Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Durga and Deuteronomy

The goddess Durga's name seems to be from Sanskrit दुर्ग durga "difficult of access or approach, impassable, unattainable", from dus/dur/duṣ "bad, difficult" plus gam "to go or pass" (according to Monier-Williams).

dus is from Proto-Indo-European *dus- "bad, evil" (as in dyslexia from Greek δυσ- "bad"). *dus- is a derivative of *deu- "lack, be wanting", which perhaps became Greek δεύτερος "second", and δευτερονόμιον "second or repeated law" (νόμος "law") and Deuteronomy.

gam "to go or pass" is from *gʷeh₂- as in juggernaut, come, event.

10 comments :

bulbul said...

Interesting. Is the Persian (Turkish, Urdu/Hindi, Romanian...) dušman = "enemy" derived from *dus- as well?

goofy said...

I think so. The idioms at the bottom of the Lubotsky page I linked to mention "NP du«man `enemy';" - I assume this is badly encoded "dušman". Also see:
http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.4:1:589.platts

Nick said...

I've given you my best answer on my blog. I hope it might help.

Nick said...

So what's with all of the etymology? Is this what you teach?

goofy said...

Dude, it's an etymology blog! That's what we do here!

bulbul said...

Thanks :)
Feh, the Lebotsky pages won't open. Stupid proxy...

Nick said...

Well, I'm sorry. I had thought it was, but I wasn't totally positive. Thanks for the insight.

Glen Gordon said...

Erh, wouldn't it be more appropriate/direct to say that gam- comes from *gʷem- (as in English come)?

goofy said...

If you like, but I thought it was usually cited as *gʷeh₂- or *gʷā-. But I see what you mean.

Glen Gordon said...

PIE *gʷeh₂- and *gʷem- are recognized to be etymologically related but if I'm not mistaken the reasons for why *m and *h₂ alternate here are still a matter of debate. My idea is that there was an ancient pre-Syncope root *gʷeu with extended forms *gʷau-éx-a and *gʷau-ém-a. After Syncope, we are reduced with *gʷ(w)ex- and *gʷ(w)em- but *w following a labialized phoneme is naturally impossible to maintain, leading to erosion of *w. Of course, there's no way to prove that. Sigh.