Monday, 23 June 2008

scherzo and coruscate

Proto-Indo-European root *(s)ker- "to leap, jump about" (homophonous with *(s)ker- "to cut") became Proto-Germanic *skert- and Middle High German scherzen "to leap with joy". This was borrowed into Italian as scherzare "to joke". English scherzo and scherzando are borrowed from the Italian word.

In Latin the o-grade form *kor- became coruscāre "to vibrate, glitter", and coruscate.

(From the American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.)

The initial *(s) is in brackets because it appears in some reflexes and not in others. It's known as s-mobile.

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