Questions tagged [etymology]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
4
votes
5answers
536 views

Why aren't linguists formally trained in etymology?

McWhorter, J. PhD Linguistics (Stanford). Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue (2009). p. x Bottom.   Yet my impatience with the word fetish of typical popular treatments of The History of English is ...
3
votes
1answer
448 views

Is it possible for two Semitic (e.g. Arabic, Hebrew) words with the same triliteral root to have different origins?

Learning Arabic, I see some examples of triliteral roots from which words with apparently different meanings are derived. Example: ف ط ر (f-ṭ-r) "to break apart or tear": فَطَرَ • (faṭara) (maybe ...
6
votes
2answers
541 views

Did modern Farsi lose its casual word for yes?

Hobby linguistic learner here. Farsi naturally shares a lot of simple words with other Indo-European languages: German for [daughter]: "Tochter" / "doxtar" (دختر) English for [bad]: "bad"/"bad" (بد) ...
1
vote
1answer
224 views

Does Sanskrit निस् • (nis) “out, forth, away” come from PIE *ni- “in; down?” with meaning shift from “in” to “out”?

निस्·nis "out, forth, away" > nirvana "to blow out, extinguish; out of breath?" नि·ni "down, back, in, into" < PIE *h₁én "in; down?" My question is ...
1
vote
0answers
32 views

Phenomenon or phrase describing the understanding of words out of context

E.g. The phrase 'I love you' is common. If the word 'love' was replaced by an unrelated word (i.e. 'radiator') then the sentence 'I radiator you' would be meaningless. But if the word radiator was ...
-5
votes
1answer
62 views

Why say “PC vs Macs” [closed]

What's the origin of the pharsing since Macs are personal computers and PC stands for Personal Computers but is used to refer to windows-powered computers? I apologise if I used the wrong tag.
2
votes
1answer
161 views

The origins of PIE *-nt- and *-to-

I have learned that English present participle suffix -ing and past participle suffix -ed came from PIE *-nt- and *-to- respectively. I have two questions about them. (1)Were these also used to form ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Why are the reconstructed forms of PIE root in Etymonline and Wiktionary different?

I found PIE roots described in Etymonline (or American Heritage Dictionary) and Wiktionary are quite different. For examples: agō: *ag- (Etymonline), *h₂eǵ- (Wiktionary) laxō: *sleg- (...
5
votes
2answers
613 views

What are cognates of “fuck” in other Indo-European languages?

I am not asking for translations, but how the word itself is related to words in other languages and what those words have come to mean like how "shit" is related to "science". I would really ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the meaning of the number 2 in Proto-Indo European reconstructions? e.g. As in *tewtéh₂, meaning “people” or “tribe”

I am a writer doing some research into ancient languages for a story I am creating. Despite having done some formal and informal study on linguistics (I am familiar with a phonetic chart) and informal ...
2
votes
0answers
69 views

Do we have an Intonation “etymology”?

Recently I was thinking about a language I'm currently learning and its similarities with my own native language. While I assume grammar to change considerably depending on language it came to mind ...
3
votes
1answer
240 views

Can these new etymological pairs of PIE roots be true?

I find a paper containing new lists of cognates on PIE root level, and don't know such phenomena or rules are convincing or not, the list follows below: 1. The voiceless stop vs. voiced aspirated ...
0
votes
1answer
80 views

Origins of “Mark” as “symbol” [closed]

friends! How is it going? : ) I've been conducting a heavy research on the word "mark" for the past month, but unfortunately I'm far from being a linguist, so I lack decent resources... hahaha I ...
3
votes
2answers
172 views

How is chapter related to head?

In several languages, the word for "chapter" (a self-contained unitary text of a book) comes from the word for "head": In Latin, "capitulum" (literally "small head") comes from caput (head). This ...
-1
votes
1answer
76 views

Is 'good bye" from an Asian origin?

