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by Dušan Vukotić
The PGmc. *k of these forms is not surprising, because that is the expected outcome of PIE *ǵ (or velar *g, for that matter); and we expect *r to survive without change in Germanic. But the vowel of the root doesn’t fit; inherited *ē should have remained *ē in PGmc. and in Gothic, becoming *ā in all the other daughters (with various further developments, especially in OE).
When Proto-Germanic *rik- is in question, I would say that Ringe is making a mistake by observing only words related to king in this case. Namely, the PIE root *h3reg- (or Hor-Gon basis in my HSF) gives an enormous number of derivatives in all IE languages. For instance, Gothic raihts (Recht) is a “counterpart” word with Celtic *rektu- (Old Irish recht, Welsh rhaith) and German Reich/reich is clearly related to Recht (right) and Richtung (direction) because that meanings were shifted from Reihe (raw) and Ordnung (order; this may be a borrowing from Latin ordo -inis line, raw, order, but not ultimately). All these words must be carefully examined before any final conclusion is reached. Compare Serbian words red (row, line; Russ. ряд; Cz. řada, řádek; Pol. rząd), uređenje (system, arrangement; Cz. po-
řádek; Russ. по-рядок; po-rządek), uredno (orderly), na-ređenje, na-rediti (order; Cz. na-řídit); do they
not sound like the Latin loan-words? But they are not from Latin, they are clearly inherited Slavic words. If a Serb says “sve je u redu” it means “it’s all right” (Ger. alles in Ordnung). When something is properly
arranged (Serb. uređeno) it must be right (Serb. u redu, uredno). Sometimes things are more simply
“arranged” than anyone would have ever supposed. For instance, who would say that English empire (from Latin imperito -are) is an analogous word to Slavic poredak (system; from po-ređati to line up).
As I said before, I am convinced that wovels have no big/significant importance in studying the history of words. Wovels seem to be just necessary “tools” to make words shift/pass from one meaning to another (Serb. uraditi work, urediti arrange, uriktati put in order; Ger. Reihe row, Recht right, Richting direction). Who would suppose that Greek παράδεισος (paradise, heaven) is also related to Slavic poredak (system) and Latin im-perito? Serbian raj (paradise; Russ. рай, раек; Cz. raj; OSl. раи) is nothing else but an “arrayed area” (Serb. uređen kraj).
PIE *gwēn ‘woman’ (OIr. bé, Jasanoff 1989) >→ PGmc. *kwēniz ‘wife’ > Goth. qens, ON kván, OS quān, OE cwēn;
Don Ringe There is a well-established “scientific” belief that Slavic knez (prince; OSlav. кънѩѕь) is a Germanic loanword (Vasmer p. 2,266.). The following analysis is showing that such an assertion is completely unsubstantiated and essentially wrong. In addition, this could possible be an indirect proof that Don Ringe’s assumption about Celtic loan-words in Germanic couldn’t be more reliable than the abovementioned Vasmer’s statement about *kuninggaz => knez relation. Here, I suppose, it would be interesting to mention the Serbian words knez (count, lord, prince, duke; Russ. князь; Cz. kníže) and kneginja (princess; Russ. княгиня, княжна; Ger. Königin; Pol. księżniczka; Cz. kněžna). Now let us compare Slavic words for book (Serb. knjiga book, knjižica booklet; Pol.
książka, książeczka book, booklet; Russ. книжечка booklet; Cz. kniha, knížka) with the above
mentioned Slavic words for prince and princess. What can we see? Is there anything here beside the pure phonetic resemblance and analogous morphology? What is that that Serbian kneževina (principality; Pol. księstwo; Russ. княжество; Cz. knížectví) may have in common with the Serbian word
književnost (literature)? Are these two words anything more than lookalikes? On the other hand, in what
mutual relations are the English words, count, know, and king? Why count is at the same time the act of counting and a noble man? Might it not be related to English king (Ger. König) and the verb know (Ger.
