian king Nabunaid whose name is present even today in the Serbian personal name Nemanja (from G/NeMb(l)agna; related to nebo heaven; Goebel; Gnabel, Nabel, Nobel). Finally, why wouldn’t we go to the North of Europe and visit the Danish prince Hnæf whose name reminds us of the Egyptian god Kneph. Hnæf was the prince of the Germanic people of Nibelungs (ON Niflung; Niblung; Hniflung-r). If we now compare the supposed proto-word for “king” – *g(n)ubelgnih we will see that all the above-mentioned words perfectly fit into such an assumed basis. Serbian konjanik (cavalier, horseman) sounds almost the same as Dutch koning or Swedish konung (king) and it happened because konjanik is also derived from *g(n)ubelgnih basis (Gon-Bel-Gon in HSF), from kopljanik (cavalier, gallant, knight5), in accordance with Latin caballus and Slavic *komen (konj horse; from koMbljen; cf. Serbo-Slavic kobila mare; ORuss. комонь). The things are appearing to be clear here; you cannot be a ‘noble man’ (GNibelung) without the lance (Serb. koplje spear) and horse (Lat. caballus) and it shows that horse was named in accordance to his horseman (cavalier; k/noble, kopljanik => caballus, kobila) and not vice versa. In the end, knowledge belongs to elite or g/nobility.

As for queen, her title might have been derived from the word king; i.e. from an earlier form which sounded like kneva (metathesis kvena; kneva => kvena => queen).

Charlemagne vs. Kraljevina

January 18, 2009

“In an earlier posting I raised the question whether sound change ever helps us distinguish between inherited and borrowed words in historically interesting cases. There are at least a few such cases; here is one I happen to know about”.

Don Ringe

pdf version (241 kb)

Unlike Don Ringe I prefer using semantics as a  primary scientific discipline in an effort to determine the history of a specific word. Phonetics and other linguistic sub-fields may be used here mainly as the auxiliary means. Simply, there are to many irregular sound changes for to be able to establish strict laws and rules, by which such regulations could be applied in an “accurate” and “lucrative” way. I think that modern linguistics, driven by a wish to make itself look more “exact”, resorted to those scientific processes, which are more “closer” to other natural sciences, physics, chemistry or even mathematics.

Furthermore, in order to make the “phonetic laws” seriosly appliable we cannot use them by scratching the surface or those sound changes that are “clearly” visible; we must go deeper into the mere core of such a “phonetic whirlpool”. For instance, according to the Grimm’s law the PIE aspirated voiced stop bh regularly yields unaspirated voiced stop b in Germanic. Once I argued that Serbian pekar (baker) and pekara (bakery) are the same words, from the same origin, basis or root, or whatever… as English baker and bakery. For god’s sake, even an uneducated shepherd would be able to solve this “riddle”! But, nevertheless, it cotradicts the phonetic laws/rules! What rules? English bake comes from PIE *bHeh1- while Serbian peći, pekao (bake) is from *pekW-! OK, but what are we then going  to do with the OHG packan, pachan and peccho instaed of MHG bachen and Ger. backen?

I also do not believe that there were a large number of borrowed words in any language in the distant past. Also I think that differences among the different IE groups of languages appeared more as a result of a long-term separation (for many tens or hundreds of years), caused by naturally occurring disasters. My humble opinion is that IE nomadic tribes initially departed each-other because of overpopulation or because of drought, flood, cold etc. They might have been so ruthlessly dispersed across the immense space that they hadn’t been able to find/meet their relatives for a long period of time afterwards.  At that time  (many thousands years ago) humans  probably were rare creatures on the planet Earth – it is not impossible that they couldn’t number more than a few tens of thousands.

I suppose those people had a vocabulary of just a dozen of words before separation. Later on, any of this divided groups continued to develop their vocabulary independently and the words were generated with an increasing speed. Of course, it is hard to imagine such a rapid language changes in this days when language is “fully” developed, but in those times when the whole vocabulary numbered just a few “key-words” the multiplication of words might have occurred with a tremendous velocity.

