By Anatoly Liberman
Given that I’ll be out of town at the end of July, I was not guaranteed I would be capable to generate these “gleanings.” But the queries have been a lot of, and I could remedy some of them forward of time.
Autumn: its etymology
Our correspondent wonders whether the Latin term from which English, by way of French, has autumn, could be recognized with the identify of the Egyptian god Autun. The Romans derived the term autumnus, which was the two an adjective (“autumnal”) and a noun (“autumn”), from augere “to boost.” This verb’s perfect participle is auctus “rich (“autumn as a wealthy season”). The Roman derivation, even though not implausible, appears to be like like a tribute to people etymology. A much more significant conjecture allies autumn to the Germanic root aud-, as in Gothic aud–ags “blessed” (in the similar languages, also “rich”). But, much more possibly, Latin autumnus goes back to Etruscan. The key argument for the Etruscan origin is the resemblance of autumnus to Vertumnus, the identify of a seasonal deity (or so it seems), about whom small is known other than the tale of his seduction, in the shape of an old woman, of Pomona, as advised by Ovid. Vertumnus, or Vortumnus, may perhaps be a Latinized kind of an Etruscan identify. A definite summary about autumnus is hardly achievable, even even though some sources, although tracing this phrase to Etruscan, increase “without doubt.” The Egyptian Autun was a generation god and the god of the location sun, so that his connection with autumn is distant at very best. Nor do we have any evidence that Autun experienced a cult in Ancient Rome. Everything is so uncertain right here that the origin of autumnus have to desires stay mysterious. In my view, the Egyptian hypothesis retains out minor guarantee.
The origin of so extended
I been given an interesting letter from Mr. Paul Nance. He writes about so prolonged:
“It appears to be the type of expression that need to have derived from some fuller social nicety, these kinds of as I regret that it will be so extensive in advance of we meet yet again or the like, but no one has proposed a very clear antecedent. An oddity is its sudden visual appeal in the early nineteenth century there are only a handful of sightings in advance of Walt Whitman’s use of it in a poem (together with the title) in the 1860-1861 version of Leaves of Grass. I can, by the way, present an antedating to the OED citations: so, very good bye, so prolonged in the tale ‘Cruise of a Guinean Man’. Knickerbocker: New York (Regular monthly Magazine 5, February 1835, p. 105 out there on Google Textbooks). Offered the deficiency of a fuller antecedent, strategies as to its origin all propose a borrowing from one more language. Does this appear to be fair to you?”
Mr. Nance was type plenty of to append two content (by Alan S. Kaye and Joachim Grzega) on so very long, equally of which I had in my folders but have not reread since 2004 and 2005, when I uncovered and copied them. Grzega’s contribution is especially specific. My database consists of only 1 far more very small comment on so very long by Frank Penny: “About twenty several years in the past I was informed that it [the expression so long] is allied to Samuel Pepys’s expression so home, and ought to be written so alongside or so ’long, which means that the man or woman working with the expression will have to go his way” (Notes and Queries, Collection 12, vol. IX, 1921, p. 419). The group so household does turn up in the Diary extra than at the time, but no citation I could discover seems like a method. Perhaps Stephen Goranson will ferret it out. In any scenario, so extensive appears to be like an Americanism, and it is unlikely that these kinds of a common phrase should really have remained dormant in texts for nearly two hundreds of years.
Be that as it could, I concur with Mr. Nance that a method of this variety likely arose in civil conversation. The a lot of tries to find a overseas supply for it have very little conviction. Norwegian does have an just about similar phrase, but, considering the fact that its antecedents are not known, it may perhaps have been borrowed from English. I suspect (a favourite turn of speech by aged etymologists) that so very long is indeed a curtailed version of a the moment additional comprehensible parting method, except if it belongs with the likes of for auld lang sine. It may have been introduced to the New Earth from England or Scotland and later on abbreviated and reinterpreted.
