Interesting Etymologies

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby IpseDixit » 2016-01-01, 10:36

[flag=]it[/flag] ambaradan or ambaradam (a messy set of elements / a chaotic situation) - from Amba Aradam, a massif in Ethiopia where a ferocious battle between Italians and Ethiopians took place in 1936.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Amba_Aradam

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby Ser » 2016-01-01, 15:41

French couci-couça 'more or less' comes from an alteration of couci-couci influenced by comme ci comme ça, and couci-couci itself was originally used in the expression faire cosi-cosi 'to fuck', itself a 17th century borrowing from Italian in turn.
carmina vel caelo possunt deducere lunam (Vergilius, Eclogae VIII.69)

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-01-01, 20:42

There is a language spoken in Lakshadweep, an archipelago off the coast of Kerala, and it's derived from Old Malayalam but not mutually intelligible with modern mainland Malayalam (though usually considered a (highly divergent) dialect of Malayalam anyway, probably even by its speakers). It has a lot of words whose etymology I find interesting, especially since my parents are from the mainland. :P

For example, it has some loanwords from English that are actually false friends with Dravidian words in mainland Malayalam. One is something like [ˈboːʈɯkiɭi], which apparently comes from 'boat cleavance' in English (cf. [kiˈɭi] 'bird' on the mainland). Another is apparently [ˈkaːttɯ], which comes from 'heart', where the [h] was reanalyzed as an allophone of /k/ just like it is in Tamil (cf. [ˈkaːttɯ] 'wind' in mainland Malayalam).

There are also a lot of loanwords from Arabic in it. One interesting one is that something like [hərɯˈkət̪ɯ] means 'intelligence' and appears to come from this.

Also, one time, in a book in Malayalam about the variety of Malayalam spoken by Dalits in Kerala, I found a footnote about a code language used among businesspeople in Kerala to this day. Here's something curious I find about it. First of all, in (standard, I guess) Malayalam:

[ˈmuːn̪n̪ɯ] 'three'
[kaːl] 'quarter'
[mʊˈkaːl] 'three quarters'

But apparently, in this code language:

[kɔˈɭət͡ʃi] 'three rupees'
[mʊˈkɔɭət͡ʃi] 'three-fourths of a rupee' (not nine rupees!)

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby Ser » 2016-01-01, 21:17

I saw a linguist calling the etymology of "pants" quite amusing, and having looked it up I can't help but agree.
etymonline.com wrote:pantaloons (n.)

1660s, "kind of tights" (originally a French fashion and execrated as such by late 17c. English writers), associated with Pantaloun (1580s), silly old man character in Italian comedy who wore tight trousers over his skinny legs, from Italian Pantalone, originally San Pantaleone, Christian martyr, a popular saint in Venice (Pantaleone in the comedies represents the Venetian). The name is of Greek origin and means "all-compassionate" (or, according to Klein, "entirely lion"). Applied to tight long trousers (replacing knee-breeches) by 1798; pants is a shortened form first recorded 1840.


And yes, I'm wearing a pair of "entirely lion"s right now.
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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby dEhiN » 2016-01-01, 22:19

vijayjohn wrote:Also, one time, in a book in Malayalam about the variety of Malayalam spoken by Dalits in Kerala, I found a footnote about a code language used among businesspeople in Kerala to this day. Here's something curious I find about it. First of all, in (standard, I guess) Malayalam:

[ˈmuːn̪n̪ɯ] 'three'
[kaːl] 'quarter'
[mʊˈkaːl] 'three quarters'

But apparently, in this code language:

[kɔˈɭət͡ʃi] 'three rupees'
[mʊˈkɔɭət͡ʃi] 'three-fourths of a rupee' (not nine rupees!)

I don't find [mʊˈkɔɭət͡ʃi] surprising because I would analyze that as [mʊˈkaːl] + [ət͡ʃi] (which I guess is the Dalit Mayalam word for rupee?). So I would consider [kɔˈɭət͡ʃi] to be the outlier.
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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-01-01, 22:33

dEhiN wrote:I don't find [mʊˈkɔɭət͡ʃi] surprising because I would analyze that as [mʊˈkaːl] + [ət͡ʃi] (which I guess is the Dalit Mayalam word for rupee?).

It's not Dalit Malayalam; it's traders' jargon or something like that that I found in a footnote in a book that happens to be on Dalit Malayalam. :D And no, that's not the word for 'rupee' in that jargon, either. Plus then you'd have to account for /aː/ changing to [ɔ] and the /l/ randomly becoming retroflex. :P

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby dEhiN » 2016-01-01, 22:51

vijayjohn wrote:
dEhiN wrote:I don't find [mʊˈkɔɭət͡ʃi] surprising because I would analyze that as [mʊˈkaːl] + [ət͡ʃi] (which I guess is the Dalit Mayalam word for rupee?).

