Interesting Etymologies 10 : PIE Again





"Hello again Word Lovers!"


This week Charly digs into the mysterious world of PIE (Proto Indo European) language.


To understand a little better how murky the waters of the etymological past can be we look at some of his "favourite" words (Ed : I am saying nothing!)


Medina : Of Arabic origin, thought to be of PIE root but when investigated further Charly discovers that it is a word of multiple origins.


Cannabis : Related to canvas (made of Hemp). Greeks used the word Cannabis and traced to Sanskrit. Yet an alternative suggests it cam through Arabic and Hebrew from Sanskrit again.


This then opens up the understanding of consonant clusters to form words. For example modern Arabic does not write the short vowels but does have long vowels written.


Charly demonstrates some potential references to cannabis in the Bible only to then inform us it is disputed etymology.


We then look at the common word groups, as follows:


Kinship, (People, Pronouns) Numbers, Bodyparts, Animals, Agriculture, Bodily functions and states, Mental functions and states, Natural features, Directions, Basic adjectives, Construction, Object motion, Self motion, Rest and Time.


Charly focuses on numbers this time, looking at 1 to 10 in Hindi, Spanish and Russian, also seeing the similarity with Scandinavian tongue and Welsh.


Of the basic adjectives, Charly zeroes in on the etymology of red, considering it the oldest colour word in literature. The etymology of black and white will be attacked another day.




Explore the full Interesting Etymologies series archive here

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