Some context first:
I am interested in the etymology of the Romanian word gâdila/gîdila ("to tickle; the â/î variation is only graphical: it's
/ɨ/, the close central unrounded vowel which in Romanian usually reflects etymologically a Latin
a, a Slavic
ъ or the same Turkic vowel).
I see here that the origin can be Turkish (namely Ottoman Turkish). The idea of an Ottoman origin seems very odd to me because, along with other bodily-related words, it is a very familiar/basic word, unlike other clearly Ottoman terms (usually related to politics, military or cuisine); it is also associated to a (maybe) regional onomatopoeic, exclamatory expression (gâdi-gâdi!), a kind of song really, used when playing with small children and anticipating a jocundly tickling gesture with a finger. This apprehension is confirmed by the fact that the related Albanian term gudulis is also considered a possible onomatopoeia. Beside Turkish gıdıklamak (for which I don't have a wiktionary or such other link, but for which google search gives illustrative findings), the term is also present in Bulgarian, гъделичкам (gadelytchkam), but for which a Slavic root is invoked: gъdьliti, with correspondents at least in Polish.
I have no other sources on the Slavic connection, but it seemed more probable at first glance (although, considering the reliability of Wictionary etymologies, I wouldn't be surprised if the Polish/Western Slavic forms are not confirmed, and if the Old-Slavic root is just deduced by Bulgarian linguists from the extent Bulgarian form). Slavic/Slavonic imprint on Romanian is old enough to explain the origin of a basic term like "to tickle" - a scenario that can be imagined for the Albanian form. The root could thus be considered part of the Balkanische Sprachbund that has also affected Turkish.
The same logic of a Balkanische Sprachbund status seems valid even if the root is not Slavic (absent in all Slavic languages excepting Bulgarian) and, centered on the Balkan area, could be imagined of Thracian or other IE substratum origin.
I was about to become satisfied with my speculation—although the initial Romanian skepticism vis-à-vis an Ottoman origin for that intimate Romanian word can be reversed against the Balkan and IE origin of the Turkish word. But then I have discovered that the Turkish form spills to the east into Azerbaidjan as qıdıqlamaq and even Turkmenistan! I have no other sources/links, but using Google translate I have found that to tickle is gyjyklamak in Turkmen.
My initial theory crumbled, and it went into smoke completely when I looked up Google Translate for the same word in Mongolian: it's гижиг, гижигдэх (gijig, gijigdakh). This seems like a rather clear East>West transition of a form giji>gidi. It seems to me that even in Korean there is this g-j-l structure: 간지럼 ganjileom!!!
(This extraordinary large expansion to the far east even outside Turkish languages may paradoxically accommodate better my initial skepticism against an Ottoman origin, because a much older Turkic one can be more probably supposed, like an (Old) Bulgar, Cuman, or Pecheneg, something that is normal in Romanian for other Turkic terms that are too old to be Ottoman, like baci and cioban (both meaning "sheperd"), or the toponym Teleorman.)
But what about the expansion as far as Korean of this root g-d/j-l? Is this real?
These are the words, in one expanded list that goes beyond the Turkic family:
- Romanian: gîdila, gâdila
- Bulgarian: gadelitchkam, гъделичкам
- Albanian: gudulis
- Turkish: gıdıklanmak
- Azerbaijani: qıdıqlamaq
- Turkmen: gyjyklamak
- Kyrgyz : kıtıktoo – kıtıgıloo
- Kazakh: qıtıqtaw
- Uzbek : qitiq, qitiqlash
- Mongolian: gijig, gijigdakh
- Korean: 간지럼 ganjileom
- Hebrew: לְדַגדֵג <> lְdַgdֵg
- Arabic: دغدغة <> daghdagha
- Georgian: ტიკტიკი <> t’ik’t’ik’i
More than half of these are based on Google Translate. The last three entries are odd - they look less like verbs and more like the corresponding onomatopoeic exclamation (Romanian
gâdi-gâdi mentioned above, or English
coochy-coo mentioned in a comment below). It would be great if someone was able to confirm.