> > i think this was addressed before, but i will bring it up again. i
> >am curious to know where the spanish word perro originated. it
> >appears not to have arrived from latin "caninus" or
> >nahuatl "chichi". could it be from a prehispanic language of the
> >iberian peninsula such a lusitanian, aquitanian, or iberian?
> Certainly not from the last two, which didn't have p-.
GB: Does anybody really know enough about the deduced spoken languages of
the pre-IE cultures of Iberia tens of centuries ago, to know whether they
could or couldn't say their pees?
I have an old book on language that makes a very basic observation. "As
there is no
break at any point between the rims of the teeth back to the uvula, nor from
the tip of the tongue back to its root, ... all the articulations involving
the tongue form a continuous organic and acoustic series." I am no
anthropologist, but this seems a fairly unexceptional observation to me. It
seems risky to presume any long-term boycott of any sound in any place.
> The word probably comes from "prrr", or "brrr", the
> traditional command given to sheepdogs to assemble the
> flock. Cf. Catalan <gos> "dog", from a similar calling cry
> ("k(u)sss, "gusss"). The original words, Sp. <can>, Cat.
> <ca> were displaced by the neologisms, as in English <hound>
> vs. <dog>.
GB: I'd be interested to know how long it was or has been the tradition in
any part of Iberia to say "prrr" or "brrr" as a command to sheepdogs to do
anything. Are we sure we're not mixing it up with "grrr", the common
sheepdog-command meaning, "Stay out of my life!"? From my own experience as
a young lad on a sheep farm, I can say that we used to yell "way back!" I
would not expect any English dialect-word for dog to reflect that usage,
since (again in my personal experience only) dogs spend a surprising amount
of their time in other pursuits than assembling flocks.
Andrew/Inge: >>What is the etymology of dog?
Miguel: >OE docga, unknown etymology.
I have suggested, but it may be a bit far-fetched, a Celtic
*dago-cu:, -cunos "good dog" (cf. OIr. divine name Dagda <
*dago-de:wos, Gaulish dagomota "good fuck(?)" in the Autun
*dagocun- (> *daggun-) might then explain both English
dogga(n) and Basque zakur "dog" < *daggur, or, if -r was
originally /r/ not /rr/, < *daggun.
GB: A few months ago I spent a few idle hours looking for a pattern for the
names of animals in English (and, with the help of a dictionary, one or two
other IE-derived languages). Very difficult. Allowing for the
interchangeability of vowels in all languages, Latin lepis=hare and
lupus=wolf would have driven me crazy even if wolf/vulpine=fox hadn't done
the job already. Didn't our ancestors know the difference between a wolf
and a fox and a hare? (A wolf goes 'woof': easy enough to remember, you'd
think...) The conclusion I came to - very tentatively - was that animals'
names in any one community must have been replaced by the names used by the
latest occupying foreigners. If I had grown up in some slave village of
ancient Greece calling a horse a hippo, and fashion changed (forcibly or
not) the name of the beast to "caba(ll...)", then I would have gone along
with that without too much of a grumble. Who am I to grumble? If my latest
conquerors call the damn thing a mare or a colt or whatever, we slaves know
better than to be stubborn about it.
Today we identify "cattle" as a bunch of cows, but there were times when
"cattle" referred to deer. (Maybe 'cat' - and 'rat' - once meant just
"small animal", just as 'kid' does today - though maybe such speculation
takes us outside the terms of reference of this IE-related List. Piotr?).
If we can imagine ourselves in the shoes (if only!) of an often-conquered
community, we can perhaps imagine the context in which the names of things
might have changed. The closest English word to "perro" may be 'farrow',
which is a young pig, or used to be. Is it the same word? Is 'pig' the
same word as 'dog'? A p-d transition is no more or less uncommon than a p-f
one, in our IE family. Could "burro" have been an earlier generic name for
a small domestic animal? Is 'hind' the same word as 'hound', in its
origins? I don't say it is or it isn't. In my ignorance I don't have
enough knowledge of all the options to rule on the probabilities. Other
Listers, less ignorant, will I hope offer their own thoughts on this general