kennen)? What about possible kinship among the Serbo-Slavic words znanje (knowledge), nauka
(science), knez (prince) and knjiga (book), on one side, and the above mentioned Germanic words on the other? Also, there seems to be a clear parallel to English words duke (from Lat. dux leader; ducere lead) and education (Lat. ex-ducere lead out)? Now we can suppose that king was not only the ruler and the one who oppressed his people (cf. Ger. Knecht servant; Serb. ugnjeten oppressed; kmet servant; from knet; ultimately from goniti chase, drive, prosecute), but he also was the leader, the one who teaches, educates, counts… Nevertheless, is it possible that English teacher (again Latin ducere, dicere, dictio) is related to Serbian douka (teach), dokaz (evidence, token, testimony), dokučiti (to find out, see through), tečaj (cours; from teknuti, teći flow) and učiti (learn, teach). Of course, all these words go back to the ur-form *(h)obli-gn or to the PIE root *bhleugh- (hence Serb. oblinuti/obliti suffuse; from ob-h-liti, h-linuti, s-linuti, d-linuti, and obučiti teach, educate). As we can see, we need here an in-depth
phonetic expertise in order to be able to describe all the phonetic mutations that occurred in these examples. For instance, Serbian odlučiti (decide; odluka decision) is the “older” form of the Serbian verb tumačiti (comment, inerpret; Ger. dolmetschen interpret) and is related to English talk and Russian толковать (interpret). Let us now concentrate on the PIE root for talk and tale - *del- (Pokorny 1. del- 193). Can we not say that English teach belongs to the same group of words as tale and talk? No we cannot because teach is derived from the PIE root *deig-! Yeah, but why talken (talk) wouldn’t be related to token and Serbian dokaz (Cz. důkaz token, evidence, argument; Russ. доказательство evidence, доказывать to assert) and odluka (issue, evidence, judgment, verdict, decision; odlučiti (decide, determine). Why wouldn’t Latin decisio -onis (decision) be related to Slavic dokaz (evidence, proof) and what is the history of the Latin word documentum (evidence). Greek δοκῐμάζω (approve, test, assay) appeared to be the same word as Latin documentum. Serbian dokazivanje (proving) is the same word as
doznavanje or doznati (get knowledge; from dognavati, dognati; i.e. cognate (!) to Lat. cognitio!). Also, if
we compare English knowledge and the Serbian adjective znalački (knowingly) we will see that these two words are structured in the same way. Above analysis should (and must) go much deeper and for that hundreds of pages wouldn’t be enough, but in this specific case I tried just to make some outline “inspection” of the words that potentially could be related to king and queen. Next word that can capture our attention is the word noble! Surprisingly, here we may mention the Egyptian god Kneph (also known as Chnoubis, Chnoumis, Chnouphis, Nebo, Naba, Nechi, Necho), who appears to be related not only to our king/knez but also to wisdom; i.e. knowledge and znanje (by Eusebius he is identified with the Logos; Jamblichus identifies him with Brahma since he says of him that “this god is intellect itself”). How it happen that Ethiopian negus (king) is present in Serbian language today, in the name of a town Njeguši (best known as birth place of Serbian’s royal dynasty of Petrović in Montenegro. Actually, it seems that Serbian Njegoš/Njegoš is the same word as English king, German König or Serbian knez/knjaz. The other name that could be helpful in this case is Serbian name Nemanja, which could go back to Nebo (sky; from nasalized NeMbagna, something close Nabunaid, king of Babylon), which also could be related to Noah (New Man, Serb. Novak; from novo new; Neu Man). This shows too that the Germans might not have been called Nemci in Slavic in accordance with the Slavic word for mute (nem), but in accordance with the word know (Serb. znati Gr. γνωσις, γνομε knowledge, skillfulness). If queen is related to Greek γῠνή (woman; Serb. žena, ženka) than king must be related to Greek κυνηγια (hunt, chase; Serb. goniti chase, gonič hunter). We shall see that Greek κυνηγος (huntsman) sounds almost the same as PGerm. *kuninggaz (OE cyning; Goth. kuniggs). Slavic knez (OSlav. кънѩѕь) is also the above mentioned gonič (hunter). Originally, knez is hunter (Serb. ženik bridegroom) who chase/hunts the woman (Serb. žena, ženka). In Russian, knjaz’ (князь) has the additional meaning (possible related to English knave) - bridegroom (Russ. жених; Serb. ženik, mlado-ženja). Now we can
see that Slavic knez may be compared to Serbian neženja (bachelor, neženjen unmarried), and it shows that neženja comes from earlier *gnegenja or *gnaganja. What really happened here? Could it be possible that English young (OE geong) is related to king and then to Slavic neženja (bachelor, unmarried young man). Now we are going to prove something what at first sight looks completely impossible. Namely, comparing the Latin word iuvenis (young) with German jung and Russian юный (young) we might have logically supposed that these words are closely related; but the question is how? In our everyday speech the word young can be often replaced with new (Latin novus fresh, joung, new; Serb. nov; Russ.
новый;Cz. nový; Serb. pri-nova a newborn child). Is it not amaizing? There must be something in it: if
Latin novus is derived from novellus (cf. Serb. novajlija a new one, fresh) then juvenis must have previously sounded as *juvelnis (*jubelgnih; from *g(n)ubelgnih). Hindi navayuvā or naujavāna (youngster; literally “new young”) is a compound word of nāva (new, young) + javāna or yuvā (young; cf. Hind. śāvaka young, jīvana live; Serb. živahan quick, jovial, lively). One of the possible evidences that proposed ur-form *g(n)ubelgnih is correct (or close to correct) is the Serbian noun ob-navljanje (renewing) and English novelty: i.e. the above mentioned Latin novellus (young, fresh, new). And the first thing we have to do when we meet a novelty (or a new thing) is… what? Yes, you are right, we must
name it! In many IE languages the word for name is derived from the PIE root PIE *nomn-. English
adverb namely is Serbian naime (namely). Serbian naimeno-vati (to give a name, assign, denominate) is analogous to English naming. Naturally, there is nothing unusual in it, but if we say that English name is at the same time related to the Serbian verb zvati/zivkati/zovnuti (call, name) it must be totally unexpected. This Serbian word (zvati call) and its numerous forms as zovnuti, zov, zivkati, zvuk (sound) etc., shows in the best way that vowels are of very little importance for the understanding of history of any specific word. Above mentioned Serbian naimenovati (to name) and naime (namely) are prefixed forms of the noun
ime (name; Russ. имя; Cz. jméno; Pol. imię; Slv. meno; OSl. имѩ), na-ime (”on name”). It means that
Serbo-Slavic ime lost its “laryngeal”, which from its own side was born from the gn cluster (similar as in Latin nobilis, from gnobilis “knowable”) and sounded likewise Greek γνώμη; i.e. PSlav. *gnime => *hime => jime => ime (name). Now it becomes clear that Greek γνώμη (the faculty of knowledge, opinion) and Latin gnobilis (noble, knowable; knowledgeable) are cognates and it clearly indicates that “gnome” was born from “gnobe”, probably through the nasalization (gnoMb- => gnom-). Slavic synonym for ime (name) is naziv (appellation, name, term, title; Pol. nazwa, Russ. название, Czech název;OSl. зъвати, зовѫ call; Serb. zvati call; Skt. hava-s/havatē call, Avest. zavaiti; Hind. āhvana call; Serb. zvanje calling), and that word’s -ziv morpheme (from na-ziv name), as well as its unprefixed forms (zov call,
zvanje calling, vocation and zvuk sound) were derived from the same above-mentioned ur-basis *g(n)ubelgnih, just like all the words from different IE languages we were considered here.
