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Questions tagged [etymology]

The study of the history of words including their origins and the changes they've undergone through time.

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Why do we write read for both present and past tense, but we pronounce them differently? [duplicate]

read verb \ ˈrēd \ read\ ˈred \ The words have the same spelling, but they are pronounced differently, and one of the words is pronounced exactly the same as a color’s name, “red,” yet its ...
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4answers
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Is there a link between the words red and bread?

While this might sound random at first, I noticed that it works in multiple languages: Danish: brød (bread) = b + rød German: Brot = b + rot English: bread (spoken language) = b + red Is this a ...
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1answer
45 views

Research in psychiatry

My research is not linguistics pers se, it is placed in psychiatry, and my problem and question is the French etymology concerning the word psychiatry in French
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44 views

Common root of Azeri, Persian and Kurdish word?

Is there a common root of the three words in Persian, Azeri-Turkish and Sorani-Kurdish? Azeri: danisha - talking; Persian: danesh/دانش - knowledge (like in Daneshgah); Kurdish: daneshe - please ...
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83 views

Where did Irish “-acht” come from?

Modern Irish has a suffix -acht (allomorphs -ocht, -eacht, -cht, probably others) that forms abstract nouns. For example, beo "alive" → beocht "life, vital spirit". Since we also see Scottish Gaelic -...
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1answer
62 views

Do reborrowings and neologisms statistically help the communicative function of the languages or do the cause more confusion?

Rephrasing do reborrowings and neologisms help or bedim the communications? I am making the distinction of instantaneous or contemporary communications(especialy for scientific use and social) and ...
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1answer
72 views

Etymology of Romanian “amor” (cf. “iubire”)

I found it interesting to learn that Romanian borrowed this word from a Slavic language as well as the verb "a iubi". I also discovered that the word "amor" is present in Romanian but apparently it ...
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2answers
120 views

what makes the link between the right/left hands,north/south directions and the duality good-bad

Background : I used to think that employing the word "right" to speak about good thinks was only an arabic culture trait - for instance the Quran describes good people with the expression "people of ...
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Etymology of impersonal pronoun “one”

The 'impersonal' pronoun in Germanic and Romance languages seems to come from one of two paths: Cognate with the word for 'man' Proto-Germanic: *mann- Dutch: men German: man Old English: man (< ...
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2answers
136 views

Are there other languages, besides Old Slavonic, with adjectives ending with pronoun?

Are there other languages, besides Old Slavonic, with adjectives ending with pronoun, e.g. добрый /dobryj/ he who is good; доброе /dobrojo/ it which is good; добрую /dobruju/ she who is good; добрыя /...
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The Proto-Germanic vowel “e” changes to the English “i”

What is the name of a sound shift law under which the Proto-Germanic vowel "e" changes to the English "i", e.g. *fehtaną (fechten) -> fight; *rehtaz (recht) -> right
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102 views

What is 'OE Gloss.'?

I'm not a linguistics student, so my bad if this is actually very obvious/can be found online (I tried. Really.), but what is, exactly, the OE Gloss.? All I could find is that it means Old English ...
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1answer
52 views

Are the Old Slavonic noun “дщерь” /dshcher' ''/ (En. daughter) and the English noun “daughter” to be related in any way? [closed]

Are the Old Slavonic noun “дщерь” /dshcher' ''/ (En. daughter) and the English noun “daughter” to be related in any way?
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1answer
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Are the Russian noun “пламя” /plamya'/ (En. flame) and the German noun “Flamme” to be related? [closed]

Are the Russian noun “пламя” /plamya'/ (En. flame) and the German noun “Flamme” to be related by analogy with “пихта” /pikhta/ (En. fir-tree) -> Fichte
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2answers
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Are the Russian noun “мрак” /mrak'/ (En. darkness) and the English noun “mirk” to be related in any way? [closed]

Are the Russian noun “мрак” /mrak'/ (En. darkness) and the English noun “mirk” to be related in any way?
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4answers
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Words which originate in superstition/myth [closed]

I'm interested in words, from any language, whose etymological origin 'exposes' superstitious or scientifically obsolete beliefs. For example, the English disaster comes from Latin dis- + astro, ...
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1answer
95 views

What's the reason behind the aternation of vowel in the Proto-Germanic suffix “-ungō”/“-ingō”?

