By Anatoly Liberman
Given that I’ll be out of city at the conclusion of July, I was not certain I would be able to create these “gleanings.” But the inquiries have been numerous, and I could remedy some of them in advance of time.
Autumn: its etymology
Our correspondent wonders regardless of whether the Latin phrase from which English, by means of French, has autumn, could be determined with the title of the Egyptian god Autun. The Romans derived the phrase autumnus, which was both of those an adjective (“autumnal”) and a noun (“autumn”), from augere “to increase.” This verb’s best participle is auctus “rich (“autumn as a wealthy season”). The Roman derivation, although not implausible, seems to be like a tribute to folk etymology. A more critical conjecture allies autumn to the Germanic root aud-, as in Gothic aud–ags “blessed” (in the related languages, also “rich”). But, additional probably, Latin autumnus goes back again to Etruscan. The main argument for the Etruscan origin is the resemblance of autumnus to Vertumnus, the identify of a seasonal deity (or so it appears to be), about whom minimal is recognised other than the tale of his seduction, in the form of an old woman, of Pomona, as advised by Ovid. Vertumnus, or Vortumnus, may well be a Latinized type of an Etruscan title. A definite conclusion about autumnus is barely achievable, even though some resources, though tracing this term to Etruscan, insert “without question.” The Egyptian Autun was a development god and the god of the environment sunshine, so that his link with autumn is distant at finest. Nor do we have any evidence that Autun had a cult in Historic Rome. Every little thing is so uncertain in this article that the origin of autumnus ought to desires continue to be mysterious. In my viewpoint, the Egyptian speculation holds out very little assure.
The origin of so extended
I received an appealing letter from Mr. Paul Nance. He writes about so very long:
“It appears the variety of expression that must have derived from some fuller social nicety, these types of as I regret that it will be so extensive just before we meet once more or the like, but no one particular has proposed a distinct antecedent. An oddity is its sudden visual appearance in the early nineteenth century there are only a handful of sightings prior to Walt Whitman’s use of it in a poem (including the title) in the 1860-1861 edition of Leaves of Grass. I can, by the way, provide an antedating to the OED citations: so, great bye, so extensive in the tale ‘Cruise of a Guinean Man’. Knickerbocker: New York (Month-to-month Magazine 5, February 1835, p. 105 readily available on Google Publications). Specified the deficiency of a fuller antecedent, recommendations as to its origin all suggest a borrowing from an additional language. Does this feel realistic to you?”
Mr. Nance was kind more than enough to append two content articles (by Alan S. Kaye and Joachim Grzega) on so long, both equally of which I experienced in my folders but have not reread because 2004 and 2005, when I identified and copied them. Grzega’s contribution is primarily detailed. My databases has only one far more little remark on so extensive by Frank Penny: “About twenty a long time ago I was educated that it [the expression so long] is allied to Samuel Pepys’s expression so property, and ought to be written so along or so ’long, that means that the individual applying the expression ought to go his way” (Notes and Queries, Sequence 12, vol. IX, 1921, p. 419). The team so property does transform up in the Diary additional than at the time, but no citation I could locate seems to be like a system. Potentially Stephen Goranson will ferret it out. In any situation, so very long seems like an Americanism, and it is unlikely that these kinds of a preferred phrase really should have remained dormant in texts for practically two hundreds of years.
Be that as it might, I agree with Mr. Nance that a formula of this type likely arose in civil dialogue. The various makes an attempt to obtain a overseas source for it carry little conviction. Norwegian does have an just about equivalent phrase, but, considering that its antecedents are not known, it could have been borrowed from English. I suspect (a preferred convert of speech by previous etymologists) that so long is indeed a curtailed version of a at the time additional comprehensible parting formulation, except if it belongs with the likes of for auld lang sine. It may perhaps have been introduced to the New Environment from England or Scotland and later abbreviated and reinterpreted.