Roman preanomen Gnaeus or Cnaeus sounds like Serbian Knez. Is it just a chance resemblance or is it
something more than that? Gnaeus is believed to be derived from Etruscan Cneve (also Cnaive), Oscan and Old Latin Gnaivos, wich preserved the sound /v/ that is replaced in Roman Gnaeus with /u/. Does it not suggest that Slavic/Serbian knez is subjected to the similar process (knez from knevs)? In an attempt to find solution to this “mystery” we started from the ancient Egyptian “intellectual” god Kneph (Logos) or Babylonian Nabu/Nebo (god of wisdom and writing; Roman Neptun?) and then we “visited” the Ethiopian sovereign Negus (probably from Nevgus, with the loss of the initial k/g; Knevgus => Negus). Also we mentioned the Babylonian king Nabunaid whose name is present even today in Serbian personal name Nemanja (from G/NeMb(l)agna; related to nebo heaven; Goebel; Gnabel, Nabel, Nobel). Finally, why wouldn’t we go to the North of Europe and visit the Danish prince Hnæf whose name reminds us of the Egyptian god Kneph. Hnæf was the prince of the Germanic people of Nibelungs (ON Niflung; Niblung; Hniflung-r). If we now compare the supposed proto-word for “king” -
*g(n)ubelgnih we will see that all the above mentioned words perfectly fit into such an assumed basis.
Serbian konjanik (cavalier, horseman) sounds almost the same as Dutch koning or Swedish konung (king) and it happened because konjanik also is derived from *g(n)ubelgnih basis (Gon-Bel-Gon in HSF), from kopljanik (lancer), in accordance with Latin caballus and Slavic *komen (konj horse; from koMbljen; cf. Serbo-Slavic kobila mare; ORuss. комонь). The things are appearing to be clear here, you cannot be a noble man (GNibelung) without the lancer (Serb. koplje) and horse and it shows that horse was named in accordance to his horseman (cavalier; k/noble, kopljanik; caballus, kobila) and not vice versa. Finally, knowledge belongs to elite or g/nobility. As for queen, she might have been derived from the word king; i.e. from an earlier form which sounded like kneva (metathesis kvena; kneva => kvena => queen).
Charlemagne vs. Kraljevina
“In an earlier posting I raised the question whether sound change ever helps us distinguish between inherited and borrowed words in historically interesting cases. There are at least a few such cases; here is one I happen to know about”. Don Ringe
Unlike Don Ringe I prefer using semantics as a primary scientific discipline in an effort to determine the history of a specific word. Phonetics and other linguistic sub-fields could be used here mainly as the auxiliary means. Simply, there are to many irregular sound changes for to be able to establish strict laws and rules, by which it could be applied in an “exact” and “lucrative” way. I think that modern linguistics, driven by a wish to make itself look more “exact”, resorted to those scientific processes, which are more “closer” to other natural sciences, physics, chemistry or even mathematics.
Furthermore, in order to make the “phonetic laws” seriosly appliable we cannot use them by scratching the mere surface or those sound changes that are “clearly” visible; we must go deeper into the mere core of such a “phonetic” processes. For instance, according to the Grimm’s law the PIE aspirated voiced stop bh regularly yields unaspirated voiced stop b in Germanic. Once I argued that Serbian
pekar (baker) and pekara (bakery) are the same words, from the same origin, basis or root, whatever…
as English baker and bakery. For god’s sake, even an uneducated shepherd would be able to solve this “riddle”! But, it cotradicts the phonetic laws/rules! What rules? English bake comes from PIE *bHeh1while Serbian peći, pekao (bake) is from *pekW-! OK, but what are we then going to do with the OHG
packan, pachan and peccho instaed of MHG bachen and Ger. backen?
