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Fwd: BMCR 2009.11.27: de Melo on de Vaan, Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the Other Italic Languages

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  • Carl Edlund Anderson
    This may be of interest .... ... -- Carl Edlund Anderson http://www.carlaz.com/ [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 20, 2009
      This may be of interest ....

      Begin forwarded message:

      > From: "Bryn Mawr Classical Review" <bmcreview@...>
      > Date: 19 November 2009 14:29:14 GMT-05:00
      > To: "Carl" <cea@...>
      > Subject: BMCR 2009.11.27: de Melo on de Vaan, Etymological
      > Dictionary of Latin and the Other Italic Languages
      > Reply-To: "Bryn Mawr Classical Review" <bmcreview@...>
      > Boston: Brill, 2008. Pp. xiii, 825. ISBN 9004167978. €229.00,
      > $341.00. ">
      > Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2009.11.27
      > Michiel Arnoud Cor de Vaan, Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the
      > Other Italic Languages (vol. 7 in the series "Leiden Indo-European
      > Etymological Dictionary"). Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2008. Pp. xiii,
      > 825. ISBN 9004167978. €229.00, $341.00.
      > Reviewed by Wolfgang David Cirilo de Melo, Universiteit van Gent (wolfgang.demelo@...
      > )
      > Word count: 2855 words
      > Table of Contents
      > There is no shortage of recent dictionaries of Latin, most of which
      > contain a modest amount of etymological information, but de Vaan's
      > book is the only purely etymological one. For the Sabellic languages
      > we have of course Untermann's important Wörterbuch (2000), which
      > provides a wealth of data and thorough discussion, but for Latin,
      > before de Vaan's work appeared, one had to use Walde-Hofmann (1938)
      > or Ernout-Meillet (1959). These older works are on the whole
      > reliable, yet it is good to see an up-to-date dictionary fully
      > adopting the laryngeal theory.
      > I have learnt much from reading de Vaan. I shall give just three
      > examples. As an undergraduate I used to read the Miscellen or
      > Gemischte Beiträge in various journals, but never understood why the
      > first vowel in miscellus is long since the one in miscere is short;
      > de Vaan lists the word under minor and derives it from *minuscellus
      > > *minscellus, and now the quantity and the meaning make sense: the
      > long vowel is the result of compensatory lengthening (loss of n
      > before s) and the meaning is influenced by miscere. Second, the
      > Appendix Probi contains an entry pauper mulier non paupera mulier.
      > Here we can see how pauper adopted a more productive type of
      > inflection (Italian povero). But the feminine paupera occurred
      > already in Plautus (fr. xlvi Lindsay). I used to think that the
      > Plautine form foreshadowed Romance developments, but de Vaan points
      > out that the adjective was originally thematic and became athematic
      > under the influence of its antonym diues. Hence the Plautine form
      > may be a genuine archaism not connected with the later
      > rethematization. Naturally I also learnt much about languages other
      > than the Italic ones by working through de Vaan's book. In German a
      > common insult is dämisch or dämlich "stupid", which most speakers
      > derive from Dame "lady / woman". The correct etymology, however, is
      > less misogynistic: the word is not connected with Dame, but
      > ultimately has the same root as Latin temetum "alcoholic drink".
      > The structure of de Vaan's dictionary is clear and simple. After a
      > brief list of abbreviations and introduction, the main part of the
      > book consists of the dictionary entries, followed by a bibliography
      > and useful indexes. The introduction outlines de Vaan's view of Indo-
      > European, which is fairly orthodox; for instance, he believes in
      > three laryngeals, whose places of articulation match those of the
      > velar stops: palato-velar, pure velar, and labio-velar. He follows
      > the traditional reconstruction of manner of articulation for the
      > stops: there are voiced, voiceless, and voiced aspirated ones. After
      > the Indo-European period, he accepts an Italo-Celtic and then a
      > Proto-Italic stage and regards Venetic as an Italic language. It is
      > useful to have de Vaan's outline of the major sound changes and the
      > reconstructed sound system of Proto-Italic in the introduction.
      > The dictionary entries are systematic and easy to follow. The
      > headword is followed by a rough translation, the declension or
      > conjugation class, and other relevant information, such as first
      > attestation or variant forms. This is followed by a section listing
      > derivatives, again with first attestations. Next come the
      > reconstructed Proto-Italic forms and the Italic cognates. After this
      > we are presented with the Indo-European forms and cognates in non-
      > Italic languages. Then we get a brief discussion and bibliography.
      > Reviewing a dictionary is very different from reviewing any other
      > type of book. The reviewer is one of the few people who can
      > reasonably be expected to read the entire work from cover to cover,
      > while others are more likely to read only individual entries. And
      > while the reader of a more general book will not be upset if one or
      > two paragraphs contain mistakes because it is the whole that
      > matters, people consulting a dictionary and finding a faulty entry
      > will of course be upset because it is typically just one entry they
      > need. For this reason the rest of my review is a list of suggested
      > improvements, but it would be appropriate to offer first an overall
      > assessment: de Vaan has produced a useful book fully incorporating
      > recent research, and in many respects he replaces the older
      > etymological dictionaries of Latin (though for the Sabellic
      > languages I naturally prefer Untermann). The work is very reliable;
      > if my list of corrections seems lengthy, one should not forget that
      > the book is over eight-hundred pages long. However, I also have some
      > points of criticism. I find it regrettable that de Vaan so rarely
