Thursday, 17 January 2008

whore and kamasutra

Proto-Indo-European *keh₂- "to like, desire". The suffixed form *keh₂-ro- (*-ro- is an adjectival suffix) became Proto-Germanic *hōraz "one who desires", which became Old English hōre, taking on the meaning of "adulterer". This became Modern English whore. The wh spelling corresponded to a widespread dialectical pronuncation with /w/. The same thing happened to whole from Old English hāl.

The suffixed form *keh₂-mo- (*-mo- is a noun suffix) became Sanskrit कामः kāmaḥ "wish, desire, love", which combined with सूत्रं sūtraṃ "thread, aphorism, aphoristic rule" to form कामसूत्रं kāmasūtraṃ "a treatise on sexual love by Vātsyāyana".

sūtraṃ is from PIE *syuH- "to bind, sew", and is cognate with sew and suture.

*keh₂-ro- became Latin cārus "dear", and cāritā cāritas "affection". charity and cherish are from Latin cāritā cāritas, borrowed into English from Old French charite and cherir respectively. charity originally meant "love", and then came to be used for the love you show others by giving them money.

7 comments :

Jon Boy said...

I had assumed that the wh spelling was based on a faulty etymology, but now that you mention it, I think I've actually heard whole pronounced something like /wol/ before.

goofy said...

I've never heard that pronunciation, but the explanation seems reasonable. That bit of info is from the OED.

ambarish said...

> The suffixed form *keh₂-mo- (*-mo- is a noun suffix) became Sanskrit कामः kāmaḥ

This is strange to me. I studied Sanskrit largely traditionally, and kāma (the unconjugated form) is explained as originating from √kam with the ghañ suffix, similar to pāṭha from √paṭh, or pāda from √pad, lēkha from √likh, etc. It appears you're deriving it from a PIE root keh₂. Would you know if that root also persists in Sanskrit? What was its meaning in PIE?

David Marjanović said...

Carita??? I've only ever seen caritas, declined caritat-.

goofy said...

David, I don't remember where that came from. You're probably right.

goofy said...

ambarish, I know that the traditional analysis of Sanskrit sometimes conflicts with the etymology.

Here's IEW kā- 515 so you can see what other words are derived from *keh₂-
http://starling.rinet.ru/cgi-bin/response.cgi?root=config&morpho=0&basename=%5Cdata%5Cie%5Cpokorny&first=1&off=&text_root=&method_root=substring&ic_root=on&text_meaning=to+like%2C+wish&method_meaning=substring&ic_meaning=on&text_ger_mean=&method_ger_mean=substring&ic_ger_mean=on&text_grammar=&method_grammar=substring&ic_grammar=on&text_comments=&method_comments=substring&ic_comments=on&text_derivative=&method_derivative=substring&ic_derivative=on&text_material=&method_material=substring&ic_material=on&text_ref=&method_ref=substring&ic_ref=on&text_seealso=&method_seealso=substring&ic_seealso=on&text_pages=515&method_pages=substring&ic_pages=on&text_any=&method_any=substring&sort=number&ic_any=on

Anonymous said...

I guess I missed the thread between sutram and suture. :-)