I also do not believe that there were a large number of borrowed words in any language in the distant past. Also I think that differences among the different IE groups of languages appeared more as a result of a long-term separation (for many tens or hundreds of years), caused by naturally occurring disasters. My humble opinion is that IE nomadic tribes initially departed each-other because of overpopulation or because of drought, flood, cold etc. They might have been so ruthlessly dispersed across the immense space that they hadn’t been able to find/meet their relatives afterwards. At that time (many thousands years ago) humans probably were rare creatures on the planet Earth - it is not impossible that they couldn’t number more than a few tens of thousands. I suppose those people had a vocabulary of just a dozen of words before separation. Later on, any of this divided groups continued to develop their vocabulary independently and the words were generated with an increasing speed. Of course, it is hard to imagine such a rapid language changes in this days when language is “fully” developed, but in those times when the whole vocabulary numbered just a few “key-words” the multiplication of words might have occurred with a tremendous velocity. When the separated groups met again, their language had increased from a dozen of words to thousands and they were totally unable to understand each other…and being different (unintelligible) speakers made them deadly enemies. The further history is well known until this modern days. People started the wars, killing and plundering. Similar “confinements” as the “primal” one occurred many times through the history, but none of the later “excommunications” (divisions and subdivisions) has brought such a crucial language changes and divergences as it happened during the “first alienation”. Naturally, as well as more the contacts among different IE languages became more frequent the greater number of loanwords entered the respective language. Nevertheless, I think that any native speaker will recognize, unmistakably, the “intruders” into his tongue. Even when the creole or a sort of “mixed” languages similar to English are in question, I think that any native speaker of such a language, regardless of his educational background, would be fairly capable to “detect” the “matching pairs”. Of course, there will always be loanwords whose origin is hardly detectable or undetectable at all. Four major IE groups of languages in Europe (Germanic, Romance, Greek and Slavic) are clearly bounded. The vowel changes, I agree, can in certain cases be of a serious significance in our efforts to reveal some of the secrets of language evolution; but, generally taken, the vowel mutations were mainly used
as the “carriers” of the “notion-distiction”. Now, I would pay more attention to the certain semantic values of the words that had been mentioned in a very stimulating Ringe’s article. Latin rex, regis takes the central point of the PIE root *reg-. Could we grasp anything right if we started from the word that describes the “most powerful” man of a country the king! What the basic meaning of the root *reg- might be? Ruler? Should we start analyzing this root by referring to king or to the king’s realm (kingdom)? The German noun Reich (empire)and adjective reich (rich) are phonetically close to Latin rex (king), while German Reichtum (wealth, richness)is build in a similar way as Latin regnum (kingdom, realm). Are we going to find anything “unusual” in relation among the Latin words rex regis (king) grex gregis (herd, flock), gresus (step, course) and gregalis (pl. companions, associates, accomplices)? What is the smallest common denominator for all these words? Does it mean that rex (king) also started with the velar in initial place? Are there valid cognates to these Latin words in Slavic, Greek and Germanic? What is the “basic” meaning of realm, region, regional? Could it be related to Latin area and harena; or Greek χορεῖον (dancing place), χορός (dance), Serbian oro (dance)? Oro or χορός are a kind of dance where people are arranged in circle. Does it mean that Greek χορος comes from κρικος (ring); cf. Serb.
okrug area, krug circle). It seems that Latin arena/harena is also related to κρικος or more precisely (and
surprisingly) to OE hring (ring)?! Why harena also has the “additional” meaning sand? Maybe, because the arena structure (a playing field; compare the “boxing ring” and “arena”) was placed on the sandy sea-shore or sprinkled by send? How can Sabine fasena (sand) be related to Latin harena (sand; hasena => harena)? Let us agree that s/r rhotacism is possible in this case, although it is difficult to understand how aurum (gold) can be related to Sabine ausum, especially if we know that gold is χρυσος in Greek (cf. Lat. h/aureus golden and Gr. chrusos gold). One special example is Lat. nase vs. nares (nose); here we can follow the sound changes via nostrils (OE nosðyrl, ODE says: “…nosu NOSE + þȳr(e)l hole (rel. to þurh THROUGH”). Nares could be a reduced form of nostril (metatheses nasril => narles => nares). In Serbian, nostril is nozdrva (Cz. nozdra; Russ. ноздря; OSl ноздри), and this word is related to Serbian
From this moment on, the “real science” comes to the “scene”. The Serbian augmentative of the noun
nos (nose) is nosurda, also known as no-surlina, no-surlda. Now it becomes clear that the abovementioned ODE assumption, that nostril is a compound word of nose + thyrel, cannot be taken as completely true. English through is related to Serbian kroz (through; Russ. через, Cz. skrze) and the verbs pro-turati, pro-turi; from tur(bl)anje, similar to German Kurbel (crank; a hand tool consisting of a rotating shaft with parallel handle), Latin h/orbita (wheel), orbis (rotate), Serb. obrtati/vrtate/uvrtati (rotate, turn), okretati (turn, rotate), pro-kružiti (proći kroz “push through”). English twirl corresponds to Serbian verb svrdlati (rotate, make a hole, drill), n. svrdlo (borer, gimlet, auger). Serbian pro-svirati (push through), svirati (blow, beep, flute), svirala (fife, flute).