When the separated groups met again, their language had increased from a dozen of words to thousands and they were totally unable to understand each other…and being  different (unintelligible) speakers made them deadly enemies.  The further history is well known until this modern days. People started the wars, killing and plundering. Similar “confinements” as the “primal” one occurred many times through the history, but none of the later “excommunications” (divisions and subdivisions) has brought such a crucial language changes and divergences as it happened during the “first alienation”.

Naturally, as well as more the contacts among different IE languages became more frequent the greater number of loanwords entered the respective language. Nevertheless, I think that any native speaker will recognize, unmistakably, the “intruders” into his tongue.  Even when the creole or a sort of  “mixed” languages similar to English are in question, I think that any native speaker of such a language, regardless of his educational background, would be fairly capable to “detect” the “matching pairs”.

Of course, there will always be loanwords whose origin is hardly detectable or undetectable at all. Four major IE groups of languages in Europe (Germanic, Romance, Greek and Slavic) are clearly bounded. The vowel changes, I agree, can in certain cases be of a serious significance in our efforts to reveal some of the secrets of language evolution; but, generally taken, the vowel mutations were mainly used as the “carriers” of the “notion-distiction”.

Now, I would pay more attention to the certain semantic values of the words that had been mentioned in a very stimulating Ringe’s article. Latin rex, regis takes the central point of the PIE root *reg-. Could we grasp anything right if we started from the word that describes the “most powerful” man of a country – the king! What the basic meaning of the root *reg– might be? Ruler? Should we start analyzing this root by referring to king or to the king’s realm (kingdom)? The German noun Reich (empire) and adjective reich (rich) are phonetically close to  Latin rex (king), while German Reichtum (wealth, richness) is build in a similar way as Latin regnum (kingdom, realm).

Are we going to find anything “unusual” in relation among the Latin words rex regis (king) grex  gregis (herd, flock),  gresus (step, course) and gregalis (pl. companions, associates, accomplices)? What is the smallest common denominator for all these words? Does it mean that rex (king) also started with the velar in initial place? Are there valid cognates to these Latin words in Slavic, Greek and Germanic?

What is the “basic” meaning of realm, region, regional? Could it be related to Latin area and harena; or Greek χορεῖον (dancing place), χορός (dance), Serbian oro (dance)? Oro or χορός are a kind of dance where people are arranged in circle. Does it mean that Greek χορός comes from κρίκος (ring); cf. Serb. okrug area, krug circle). It seems that Latin arena/harena is also related to κρίκος or more precisely (and surprisingly) to OE hring (ring)?! Why harena also has the “additional” meaning sand? Maybe, because the arena structure (a playing field; compare the “boxing ring” and “arena”) was placed on the sandy sea-shore or sprinkled by sand? How can Sabine fasena (sand) be related to Latin harena (sand; hasena => harena)?

Let us agree that s/r rhotacism is possible in this case, although it is difficult to understand how aurum (gold) can be related to Sabine ausum, especially if we know that gold is χρυσός in Greek (cf. Lat. h/aureus golden and Gr. chrusos gold).  One special example is Lat. nase vs. nares (nose); here we can follow the sound changes via nostrils – ODE says: “…OE. nosðyrl, nosterl, f. nosu NOSE + þȳr(e)l hole (rel. to þurh THROUGH”). Nares could be a reduced form of nostril (metatheses nasril => narles => nares). In Serbian, nostril is nozdrva (Cz. nozdra;  Russ. ноздря; OSl ноздри), and this word is related to Serbian surla (proboscis).

From this moment on, the “real science” comes to the “scene”. The Serbian augmentative of the noun nos (nose) is nosurda, also known as  no-surlina, no-surlda. Now it becomes clear that the above-mentioned ODE assumption, that nostril is a compound word of nose + thyrel, cannot be taken as completely true. English through is related to Serbian kroz (through; Russ. через, Cz. skrze) and the verbs pro-turati, pro-turi; from tur-(bl)anje, similar to German Kurbel (crank; a hand tool consisting of a rotating shaft with parallel handle), Latin h/orbita (wheel), orbis (rotate), Serb. obrtati/vrtate/uvrtati (rotate, turn), okretati (turn, rotate), pro-kružiti (proći kroz “push through”). English twirl corresponds to Serbian verb svrdlati (rotate, make a hole, drill), n. svrdlo (borer, gimlet, auger). Serbian pro-svirati (push through), svirati (blow, beep, flute), svirala (fife, flute).

