09 August 2014

Latin aqua 'water' (updated)

Latin aqua 'water' < Paleo-European *akʷā (f.) is an interesting word with correspondences in Germanic *áxwō 'river' (Gothic ahwa, Old High German aha) and the Old European Hydronymy (OEH), a corpus first studied by Hans Krahe and more recently by Francisco Villar and which represents an older form of IE than the historically attested languages1. On the other hand, Celtiberian akua is a substrate loanword whose meaning is probably 'river' (cfr. tar akuai 'across the river' in Botorrita III2).

Contrarily to what many scholars think, the original meaning of *akʷā isn't 'water' but 'river'3, being a derivated noun from the adjective *aku- 'quick, fast', found in Latin acupedius 'swift of foot' and accipiter 'hawk', the latter with cognates in Greek ōkýpteros, literally meaning 'swift flyer' (ōkýs 'swift', pterón 'wing'), and Sanskrit āśu-pátvan- 'flying swiftly'4. These correspondences suggest Paleo-European *aku- would correspond to late IE *ōu- 'quick' > Latin ōcior.

On the other hand, the geminate stop in accipiter would be the result of a sound shift -kʷ- > -kk- which I call Kretschmer's Law and of which are examples in Italoid (e.g. the Lusitanian theonym Iccona) and Celtic (e.g. *sukko- 'pig'). There're also traces of it in Vulgar Latin 'water', as reflected in the Appendix Probi (aqua non acqua).
More specifically, its agglutinative morphology would correspond to the "IE I (pre-flexional)" stage proposed by Francisco Rodríguez Adrados. Of course, Vennemann's proposal of OEH being related to Basque must be rejected.
P. de Bernardo Stempel (2007): Water in the Botorrita Bronzes and Other Inscriptions, in Palaeohispanica 7, pp. 55-69.
Despite so, it has been compared it to other 'water' words, both within the IE family and oustide, even up to the point of building upon it a "global etymology" (Ruhlen).
M. de Vaan (2008): Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the Other Italic Languages, p. 21.

05 August 2014

Gaulish *santikā 'ladle; milking vessel' (updated)

Gascon sanja, sansha, santja, sòntja, shansha, sancha, Aragonese sancha and dialectal Catalan sanxa (Cerdanya) designate a milking vessel carved in wood, often made by hollowing out a tree trunk1. On the other hand, dialectal Basque xantxa (L, Z), xaiñtxa (Z) designates a milking vessel with a long metal handle (kopetxa), and in the latter also 'ladle' (golhare), a meaning which in my opinion would be the original one2.

Although the Gaulish origin of this word seems undeniable, a Celtic etymology is more dubious. For example, Matasović proposes a Celtic femenine *sϕanjā corresponding to the masculine *sϕenjo- > Old Irish sine 'teat'3, in turn derived from IE *spen-, which is phonetically unacceptable, among other things because Celtic *sϕ- gives s- in Goidelic but f- in Britonic and probably also in Gaulish. For the same reason, Hubschmid's protoform *sand-ikā from IE *spdh- 'bucket'4 can't be accepted, although Celtic *sϕondā would be the origin of Romansh s(u)onna 'bucket', probably a Lepontic loanword.

Following Coromines5, I'd propose a Gaulish protoform *sant-ikā as a Baltoid loanword corresponding to Lithuanian sámtis 'spoon, ladle', sémti 'to pump, to scoop (a liquid)', from an IE root *semH- 'to pump, to scoop (a liquid)' also found in Latin sentīna 'bilge; sewer, drainage' and cognate to Altaic *ʃŏ́mo 'to dive; to summerge; to scoop (a liquid)' (EDAL 2193) > Turkic *tʃo:(m)- 'to diver; to swim; to scoop (a liquid); to immerse, to dip' (Turkish čömče 'spoon'6). On the other hand, Etruscan śanti (Tabula Capuana) probably designated some kind of vessel.
1 G. Rohlfs (1970): Le Gascon. Etudes de phylologie pyrénéenne, § 59. It's likely the same kind of vessel called kaiku in Basque.
2 The oldest European metal ladlers are from the Hallstatt culture of the Early Iron Age.
R. Matasović (2009): Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic, p. 333.
4 J. Hubschmid (1951): Alpenwörter. Ursprungs und vorromanischen Romanischen, p. 61.
5 DECLC, p. 667-668.
J. Hubschmid (1955): Schläuche und Fasser, p. 107, quotes čamča, čumča with a diminutive suffix -ča.