Tuesday, 2 February 2010

lady, dough, dairy, fiction, paradise

Our Proto-Indo-European root today is *dʰeiǵʰ- "to build, to form". In Old English it became dag "dough", *dig "knead", and dǣge "bread kneader, female (farm) servant, dairy-woman". Hlāf "bread, loaf" plus *dig equals hlǣfdige "mistress of a household", becoming Middle English lafdi, then lady. dǣge became Modern English dairy.

The zero-grade form with a nasal infix *dʰi-n-ǵʰ- became Latin fingere "to shape", past participle fictus, which gives us fiction.

In Avestan, the suffixed o-grade from *dʰoiǵʰ-o- became daēzō "wall", as in "something that is built". This combined with pairi "around" (from *per- "forward, through") to form pairidaēza "enclosure". This was borrowed into Greek as παράδεισος "enclosed park, pleasure ground", then into Latin as paradisus, and then thru Old French into English as paradise.

4 comments :

Dogberry said...

As a ball-park figure how many PIE roots are there? Are we talking tens or hundreds or thousands?

goofy said...

I think only a few hundred roots have been reconstructed. They weren't standalone words but they could be inflected in different ways to form words, sort of like how English has the root "vis" in words like "vision", "visual" and "visible". Undoubtedly there were many more roots that have been lost.

Glen Gordon said...

I wouldn't exactly compare PIE reconstruction to your English example, goofy.

Real verbs are being reconstructed complete with conjugational systems, whereas your example of an English vis- root isn't a genuine root but rather a mirage created by loanwords from French.

goofy said...

Of course you're right Glen. That was the first example I could think of. I can't think of a native English analogy, because it seems that most native English roots are also words.