Saturday, 29 July 2017

gable and cephalopod


Proto-Indo-European *ghebh-(e)l- "head" became Proto-Germanic *ǥaƀlaz "top of a pitched roof", then Old Norse gafl, borrowed into Old French as gable, then borrowed into English as gable.

In Greek *ghebh-(e)l-became κεϕαλή kephalē "head", which was borrowed into English as cephalopod with Greek πούς, ποδ- pous, pod- "foot". Cephalopods were so named because their feet are attached to their head, altho they are usually called arms.

In Tocharian A, *ghebh-(e)l- became śpāl "head".


ambarish said...

And kapāla (skull) in Sanskrit, as in kapālīśvara ( or kāpālika (

But that makes me wonder how come the two phonemes lost voicing in both Greek and Sanskrit but not in Proto-Germanic. I thought Indo-Aryan languages branched off PIE earlier than Greek and Proto-Germanic split.

goofy said...

So according to the American Dictionary of Indo-European roots, kephalē is from a dissimilated form of *ghebh-el-: *kephal-.

Sanskrit kapā́la- is not from *ghebh-el-, it is from a different PIE form, *kap-ut-.

Fortson says "it is widely thought that Indo-Iranian forms a subgroup with Greek, Armenian, and Phrygian" but that this is not settled.