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Scientist's etymology vs. scientific etymology

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  • Carl Hult
    We all know what folk etymology is and how it works. Today I will add another word to the list, scientist´s etymology. The distinction between scientist s
    Message 1 of 135 , Jun 5, 2008
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      We all know what folk etymology is and how it works. Today I will add another word to the list, scientist´s etymology. The distinction between scientist's etymology and scientific etymology is that the former is where the facts are being doctored to fit the the theory, based on an assumption made by the scientist rather than letting facts speak for themselves. I also call this wishful thinking. Examples of scientist's etymology are butter, church, rush and cheese. 

      The first word, butter, may be a close call since the greeks actually had a word called boutyron, lit. "cowcheese" but I still feel that this is wishful thinking on the linguist's part. The greeks didn't use butter in the same way other people in Europe did and if ever, the greeks got this word from elsewhere, not giving it away to other languages. It may even be a folk etymology word in Greece, adapted to fit the notion of "cow cheese"

      Church is one of the "holy" words in etymology. Once attested in greek, "kyriakon doma", and it's enough to send the linguists to seventh heaven. Well, this phrase was written well before there even was a missionary mission among the germanic peoples and only in terms of the lord taking a seat in the holy building. I'm sorry, this isn't evidence enough. If ever the germanic word for church comes from another source it would certainly come from a celtic one, meaning circle where sacrosanct rites were being conducted. Most historians in a club where I am a member agree with me on this. 

      Rush, why do english speaking etymologists keep insisting on this word coming from latin recusare? As written on the site etymonline.com: "c.1340 (implied in rushing), "to drive back or down," from Anglo-Fr. russher, from O.Fr. ruser "to dodge, repel" (see ruse)" And ruse is put down as: "1410, "dodging movements of a hunted animal," from O.Fr. ruse (14c.), noun use of ruser "to dodge, repel, retreat," from L. recusare "deny, reject, oppose," from re- intensive prefix, + causari "plead as a reason, object, allege," from causa "reason, cause." Or the O.Fr. word may be from L. rursus "backwards." "A French word neither elegant nor necessary." [Johnson] But the verb ruse was used in M.E."

      We do have the word rusa in swedish and nothing in the swedish authority on the matter, Elof Hellquist, suggests that rusa comes from latin: "rusa? störta fram = fsv. (även: leva 

      i sus o. dus), no. = ä. da. ruse = el.
      möjl. lån från mlty. rusen, höll. roezen;
      jfr avljudsformerna no. rusa o. rausa;
      väl besl. med grek. orouö, rusar
      (kanske av * orons-, med f. ö., såsom i flera
      liknande fall, dunkelt o-), slav. riich-,
      rych- i t. ex. ry. nichu, rörelse, oro,
      polska rychty, snabb (Persson I n dog.
      Wortf. s. 838), o. avlägsnare med lat.
      ruere i betyd, ’skynda, storma fram’ (väl
      ett annat ord än ruere, falla, varom se
      ruin). Se f. ö. ruska o. rusta 2."

      Cheese is another golden calf in the world of etymology. "Such luck that latin had caseus. Now we can wrestle the germanic words to fit the theory that the word for hard cheese came from the latin word!" The celtic languages has this word too and I do believe reading something about the celts being the first in Europe to make hard cheese...

      In the words of comedian Benny Hill: Never assume, because if you do, you make an ass out of u and me.

      Carl Hult

    • tgpedersen
      http://runeberg.org/svetym/0468.html Svensk etymologisk ordbok kväsa, A. Oxenstierna 1627: qväste (part.; säkerl. normaliserat), 1645, 1651, 1652, 1658,
      Message 135 of 135 , Jul 2, 2008
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        Svensk etymologisk ordbok

        'kväsa, A. Oxenstierna 1627: qväste
        (part.; säkerl. normaliserat), 1645, 1651,
        1652, 1658, 1671: qwätzt- (-e-; även qu-),
        part.; 1669, 1679, 1685: qwest- (-ä-; även
        qu-); under 1600-t. regelbundet o. under
        1700-t:s förra hälft nästan alltid i part.
        pf., om slaktningar o. drabbningar, ofta
        i förb. med sargad, sårad el. slagen o.
        i dessa betyd. = ä. da. kvæsse, kvætse,
        da. kvæste, från ty.: mlty, quetsen, ques-
        sen (jämte quetlen), krossa, skada, såra,
        o. mhty. quetzen ds. (ty. quetschen,
        krossa, pressa). Mlty. quetsen kan vara
        en s-avledn. av quetten, som är
        identiskt med mhty. quetzen; el. en från
        hty. lånad form. Besl. är da. kvas(s)e,
        pressa ut, om saft = ty. quatschen (eng.
        quash väl däremot från ffra. quasser =
        fra. casser), av lat. quassāre, till quatere,
        skaka. Jfr även sv. dial. kvadda, krossa,
        da. dial. kvaddre, slå i stycken, från
        lty. quadderen; härtill da. kvadder, små
        stycken. Snarast av ljudhärmande urspr,
        (liksom ty. quatschen, plaska, prata, lty.
        quassen, sv. dial. kvasa, om vatten i
        stövlarna; el. som krysta, pressa o. d.).
        Annorlunda Wood Mod. läng. notes 1902
        (se IF Anz. 15: 107)'

        "kväsa, A. Oxenstierna 1627:
        qväste (part.; likely normalized),
        1645, 1651, 1652, 1658, 1671: qwätzt- (-e-; also qu-), part.;
        1669, 1679, 1685: qwest- (-ä-; also qu-);
        in the 1600's regularly and in the first half of the 1700's almost
        always in part. pf., of battles and skirmishes, often in conn. with
        sargad, sårad or slagen (injured, wounde or beaten) and in those senses =
        MDa. kvæsse, kvætse,
        Da. kvæste,
        from German:
        MLG quetsen, quessen (beside quetten), "crush, hurt, injure", and
        MHG quetzen id. (Germ. quetschen, "crush, press").
        MLG quetsen might be a s-deriv. of quetten, which is identical to
        MHG quetzen; or a form borrowed from High German. Related to
        Da. kvas(s)e, "squeeze out", of juice =
        Germ. quatschen (eng. quash more likely from
        OFr quasser = fra. casser), from
        lat. quassa:re, to quatere, "shake".
        Cf. also
        Sv.dial. kvadda, "crush",
        da. dial. kvaddre, "break into pieces" (tr.), from
        LG quadderen; to this
        Da. kvadder, "tiny pieces".
        Most likely onomatopoeic origin, (like
        Germ. quatschen, "splash, talk",
        LG quassen, Sw.dial. kvasa, of water in the boots; or like
        krysta, "press" etc).
        Differently Wood Mod. lang. notes 1902
        (see IF Anz. 15: 107)"

        The onomatopoeic explanation is invoked, it seems to me, to get around
        the uncomfortable, but PIE-direct-descent-unbridgeable, similarity
        between the Romance and Germanic collection of roots.

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