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Take etymology [was: Why there is t- in German tausend "thousand"?]

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  • Grzegorz Jagodziński
    ... Of course, but this *toccare may be a Germanic loanwods in turn. The geminate -cc- seems to make it probable. All hypothesis like those of echoic origin
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 10, 2013
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      >> Let me start from the 1st Shift / Grimm's "Law" (rule in
      >> fact). It is often treated as exceptionless but in real we
      >> should have doubts. For example, the English "touch" and
      >> "take" look like cognate of the Latin tangere with *t-
      >> preserved.

      > English <touch> is a borrowing of OFr <tochier>, from VLat
      > *toccare, so it’s irrelevant.

      > Brian

      Of course, but this *toccare may be a Germanic loanwods in turn. The
      geminate -cc- seems to make it probable.

      All hypothesis like those of "echoic" origin of this word (and many others)
      seem to be less probable (the fact that authors of etymological dictionaries
      copy them one after another - is no proof yet). If we took under
      consideration that the human language must have developed from nothing many
      thousands of years ago, all words must have been echoic to more or less
      degree originally. So, such a hypothesis cannot be treated as the zeroeth
      one, and must be proved or positively argumented just like others. The
      echoic / onomatopoeic etymology means only that the etymologist, who
      investigates a given word, actually resigns, surrenders.

      Anyway, it is also the semantic proximity which can vote for relation of
      "take" and "touch". Below I am going to give another possible etymology
      (other than "echoic").

      > Yes, of course (except that I can't accept take = tango &c. because
      > phonological irregularity must prevail on semantic proximity,

      I agree, but there is proximity here, and that is why I have given both
      verbs together.

      > otherwise we could never demonstrate that a given hypothesis is
      > false) [...]

      Latin tangere "to touch" comes from IE *tH2g- (de Vaan, Etym. Dict. of
      Latin..., p. 606). But its undoubtful (I hope) cognates may have the meaning
      "take". This is the proof that there is semantic proximity between "touch
      and "take".

      They are especially Greek tetagō'n "having seized" (does it mean "having
      touched" or "having taken" rather?) and Latin tagāx "thievish" (does a thief
      touch or take his loot rather?).

      Another kind of a proof is that Gothic tekan means "to touch" (taítōk "I
      touched") while Icelandic taka means "take" and tók = took (the English verb
      is of Nordic origin). So, the Gmc. *tekana-/*takana- yielded both "touch"
      and "take" meanings. We cannot separate them from one another. The meaning
      "touch" is probably original, as "*nema-" was used for "take", also in OE.

      It is simpler to accept the Germanic origin of *toccare as both "take" and
      "touch" share the same consonantal structure of the root (t-k) and we know
      Germanic verbs with this very structure which mean either "touch" or "take".

      But there is indeed another possible etymology of *toccare, other than
      echoic. First, we should reconstruct *tuccare here, as Latin u > (closed) o
      in Romance. The further source of this word is not known, but we find a
      similar root, among others, in Slavic. Namely, *tŭkti, *tŭknǫti (Polish
      tknąć, Serbo-Croat taknuti and taći, etc.) mean "to touch" and also "to
      knock", "to push". He have also Latvian tukstēt "knock" and Greek týkos "war
      or stonemason hammer, hatchet etc.".

      Should it destroy the possibility of Germanic connection of
      *toccare/*tuccare? Not necessarily. We find the formally exact conterpart of
      Gmc. *tugg- or *tukk- in German: zücken "whip out" and "draw (e.g. a dagger
      or a sword)"; notice also den Bleistift zücken "to take/draw out/use the
      pencil". The non-umlauted zucken means "twitch", zuhhen was also present in
      OHG. All these meanings are not very distant from "touch" in fact. And yet
      closer to "draw (out)".

      However, *tugg- and *tek- should have nothing in common. Indeed it is so, at
      least from the Neogrammarian point of view. I will not interpret this in any
      way but I will only notice that there are astonishing connections between
      *TEK- and *TUK- roots (T= t, d, dh) in IE.

      Slavic *tŭkati means "to weave" (< *tuk-) and Latin texō means "to weave" (<
      *tek-). Notice also German Zeug "cloth, stuff" (so, "something woven")
      (<*deuk-).
      Slavic *tŭk(nǫ)ti (related to the one above) means "to touch" (< *tuk-) and
      Latin tangere means "to touch" (<*tH2(n)g-).
      Slavic *tęg(nǫ)ti means "to pull, to draw" (<*te(n)g-) (formally close to
      Latin tangere), and German ziehen means "to draw" (<*deuk-) just as Latin
      dūcere "lead".

      There also are other, more various meanings of both Slavic *tŭkati and
      *tŭknǫti, esp. with prefixes. For example, Polish wtykać "to stick (a finger
      into a hole)", spotkać się "to meet", wytknąć "to point out", zetknąć się
      "to encounter", zatkać "to cork, to clog, to plug", przetkać "to
      intersperse, to clear" (and "to interweave"), potknąć się "to walk
      unsteadily, to stumble, to slip, to trip up", potykać się "t.s.
      (imperfective)" but also "to fight" (bookish). It should help to understand
      why the difference between "take" and "touch" is not too much.