What a mess! Is Serbian svirati/svirala the same word as English whirl (cf. ON hvirfla spin)? Are Serbian words zvuk (sound), zvoniti (chime, ring), zvono (bell), zujati/hujati (hum) related to svirala (fife) and svirati (blow, play. May Serbian svirati (blow, play) be a metathesis of survati (fall down rapidly, come as an avalanche). Is German spielen (play) related to schwellen (swell); or English blow to play? Greek φωνή (sound) might be the word from the same “source” as Serbian zvono (bell) and zvoniti (ring, resound)? Does it mean that sound also belongs to that group of words (Serb. zvoniti/zvuk = Eng. sound; both from Latin sonus; cf. Latv. zunds, zondēt)? Latin echo is probably related to Serbian jeka (echo) and zuka (hum) and Greek ηχώ, but we cannot be sure what is the relation between Greek ηχώ (echo) and ἀκοή (a hearing, the sound heard ).

In order to understand what has happened to the Serbian words zvoniti, zujati, zukati, zvrčati,  zvučati, zvrka, svirka,  zuka, zvuk, cvrčati,  jeka, huka, cikati, kikot etc., all with the meanings ’sound’, ‘echo’, ‘roar’, ‘hum’,  we must try to find the common ur-form (the smallest common denominator!) from which all these words probably originate. Judging according to the Serbian noun svirala (fife, flute), the verb svirati must have once sounded as svirlati and it comes very close to the another existing Serbian verb – urlati (howl, roar, yowl, yell; n. urlanje roaring, howling). It seems that our urlanje could be returned to surlanje, i.e. to the above mentioned Serbian word surla (proboscis; Serb. adj. surljav untamed, surov wild, ferocious, sirov raw). Taking as a pattern the Serbian noun slon (elephant) and comparing it with surla (proboscis), it seems that one new phonetic law may be introduced here concerning the elision/ommision of the sound /r/. Obviously, slon (elephant) was erstwhile called surlan or sur-blan and that it was contracted to the today’s known word slon (sur-blan => surlan => slon). An additional evidence that Serbo-Slavic slon (elephant) originated from the protoform *sur-bla-gn– could be found in Baltic languages (Lith. straublys proboscis, dramblys elephant; Latv. zilonis elephant).

Let us go back to  Latin rex. Could that Latin word be the cognate with the Slavic word kralj/karolj (Russ. король; Cz. král; ChSl крал̑ь)? Is Slavic kralj really a Germanic loanword? What is the meaning of Charlemagne? Freeman? Can we suppose that Charlemagne is the same word as German? If not, why not? The central meaning of the name German seems to be “freeman”. Germany is a “land of freedom”. Kingdom is called kraljevina or carevina in Serbian (Russ. королевство, царство; Cz. království, císařství), and Slavic kraljevina/kraljevstvo is related to kraj (area, countryside, district), similar to the connection between Latin rex and region. We can also see that Latin regulus (petty king; from h/regulus?) is derived from the same source as the Germanic name Charlemagne. In fact, Serbian kraljevina is krugljevina (Serb. okruglo round, krug circle, okrug district, okrilje shelter, tutorship; hence krilo wing; Serb. sint. dobiti krila lit. “get the wings” or “obtain the freedom”). There are still a lot of questions  to be answered: is Serbian carevina (empire) the same, but differently pronounced word as kraljevina (kingdom)? And really, car(glj)evina might be a “palatalized” kraljevina;  k(a)raljevina  = c(a)raljevina (cf. Serb. surnames Karan and Caran; Gr. κοίρᾰνος king).