What a mess! Is Serbian svirati/svirala the same word as English whirl (cf. ON hvirfla spin)? Are Serbian words zvuk (sound), zvoniti (chime, ring), zvono (bell), zujati/hujati (hum) related to svirala (fife) and
svirati (blow, play). May Serbian svirati (blow, play) be a metathesis of survati (fall down rapidly, come
as an avalanche). Is German spielen (play) related to schwellen (swell); or English blow to play? Greek φωνη (sound) might be the word from the same “source” as Serbian zvono (bell) and zvoniti (ring, resound)? Does it mean that sound also belongs to that group of words (Serb. zvoniti/zvuk = Eng.
sound; both from Latin sonus; cf. Latv. zunds, zondēt)? Latin echo is probably related to Serbian jeka
(echo) and zuka (hum) and Greek ηχώ, but we cannot be sure what is the relation between Greek ηχώ (echo) and ακοη (a hearing, the sound heard ). In order to understand what has happened to the Serbian words zvoniti, zujati, zukati, zvrčati, zvučati,
zvrka, svirka, zuka, zvuk, cvrčati, jeka, huka, cikati, kikot etc., all with the meanings ’sound’, ‘echo’,
‘roar’, ‘hum’, we must try to find the common ur-form (the smallest common denominator!) from which all these words probably originate. Judging according the Serbian noun svurala (fife, flute), the verb
svirati must have once sounded as svirlati and it comes very close to the another existing Serbian verb urlati (howl, roar, yowl, yell; n. urlanje roaring, howling). It seems that our urlanje could be returned to surlanje, i.e. to the above mentioned Serbian word surla (proboscis; Serb. adj. surljav untamed, surov
wild, ferocious, sirov raw). Taking as a pattern the Serbian noun slon (elephant) and comparing it with
surla (proboscis), it seems that one new phonetic law may be introduced here concerning the
elision/ommision of the sound /r/. Obviously, slon (elephant) was erstwhile called surlan or sur-blan and that it was contracted to the todays known word slon (sur-blan => surlan => slon). An additonal eveidence that Serbo-Slavic slon (elephant) originated from the protoform *sur-bla-gn- could be found in Baltic languages (Lith. straublys proboscis, dramblys elephant; Latv. zilonis elephant). Let us go back to Latin rex. Coud that Latin word be the cognate with the Slavic word kralj/karolj (Russ. король; Cz. kral; ChSl крал̑ь)? Is Slavic kralj really a Germanic loanword? What is the meaning of Charlemagne? Freeman? Could we say that Charlemagne is the same word as German? Probably. Then the central meaning of the name German seems to be “freeman”. Germany is a “land of freedom”. Kingdom is called kraljevina or carevina in Serbian (Russ. королевство, царство; Cz. království,
císařství), and Slavic kraljevina/kraljevstvo is related to kraj (area, countryside, district), similar to Latin region. We can also see that Latin regulus (petty king; from hregulus) is derived from the same source
as the Germanic name Charlemagne. In fact, Serbian kraljevina is krugljevina (Serb. okruglo round,
krug circle, okrug district, okrilje shelter, tutorship; hence krilo wing; Serb. sint. dobiti krila lit. get the
wings “obtain the freedom”). There are still a lot of questions to be answered: is Serbian carevina (empire) the same, but differently pronounced word as kraljevina (kingdom)? And really, car(glj)evina might be a “palatalized” kraljevina; k(a)raljevina = c(a)raljevina (cf. Serb. surnames Karan and Caran; Gr. κοιρανος king). Here we are entering the most interesting part of our “story”. Namely. the Slavic word sloboda (freedom; ORuss. слобода; Cz. svoboda) and Latin libertas appeared to be derived from the same agglutinated
ur-form that sounded the same as the above-mentioned basis for the word slon (elephant) - *sur-bla-
gn-. Greek ελευθερία is in fact a transposed liberta- (liberti => lebeter => elevter-) and Slavic sloboda
comes also through metathesis from *suo-bol-da, after the elision of the sound /r/; i.e. suo(r)-bol-da (dissimilation like in Eng. gove(r)nment)=> suo-bol-da => svobolda => sloboda/svoboda (liberty, freedom). Serbian adv. slobodar-ski (unbound, freely), not by chance, sounds close to Greek elevteria and Latin libertas. This analysis also shows that the name of Slavs (Sloveni; OSl словѣне; Gr. Σθλαβηνοί) is derived from the earlier Serb(l)ian (Serbli; OSerb срьблинь, serblin => srbin) name, which originates from the above mentioned basis - *sur-bla-gn. It means that Slavic/Serbian name has the same meaning as the name of Germans (liberty, freedom; freeman; German from Charlemagne, from Her-ble-gn; Ger-Mbla-gn => GerMban => German). Once again, the crucial question in diachronic linguistics should probably be the one that tackles and defines (or at least tries to define) the proto-syllables and the process of “primal agglutination”. Russian linguist Yuri Knorosov suggested that it would be possible to build up a pretty rich vocabulary from a small number of proto-syllables. It means that we won’t be able to make any significant progress in the field of historical linguistics until we have found that “mysterious” self-generating speech “progenitors”. How many irregular sound changes are there on the turf of just one single language? Their number is certainly so big that we will need a few millenniums to “catch” them all. Who can explain why the name for star begins with different initial sounds in Slavic languages (Serb. zvezda; Cz. hvězda; Pol. gwiazda; Russ. звезда; OSl. ѕвѣзда). One of the closest relatives to zvezda are the Serbo-Slavic verbs zviznuti and zviždati (hit, swish, whistle; a clear association to a strong hit to the head followed by the “stars’ appearance” and “whistling” inside the commoted head; Cz. hvízdat; Pol. gwizdać, but also świstać; ChSl. звиздати). The modern etymology books are telling us that OE hwistlian (whistle; ON hvīsla) comes from PGmc. *khwis-, “of imitative origin”, although it seems absolutely impossible not to see the striking resemblance between Czech hvizdal (whistled) and English whistle. What to say about Serbian words sekira (ax), siguran (safe, secure) and the verbs zagraditi, (to brace, to fence). osigurati (secure, insure)? We know that sure, assure is a reduced form of the word secure and English secure comes from Latin securus, allegedly se + cura (care; “without care”; from sine cura), but as anyone can see it is rather unusual. The Serbian language have the verb sikirati/sekirati se (worry, be scared), which is the antonym to the verb sigurati, osigurati se (secure, to insure); in fact, Serbian sekirati/sikirati se means “to be insecure”; if someone works as a security guard he must be worried. May it not be logical that English scare is a corresponding word to Serbian sikirati/sekirati (worry), especially if we consider Old Norse skirra? The English word scar will take care to “ensure” that above correspondences are not a haphazard. Namely, English scar is probably related to Latin securis (axe, hatchet), because securis (Serb. sekira) is the implement that makes the scars on the surface of wood/trees. Scar (OFr. escare) is cognate with the Serbian verb išarati (to fret, to line; from iskarati; ultimately from iskružiti; Slavic krug/kruh circle; i.e. to tear out from a whole or circle; Serb. iz kruga “out of the circle”).
