-1

Consider the following ancient greek word:

κήπος

This means "garden". 'Horto' is the latin. 'Jardin' in french is obviously the root for garden, but the links between Latin, Greek and English here are unclear. All the english/french roots appear to lead to "gardo" or something with a "g".

What is the etymology of the word "kipos"? Where does it come from? Why is latin so distinct, and similarly the old french so different to latin or greek?

5

(Side note: the ancient form is κῆπος, with a circumflex.)

The standard way to approach this sort of question is to look up the words in a good etymological dictionary. If you don't have one on hand, and don't want to make a trip to the library, Wiktionary will do in a pinch; I advise against Etymonline, which is popular but presents Proto-Indo-European etymons in a misleading way.

For these particular words, it's been suggested that kêpos is cognate with Germanic *hōbō > Dutch hueve "farmstead", from something like *keh₂péh₂. Hortus is cognate with Irish gort "field", Ancient Greek khórtos "pasture", Old English ġeard > English "yard", from something like *ǵʰórtos or *gʰórdʰos. A Germanic cognate of ġeard was borrowed into Mediaeval Latin, becoming gardīnus "garden", which became French jardin (and English "garden" through a Norman loan).

4
  • Thank you. So, did "kep-heh" lead to "hobo"? Are these pronounced similarly? "hepe" and "hebo"?
    – apkg
    Sep 13 at 22:12
  • 4
    @apkg No, not very similarly. The Proto-Indo-European form *keh2p-éh2- (the 2’s should be subscript, but I can’t do that on my phone) and the Proto-Germanic form *hōbō are reconstructed forms, meaning we don’t know exactly how they were pronounced, or even if that precise form ever existed as such in any stage of any language; but if it did, the development from one to the other, over ~2,000 years, was something like *keh2p-éh2- /kɛχˈpɛχ/ becoming /kaχˈpaχ/, then /kaʰˈpaʰ > kaːˈpaː > xaːˈɸaː > xaːˈβaː > xɔːˈβɔː/, and finally the PG form /ˈxɔːβɔː/, which is what hōbō represents. Sep 13 at 22:39
  • Amazing. I can see it is a complex transition.
    – apkg
    Sep 13 at 22:44
  • The Greek κῆπος has plausible cognates only in West Germanic. For this reason it has been suggested that it comes from some old European substrate. It is a bit daring to want to trace it all the way back to IE.
    – fdb
    Sep 15 at 10:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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