19 September 2015

Galician-Portuguese silva 'bramble' (updated)

Blackberries
Contrarily to what some linguists think, Galician-Portuguese silva, silveira (collective) 'bramble (Rubus)' is unrelated to the homonymous Latin silva 'forest' (which regularly gives Romance selva), but it's cognate to Leonese silba 'service berry', silbar, silbal (collective) 'service tree (Sorbus domestica)'2.

Service berries

This is a substrate loanword *silba1 with parallels (through lambdacism) in Romance serba 'service berry'3 (Catalan serva, Occitan sèrba, Spanish serba, jerba, sierba id., serbal, sierbal, Catalan servera, server (collective) 'service tree'4), Lithuanian serbentà 'currant (Ribes)' and dialectal Russian serbalína, serberína 'rose hip', sor(o)balína 'bramble'5, Latin sorbus 'service tree' (Spanish sorbo), sorbum 'service berry', from which derive Leonese (Liébana) suerbaFrench sorbe id., sorbier, Galician sorbeira, solveira (collective), Leonese  (Liébana) suerbal  'service tree'.

Although these forms show the typical IE ablaut e ~ o6, we also can find variants with /u/ vocalism: Leonese (Liébana) surba 'service berry', surbu (collective) 'service tree' and regional Spanish (Álava, Bureba, High Rioja) zurba, zurbia 'service berry', zurbal, zurbial, surbial (collective) 'service tree'. 
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1 The shift -lb- > -lv- is regular in Portuguese.
2 J. Oria de Rueda et al. (2006): Botánica forestal del género Sorbus en España, in Investigación Agraria. Sistema y recursos forestales, vol. 15, nº 1,  p. 166-186.  
3 The proposed connection (Pedersen) with Celtic *swerwo- 'bitter' (Old Irish serb, Middle Welsh chwerw) can be ruled out. 
4 The forms serbo, jerbo, selbo, jelbo are the product of a contamination with sorbo.
M. Vasmer (1955): Russisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch, p. 697.
In fact, Indo-Europeanists reconstruct a protoform *serbh- ~ *sorbh-.

18 comments:

  1. "Unlike believed by some *crackpot* linguists..."

    Childish and wholly unnecessary.

    Also, are you suggesting that, besides the well-attested rhotacism in Portuguese, there is the equal, opposite, and unattested lambdacism?

    Some how Romance: serba > Galician-Portuguese: *silba??? For that to work in Portuguese the original Romance word would necessitate /l/ word-medially as in **selba > *silba > silva. Serba > *silba > silva does not work phonotactically in Galician-Portuguese. In Galician-Portuguese, word-medial -rb- > -rv- NOT -lb-. I should say whatever "language" Galician-Portuguese "borrowed" this word from. It could not belong to your reconstruction as it makes no room for lambdacism and lambdacism is not evidenced in the known words belonging to that reconstructed root. Lambdacism does occur sporadically in Basque.

    This looks like contamination between terms to me. You still failed to delineate why semantic shift is improbable...just saying, "Because I say so", is not scientific. The unexplained lambdacism makes your etymology untenable.

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  2. This looks like contamination between terms to me. You still failed to delineate why semantic shift is improbable...just saying, "Because I say so", is not scientific.
    As I told you one hundred times, Latin silva regularly gives Romance selva, even in Galician-Portuguese, so there's no chance for silva < silba to be derivated from the former.

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  3. See, as annoying as you find my boldness, I do help you. :)

    I know, I know, Octavia, that you say that about, 'silba' and 'selva'. You must also admit that irregular correspondences do occur. In many ways, languages are like DNA, sometimes, 'irregular' mutations do occur. Are you wiling to give it a thought? The only plausible language that could be a substrate is Basque or some unknown Vasconic dialect. We know that languages like Basque, Iberian, and "Tartessian" dominated much of the Iberian peninsula before the incursion of IE languages.

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    1. The only plausible language that could be a substrate is Basque or some unknown Vasconic dialect. We know that languages like Basque, Iberian, and "Tartessian" dominated much of the Iberian peninsula before the incursion of IE languages.
      Not exactly. Your forgot several pre-Latin IE language such as Hispano-Celtic and Lusitanian/Italoid, not to speak of the Berber-like language you're so reluctant to accept.