      I should mention yet another possible etymology of "take": Greek dékhomai
      "accept, take". Actually, the Germanic form (<*deg-) looks like if a hybrid
      of *degh- (see Greek) and *teg- (see Latin).

      Here is a list drawn up by possible IE forms for better comparison:
      1. *tek- = Latin "weave" (actually texere may come from *te-tke- but this
      form does not still fit the Slavic one),
      2. *tuk- = Slavic "weave", "touch", a possible non-Germanic source of
      *tuccare "touch",
      3. *deuk- = Germanic *"weave" (actually "woven thing") and "draw", and also
      "touch" if *tuccare comes from Gmc. *tugg- < IE *duk; Latin "to lead",
      4. *te(H2)g- = Latin "touch", Greek "take" (actually "seize"), Slavic
      "draw",
      5. *deg- = Germanic "take" (Nordic) and "touch" (Gothic),
      6. *degh- = Greek "take".

      Grzegorz J.
    • dgkilday57
      ... Of course, but this *toccare may be a Germanic loanwods in turn. The geminate -cc- seems to make it probable. DGK: I believe so. The VL verb could have
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 11, 2013
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        ---In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, <grzegorj2000@...> wrote:

        >> Let me start from the 1st Shift / Grimm's "Law" (rule in
        >> fact). It is often treated as exceptionless but in real we
        >> should have doubts. For example, the English "touch" and
        >> "take" look like cognate of the Latin tangere with *t-
        >> preserved.

        > English <touch> is a borrowing of OFr <tochier>, from VLat
        > *toccare, so it’s irrelevant.

        > Brian

        Of course, but this *toccare may be a Germanic loanwods in turn. The
        geminate -cc- seems to make it probable.

         

        DGK:  I believe so.  The VL verb could have been borrowed from a Gmc. denominal or intensive verb, or formed directly from a Gmc. noun *tokka-, with the *-o- resulting from /a/-umlaut of earlier *tukka-.  This is phonetically compatible by Kluge's Law with PIE *duk-nó- from *deuk- 'to lead, draw, pull' (IEW 220-1).  However, since the meanings of obvious Gmc. derivatives of *deuk- do not stray far from the basic sense, this explanation of *tukka- is semantically difficult.  Pulling and striking are entirely different operations.

         

        A clue is provided by one of the principal meanings of Spanish _tocar_, 'to play (a musical instrument)'.  This includes stringed instruments such as the guitar and the harp.  The harp is a specifically Germanic instrument, and in English one speaks of plucking the harp.  Plucking is a form of intensive pulling.  One plucks feathers from a bird by sharply pulling them out.

         

        One may thus suppose that a Gmc. phrase such as *tokko:naN harpo:nuN 'to pluck the harp' found its way into VL as *toccare harpam.  (In fact the loanword _harpa_ was used by Martianus Capella ca. 500.)  The VL phrase was first understood as 'to make the harp sound', and this meaning of *toccare was extended to other musical instruments and bells sounded for various purposes.  One sounds a bell by striking it, but not hard enough to damage it.  The resulting semantic development for *toccare, 'strike without damaging' > 'strike lightly, stroke' > 'touch' is straightforward.


        All hypothesis like those of "echoic" origin of this word (and many others)
        seem to be less probable (the fact that authors of etymological dictionaries
        copy them one after another - is no proof yet). If we took under
        consideration that the human language must have developed from nothing many
        thousands of years ago, all words must have been echoic to more or less
        degree originally. So, such a hypothesis cannot be treated as the zeroeth
        one, and must be proved or positively argumented just like others. The
        echoic / onomatopoeic etymology means only that the etymologist, who
        investigates a given word, actually resigns, surrenders.

         

        DGK:  In general I agree.  The gold standard of onomatopoeia is 'meow'.  Phonetically similar words are so widely distributed in the world's languages that neither common inheritance nor recent borrowing provides a plausible explanation.  Multiple independent formation after the sound is the only reasonable answer for 'meow'.

         

        However, as we move away from names of specific sounds produced by human or animal vocal organs, the plausibility of onomatopoeia drops off quickly.  A word like English _bang_ is not onomatopoeic, but merely suggestive.  Naive native speakers have no way of distinguishing the two types, and some etymologists fall into the same trap.  Indeed we must deal with the difficult area of phonesthemics, in which the suggestive power of a sound-segment encourages retention of words containing it over others.  In Romance, *beccare, *toccare, and a few other verbs with *-cc- denote various types of striking.  In my view at least, these verbs have etymologies like ordinary verbs, but the presence of *-cc-, which became popularly suggestive of striking (perhaps first with *beccare), encouraged not only the retention of striking verbs in *-cc-, but also the semantic drift of verbs in *-cc- from non-striking to striking (as with *toccare if my etymology is correct).  The result gives etymological tyros (and, sadly, some veterans) the IMPRESSION of onomatopoeic formation.


        Anyway, it is also the semantic proximity which can vote for relation of
        "take" and "touch". Below I am going to give another possible etymology
        (other than "echoic").