It's not Dalit Malayalam; it's traders' jargon or something like that that I found in a footnote in a book that happens to be on Dalit Malayalam. :D And no, that's not the word for 'rupee' in that jargon, either. Plus then you'd have to account for /aː/ changing to [ɔ] and the /l/ randomly becoming retroflex. :P

Well I guess without more information, I would chalk it up to changes with concatenation or affixation. And even if I knew that [ət͡ʃi] in that jargon wasn't the word for 'rupee' I would still think it signified something like money/payment. Of course until more information became available.
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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-01-01, 23:18

dEhiN wrote:Well I guess without more information, I would chalk it up to changes with concatenation or affixation.

Could be that, could be some combination of that and semantic shift or something. Who knows!

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby Koko » 2016-01-01, 23:23

What is the word for rupee in this jargon, then? My guess is [lət͡ʃi]? (or even [ɭət͡ʃi]?)

In any case, I see no reason [a:] becoming [ɔ] is any different from [uː] becoming [ʊ].

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-01-01, 23:39

Koko wrote:What is the word for rupee in this jargon, then? My guess is [lət͡ʃi]? (or even [ɭət͡ʃi]?)

Nothing of the sort. It's [ˈʋɛɭɭa]. In Standard Malayalam (I guess), that would literally mean 'white', and [ˈʋɛɭɭi] means 'silver', so it makes sense since one-rupee coins are silver.
In any case, I see no reason [a:] becoming [ɔ] is any different from [uː] becoming [ʊ].

Because both [uː] and [ʊ] are high vowels whereas [a:] is a low vowel while [ɔ] is not.

But anyway either of those sound changes would be odd in a language with phonemic vowel length. (Then again, I've seen a variety of Malayalam before where vowels that in the standard variety are short are often lengthened, and vowels that are long in the standard variety are often (though maybe less frequently) shortened).
Last edited by vijayjohn on 2016-01-01, 23:49, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby Koko » 2016-01-01, 23:46

Have you heard of a language called Swedish (Danish too)? It's got a letter å? It's your [ɔ] and comes from old <aa> /aː/. Not to mention, [ɔ] is technically mid-low, and [ʊ] near-high. :wink: Neither of the two vowel pairs are on the same height.

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-01-01, 23:50

Koko wrote:Have you heard of a language called Swedish (Danish too)? It's got a letter å? It's your [ɔ] and comes from old <aa> /aː/.

Just because it happens doesn't mean it isn't different.
Not to mention, [ɔ] is technically mid-low, and [ʊ] near-high. :wink: Neither of the two vowel pairs are on the same height.

That depends on who you ask, honestly.

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby dEhiN » 2016-01-01, 23:52

vijayjohn wrote:
Koko wrote:
In any case, I see no reason [a:] becoming [ɔ] is any different from [uː] becoming [ʊ].

Because both [uː] and [ʊ] are high vowels whereas [a:] is a low vowel while [ɔ] is not.

Simple: [a:] retracts to [ɑ:] then becomes rounded and raises to [ɔ:]. Then in regular speech the length shortens to become [ɔ]. This could actually be plausible in the case of [mʊˈkɔɭət͡ʃi] from [mʊˈka:l] since you already have a preceding high rounded vowel. The tongue moves less - 2 small movements instead of 3 plus the lips changing shape. :D
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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-01-01, 23:59

dEhiN wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:
Koko wrote:
In any case, I see no reason [a:] becoming [ɔ] is any different from [uː] becoming [ʊ].

Because both [uː] and [ʊ] are high vowels whereas [a:] is a low vowel while [ɔ] is not.

Simple: [a:] retracts to [ɑ:] then becomes rounded and raises to [ɔ:]. Then in regular speech the length shortens to become [ɔ]. This could actually be plausible in the case of [mʊˈkɔɭət͡ʃi] from [mʊˈka:l] since you already have a preceding high rounded vowel. The tongue moves less - 2 small movements instead of 3 plus the lips changing shape. :D

Um...except that [mʊˈka:l] also has a preceding rounded vowel, before the vowel y'all are proposing somehow changed to [ɔ] (and height here isn't relevant anyway because [ɔ] isn't high, either).

And I still maintain that this sound change would be really absurd in Malayalam. :P There are sound changes that have taken place in the history of the language, but this is just too drastic to be plausible.

EDIT: Then again, since it's code, it's not necessarily a naturally evolving language and is perhaps more like a conlang, in which case I guess you can change how words sound (or for that matter how they're formed) in whatever crazy way you want! :lol: Just as long as you can get the community of people using it to go along with it, of course.