The Thai ไป,-'Pị' as used in 'di pi' and the English 'good bye' sound the same and mean the same. Is there a known etymological link?
1
vote
0answers
92 views

Etymology of the unit “Marc” (German►English)

Friends! First of all, thanks for your time and help. I'm conducting a research on the word "Mark", and before I explain all I know so far, let me tell you: The goal is to trace the ...
4
votes
2answers
339 views

Etymology of the words ''Wave''

Do the words Wave(English) Welle(German) Vague(French) have the same Etymology as Val(Serbo-Croatian,Slovenian),Vlna(Czech,Slovakian),BолнаVolna. All these words mean the same thing-Wave. but I ...
0
votes
1answer
199 views

What's the difference between לזכור and להיזכר in Modern Hebrew? [closed]

In Modern Hebrew, the words לזכור and להיזכר both mean "to remember" and they both come from the root 'זכר'. As an English speaker, it's as if there were two words, "remember" and "remomber" and there ...
4
votes
2answers
170 views

'm' in the words meaning first person

I have read in a book about the theory that explains why in many languages pronouns meaning first person contain letter 'm' (e.g. me, moi, меня, mich) and pronouns describing second person contain ...
3
votes
2answers
500 views

Are the English words “essence” and “essential” related to the Spanish word “ser”?

I always think of the Spanish verb "ser" being related to "essence", which can be contrasted with the verb "estar", which is related to "state". "Ser" is also a noun with various meanings including "...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Does the French word for Friday, “vendredi”, come from the Latin “Veneris” or the old Norse “Vanadis”?

When looking up the etymology of the French vendredi online, I can only find the suggestion that it comes from the Latin Veneris (Venus). However, the English, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish and ...
6
votes
1answer
188 views

What is the relation of PIE *wers (“to confuse, mix up; to beat, thresh, grind”), *wert (“to turn, to rotate”), and *werb (“to bend, to turn”)?

From *wers we get English war, worse, worst. From *wert we get English versus, verse, version, vertex, vortex, vertical, revert, invert, divert,..., worth, -ward, weird. From *werb/p we get ...
-1
votes
1answer
71 views

Is there an etymological relationship between Cartesian and words like carte? [closed]

"Cartesian space" refers to a coordinate system that is sometimes referred to as a map. It is named after René Descartes. Meanehile, the french word for "map" is "carte." Is there any relationship? ...
-1
votes
1answer
401 views

Elusive etymology, false cognate?

So I just stumbled upon this beautiful word, Eleusinian(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleusinian_Mysteries), named after a Greek town. Given they had a history of cool initian rites, and all the jazz ...
2
votes
1answer
107 views

is there “i” suffix that makes verb from noun, in latin or its ancestors? etymology of tio(n) suffix [closed]

Wiktionary says on PIE -h₃onh₂-: Descendants Italic: ... Latin: -iō (from *-i-h₃onh₂-) (e.g. legiō (“group of selected people”)) Latin: -ō (e.g. Nāsō (“having a conspicuous nose”), poss. ...
0
votes
2answers
369 views

The origin of a common word for tongue/language?

It seems that a lot of Indo-European languages use a common word to denote both a language, and the tongue (body part). In French, the same word is used for both aspects (langue). It is also the case ...
4
votes
1answer
173 views

What determines how a language creates new words? For example, is it likely for English to continue to create new words from Latin in future?

In particular, I'm curious about the phenomenon where a language creates most new, modern words using a dead ancient language, rather than its existing, living original word roots. One example is ...
1
vote
1answer
196 views

How did “will” lose the meaning “want” in English?

Will used to mean want (and sometimes still does) but in other Germanic languages, such as Dutch and Norwegian, the cognate still means want. What was different about English to cause this?
1
vote
1answer
231 views

Etymology of the place name Chattaroy

I'm not sure if this is the correct place to ask this question, but my parents grew up in Chattaroy Washington, and I'm curious what the word's origins are. I've done a little searching and I can't ...
2
votes
2answers
55 views

Is there a term for the diminishment of intensity of meaning over time?

I can only imagine this has been asked before, but the closest I found in a search had to do with translation and slang. Sorry if it's been answered! My question is about the watering-down of English ...
3
votes
4answers
822 views

Why did English “man” and Latin “homo” take both the senses “gender-neutral human” and “male adult”?

Why did English "man" and Latin "homo" take both the sense "gender-neutral human" and "male adult"? According to etymonline.com, English "man", and incidentally Latin "homo" (which originally meant "...
-2
votes
1answer
241 views

Is Japanese “subaru” related to Russian “soberu” and Latin “conferre”?

Is Japanese "subaru" related to Russian "soberu" ("I'll put together") and Latin "conferre" ("to bring together")? I think both Latin and Russian words derive from Proto-Indo-European "com bheroa̯" "...
5
votes
2answers
191 views

How do we get from Greek τρόπος to French trouver?

The French verb trouver (to find/think) can trace its ancestry back to the Greek word τρόπος, which means a turn, manner, style, or figure of speech. Is there any logic to this seemingly disconnected ...
5
votes
1answer
141 views

Do we know anything more about the semantic shift of “with” in Middle English?