Here we are entering the most interesting part of our “story”. Namely. the Slavic word sloboda (freedom; ORuss. слобода; Cz. svoboda) and Latin libertas appeared to be derived from the same agglutinated ur-form that sounded the same as the above-mentioned basis for the word slon (elephant) – *sur-bla-gn-. Greek ελευθερία is in fact a transposed liberta- (liberti => lebeter => elevter-) and Slavic sloboda comes also through metathesis from *suo-bol-da, after the elision of the sound /r/; i.e. suo(r)-bol-da (dissimilation like in Eng.  gove(r)nment)=> suo-bol-da => svobolda => sloboda/svoboda (liberty, freedom). Serbian adv. s-lobodar-ski (unbound, freely), not by chance, sounds close to Greek elevteria and Latin libertas. This analysis additionally shows that the name of Slavs (Sloveni; OSl словѣне; Gr. Σθλαβηνοί) is derived from the earlier Serb(l)ian (Serbli; OSerb срьблинь, serblin => srbin)  name, which originates from the above mentioned basis – *sur-bla-gn. It means that Slavic/Serbian name has the same meaning as the name of Germans (liberty, freedom; freeman; German from Charlemagne6 (?), from Her-ble-gn; Ger-Mbla-gn => GerMban => German).

Once again, the crucial question in diachronic linguistics should probably be the one that tackles and defines (or at least tries to define) the proto-syllables and the process of “primal agglutination”. Russian linguist Yuri Knorosov suggested that it would be possible to build up a pretty rich vocabulary from a small number of proto-syllables. It means that we won’t be able to make any significant progress in the field of historical linguistics until we have found that “mysterious” self-generating speech “progenitors”. How many irregular sound changes are there on the turf of just one single language? Their number is certainly so big that we will need a few millenniums to “catch” them all. Who can explain why the name for star begins with different initial sounds in Slavic languages (Serb. zvezda; Cz. hvězda; Pol. gwiazda; Russ. звезда; OSl. ѕвѣзда). One of the closest relatives to zvezda are the Serbo-Slavic verbs zviznuti and zviždati (hit, swish, whistle; a clear association to a strong hit to the head followed by the “stars’ appearance” and “whistling” inside the commoted head; Cz. hvízdat; Pol. gwizdać, but also świstać; ChSl. звиздати). The modern etymology books are telling us that OE hwistlian (whistle; ON hvīsla) comes from PGmc. *khwis-, “of imitative origin”, although it seems absolutely impossible not to see the striking resemblance between Czech hvizdal (whistled) and English whistle.

What to say about Serbian words sekira (ax), siguran (safe, secure) and the verbs zagraditi, (to brace, to fence). osigurati (secure, insure)? We know that sure, assure is a reduced form of the word secure and English secure comes from Latin securus, allegedly se + cura (care; “without care”; from sine cura), but as anyone can see it is rather unusual. The Serbian language have the verb sikirati/sekirati se (worry, be scared), which is the antonym to the verb sigurati, osigurati se (secure, to insure); in fact, Serbian sekirati/sikirati se means “to be insecure”; if someone works as a security guard he must be worried. May it not be logical that English scare is a corresponding word to Serbian sikirati/sekirati (worry), especially if we consider Old Norse skirra? The English word scar will take care to “ensure” that above correspondences are not a haphazard. Namely, English scar is probably related to Latin securis (axe, hatchet), because securis (Serb. sekira) is an implement that makes the scars on the surface of wood/trees. Scar (OFr. escare) is cognate with the Serbian verb išarati (to fret, to line; from iskarati; ultimately from iskružiti; Slavic krug/kruh circle; i.e. to tear out from a whole or circle; Serb. iz kruga “out of the circle”).

If Latin securus (fearless, safe, secure) really comes from sine cure than we can hardly explain the origin of Serbian osigurati (secure). Is that word a Latin loanword or just a false cognate? Serbian osigurati looks as it was constituted from the Slavic prefix sa-. za-, iz- and the verb gurati (to push, jostle, boost). Similar logic can be used in case of Latin secretus (from secerno) and the Serbian verb sakriti (hide;again with very close meaning to Latin secret). When these Serbian words are in question, there was used the same logic we mentioned earlier, while explaining the word išarati (fret, scar), because iz-gurati also has the general idea of “separation” or “tearing something out from the whole or circle (Serb. krug)”. Greek κρίνω (Latin cerno) is a corresponding word to Serbian granica (Ger. Grenze), where from there are Serbian ograda (fence), ograditi (separate), zagraditi (to enclose), graditi (build; cognate to create?), ograničiti (confine, localize, delimitate), raz-graničiti (discern, judge, mark off). Following such a way of thinking, it looks completely clear that Serbian sakriti (hide) is related to sigurati, osigurati (secure); i.e. that both of these words are clearly related to verb zagraditi (enclose, put the borders, separate), zagrada (brace, bracket).