      Delete
    2. I know, I know, Octavia, that you say that about, 'silba' and 'selva'. You must also admit that irregular correspondences do occur. In many ways, languages are like DNA, sometimes, 'irregular' mutations do occur. Are you wiling to give it a thought?
      Incomplete or insufficient data usually leads to wrong results, as in this case. As I explained in my post, the Galician-Portuguese word isn't isolated at all. In the past, linguists tried to derive these words (e.g. serba and the like) from Latin, because their own pre-conceived ideas prevented them from thinking of a different source, but fortunately now we live in the 21th century.

      I'd appreciate you'll be so kind as to tell Mr. Valério the news.

      Delete
  4. Berber does not evidence lambdacism and was never spoken in Iberia before a certain time period. I excluded the IE languages when I said, "...before the incursion of IE languages", in my previous post. Lambdacism is not evidenced in Celtic or Italic as far as I know. So, again, that leaves Basque since Iberian and "Tartessian" were long extinct by the time Galician-Portuguese became distinctive as a dialect..

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    1. Actually, I named some of the pre-Latin languages spoken in Iberia of which we've got evidence (either direct or indirect), but I didn't pretend the loanword originated in one of these. Sorry if you got confused about that.

      Berber does not evidence lambdacism and was never spoken in Iberia before a certain time period.
      I disagree with the last part, which would be better applied to Basque itself, as it originated in the High Middle Ages. As I told before, there were several languages involved in the making of Basque, not just a single Paleo-Basque or "Aquitanian" dialect. My aim is to identify those languages as well as possible from the available material in Basque and Romance languages.

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    2. Last update: I found an article about the various names of the service tree and service berry in Hispano-Romance languages, which shows actual evidence of lambdacism in regional Spanish jerbo, jelbo, Leonese selbo and Galician-Portuguese sorveira, solveira (Galician b is purely ortographical).

      http://www.floraiberica.es/PHP/vernaculos_.php?gen=Sorbus&espe=domestica&infrank=&infra=&autabre=L.&familia=Rosaceae

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  5. Hola, Octavia!

    "Actually, I named some of the pre-Latin languages spoken in Iberia of which we've got evidence (either direct or indirect)..."

    It is okay, I should have asked also.

    "I disagree with the last part, which would be better applied to Basque itself, as it originated in the High Middle Ages..."

    Well, Octavia, we will have to respectfully disagree on when Berber was spoken in Iberia. I see no reason to suppose that there was an ancient Berber language in Spain. Two or three possible ancient loanwords is not a very stable basis for this. All that says is that these words got there. We must not establish entirely new populations based upon a scant few loanwords, if they are Berber and ancient. Of the words you adduced, all are very, very suspect and appear to not be very ancient or even Berber at all.

    You adduced, "perro", which is Spanish for dog. This word is not of any ancient derivation as the Old Spanish word "can" is derived from Latin as expected and, before a certain time, the word "perro" was never used. "Perro" was clearly not used in Old Spanish as the Latin-derived word attests to. So there again, Berber is excluded in favor of a clearly recent and likely local origin. It is highly likely onomatopoeic and was peculiar to rural Spanish shepherds. Even Coromines agrees with this. Also what happened to that post? You must have found out the same thing I did. Spanish "tonto" could very likely be of Basque origin. That leaves Basque "otso" wolf which could be an innovation derived from Basque itself. I will post about that at the "otso" post.

    The current etymology is much, much better than your previous post. Congratulations, Octavia! kudos to you! :)

    The Galician-Portuguese word is clearly derived from the Leonese word. We can safely conclude that this word is not native to Galician-Portuguese as the historical phonotatics would not allow it.

    I guess the case is solved on this one. :)

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  6. Well, Octavia, we will have to respectfully disagree on when Berber was spoken in Iberia. I see no reason to suppose that there was an ancient Berber language in Spain. Two or three possible ancient loanwords is not a very stable basis for this.
    Actually, there're more than just 2-3, and you apparently missed a-serdun 'mule', which I quoted another post.

