Interesting Etymologies

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby OldBoring » 2017-10-26, 23:24

vijayjohn wrote:
OldBoring wrote:No idea how bisteca came to mean pork chop in Portuguese.

It did?

Apparently it means rib eye, and is technically a cut of meat, and can be either beef, pork or lamb. But it seems that at least in Brazil it defaults to the cut of pork? At least that's what I heard from Brazilians.

Because American ones are bigger and impressed the pants off the Brits two hundred years ago.

This doesn't explain how many Romance languages got the word for steak from English.

Italian stoccafisso comes from English stockfish. Again, how come... since Britain isn't famous for stockfish either...

Because everyone who speaks an Indo-European language in Europe calls it the same thing?[/quote]
This doesn't explain how Italian (don't know about other Indo-European languages in Europe) got the word for stockfish from English.

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-10-26, 23:43

OldBoring wrote:
Because American ones are bigger and impressed the pants off the Brits two hundred years ago.

This doesn't explain how many Romance languages got the word for steak from English.

Well, that's not the question you asked, so that's not the question I answered. Maybe they got the word from the Americans?
This doesn't explain how Italian (don't know about other Indo-European languages in Europe) got the word for stockfish from English.

My point is it's probably a wanderwort.

How do you know it's necessarily from English specifically anyway? This says it's from Old Dutch. It seems hard to tell which language it did come from given that the term for it is so similar in various European languages: stokvis in Dutch, some variant of stockfish in French, Stockfisch in German, Stackfësch in Luxembourgish, s(z)tokfisz in Polish, ștocfiș in Romanian, pisci stoccu in Sicilian, and stokfisk in West Frisian. I doubt that's an exhaustive list.

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby Homine.Sardu » 2017-10-27, 7:28

OldBoring wrote:Italian bistecca and French biftec come from beef steak. Even though modern English just says "steak". No idea how bisteca came to mean pork chop in Portuguese. Even Portuguese bife comes from beef.
Brits popularised beef, particularly steak, in Europe. But how come nowadays Britain isn't famous for steaks?

Italian stoccafisso comes from English stockfish. Again, how come... since Britain isn't famous for stockfish either...


The "stoccafisso" was originally imported in Italy by Venetian traders who shipwrecked on the Lofoten islands in Norway; on those islands they saw rows and rows of these fishes hung there to dry; in Norwegian language these fishes were named "Stokkfisk" (in Italian "pesce bastone").

p.s.
I was reflecting about the etymology of (it) Stoccafisso = (it) Baccalà (pt) Bacalhau

What is the origin of Baccalà? Because the etymology explanation in wikipedia is a bit weird:
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/bacalhau#Etymology

If Stoccafisso/Stockfish/Stokkfisk is literally "pesce bastone"

It makes more sense if Baccalà was derived from Latin :

(la) Baculus = staff, stick, cudgel, scepter
(pt) Báculo = pastoral
(es) Báculo = pole, stick, pastoral
(sc) Báculu = walking stick

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby linguoboy » 2017-10-27, 15:29

Homine.Sardu wrote:What is the origin of Baccalà? Because the etymology explanation in wikipedia is a bit weird: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/bacalhau#Etymology

What makes it a "bit weird"? Metathesis is a thing that happens. There are lots of examples from Spanish, such as palabra from parabola and milagro from miraculum.

Homine.Sardu wrote:It makes more sense if Baccalà was derived from Latin :

(la) Baculus = staff, stick, cudgel, scepter

This masculine is rare; the usual form is baculum.

Homine.Sardu wrote:(la) (pt) Báculo = pastoral
(es) Báculo = pole, stick, pastoral
(sc) Báculu = walking stick

These are all recent learned borrowings. Catalan bàcul, for instance, isn't attested before 1803, almost two centuries after the first appearance of bacallà. The expected reflex if it were an inherited form is *ball, which seems not to exist. Same for Spanish *bajo[*], Portuguese *balho.

The Romans didn't have salt cod. It wasn't common in Europe until the late Middle Ages, after Basque fishermen discovered the Grand Banks in the New World. It was a Basque monopoly initially. So why would Romance-speakers start using a term derived from Classical Latin to describe it? Maybe it could come from Mediaeval Latin but, if so, where's the etymon? What terms were used in Mediaeval Latin to refer to salt cod and do any of them resemble baculum?


[*] Or *bancho. Cf. macula > mancha.
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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby Luís » 2017-10-27, 16:34

Porto Editora's dictionary seems to confirm the Dutch origin: kabeljauw > cabalhau > bacalhau

According to RAE, bacalao came from Dutch through Basque and the metathesis happened in Dutch, as they mention bakeljauw is a variant of kabeljauw.

del vasco bakailao; cf. neerl. ant. bakeljauw, var. de kabeljauw.
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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby Homine.Sardu » 2017-10-27, 17:54

linguoboy wrote:
Homine.Sardu wrote:
Homine.Sardu wrote:(la) (pt) Báculo = pastoral
(es) Báculo = pole, stick, pastoral
(sc) Báculu = walking stick

These are all recent learned borrowings. Catalan bàcul, for instance, isn't attested before 1803, almost two centuries after the first appearance of bacallà. The expected reflex if it were an inherited form is *ball, which seems not to exist. Same for Spanish *bajo[*], Portuguese *balho.


