As I was contemplating the Norwegian word "del," which means "part" or "portion," it occurred to me that there is the same root in Russian, and that it means the same thing. I looked up "del" and "делить" (the verb formed from the root "дел"), and here's what I got:

  1. del - Norwegian:

From Middle Low German dēl, deil, from Old Saxon dēl, from Proto-Germanic *dailą, *dailiz (“part, portion, deal”).

  1. делить - Russian

From Proto-Slavic *děliti (“to divide”), from Proto-Balto-Slavic *doyl-, from Proto-Indo-European *dʰayl-, *dʰoyl-. Cognates include Old English dǣlan (English deal) and Lithuanian dailyti.

How do these chains get constructed, and why don't these two lead to the same common ancestor?

up vote 5 down vote accepted

These words are related, but they do not have any known cognates outside of Germanic and Balto-Slavic. “Proto-Indo-European *dʰayl-, *dʰoyl-“ (as posited on Wikipedia) is highly uncertain. It has been suggested that it is a substrate word.

See the etymology section here: https://www.dwds.de/wb/Teil

They definitely do go to the same common ancestor, just the first etymology you found does not go deep enough.

Norwegian del is reconstructed to proto-germanic dailiz, but that originates from PIE *dhail-, the etymon for the Slavic děliti.

DEL in Norwegian

DAILIZ in Proto-Germanic

DĚLIŤ in Russian

  • 1
    Some prooflinks would clearly improve this answer. – bytebuster Apr 2 '17 at 16:37
  • The links were already mentioned by the OP so I did no care to elaborate since it was completely sufficient just to investigate them with a little bit more attentiveness. – Eleshar Apr 3 '17 at 18:08
  • If it is on wikipedia it must be true. Why bother with genuine etymological dictionaries? – fdb Apr 3 '17 at 20:21

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.