I noticed that the form with the u vowel was kept only in High German. All other germanic languages use the form with i,such as Dutch and English. Why is that?Is this the result of some sort of sound ...
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1answer
83 views

How “üçün” is Turkic but “çün” is Iranic?

Azerbaijani: çün Persian: çun Means: because Origin: Persian Azerbaijani: üçün üç+ün old-Turkic: uçun Means: because of Origin: old-Turkic So, can somebody explain how this is possible? More ...
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1answer
71 views

Turkic etymology dictionary

Is there a new Turkic etymology dictionary? I don't want something like Nişanyan which all Turkic words are Sogdian or Persian origin. I want something that analyses the words using true rules not ...
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0answers
59 views

What term predated “even” when referring to numbers? [closed]

In doing some poking around in etymologies, I noticed that while "odd" in the sense of "odd number" is attested as early as c.1300 (and is in fact the original sense of the term), "even" in the sense ...
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2answers
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Are Old Slavonic “шкурка” and “корица” related to Italian “scorza”?

Could Old Slavonic nouns “шкурка” (shkurka) and “корица”(koritsa) be derived from Italian “scorza”(En. peel)? I have already looked them up in M. Vasmer's "Etymological dictionary of Russian language"...
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1answer
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Could speakings “Старый Свет”, “Новый Свет” and “Конец Света” have common historical origin? [closed]

Could speakings "Старый Свет"(En. Old World), "Новый Свет"(En. New World) and "Конец Света"(En. end of the world) have common historical origin? based on the fact that: the Americas (New World) was ...
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1answer
70 views

Parabens vs. parabéns [closed]

Is there an etymological link between the word parabens in English (ex. Soap without parabens) and parabéns (congratulations) in Portuguese?
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2answers
142 views

Is Old Slavonic “тесто” related to Latin “tiesta”? [closed]

Could the Old Slavonic noun тесто (t'esto) 'dough' be derived from Latin tiesta 'baked clay', (Sp. tiesto)? Notice: spelling of the words and their similar meanings hinted me that they may be related....
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1answer
188 views

Are the Old Slavonic interrogative particle “еда” and verb “быти” to be related in any way?

Are the Old Slavonic interrogative particle "еда (ʲeda)" and verb "быти (byti)" to be related in any way? For example, on the basis of: existence the following present forms of the verb: есмь (ʲesm'...
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0answers
80 views

What is the etymology of “Tarim” as in “Tarim Basin” and does it relate to Tocharian?

I was trying to obtain a proper etymology for the name "Tarim" and found it rather difficult. The Wiktionary page only lists the modern Turkish word tarım meaning agriculture, so was the Wikipedia ...
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2answers
64 views

“program” Equivalent in Arabic [closed]

Program and programming language don't have a known translation in Arabic. برمجة and برنامج are used, even though they aren't Arabic. Is there a native word that can be used instead?
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210 views

Which came first in Greek: λήθη, or Λήθη the proper noun?

i.e. λήθη: a noun meaning oblivion or concealment, and Λήθη: a proper noun referring to a river in Greek myth. My question is this: is this noun a reference to the mythological river, or was the name ...
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194 views

Etymology of Latin infinitive verb endings

I was wondering, what the etymology of Latin infinitive verb endings -are, -ere and -ire was. I assume they are Indo-European, but I haven't found any information about it.
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55 views

Arabic word for door from root d-l-t or d-l-th

I know that the Hebrew letter 'daleth' originates from the word for 'door', indeed the Modern Hebrew word for door is 'dalet'. Is there an Arabic word for door from this same root - d-l-t or d-l-th? ...
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2answers
137 views

Which word came first: 'cabbage' or 'cherub' in hebrew?

In modern Hebrew, כרוב means "cabbage", besides the biblical meaning "cherub". Are these meanings related in any way?
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2answers
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Why is “index” as a noun pluralized as “indices” while the present tense verb is “indexes”? [closed]

What is the reason behind this? Do the noun and the verb have different derivations?
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1answer
72 views

Hand gesture - Patting

I apologize if the following question is off-topic on this site. Some time ago, I was sitting at a table in a cafeteria/canteen. A few tables away, I saw someone I knew. This person also saw me and ...
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1answer
107 views

PIE Etymology of Ger *heute* “today” vs Lt *hodie*, Sanskr *adja* etc

This question about Top of the morning got me thinking. Most west european words for today are akin, said to be influenced by Latin hodie1. But Sanskrit adja, from * PIE *h₁e-dy-és, *h₁é (“this”, and ...
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2answers
126 views

Why do some (usually, first ones) ordinal numbers seem completely different from corresponding cardinals?

