Thursday, 16 February 2012

a whole lot of words from *dyeu-

Greek has Ζεὺς πατήρ Zeus patēr, Sanskrit has द्यौष्पितृ dyauṣ-pitṛ, and Latin has Jupiter from Iouis + pater. The first element of all three of these can be derived from Proto-Indo-European *dyeu- "to shine and (in many derivatives "sky, heaven, god")". The second element is from *ph₂ter- "father". So these three deities presumably come from a form meaning "sky-father".

*dyeu- is also apparently found in Armenian աստուած astowaç "god", usually written Astwatz. I'm not sure exactly what the etymology is here.

In English *dyeu- became the name of the god Tīw as in Tuesday.

*dyeu- is also the source of Latin deus and dīuus as in deity and divine, and Avestan daēuau- "spirit, demon" as in Asmodeus.

It's also the source of Sanskrit देव deva "heavenly, divine", and Hindi देवदार devdār "divine tree", whence deodar.

It's also the source of Latin Diāna, the moon goddess.

In Celtic it became Gaulish Dēvona and Welsh duw "god".

In Greek it became δηλος dēlos "clear" (from earlier *deyalos) - as in psychedelic.

Addendum: as pointed out in the comments, δηλος is from a variant (Watkins says the variant form *deih₂-).

Friday, 10 February 2012

fir and cork

The Proto-Indo-European root *perkʷu- "oak" in the zero-grade form *pr̥kʷ- became Proto-Germanic *furh-jōn- then English fir (either directly or borrowed from the Old Norse fyri-).

The form *kʷerkʷu- arose by assimilating the first consonant to the second. This became Latin quercus "oak", which was probably borrowed into Arabic as القورق al-qūrq, then borrowed into Spanish as alcorque "cork shoe", then into Dutch or Low German as kork, then into English as cork.