If Latin securus (fearless, safe, secure) really comes from sine cure than we can hardly explain the origin of Serbian osigurati (secure). Is that word a Latin loanword or just a false cognate? Serbian
osigurati looks as it was constituted from the Slavic prefix sa-. za-, iz- and the verb gurati (to push,
jostle, boost). Similar logic can be used in case of Latin secretus (from secerno)and the Serbian verb
sakriti (hide;again with very close meaning to Latin secret). When these Serbian words are in question,
there was used the same logic we mentioned earlier, while explaining the word išarati (fret, scar), because iz-gurati also has the general idea of “separation” or “tearing something out from the whole or circle (Serb. krug)”. Greek κρινω (Latin cerno) is corresponding to Serbian granica (Ger. Grenze), where from there are Serbian ograda (fence), ograditi (separate), zagraditi (to enclose), graditi (build; cognate to create?), ograničiti (confine, localize, delimitate), raz-graničiti (discern, judge, mark off). Following such a way of thinking, it looks completely clear that Serbian sakriti (hide) is related to sigurati, osigurati (secure); i.e. that both of these words are clearly related to verb zagraditi (enclose, put the borders, separate), zagrada (brace, bracket). Above mentioned granica (Grenze) is nothing else but a “circle” that someone draws around himself or around his propertiy/possession. In fact, granica is kružnica (the outer part of a circle; from krug, granica <= krugnica => kružnica). There is no border (Serb.granica border) that is not arranged (Serb. uređena); if opposite, it cannot be a border. The word ‘arrange’ comes from hring (ring) in the same way as Serbian uređeno is related to krug (circle). Latin cognate to these words is ordino -are (to put in order, arrange), analogous to Serbian urediti (arrange; adj. uredno, uređeno in order). Don Ringe (Rounded? ) must realize that circle is a geometrical figure, a perfection that man is trying to achieve. It is the reason why the lion’s share of IE vocabulary goes back to the notion of circle. Slavic vocabulary has no
rex but there is kralj who is the central “point” of kingdom (kraljevstvo, kraj, okrug). There is uređenje
(system) instaed of regnum, kraljevski instead of royal (regalis), urednik/reditelj instead of régisseur, red instad of order (ordo), rad instead of work, radnik instead of εργανη, vršenje/verga (Slav. *vrg-) instaed of work (Werke). Finally, who is able to grasp that Slavic država is a state of “comrades” (Serb. drug friend) and that the names German and Serbljin also have “friendly”/”brotherly” rounded connotations, that one has a chance of entering into the biggest miracle of this world - human speech.
But let us imagine that the original meaning was less definite, perhaps “large quadruped” or the like (the meaning “donkey” of the Armenian reflex is worthy of notice in this context).
Or might it be more definite? For instance, why not something like ‘hoof’? Is hoof related to coffin? An unusual question, isn’t it? How this sounds to you, crazy, foolish, silly… naive?
But, let us first see what the earliest history of hoof might be? According to Pokorny that word comes from the PIE root *kāpho-/ *k^ō̆pho-. Is the German word Huf (hoof) related to Skr. śapha- (hoof, claw) and Serbian šapa (paw; Russ. лапа; Cz. tlapa ‘paw’)? Vasmer says (following the Kluge’s earlier conclusion: …dass an russ. ‘kopát’ angeschlossen werden kann) that Slavic kopito (hoof) comes from the verb kopati (dig, shovel). Can it be accepted as an unshakable truth? Is Slavic kopati related to German klopfen (to beat, nock, clap; Serb. klepati and lupati ‘beat’, ’strike’,‘clap’, ‘pound’, ‘throb’)? Let us try to go a step further. What if English coin (OFr coigne, Lat. cuneus ‘wedge’) is related to Slavic
kovati (to coin, hammer, forge; Russ. ковать, Cz. kovat) and klin (quoin, wedge, bolt, nail)? Greek
κοπτω (to hammer, beat, strike) also belongs to the same sort of IE words. Is the Serbian verb čupati (pluck, tear out, pull out) in any relation with English chop? What Serbian
čupav (tufted) and čuperak/ćuba (tuft) have to do with the above-mentioned words? Of course, Serbian čupav tufted) is not directly related to the Serbian verb čupati (pluck), but both words are derived from
the same root, or from the same basis. Could we grasp that Serbian stopalo (sole; Russ. ступня) and taban (sole) are related to šapa (paw; Cz.
tlapa, Russ. lapa) and dlan (Pol. dłoń; Russ.ладонь*; OSl длань)?