    Of the words you adduced, all are very, very suspect and appear to not be very ancient or even Berber at all.
    I disagree.

    You adduced, "perro", which is Spanish for dog. This word is not of any ancient derivation as the Old Spanish word "can" is derived from Latin as expected and, before a certain time, the word "perro" was never used.
    This is a sociolinguistics issue. The word originated within a specific area (Asturias) and/or an ethnical group (transhumant shepherds) and then spread to the rest of the linguistic domain. But this doesn't mean it should be post-Latin.

    It is highly likely onomatopoeic and was peculiar to rural Spanish shepherds. Even Coromines agrees with this.
    Unfortunately, he recurred to onomatopoeias whenever a) he couldn't identify the source and b) the word contained expressive phonemes. As they say in Italian, se non è vero, è ben trobato.

    Spanish "tonto" could very likely be of Basque origin.
    Which in turn is related to Berber.

    That leaves Basque "otso" wolf which could be an innovation derived from Basque itself. I will post about that at the "otso" post.
    Sorry, but this is another piece of *crackpot* stuff from Mr Lakarra. You apparently forgot the Aquitanian, Iberian and "Tartessian" evidence.

    The Galician-Portuguese word is clearly derived from the Leonese word.
    Not exactly. It's a regional word found in both languages.

    We can safely conclude that this word is not native to Galician-Portuguese as the historical phonotatics would not allow it.
    Actually, this "lambdacization" (of which I've quoted some more examples) must be a substrate feature.

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  7. "Incomplete or insufficient data usually leads to wrong results, as in this case. As I explained in my post, the Galician-Portuguese word isn't isolated at all. In the past, linguists tried to derive these words (e.g. serba and the like) from Latin, because their own pre-conceived ideas prevented them from thinking of a different source, but fortunately now we live in the 21th century."

    I would not say it is merely pre-conceived notions. It has to do with how thoroughly they choose to do their research. That is what I admire about Vaclav Blazek, A. Militarev, and Gabor Takacs, they are thorough. It is my criticism of Claude Rilly. If he had chosen to be thorough he would have known that the Meroitic word for dog is actually Egyptian and not Nubian. The Nubian words are either borrowed from Meroitic or directly from Egyptian, either way works. It is phonologically impossible that Egyptian borrowed these. Evidence that he claims for Nilo-Saharan is anything but.

    "I'd appreciate you'll be so kind as to tell Mr. Valério the news."

    Will do.

    "Which in turn is related to Berber."

    Highly Doubtful. It would be related to what Ehret calls Chado-Berber (when Berber and Chadic were one language). It is an isogloss peculiar to those two language groups. Also that word in Basque could be an internal innovation as I said happened with Sumerian. Whenever there are funky words in a language, sometimes, they are internal innovations. Just as what seems to be the case here with this word.

    "Sorry, but this is another piece of *crackpot* stuff from Mr Lakarra. You apparently forgot the Aquitanian, Iberian and "Tartessian" evidence."

    You use that word far too easily and it is a strong discredit to you and your work. If you disagree with someone that is okay, but resorting to names like, *crackpot*, is a serious discredit. You should respectfully disagree, but never act like you are some omniscient being. Lakarra seems to be being more and more criticized and his work is getting a bit sloppy, but he is not crazy. I did not forget Iberian, Aquitanian, and "Tartessian". I was adducing what Lakarra did as an example of how such things can occur and gave a further example using Sumerian.

    "Not exactly. It's a regional word found in both languages...Actually, this "lambdacization" (of which I've quoted some more examples) must be a substrate feature."

    It could be a Basque influence where there is evidence of some lambdacism. Given the location of the Asturian-Leonese languages, this is not all improbable. The word does not work in the phonological constraints associated with Galician-Portuguese. Lambdacism is not a known trait of Galician-Portuguese, therefore, it must have been passed from Leonese (where limited lambdacism is evidenced apparently) to Galician-Portuguese (where there is absolutely no evidence of lambdacism). I said nothing against it being from a "substrate". Just that it is not a Galician-Portuguese word because the phonotactics do not allow for lambdacism.