      > tells us his own opinions. For the most part we get only summaries
      > of earlier research. As any etymologist freely admits, reconstructed
      > forms can never be absolutely certain. But there are degrees of
      > certainty. The etymology of equus, for example, is much more certain
      > than that of abies. It would have been nice to have a clearer
      > marking scheme for what is relatively certain, moderately certain,
      > and completely uncertain. My final and most important point of
      > criticism concerns the treatment of loanwords. All words that are
      > definitely loanwords are excluded from the discussion. This is not a
      > peculiarity of de Vaan's work: all dictionaries in the series follow
      > the same procedure. However, the omission of all certain loanwords
      > means that de Vaan's book cannot be a sufficient etymological work
      > on its own.
      > But now it is time to turn to the finer points. My list of
      > corrections begins with some obvious omissions and mistakes. Nux is
      > feminine, not masculine, so it should be nux Abellana under Abella.
      > Clam is listed as adverb. One would have liked to see at least a
      > mention of its prepositional use in early Latin. The etymology of
      > consulere advanced by de Vaan may well be correct, but *kom-sed- is
      > dismissed too easily in view of considium in Plaut. Cas. 966. Under
      > doleo we find the statement that the experiencer must originally
      > have been expressed in the dative. This construction is actually
      > well attested. Elutriare is listed under lauare as if it were a
      > native formation, and the first two vowels are marked as long. But
      > this rare word (attested in Laber. com. 151) is probably of Greek
      > origin (ἔλυτρον) and the first two vowels are consequently
      > short (the Laberius passage is inconclusive in this respect). Under
      > facio I would have liked to see the form vhe:vhaked from the fibula
      > Praenestina, even if de Vaan should consider the document a forgery.
      > Under forceps de Vaan states that forfex is a by-form that arose by
      > metathesis. This cannot be right. The form that arose by metathesis
      > is forpex, and forfex is derived from this by long-distance
      > assimilation or by association with agentive nouns in -fex. All
      > three forms are feminine, but forfex is attested with masculine
      > agreement in Vitr. 10. 2. 2, which makes the second explanation,
      > that there was an association with agent nouns, more likely. The
      > noun gerulifigulus is listed under gero as if it were securely
      > attested. It is a textually problematic hapax legomenon (Plaut.
      > Bacch. 381). Under hic, the nominative plural hisce, mostly used
      > before vowels, is not even mentioned. It seems rather unlikely that
      > in- is automatically lengthened before -gn- (see my comments below).
      > Iuxta is normally said to have a short first vowel; de Vaan does not
      > indicate vowel length here (or in iuxtim), but derives the word from
      > *jougVsto-, in which case the first vowel ought to be long.
      > Inscriptional evidence for long -a- in largus is mentioned, but, if
      > this is accepted, should de Vaan not also mark the derivatives of
      > the word as having a long vowel? Much the same can be said of forma
      > and its derivatives. Liquidus is discussed under liqueo. I would
      > have liked to see a note stating that the first syllable of liquidus
      > occasionally scans as heavy in Lucretius (3. 427 liquidus umor aquai
      > as hexameter ending). Muricidus, a hapax legomenon in Plautus (Epid.
      > 333), is glossed by Paulus Diaconus as ignauus and stultus. We are
      > clearly dealing with an insult, though the exact meaning remains
      > unclear. We find this word under marceo in de Vaan's dictionary, who
      > thinks that it belongs here for semantic reasons and that it could
      > be a by-form of murcidus (his term is "corruption", but obviously an
      > emendation to murcide (voc.) in the Plautus verse would be
      > unmetrical). He could be right if the first three syllables are
      > light, but the first and third syllables can also count as long, in
      > which case the meaning could be "mouse-slayer" (an insult for a
      > cowardly soldier?) or "wall-destroyer" (an insult for a thief,
      > τοιχωρύχός, also perfossor parietum in Pseud. 980).
      > Muscus is marked with a macron on the first vowel, muscosus is not;
      > the length of the first vowel is unclear in either case. Under nasci
      > de Vaan cites an inscription with nationu gratia "on account of
      > giving birth"; the inscription is from Praeneste (CIL 14. 2863) and
      > the spelling is archaic, with cratia rather than gratia. On noxit,
      > which de Vaan regards as an s-present to noceo, I refer to my book
      > on the early Latin verb; this is definitely not an s-present, but an
      > aoristic formation. Pater is said to go back to a nursery form *pa,
      > phonologically *pH2. Much as I like the laryngeal theory in its
      > modern form, a phonological representation of babies' first babbling
      > seems slightly over the top. Exactly the same could be said about
      > atta "daddy" < *H2et-o-. As for penis, I agree with de Vaan that the
      > most likely semantic development is from "tail" to "penis". However,
      > here as elsewhere I have to take issue with his chronological
      > considerations; he argues that his theory finds support in the fact
      > that the meaning "tail" is attested as early as Naevius, while
      > "penis" is not found before Catullus. Roman comedy deliberately
      > avoided terms like "dick" or "cunt", so the mere date of first
      > attestations does not mean anything. Under pluma de Vaan lists
      > another Plautine hapax legomenon, plumatile, which he translates as
      > "feathered" and scans with the two first syllables heavy. The word
      > occurs in Epid. 233 in a list of women's dresses and stands in
      > opposition to cumatile, which must be connected with κύμα. Since
      > de Vaan's scansion leads to an impossible divided anapaest, it is
      > better to scan the first two syllables as light and derive the word
      > from πλύμα, as Duckworth (1940 ad loc.) does. His translation
      > "watery or dishwatery" also brings out the joke. