Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Singh and Siegfried

This one is controversial, but wouldn't it be cool.

Sanskrit सिंह siṃha "powerful one, lion" is the source of the personal name Singh, thru Hindi (says the OED).

The Sanskrit word is found in Sri Lanka's Sinha Stout, and also in the language Sinhala.

The American Heritage Dictionary tells us that the name for Singapore is from Sanskrit, being a combination of siṃha and pura "city". It goes on to say that the origin of siṃha is unknown, but that it's probably related to Swahili simba - I have no idea how.

In fact most dictionaries don't give an etymology for siṃha. The Cologne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon is the only source I could find that does - it says siṃha is probably from sah "to prevail, be victorious; to resist". The IEED project's Indo-Aryan inherited lexicon asserts that sah is from Proto-Indo-European *seǵʰ- "to hold".

*seǵʰ- became Proto-Germanic *siǥiz- "victory", then Old High German Sigifrith meaning "having victorious peace" (-frith "peace" is from *priH-), then modern German Siegfried.


mahendra singh said...

Sinha Stout sounds lethal to me, probably on a par with the infamous punjabi brew Guru ( a syrup-like beery concoction fit only for excessively suicidal rickshaw wallahs). But then again, the mental image you have conjured up for me of an Indo-Germanic Las Vegas lion-taming act replete with heavy duty kinky Teutonic overtones (and undertones), well, you just made this Singh's day!

goofy said...

I had Sinha Stout today. I like stout, and this is a good one.

mahendra singh said...

Beer availability in Quebec is disappointing but I am intrigued & will look for it. I like stout also but I cannot imagine drinking it in a climate such as Sri Lanka! But then again, they drink palm toddy …

goofy said...

I recommend Dieu du Ciel... they have a brewpub on Laurier West. I like everything they do, especially the Péché Mortel coffee imperial stout.