“Heavy rain” in languages other than English
The moment I wrote a submit titled “When it rains, it does not necessarily pour.” There I pointed out many German and Swedish idioms like it is raining cats and canine, and, fairly than recycling that text, will refer our previous correspondent Mr. John Larsson to it.
Ukraine and Baltic area names
The comment on this make any difference was welcome. In my reaction, I favored not to communicate about the things alien to me, but I questioned regardless of whether the Latvian put name could be of Slavic origin. That is why I mentioned cautiously: “If this is a indigenous Latvian word…” The query, as I have an understanding of, remains unanswered, but the recommendation is tempting. And yes, of system, Serb/Croat Krajna is an correct counterpart of Ukraina, only without the need of a prefix. In Russian, worry falls on i in Ukrainian, I consider, the initial a is stressed. The identical holds for the derived adjectives: ukrainskii ~ ukrainskii. Pushkin explained ukrainskaia (female).
Slough, sloo, and the relaxation
Several many thanks to those who knowledgeable me about their pronunciation of slough “mire.” It was new to me that the surname Slough is pronounced differently in England and the United States. I also been given a problem about the heritage of slew. The earlier tense of slay (Outdated Engl. slahan) was sloh (with a lengthy vowel), and this kind designed like scoh “shoe,” nevertheless the verb vacillated among the 6th and the 7th class. The simple fact that slew and shoe have such dissimilar published varieties is because of to the vagaries of English spelling. One particular can imagine of too, who, you, group, fruit, cruise, rheum, truth, and true, which have the exact vowel as slew. In addition, take into account Bruin and ruin, which glance deceptively like fruit, and include maleoeuver for good evaluate. A moderate spelling reform appears to be like like a great strategy, does not it?
The pronunciation of February
In just one of the letters I gained, the author expresses her indignation that some men and women insist on sounding the very first r in February. All people, she asserts, states Febyooary. In these types of issues, everybody is a perilous term (as we will also see from the future merchandise). All of us are likely to consider that what we say is the only accurate norm. Terms with the succession r…r are inclined to lose a single of them. However library is much more frequently pronounced with equally, and Drury, brewery, and prurient have withstood the inclination. February has adjusted its variety quite a few moments. Therefore, prolonged in the past feverer (from Outdated French) turned feverel (perhaps under the impact of averel “April”). In the older language of New England, January and February turned into Janry and Febry. Nevertheless highly effective the phonetic forces might have been in influencing the pronunciation of February, of excellent great importance was also the fact that the names of the months usually arise in enumeration. Devoid of the 1st r, January and February rhyme. A related scenario is properly-acknowledged from the etymology of some numerals. Whilst the pronunciation Febyooary is equally prevalent on each sides of the Atlantic and is regarded as normal through the English-talking earth, not “everybody” has recognized it. The consonant b in February is because of to the Latinization of the French etymon (late Latin februarius).
Who versus whom
Discussion of these pronouns lost all desire lengthy back, due to the fact the confusion of who and whom and the defeat of whom in American English go back to outdated days. Nevertheless I am not absolutely sure that what I claimed about the educated norm is “nonsense.” Who will marry our son? Whom will our son marry? Is it “nonsense” to distinguish them, and should (or only can) it be who in both equally instances? Irrespective of the rebuke, I imagine that even in Fashionable American English the girl who we frequented will not experience if who is changed with whom. But, not like my opponent, I admit that tastes vary.
An additional problem I been given was about the origin of the verb wrap. This is a fairly extensive story, and I resolved to devote a special post to it in the foreseeable future.
PS. I recognize that of the two inquiries asked by our correspondent past thirty day period only copacetic captivated some focus (read through Stephen Goranson’s response). But what about hubba hubba?
Anatoly Liberman is the creator of Word Origins And How We Know Them as properly as An Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology: An Introduction. His column on term origins, The Oxford Etymologist, appears on the OUPblog just about every Wednesday. Send out your etymology issue to him treatment of [email protected] he’ll do his most effective to keep away from responding with “origin mysterious.” Subscribe to Anatoly Liberman’s weekly etymology posts via email or RSS.
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