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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 12:09 pm 
Avisaru
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So I was deriving some words for a language of mine related to High Eolic, and I came along this Proto-Eolic root:

*/nukjang/ 'alcohol, mead, brandy'

In High Eolic, this turns into nuttác, which means 'medicine, treatment'. But for the other language, diachronic progression (through regular sound change) appears to proceed thus:

*/nukjang/ > */nukay/ > nökë > nosé

The problem is, I already have a word nosé in the language, which I just recently tagged as "PE origin - needs PE root"… and the word means 'city'! The solution? Invent a diachronic progression whereby the word is generalized (from alcohol) to "place where alcohol is brewed / stored"… later further generalized to "settlement". So, diachronically speaking, semantic drift leads us to the awesome conclusion that cities in this language are places characterized by, well, loads of alcohol...

Any other awesome accidental diachronic occurences in your languages? Or do you know any similarly noteworthy progressions in natlangs, even?

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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 1:21 pm 
Lebom
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Wow :D

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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 3:00 pm 
Avisaru
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Sounds like your conpeeps really like to get drunk. :P

My conlang doesn't have diachronics, but I can think of a few amusing natlang etymologies.

Here's one:
Did you know that the words "bond" and "bondage" are not related? "Bond" is related to "bind" and "band", nothing surprising there. But "bondage" comes from the Old Nordic word "bua", "dwell". A person who dwells in one place rather than running around is of course a "bondi", "farmer". In continental Europe, many farmers were little more than slaves, thus "bondage" basically means "slavery". In the Nordics however the farmers were slightly better off, and so the word instead lead to "husbonde", "master of the house". This is of course the origin of the English words "husband" and "husbandry". So in fact, if you have a bossy wife, she should properly be called the husband. On the other hand, the man is never the wife, because "wife" comes from a word that means "woman" - that's why it's called "midwife", even tho she might not be married. One theory suggests that the word "wife" is actually related to "wrap" (maybe because the Proto-Indo-European women wrapped something around their heads). In that case it is also related to both "whip" and "vibrator". Makes sense.

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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 5:05 pm 
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There's always the excellent cognate pair of "care" and "whore" (the <w> on the latter is a spelling innovation).

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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 6:28 pm 
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Most of what I do is backwards diachronics, because I created my languages the "wrong" way by doing the modern languages first with only a very sketchy proto-language. This makes it harder to find cute little stories for etymologies, but I do run across some because many words in the proto-language are short enough that they can appear all over the place. e.g. just by chance the word for apron (saniaipa) turned out to be homophonous with "back" + "tie" .. i.e a "tie" for the back of the body.

Im sure I've done this dozens more times but most of them arent interesting enough even to me to remember, mostly just things like "banana" turning out to be homophonous with "hold in hand" + an old passive morpheme, when that could reasonably apply to any small fruit.

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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 5:39 am 
Avisaru
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Another cutesy anecdote from the real world:
"Security" comes from the Latin expression "sine cura", "without care" (thus also probably related to "whore", altho that connection would apparently be older than Latin). It was a philosophical maxim, much like the famous Swahili expression "hakuna matata". The ancient philosophers figured that since basically the worst that can happen to you is death, and death is nothing, we have nothing to fear.
The catholic church however did not like this, because they wanted you to fear God. So for many centuries "security" was a negative term. It's only in recent centuries that it has returned to something similar to the original meaning.

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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 7:29 am 
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Chuma wrote:
Another cutesy anecdote from the real world:
"Security" comes from the Latin expression "sine cura", "without care" (thus also probably related to "whore", altho that connection would apparently be older than Latin).

Got a citation for that one? EtymOnline says se is a semantic extension of the reflexive pronoun ("by oneself" -> "apart from everything else") rather than from sine, and the idea that it's a philosophical thing sounds dubious when cura has a host of semantic extensions, including trouble, problem (c.f. without a care in the world - someone who is safe is free of troubles).


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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 8:06 am 
Avisaru
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Arguably, one and it also ultimately derive from the same root.

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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 8:56 am 
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EtymOnline says he's right about it coming from "without care" but not about se- and sine- being the same root. There is a word 'sinecure' by the way.

I dont believe care and cure are cognates. The english word 'care' is native, not a loan from Latin carus "dear, expensive"

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?sea ... hmode=none
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=care

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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 5:41 pm 
Avisaru
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Soap: Yes, apparently "care" is Germanic, but maybe they could be related further back? Don't know where I got that impression from, actually...

My source for the "security" anecdote is actually a real live person - gasp! A linguistics professor, in fact. But he could be wrong too, for all I know.

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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 1:02 pm 
Avisaru
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Jetboy wrote:
There's always the excellent cognate pair of "care" and "whore" (the <w> on the latter is a spelling innovation).


Fun fact: I was just wondering about this today revising Whorf for my Linguistic Anthropology exam, and wondering why he isn't pronounced /horf/, by analogy with whore... but obviously.

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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 1:12 pm 
Avisaru
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Wandering off topic for a bit, I remember once hearing about a posh school here in Scotland where they were planning to name a house after a retired member of staff, who was called Hoare...

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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 5:25 pm 
Avisaru
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I had a professor Hoare too. I don't think he had a building named after him, tho.

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PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2011 4:37 pm 
Avisaru
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There was briefly a Hugh Jass building in the University of Edinburgh.
*disclaimer: he doesn't exist

Isn't French cher also a cognate of "whore"?

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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 1:21 pm 
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I just realized that the Eastern Ataenniy character for 'stone' is made up of the characters for 'death' and 'sun'.
I think I'm going to go make up a ton of stories and superstitions about this, especially considering how their sun was destroyed not many centuries ago.


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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 4:02 pm 
Avisaru
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Soap wrote:
Most of what I do is backwards diachronics, because I created my languages the "wrong" way by doing the modern languages first with only a very sketchy proto-language.

Oh, that sounds ever so painfully familiar. I really should redo my families properly, but they're my babies. Horribly malformed babies with misshapen heads and giving off curious odours, but my babies nevertheless.

On to awesome coincidences (if a bit forcedly accidental), I recently started writing up some explanations for what I dubbed “Baranxeï idiosyncracies”, basically stuff I know I'll have forgotten why I made it that way if I don't put it down now. This put me in search of etymologies for my old month names... and I just happened to find that āfilē "spring" could be neatly traced to a form *auˑpʲilˑrɢʰā (yes, I use asterisks for my own conlangs) 'period of the old star', which I could then say signified the appearance of a fixed star (modern feilu) as the mark for a new year. Huzzah!
Similarly, vãndrē "autumn" was conveniently similar to vamne "food", parsing it as "harvest season" (although since I've updated the phonology since I came up with vamne, that itself was declared Middle Baranxeï and replaced by vānu).

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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 12:59 pm 
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One I just ran across in Haziam:
bhrtis carrying > brtis carrying > vrti burden
wrtoH enclosure > wrtai pen > vrti prison > vrti bondage

I am toying with the idea of having vrti have a general meaning of restriction or barrier.


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