I don't think that the Sardinian "Báculu" is a recent learned borrowing, it's just one of the thousands archaisms of Sardinian vocabulary, otherwise half of our vocabulary is a learned borrowing :D

Returning to the Interesting (and archaic) Etymologies present in Sardinian's every day vocabulary :

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-10-29, 9:00

Homine.Sardu wrote:
linguoboy wrote:
Homine.Sardu wrote:
Homine.Sardu wrote:(la) (pt) Báculo = pastoral
(es) Báculo = pole, stick, pastoral
(sc) Báculu = walking stick

These are all recent learned borrowings. Catalan bàcul, for instance, isn't attested before 1803, almost two centuries after the first appearance of bacallà. The expected reflex if it were an inherited form is *ball, which seems not to exist. Same for Spanish *bajo[*], Portuguese *balho.


I don't think that the Sardinian "Báculu" is a recent learned borrowing, it's just one of the thousands archaisms of Sardinian vocabulary, otherwise half of our vocabulary is a learned borrowing :D

You can have both, though. I've seen this happening in Romani before, for example - borrowing new words from Hindi into Romani that never existed in Romani before (e.g. Pharat for 'India' from Bhārat).

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby Homine.Sardu » 2017-10-29, 9:32

Returning to the Interesting Etymologies, while I was browsing a Romanian vocabulary I've found this :

(ro) Cucuveaua = owlet (Athene Noctua)

almost identical to Sardinian :

(sc) Cuccumiàu = owlet (Athene Noctua)

and also to Greek :

(el) Kουκουβάγια = owlet (Athene Noctua)

I wonder what is the origin of these three nearly identical etymologies. I suppose that it could be an onomatopoeic thing, since the name sounds like the bird's call. The Athene Noctua usually makes two different calls, one that says something like Cùccu (coockoo) and the other sounds like Miàu. Oftern during spring and summer, at night or early in the morning you can hear various specimen talking to each other, one saying Cùccu and the other answering Miàu.This thing can last even an hour, and you hear them continuously screaming Cuccumiàu Cuccumiàu! :mrgreen:

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby Luís » 2017-11-05, 14:37

I just learned that the Hebrew for "instant coffee" is נס קפה /nes ka'fe/, where קפה = coffee and נס = miracle.

Of course the word actually comes from Nescafé (the brand), which then got reanalysed as "miracle coffee" (because instant coffee is really easy and fast to make or, for the pessimists, because it's a miracle if there's any coffee in it)
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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-11-06, 2:36

Apparently, Anglo-Indians in South India used to refer to a certain unit of currency during the colonial period as a snow rupee, which was a corruption of Telugu tsanauvu 'authority, currency'.

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby linguoboy » 2017-11-14, 16:13

Salds is Latvian for "sweet". If it looks like it should mean "salty", there's good reason for that:
Wiktionary wrote:The meaning change of the verb salt was probably from “(being) salty, salted” to “having pleasant flavor, tasty” and then to “(being) sweetened, sweet.”
So etymologically it is "salted", but the contemporary word for "having a salt taste, salty" is sāļš. ("Salted" is sālīts; both words are derived from sāls "salt".)
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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-11-15, 20:54

I'm sure I could fill up this whole thread just with random things from Hobson-Jobson. :whistle:

CHEESE,s. This word is well known to be used in modern English slang for "anything good, first-rate in quality, genuine, pleasant, or advantageous" (Slang Dict.). And the most probable source of the term is P[ersian] and H[indi] chīz, 'thing.' For the expression used to be common among Anglo-Indians, e.g., "My new Arab is the real chīz" ; "These cheroots are the real chīz," i.e. the real thing. The word may have been an Anglo-Indian importation, and it is difficult otherwise to account for it.

This is apparently also where the "cheese" in "(the) big cheese" comes from.

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby Luís » 2018-03-18, 20:26

(he) בלשן balshan (linguist) = בעל (master, owner) + לשון (tongue, language).

Literally something like "master of languages" or "language owner" ... pretty neat 8-)
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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby Luís » 2018-03-25, 9:05

(he) דו־חי (lit. two-lives) amphibian

Either because they undergo metamorphosis or because they can live on both land and water, I don't know.

I guess it's similar to the Greek ἀμφίβιον, but in English and other European languages that borrowed the word, the meaning is less obvious... :P
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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby Homine.Sardu » 2018-03-25, 9:18

A funny etymology is the Sardinian name of the Scarabaeus Stercorarius :

Carramerda = shit carrier

from the Sardinian verb "carrare" = to carry

Image

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-04-09, 19:15

Luís wrote:Either because they undergo metamorphosis or because they can live on both land and water, I don't know.

I'm guessing probably because they can live both on land and in the water (are there any other animals that can?). Wiktionary says it refers "to the two lives amphibians have." Lots of other kinds of animals undergo metamorphosis.

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby linguoboy » 2018-04-09, 19:24

So Bukit Timah is the Malay name of a mountain in Singapore. The traditional Tamil name is a literal translation, Eyam Malai "tin hill". But Timah might actually be a corruption of Malay temak, a tree in the Shorea genus.
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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-04-09, 19:59

Oh, Romanization. :P That should probably be Eeyam Malai (the first vowel is [iː] - ஈயம் மலை).

In Malayalam, ഈയമ്മല [ˈjiːjəmməla] would be 'lead mountain'. :lol:

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby Zé do Rock » 2018-04-11, 8:04

I posted a message about words with interesting etymologies, but since it is written in europan and reformd spelling, it is in the europano thred: https://forum.unilang.org/viewtopic.php?f=85&t=52597&p=1106651#p1106651.

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Re: Interesting Etymologies

Postby linguoboy » 2018-08-29, 22:43

Welsh bochdew "hamster" is a compound of boch "cheek" (cognate with Latin bucca) and tew "thick, fat" (cognate with English thick).

Unexpectedly, the standard plural form is bochdewion. (Terms for animals most frequently take the plural ending -od.)
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