“Heavy rain” in languages other than English
When I wrote a post titled “When it rains, it does not essentially pour.” There I pointed out a lot of German and Swedish idioms like it is raining cats and canines, and, relatively than recycling that text, will refer our outdated correspondent Mr. John Larsson to it.
Ukraine and Baltic location names
The remark on this matter was welcome. In my response, I preferred not to talk about the items alien to me, but I puzzled irrespective of whether the Latvian spot identify could be of Slavic origin. That is why I explained cautiously: “If this is a native Latvian word…” The dilemma, as I fully grasp, continues to be unanswered, but the recommendation is tempting. And certainly, of training course, Serb/Croat Krajna is an precise counterpart of Ukraina, only without a prefix. In Russian, stress falls on i in Ukrainian, I believe, the initial a is pressured. The exact retains for the derived adjectives: ukrainskii ~ ukrainskii. Pushkin mentioned ukrainskaia (female).
Slough, sloo, and the relaxation
Several many thanks to individuals who informed me about their pronunciation of slough “mire.” It was new to me that the surname Slough is pronounced in different ways in England and the United States. I also obtained a concern about the history of slew. The previous tense of slay (Aged Engl. slahan) was sloh (with a lengthy vowel), and this type designed like scoh “shoe,” though the verb vacillated involving the 6th and the 7th class. The reality that slew and shoe have these types of dissimilar published sorts is due to the vagaries of English spelling. A single can consider of too, who, you, group, fruit, cruise, rheum, truth, and true, which have the very same vowel as slew. In addition, take into account Bruin and ruin, which search deceptively like fruit, and include gentlemanoeuver for good evaluate. A gentle spelling reform appears to be like a great plan, does not it?
The pronunciation of February
In a person of the letters I received, the author expresses her indignation that some persons insist on sounding the 1st r in February. Everybody, she asserts, suggests Febyooary. In this sort of issues, most people is a perilous word (as we will also see from the up coming merchandise). All of us are inclined to think that what we say is the only accurate norm. Words and phrases with the succession r…r are inclined to lose one particular of them. However library is more typically pronounced with the two, and Drury, brewery, and prurient have withstood the tendency. February has adjusted its kind quite a few situations. As a result, long in the past feverer (from Outdated French) turned feverel (perhaps beneath the affect of averel “April”). In the more mature language of New England, January and February turned into Janry and Febry. Nevertheless powerful the phonetic forces may well have been in impacting the pronunciation of February, of fantastic importance was also the reality that the names of the months usually arise in enumeration. Devoid of the to start with r, January and February rhyme. A identical condition is effectively-regarded from the etymology of some numerals. Even though the pronunciation Febyooary is equally widespread on both of those sides of the Atlantic and is acknowledged as standard through the English-talking globe, not “everybody” has recognized it. The consonant b in February is due to the Latinization of the French etymon (late Latin februarius).
Who vs . whom
Discussion of these pronouns misplaced all curiosity lengthy ago, because the confusion of who and whom and the defeat of whom in American English go again to outdated times. But I am not certain that what I said about the educated norm is “nonsense.” Who will marry our son? Whom will our son marry? Is it “nonsense” to distinguish them, and must (or only can) it be who in both equally scenarios? Despite the rebuke, I imagine that even in Contemporary American English the girl who we frequented won’t put up with if who is replaced with whom. But, contrary to my opponent, I admit that tastes vary.
Yet another dilemma I received was about the origin of the verb wrap. This is a instead prolonged story, and I determined to devote a specific post to it in the foreseeable potential.
PS. I detect that of the two queries asked by our correspondent past month only copacetic captivated some awareness (read through Stephen Goranson’s response). But what about hubba hubba?
Anatoly Liberman is the author of Term Origins And How We Know Them as well as An Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology: An Introduction. His column on term origins, The Oxford Etymologist, appears on the OUPblog each Wednesday. Send your etymology concern to him treatment of [email protected] he’ll do his finest to steer clear of responding with “origin mysterious.” Subscribe to Anatoly Liberman’s weekly etymology posts via email or RSS.
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