Lur wrote:I think a sort of general (maybe not universal) sound symbolism exists (according to available sounds), which is why we have onomatopoeia and onomatopoeic words. And then combine that with typical semantic drifts of meanings...
I remember someone once told me that only crackpots believe in universal (or regional or whatever) sound symbolism, no idea who or if it was on this forum or somewhere else, though. But yeah, it seems pretty obvious that something
like it exists, and I'd assume it has some kind of "higher implications" on human nature or whatever if it was dug into deeply enough. The problems of racism and whatnot that can easily start popping up with Sapir-Whorfism and bouba-kikism when it comes to languages that "deviate" from the "norm" can be eliminated by extending it from pure sound symbolism to include other kinds of commonalities, eg. morphological or syllabic symbolism.
Lur wrote:Doesn't Finnic have other words of Iranian origin? Like "sininen"?
Yeah, but like Linguaphile said, perhonen
isn't one of them for several reasons. The similarity between it and the Persian word for butterfly is "pure coincidence", which I think could point to some kind of shared "phonosemantic inclination" or whatever; the Persian word didn't originally mean butterfly, so maybe one of the reasons its meaning shifted is that it just sounds
like the word for butterfly.
Maybe it's that Indo-Uralic (to the exclusion of all other languages of Eurasia) is actually a valid macrofamily and thus certain similarities between the languages are bound to pop up once in a while out with no implications whatsoever, which I personally don't believe but admit is possible... or maybe it's a wider thing, which I think is the case, with a combination of sound symbolism, morphological symbolism and/or even just some kind of a "force" drawing the words to become similar. You know, something like a "serendipitous alignment" maybe as a result of "human nature" or even the "nature of reality" or whatever.
...and then I wonder why everyone thinks I spout Time Cube level bullshit.
Lur wrote:Yesterday I was thinking of Finnish varis and Russian voron, and how they've reconstructed roots in PIE and Uralic that are similar.
Mmh. A lot of animal names are really interesting etymologically since they're practically always ultimately
of unknown origin and generally just presumed to be onomatopoietic or something.
Lur wrote:And here's an analog to that: Basque bele "raven", from a root "black, dark", which I think was somthing like *beletz/belez contracted to current beltz (otherwise it would have given *beretz). (See "Aquitanian" belex and "Iberian" beles to make it more intriguing).
Interesting. If only there was a huge list of all the etymologies (and theories of those that are uncertain) for animal names in as many languages as possible... but eh, the information is already out there so it'd literally just be everything in one place. It would be convenient, though...
vijayjohn wrote:Wrong, that's not how reduplication works in Malay/Indonesian. It's just banyak kupu-kupu.
Huh... so that means Wiktionary (which says the plural is kupu-kupu-kupu-kupu
) and Wikipedia (which says plurals are formed by reduplication) are wrong? And all the results for other reduplicated words in Malay/Indonesian on Google are something else, not plurals?
vijayjohn wrote:In spoken Malayalam, for 'butterfly', the term that I'm most familiar with at least is [puːmˈbaːta], literally 'flower beetle'. I'm pretty sure other varieties of Malayalam have their own terms for it, though. Literary Malayalam uses the Sanskrit-derived term [t͡ʃiˈt̪rəɕələbʱəm], literally something like 'picturesque insect'.
[puːmˈbaːta] sounds cute, and exactly like a word for butterfly. "Picturesque insect" is a really cool way to form the word for butterfly, too. Also labial sounds in both, and the latter starts with [t͡ʃi] like the Basque word. I'm not saying they're etymologically related or anything, because obviously they're not, but... it's still nice.
I wonder if labial sounds invoke the flapping of butterfly wings or something? Apparently the word for butterfly in some Polynesian languages is literally just pepe
, which in a way sounds like the ultimate
Maybe Wiktionary is just wrong? It does happen, you know.
Well, yeah, that's possible. I wonder why anyone would've added it there as a super obscure obsolete British term if it's neither super obscure, obsolete or exclusively British and no one would've corrected it, though.