Monday, 1 March 2010

despot and timber

The Proto-Indo-European root is *dem- which meant "house" and also "to build" according to Fortson. Fortson talks about the phrase *dems potes "master of the house, lord, master", found in Vedic dám-patis and Greek δεσπότης des-pótēs - whence English despot.

In Proto-Germanic, *dem-ro- became *timram, and German Zimmer "room", and English timber.

5 comments :

Glen Gordon said...

The default form of the root for 'house' actually has o-grade. Either athematic *dom- with ablaut (nom. *dōm, gen. *dem-ós/*dem-s) or thematicized *domo- with fixed accent (nom. *dómo-s, gen. *dómo-syo), from what I understand.

goofy said...

Fortson has *dem-, nominative singular *dóms- (*dōm by Szemerényi's Law), genitive singular *déms. (page 121)

Glen Gordon said...

Fair enough. To me, being that Szemerenyi's Law is a pre-Indo-European rule, it doesn't make much sense to cite this earlier *doms when talking about PIE proper.

Also I personally wouldn't cite *dem- as the nominal root either. The verbal root is e-grade by default, yes, but the nominal root has o-grade in the strong cases, so *dom(o)- should be the root form cited, no? Don't mind me though. Just being persnickety about citation forms and dictionary rules ;o)

goofy said...

I can't say why Fortson cites it the way he does, but it is an e-grade form that is the source of the two English words I'm talking about.

Glen Gordon said...

Yes but *dem-ro- is a derivative of the verb stem, not the noun stem (ie. 'that which is built').