Are we able to understand the “unusual” relation between Latin solea (sole; cf. Gr. σανδαλιον; Aeol. σαμβαλον!) and solum (bottom, ground, soil), on one side, and the “connection” among Serbo-Slavic
taban (sole), dlan (palm, flat of the hand), šapa (paw; from šlapa/tlapa), dolina (valley, dingle, dale) and zemlja (earth, soil) on the other?
Might the Greek word ιππος (horse, mare) be derived from the above mentioned κοπτω or κοπτος (pounded, forged; κόπτε δὲ δεσμούς ‘to forge fetters’)? Is horseshoe a kind of fetter? Compare Slavic
okov (fetter) and podkov (horseshoe; pod-okov, literally ‘under-fetter’; Serb. pot-kovica, from pod okov;
Cz. pod-kova ‘horsehoe’, kovat ‘forge’, koval ‘forged’; Russ.ковать ‘hammer, forge’, подкова ‘horseshoe’, Pol. pod-kowa ‘horseshoe’, wy-klepywać ‘hammer out’). English chain is derived from Latin catena (fetter). Although it is difficult to prove, it is quite possible that
catena comes from Latin capto, similar to the Serbian verbs okovati, hvatati (catch) and German heften
(to tack, staple); German Haft (arrest, jail) is the word equal to Serbian haps/ana (arrest, jail); cf. Ger.
ver-haften (to arrest) = Serb. hapsiti (to arrest); also Haft (haft, handle) = Serb. hvat (handle, haft). I
suppose I do not need to explain that the German adjective gefesselt (enchained, bounded) is the same word as Serbian uvezan/svezan (bounded, tied; Serb. s-veza-li su ga ‘they tied him up’). Starting from the “more definite” we are now (unwillingly) pushed back to the David’s “less definite”. Comparing Latin asinus, Gothic asilus with the OSl осьлъ (Cz. osel; Pol. оsiоɫ, Sorb. wоsоɫ) it would
probably be possible to imagine (”reconstruct”) the PIE ur-word for that horse’s cousin; it could be something similar to *ha-hin-lu-s or even *ha-gni-(b)lu-s. In Serbian, donkey is also called tovar (load, cargo), because donkey is well known draught animal. Animals, cabalus and asilus, apeared to be related to the PIE ”root” for animal.(*ane-). Although it doesn’t look like that, Latin and Slavic general word for animal are derived from the same basis. Caballus is nothing else but animal and Latin animal is related to Slavic životinja (animal) in the same way as čelovek (man) and galava (head) are related to human and head (OE heafod). One of the arguments that animal sounded once as g/khanibal is the Breton word aneval (animal; cf. Lith. gyvulys and Latv. dzīvnieks); also Greek words ζώων, ζωικός, ζωώδης (animal) seems to be very close to Slavic
životnoe, životinjsko, živinsko, živina (animal).
The main problem here is to “reconcile” two different meanings, kovati (coin) and živeti (live) and to understand which one of these two was used as a name for horse (equus =
okovan/okovat/hvat/uhvaćen/Haft ‘fettered’ or življenje ‘living’, živo(l)tinja ‘animal’. In some cases is
absolutely impossible to determine the way of evolution of a certain word although we know exactly the basis from which that word began its “journey”. For instance, Gothic asilus sounds very close to Greek ασυλαι̂ος (asylum). Asilus in asylum! Let us
first see why the Greeks used the same word for ‘letters’ as the Serbs did: slova = συλλαβαί (letters, syllable). There are two possibilities in Serbian. One is that the word ’slovo’ (letter, word; OSl слово) is related to ’slava’ (glory, celebration; OSl слава; Gr. κλέος ‘fame’, ‘glory’; see Vasmer p. 3,673) and the Slavic verbs sliti, slivati (pour off; amalgamate, merge, cast), izlivati (pour out), which is indirectly related to iz-lagati/iz-ložiti (to tell, speak; Gr. λόγος) via the verb iz-linuti (pour out; from iz-lignuti). Maybe, it would be interesting to mention that Greek verb αγάλλομαι (to exult, glory, jubilate) sounds almost the same as Serbian galama (noise, uproar; cf. Gr. γλώσσα tongue, language; Serb. glas voice). The other possibility iz that Greek and Serbian slova (letters) are mutually connected by the way how the letters were casted (Serb. iz-liti, iz-livati) from lead (Serb. olovo; from liti, livati ‘pour’, ‘cast’; livid color is in fact the color of lead). The simillar could have happened to the English word letter in relation to lead (metal) if the word lead is a cognate of Latin fluito (to flow; from PIE *plou-d-). Greek σῡλη means “right of seizure”, “right of reprisal” and it might be compared to the Serbian nouns
sila (force, power), silina (intesity) and the adjective silan (mighty, vehement, terrific). Similar as in
Serbian, the Greek language has the word συλλείβω “collect by streaming”, which is equal to Serbian
sliv (confluence) and the verb slivati/slijevati se (to flow; novac se sliva “the money flows in”).