         

        DGK:  Here I must disagree.  By itself, semantic proximity (which is disputable between 'take' and 'touch' anyway) has no vote in deciding whether words with a vague phonetic similarity have a common origin.  We have all heard of "false friends".


        > Yes, of course (except that I can't accept take = tango &c. because
        > phonological irregularity must prevail on semantic proximity,

        I agree, but there is proximity here, and that is why I have given both
        verbs together.

        > otherwise we could never demonstrate that a given hypothesis is
        > false) [...]

        Latin tangere "to touch" comes from IE *tH2g- (de Vaan, Etym. Dict. of
        Latin..., p. 606). But its undoubtful (I hope) cognates may have the meaning
        "take". This is the proof that there is semantic proximity between "touch
        and "take".

        They are especially Greek tetagō'n "having seized" (does it mean "having
        touched" or "having taken" rather?) and Latin tagāx "thievish" (does a thief
        touch or take his loot rather?).

        Another kind of a proof is that Gothic tekan means "to touch" (taítōk "I
        touched") while Icelandic taka means "take" and tók = took (the English verb
        is of Nordic origin). So, the Gmc. *tekana-/*takana- yielded both "touch"
        and "take" meanings. We cannot separate them from one another. The meaning
        "touch" is probably original, as "*nema-" was used for "take", also in OE.

         

        DGK:  I addressed these words in message #71332 (23 Sep 2013), and I will recapitulate here, incorporating my recent correction about Dybo's Law bleeding Austin's, which affects 'take'.

         

        1.  Greek _tetagó:n_ 'having seized' (by the ankle, so neither 'touched' nor 'taken' is appropriate) requires PIE *teh2g- (or *teh2g^-, *teh4g-, *teh4g^-).  Kortlandt (NOWELE 36:59-65, 2000) attempted to get ON _taka_ and Go. _tekan_ from the same root, but his derivation requires multiple ad-hoc steps and a glottalic treatment which mocks the concept of a phoneme; it cannot be taken seriously.

         

        2.  Ringe (From PIE to PGmc 80) robotically referred Go. _tekan_ and ON _taka_ to a "post-PIE" *deh1g- ~ *dh1g- 'touch'.  As is typical of this author, no explanation is given why the root must be "post-PIE" and not simply PIE, or what if anything it continues from PIE, or what its source might be if not PIE.  Now, most scholars take the Go. simplex _tekan_ as primary, but I note that forms of the prefixed verb _attekan_ are thrice as numerous as those of _tekan_ in extant remnants of the Gothic Bible.  Also in message #71332 I provided evidence that Kluge's Law preceded Grimm's, so that the geminated tenues produced by KL were unaffected by GL, and the same is to be expected for geminated tenues resulting from sandhi.  Thus it is highly plausible that Gothic inherited the PREFIXED stem *atte:k-, continuing pre-Grimm's Law *atte:g-, and this reflecting *ad- (PIE *h2ed-) plus *te:g- (PIE *teh1g-) 'to touch' with trivial sandhi.  Go. _attekan_ in this view is cognate with its semantic match, Lat. _tango:_ (generalized zero-grade nasal pres. *th1-n-g-), _tetigi:_ (gen. zero-grade perf. *te-th1g-).  Go. _attaitok_ continues the gen. /o/-grade perf. *te-tóh1g- with analogical -t- replacing the *-d- expected by Verner's Law (as in _saiso_ 'sowed' for *sezo:, ON _sera_) after reanalysis of the stem as *at-te:k-.  This reanalysis led to extraction of the Go. simplex forms.  OE _þaccian_ and Old Dutch _thak(k)olo:n_ 'to touch lightly, pat, stroke' are probably based on a Gmc. fem. abstract *þakko: 'touch', PIE *th1g-néh2.  But the prefixed verb would have produced its own Gmc. abstract *attakko:, with reanalysis yielding *takko: 'touch'.  This alternative noun is probably the base of MLG _tacken_ 'to touch'.

         

        3.  ON _taka_ in my opinion is best explained through the /w/-extension of PIE *deh3-, surface-true *doh3-, originally 'to take' (as in Hittite _da-ah-hi_ 'I take'), not 'to give' as generally elsewhere in IE, where the semantic shift 'take' > 'take (for someone else)' > 'give (to someone else)' occurred.  Various forms of the root with a /w/-extension are found in Indo-Iranian, Greek, Italic, and Balto-Slavic (IEW 225-6), although no simple thematic present is attested.

         

        I theorize that at some stage in the history of PGmc, a thematic present representing PIE *doh3-w- was formed by analogy with some non-present forms, but its usage became restricted to the first person singular in ritual contexts:  'I (solemnly) take', (formally) PIE *dóh3woh2.  Due to the accent, Dybo's Law did not delete the laryngeal, and *h3w was fortited yielding Early PGmc *tókWo: 'I take'.  The labial component was regularly lost before */o(:)/ giving *tóko:, later *táko: when */o/ shifted to */a/.  Then the verb was generalized beyond the 1sg. pres. ind., and due to its /a/-vocalism was assigned to Class VI.


        [...]

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