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby Dormouse559 » 2016-01-02, 0:48

Serafín wrote:That also happened to "riding coat" > la redingote [laʁødæ̃gɔt].
One more entry in the grand English-to-French saga:

"buggy" > boghei /bɔgɛ/
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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby Car » 2016-01-02, 9:41

Dormouse559 wrote:
Serafín wrote:.
One more entry in the grand English-to-French saga:

"buggy" > boghei /bɔgɛ/

It surprises me that no-one has mentioned "rosbif" [ʀɔzbif] from English "roast beef", also used as a swear word for the English.
Please correct my mistakes!

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby linguoboy » 2016-02-12, 15:48

It occurred to me the other day that I had no idea what the etymology of culprit was. The first element is obviously derived from Latin culpa "guilt", but I couldn't figure out what had been munged together to produce the rest of the word. I don't blame myself; it's got a more convoluted history than I could ever have imagined:
The OED wrote:According to the legal tradition, found in print shortly after 1700, culprit was not originally a word, but a fortuitous or ignorant running together of two words (the fusion being made possible by the abbreviated writing of legal records), viz. Anglo-Norman culpable or Latin culpabilis ‘guilty’, abbreviated cul., and prit or prist = Old French prest ‘ready’. It is supposed that when the prisoner had pleaded ‘Not guilty’, the Clerk of the Crown replied with ‘Culpable: prest d'averrer nostre bille,’, i.e. ‘Guilty: [and I am] ready to aver our indictment’; that this reply was noted on the roll in the form cul. prist, etc.; and that, at a later time, after the disuse of Law French, this formula was mistaken for an appellation addressed to the accused.
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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby OldBoring » 2016-03-12, 7:42

Dormouse559 wrote:I just remembered one I learned in high school. "beef steak" > bifteck

[flag=]it[/flag]
bistecca < beef steak

stoccafisso < stock fish

[flag=]zh[/flag]
幽默 yōumò < humour
逻辑 luójì < logic
浪漫 làngmàn < romantic (rarer word: 罗曼蒂克 luómàndìkè)
几何 jíhé < geometry (at the same time 几何 is also a Classical Chinese word meaning "how much", so it kinda makes sense with math).

Cantonese:
车 - park the car
paak1 < park, but at the same time 泊 is a native Chinese word meaning "to dock ships at the harbor", now with the meaning extended to cars.
This word is used in Mandarin too.

Michael wrote:Our verb pazzià "to play" comes from the Greek παίζω pézo. We only use the native equivalent jucà in reference to sports.

I would've thought it comes from pazzo, lol.
I wonder if pazzià is related to Naples Neapolitan parià, “to have fun”.

Serafín wrote:French couci-couça 'more or less' comes from an alteration of couci-couci influenced by comme ci comme ça, and couci-couci itself was originally used in the expression faire cosi-cosi 'to fuck', itself a 17th century borrowing from Italian in turn.

Apparently there's also couci-couci. According to some, both from Italian, namely così così and così cosà.
"Cussì cussà" sounds familiar to me in Italian, maybe people also say it, probably a reborrowing from French? Or from Neapolitan?
And in modern Italian "così così" can only mean "more or less / so and so", not "to fuck".
For that, the closest phrase I can think of is "fare zin zin" [dzin dzin].

Koko wrote:Speaking of Japanese, ジーパン /d͡ʑiipaɴ/… for jeans. ?? I mean, I got the explanation of "jean pants," but where dat first n go? It's not like Japanese randomly just drops its nasals! And even if I get an explanation on the disappearance of that n, who says "jean pants" anyway? And how'd it find its way into the Japanese language instead of ジーンズ?*
Apparently it's wasei eigo :roll: That explains it :P

* Kay, maybe it exists alongside ジーンズ since that came up as a suggestion as soon as I got to ジーン〜

Yeah, according to both Wiktionary and Wordreference both ジーパン and ジーンズ are used in Japanese.
Interestingly, Wordreference at the entry denim considers ジーンズ (jīnsu) and デニム (denimu) to be the proper words, while considers ジーパン (jīpan) "口語" (colloquial?).

But there's nothing strange if Japanese borrowed "jean pants", since at first the word "jeans" was used for the fabric (as a synonym of denim) and only later used to mean the pants.
And another thing (that I'm surprised you didn't think of) is that Japanese likes to abbreviate English words to two morae each to form compounds. The most famous example is probably コスプレ (kosupure) "cosplay", from costume play.

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby Koko » 2016-03-12, 8:14

Well, it also likes to shorten words in general: アニメ for one example (from アニメーション "animation"), as well as スーパー (super market).

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby IpseDixit » 2016-04-06, 10:59

[flag=]en[/flag] kickshaw

Merriam-Webster wrote:Kickshaw began its career in the late 16th century as a borrowing from the French quelque chose - literally, "something." In line with the French pronunciation of the day, the "l" was dropped and the word was anglicized as "kickshaws" or "kickshoes." English speakers soon lost all consciousness of the word’s French origin and, by taking "kickshaws" as plural, created the new singular noun "kickshaw."


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