Above mention “right of reprisal” or “right of seizure” is a “right to use the force” (Serb. sila ‘force’); also σύλλεκτος ‘gathered’, Serbian slagati (to gather, pile up). In reality, Serbian sila (force), Greek σύλησις (spoiling, plundering) and Serbian silovanje (violation, raping) are the words with the clear association to the river flowing or the river flooding. As we can see, the both languages, Greek and Serbian, used the
“flowing of water” (Serb. slivanje “pouring”; Greek συλλειβω “collect by stream”, “flow together”) to name the letters (Gr. συλλαβαί; Serb. slova) and to describe a violent behavior (Serb, silovanje, sila; Greek σύλησις, σῡλη). Now it becomes clear that ‘asylum’ is a place were the use of force (Serb. sila) is forbidden (α-̓συλαι̂ος without violence). Most of the Greek and Serbian words used the same basis, but usually it is very difficult to detect. For instance, who would say that Greek συγκλειστος (shut up) is the same word as Serbian zaključati (lock up, shut)? Above mentioned Serbian silovanje (violence), prisiljavanje (forcing, compulsion) or siljenje (forcing) are in fact just one form of sudden movement, similar to the Serbian verb kuljanje/suljanje/sukljanje (gushing; kuljati to spout, gush) and kuljanje comes from kobeljanje (rolling about; Eng. hobble) => gibanje (movement, motion, stir). Namely, it seems that all idea about life and movement is originally connected to the movement of clouds (Serb. oblak; from gnoblak => hoblak). There is a “byname” for donkey in Serbian - sivonja - and that word (just like caballus) goes back to “animal” (Serb. životinja, živina); i.e. to the above mentioned kobeljanje/gibanje or življenje (gibati ‘move’ = živeti ‘live’). In order to understand this logic of “living” (gi-b-lenie => ži-v-lenie; Lith. gyvuoti) the Serbian word ugibati (to die, perish, expire; Lith. keipti) could be of a great help. Ugibati/ugi(b)nuti (die) is an antonym to živeti (live). Slavic konj (horse, OSl конь), from the proto Slavic *kobnь (Vasmer, p. 2316), and kobila (mare) are cognates to Latin caballus (pack-horse). The diminutive of the word osel (donkey) is oslić and it rhymes with poslić (a small job). It is hard to tell if Serbian posao has anything in common with English business (busy; OE bisig). In Serbian, posao is probably related to the verb slušati (hear) and poslušati (obey; Russ. послушаться); hence the Slavic words sluga/posluga (servant; OSl слоуга; Cz. sluha, služebna; Gr. κλυω to hear; κεκλυτε μευ “hear from me”, analogous to Serbian saslušajte me “hear me”, “listen to me”). Although it is evident that ass/donkey is a man’s servant his name appeared to have nothing to do with his “servile” behavior. The name osel/Esel is most probably derived from the PIE root *stol-b- wherefrom we obtained the words like Slavic stub/stolb (OSl стлъпъ column, pillar, pole), Eng. stubborn, stub,
stupid (OE stybb), Serb. tupav, zatupljen; dialect. zatupit (stupid). Now we can understand that osel/Esel is a “stupid animal”, an ass that was named like that in accordance with his stupidity. One of
the key evidences for such an assumption is Russian word остолоп (ostolop; gawk, chump), also known as ослоп (metatheses ostolp => oslopt; oslo-p “fool, idiot”; Vasmer, p. 3,161). What about the Latin word equus -i (horse)? Is it related to caballus (pack-horse)? Is the phonetic similarity between word equus, equi- (horse) and aqua- (water) just a product of pure coincidence? If we compare Serbian adjectives uhvaćen (captured, arrested, caught) and ukvašen (soaked, wet) we can suppose that the verb uhvatiti shifted to ukvasiti in accordance with the Serbian syntagn “uhvatila ga
kiša” (caught by rain). Even the noun kiša (rain) appears as to be derived from ‘kvašenje’ (wetting,
soaking)? Is Latin capto related to aqua and equus in the same way as the Serbian verbs hapsiti (arrest)
and hapiti (take. seize) are related to hvatati (catch), kobila (mare), konj (horse; from *kobnь) and possible to kvasiti (soak, wet)? What about the history of the words like Slavic skot/skotin/stoka (cattle, animal) and Gothic skatts (money), German Schatz (jewelry), OFries sket (money, cattle)? Does English catlle really originate from Latin caput? Why not from Latin capio or habeo or Gemanic haban/habt? What is the relation (if any) among words capio, habeo, haben, imanje and caput, heafod, golova, kefalos, globe etc.? Finally, let me try to answer the question I postulated in the beginning of this “essay” about the origin of “equally-aqueous-equus-as/s-caballus“. Is it not interesting that coffin also has the meaning “the horny part of a horse’s hoof” (Slavic kopyto)? In Serbian kofa is bucket (kofa from kabao, kabal, kablica bucket, pail) and coffin is kovčeg (box, chest, trunk) and it appeared to be related to the noun kovanje (forging, coining, mintage) as well as to kovač (blacksmith) and to kopča (buckle, fastener, clutch, clasp, fibula). Maybe, this is a good enough evidence that kopyto (hoof) is related to kovati (forge) and okovati (shackle); hence possible Serbian govedo (cattle), from okovati (shackle; dial. okovato ’shackled);
okovato govedo “shackled cattle”?
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