Above mentioned granica (Grenze) is nothing else but a “circle” that someone draws around himself or around his propertiy/possession. In fact, Serb. granica is kružnica (the outer part of a circle; from krug, granica <= krugnica => kružnica). There is no border (Serb.granica border) that is not arranged (Serb. uređena); if opposite, it cannot be a border. The word ‘arrange’ comes from hring (ring) in the same way as Serbian uređeno is related to krug (circle). Latin cognate to these words is ordino -are (to put in order, arrange), analogous to Serbian ured(arrange; adj. uredno, uređeno in order). Don Ringe (Rounded? -)) must realize that circle is a geometrical figure, a perfection that man is trying to achieve. It is the reason why the lion’s share of IE vocabulary goes back to the notion of circle. Slavic vocabulary has no rex but there is kralj who is the central “point” of kingdom (kraljevstvo, kraj, okrug). There is uređenje (system) instaed of regnum, kraljevski instead of royal (regalis), urednik/reditelj instead of régisseur, red instead of order (ordo), rad instead of work, radnik instead of ἐργάνη, vršenje/verga (Slav. *vrg-) instaed of work (Werke). Finally, who is able to grasp that Slavic država is a state of “comrades” (Serb. drug friend) and that the names German and Serbljin also have “friendly”/”brotherly” rounded connotations, that one has a chance of entering into the biggest miracle of this world – human speech.

A Deep Understanding of Dummheit

January 7, 2009

"Mental numbness" can be translated to Serbian as “mentalna tupost” (more…)

A Gliding Gluttony

January 7, 2009

Greek χολάδες (guts or bowels of oxen; from χόλιξ guts, bowels, entrails) is the cognate to Serbian želudac (gizzard, ventriculus, stomach; Russ. želudok; Cz. žaludek). The Greek words στόμα (mouth) and στόμαχος (gullet, throat) are related to Serbo-Slavic usta (mouth; dat. ustima; Russ. usta; Cz. ústa) and Serbian stomak (belly, abdomen). It is interesting that the Serbian noun trbuh – [belly, abdomen, which is logically related to the Serbian nouns hrpa (heap, pile; Cz. hromady; Pol. gromadzić; cf. Eng. group) torba (bag, sack, pouch; Pol. torba) and the verb trpati (to stack, pile up)] – doesn't exist in East and West Slavic vocabularies.

On the other side is the Serbo-Slavic adjectiv gladan (hungry; Pol. głodny, Cz. hladový, Rus.golodnый), which sounds almost the same as Greek χολάδες or English glutton (from Lat. gluto). The Slavic adjective gladan (hungry) is closely related to the verb gutati (swallow; Lat. glutio; Russ. glotatь/glotaty; Cz. hltat, po-hltit).

Lithuanian skilandis (the belly of a pig stuffed with minced meat) is the same kind of sausage as Serbian hladetina. The question is, what glutton has in common with the verb glide?

The problem here is also the English word gulp. Is it really of imitative origin? There is Serbian verb kljukati (stuff, which appears to be related to zalagati/zalogaj (swallow, mouthfull, snack). What about German schlucken? Can it be related to Serbian kljukanje (pampering; to indulge with rich food) and zalog/zalogaj (bite, mouthful). English swallow sound almost the same as Serbian žvalaviti/ žvaliti/žvalavi (a deep kissing, eat half-heartedly), žvala (bit, curb). The same žvalavljenje/žvaljenje is the original of the later Serbian word žvakanje/žvatanje (chewing, masticating; from žvalkanje => žvakanje; cf. Gr. φαγειν eat, devour; φάγος glutton; Serb. žvaka chewing gum). In Serbian the history of similar words is completely transparent. It all comes from the verb oblivati/obliti (suffuse) => balaviti (dribble, salivate, slobber) => prefixed za-balaviti/zalivati (to salivate), žvalaviti (žvaljhenje => žvalkanje => žvakanje chewing).

Anyone intelligent out there who is able to understand what I am talking about? 😎