The Wiktionary page on the English word "with" < *wi says that the meaning of "with" shifted in Middle English to denote association instead of opposition. The latter sense is still present in ...
4
votes
1answer
140 views

“yotta” in Greek and Armenian

The Armenian word for seven is "yotta", which sounds suspiciously similar to the Greek prefix for a factor of one septillion (though AIUI it comes from the ancient Greek word for eight, not seven). Is ...
3
votes
3answers
312 views

Do “wise” and “wissen” share the same root?

A cursory search shows that the English adjective "wise" and the German verb "wissen" descend from the same root: the PIE *weyd- ("to see, to know"). I found this by using Etymonline to search the ...
6
votes
1answer
269 views

Turkish “Yaz” vs. Azerbaijani “Yaz”

In some Turkic languages (like Turkish and Kazakh), the word Yaz means Summer, while in other Turkic languages (like Azeri, Chuvash and Yakut) the very same word means Spring. The Old Turkic meaning ...
2
votes
1answer
302 views

What is the etymology of Sicilian “vanedda”?

This question arises from my research on Si maritau Rosa, a Sicilian song, where I found what seems to be a clear diminutive of vanedda, that is vanidduzza. Nowhere do I find that word directly, so I ...
1
vote
1answer
514 views

Etymology of Romance words for Marriage [closed]

There are a few different Romance etyma with the meaning 'marriage'. Some are derived from Latin casa 'house', some from mater 'mother', and some from mas/maris 'man': L casa [+ -mentum] > CA ...
2
votes
1answer
118 views

Degemination and prenasalization together: how common?

I have a couple of examples of degemination and prenasalization of the same geminate affricate/stop in Calabrian: "menzu", which should have evolved from "mediu(m)" through "mezzu", or maybe this ...
-1
votes
5answers
689 views

Etymology/Origin of surname Szakal

after carefull consideration I have decided to put my question here. I contacted several people well-known in history/antropology of languages and so on. Nobody answered or wasnt willing to help. ...
6
votes
1answer
169 views

How did ìritu evolve from digitus?

The Latin word for "finger" is digitus. In Italian, I assume the "gi" was lost, perhaps via some lenition of the "g" to *dijitus and then j was lost, giving *dītus, or perhaps accusative *dītum, ...
3
votes
1answer
186 views

Is “Qadaqan” Mongolian or Turkish? [closed]

In Persian, the word Qadaqan (q is an uvular stop consonant, i.e. having the same place of articulation as the French r) means "emphasis" and "illegal", in some Persian dictionaries it is mentioned as ...
4
votes
1answer
465 views

Is /ɡ/ Germanic and /dʒ/ French in English ge-/gi- words?

I've recently noticed that in English words starting with "ge-" or "gi-", when the "g" is pronounced /ɡ/, they tend to be etymologically Germanic, while the words where the "g" is pronounced /dʒ/ tend ...
6
votes
1answer
253 views

To what extent has Middle Chinese been reconstructed?

I'm currently studying Japanese and Korean for professional reasons and have become very interested in Middle Chinese as the hearth of substantial vocabulary in many East Asian languages. Recalling ...
2
votes
1answer
282 views

How did the Latin past participle suffix -atus develop into modern French -é?

How did the Latin past participle suffix -atus develop into modern French -é? Considering the two following examples: modern French état ("state; status") and été ("been"). Both derives ultimately ...
1
vote
2answers
309 views

Difference in translating Sanskrit words कोप​ [kopa] and क्रोध [krodha]

Translationg the terms makes a semantic rendering important. The English resourse translates क्रोध [krodha] as 'anger' wrath, passion, etc.' with the same definition for कोप​ [kopa] plus defining it ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

Why can “autarchy” be spelled with an “k” while other words not? [closed]

English has a set of words with "ch", coming — more or less directly — from the Greek language. They all have a /k/ sound. character charisma psychology choreography archive Just to name a few. All ...
-6
votes
1answer
135 views

What are the historical origins for the naming of the word 'function' in its mathematical context? [closed]

I tried to look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Function_(mathematics) but couldn't see anything. The reason why I was curious to ask is because this word just doesn't make any sense for what it ...
3
votes
0answers
119 views

Languages where smells are heard

In Russian, one can use the verb слышать ([ˈslɨʂətʲ], "hear") with both sounds and smells, though it's more common to use чувствовать ([ˈt͡ɕustvəvətʲ], "feel") for smells. Example from Wiktionary: ...

1
3 4
5
6 7
13