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  8. Highly Doubtful. It would be related to what Ehret calls Chado-Berber (when Berber and Chadic were one language). It is an isogloss peculiar to those two language groups.
    Possibly the reduplicated form was "Chado-Berber" (the putative common ancestor of Berber and Chadic, spoken at a time the Sahara was more humid than today), but this doesn't necessarily mean the word didn't get to the Pyrenees so early.

    Also that word in Basque could be an internal innovation as I said happened with Sumerian. Whenever there are funky words in a language, sometimes, they are internal innovations. Just as what seems to be the case here with this word.
    I don't think so.

    It could be a Basque influence where there is evidence of some lambdacism.
    Once again, Basque is the historical language spoken in the Basque country (including areas which shifted to Spanish in the last centuries) since the High Middle Ages (although the first written documents are from the 16th century). And whatever Paleo-Hispanic languages could be related to it, they can't be referred to as "Basque". Improper use of that term "it is a strong discredit to your work", to use your own words.

    Lambdacism is not a known trait of Galician-Portuguese, therefore, it must have been passed from Leonese (where limited lambdacism is evidenced apparently) to Galician-Portuguese (where there is absolutely no evidence of lambdacism).
    Not exactly. Galician-Portuguese is as "lambdacist" as Asturian-Leonese, as we find there sorveira, solveira 'service tree'. Please read carefully what I wrote.

    Lakarra seems to be being more and more criticized and his work is getting a bit sloppy, but he is not crazy.
    On the contrary, he's nuts and his work is *rubbish*.

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    1. On the connections between Berber and Mediterranean languages, I'd strongly recommend Boutkan-Kossmann's old JIES article Some Berber Parallels of European Substratum Words.

      You'll see also more Berber-related stuff in my blogs.

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  9. "I don't think so."

    It may not have looked like it, but I was agreeing with you.

    "Once again, Basque is the historical language spoken in the Basque country (including areas which shifted to Spanish in the last centuries) since the High Middle Ages (although the first written documents are from the 16th century). And whatever Paleo-Hispanic languages could be related to it, they can't be referred to as "Basque". Improper use of that term "it is a strong discredit to your work", to use your own words."

    Understood.

    "Not exactly. Galician-Portuguese is as "lambdacist" as Asturian-Leonese, as we find there sorveira, solveira 'service tree'. Please read carefully what I wrote."

    Lambdacism is not Galician-Portuguese at all...was my point. In looking through the link you posted, it did not say which word was older, sorveira or solveira. According to the well-established phonological rules of Galician-Portuguese, /r/ to /l/ does not happen, but /l/ to /r/ (rhotacism) frequently does. According to establish phonotactics, solveira > sorveira.

    By the way, I have noticed our conversations are all over Google, hahahaha. Frequently, when I am looking up words for my research, I come across links to your blog and our conversations. It guess it is okay, if it helps others, why not.

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    1. Lambdacism is not Galician-Portuguese at all...was my point. In looking through the link you posted, it did not say which word was older, sorveira or solveira.
      Actually, this is very simple, as the source is Latin sorbu-.

      According to the well-established phonological rules of Galician-Portuguese, /r/ to /l/ does not happen, but /l/ to /r/ (rhotacism) frequently does.
      Actually, this only happens in the consonantic groups bl, pl, cl, gl, but *never* in lb.

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  10. Understood on both.

    I actually read that in the paper I read about Galician-Portuguese phonology. It was just too much to type.

    Thanks for the link to the very interesting paper. Interestingly, it is by authorities, hahaha

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    1. BTW, even *crackpots* write in the JIES. For example, Ilja Cašule claimed Burushaski is IE and, more recently, Gianfranco Forni did so with Basque.

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  11. "BTW, even *crackpots* write in the JIES. For example, Ilja Cašule claimed Burushaski is IE and, more recently, Gianfranco Forni did so with Basque.

    I saw that. I commented that it was complete bunk when Dienekes posted about it some time ago (Burushaski as IE). Also, Basque is not anything IE except by loanwords. I am sure we both agree with that.

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