I've noticed that in some (all? most?) languages, ordinal for 1 and 2 are completely different (i.e., not derived) from corresponding cardinals: English One/Two/Three vs First/Second/Third is a bad ...
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1answer
182 views

Could someone illuminate for me how PGmc *suma and *sama(n) were derived?

Ie, I am assuming that they are both ultimately deriviative of PIE *sem-/*som-. So, how are they derived from this, in terms of morphemes, and their meanings? I have skimmed through both Ringe and ...
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1answer
165 views

Latin “niger” from *negʷ-?

Could Latin niger "black", of uncertain origin, come from *negʷ- "bare, naked"? For an analogy, compare black, blank, Spanish blanco "white, argent", and their roots PGem *blakaz "burnt", PGem *...
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2answers
128 views

Why is the English name for Bruges the same as the French despite that it's a Flemish city?

My question is about the name of Bruges, Belgium. In Flemish, Bruges is called "Brugge", and in French, it's called "Bruges". Despite the city being part of the Flemish-speaking region of Belgium, we ...
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1answer
54 views

Is it possible to trace the origin of words 'স্বাধীনতা' in Bengali and 'स्वाधीनता' in Hindi?

Both the words sound similar and have similar meanings so my presumption is that they are derived from one or other or have a similar origin. There is a slight difference in meaning as per my ...
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1answer
140 views

Why are there words meaning both “breath” and “life/spirit” in so many languages?

In Ancient Greek, πνεῦμα (pneuma) can mean "breath" as in "a breath of air" (literal) or "divine breath of inspiration" (figurative); it can also mean "life", "spirit", and "vitality" as demonstrated ...
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2answers
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Why does Sankr. नक्ति (nákti) not show Satemization

Did Sanskrit नक्ति (nákti) "night", PIE *nókʷts, not participate in the kentum-satem split? Why? Is it a loan? There are at least two synonyms, if that makes any difference. I have no actual reason ...
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1answer
102 views

Why “were” for subjunctive?

Is the subjunctive (what I learned in school as "Konjunktiv 2") Ger. "wäre" ("Ich wäre gern ..." - I'd like to be ...) cognate to "were" even for singular person ("*als ob ich sicher wäre " - as if I ...
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2answers
87 views

What is the etimology of the ancient greek word “εὑρίσκω”

I can't seem to find and Indo European root for this word. I'm not even sure if it has indo european origins.
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1answer
126 views

Why we use altepetl in Nahuatl, not atepetl?

In the Nahuatl language, the word "altepetl", which means a city-state, comes from the combination of "atl" and "tepetl". But according to the word combination rule in the Nahuatl grammar, the suffix -...
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1answer
126 views

How did /hw/ become spelled <wh>?

Why Do Languages Change? (2010) by R. L. Trask. p. 13.     Changes in pronunciation can happen with considerable speed. Consider /hw/. Historically, English had a number of words ...
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Statistical Methods in Etymology

Etymologists tend to categorize the probability of theories under formulaic labels. These range from "uncertain" over "tentative" or "not convincing" to "established", "accepted" or "nonsense". P ...
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What is the history of ‘history’?

The meaning of history is clear. That which is in the past. Is the cultural use of the word ‘history’ a corrupted ‘yesterday/gisteren/gestern’ descriptive for ‘the day before the stars (compare Dutch ...
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1answer
182 views

Are the English word “charm” and Russian word “чары” etymologically related?

Do "charm" and "чары" share a common etymological root? (NB: "чары" is a Russian plural noun meaning "magic" or "charm." Also note that the English noun "charms" has historically meant magic or ...
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0answers
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Algorithm for identifying “secondary roots”

In machine learning on text data (aka natural language processing), it's common to apply a stemming or lemmatization algorithm to the text. However, sometimes you want to go a step further. For ...
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1answer
107 views

Do animal names correspond with verbs that have to do with their use to humans or their observed behaviour? [closed]

In an earlier question here I used an example of animal names versus words (often verbs) that have rather similar spelling and can be linked by observations of behaviour or the functional use to ...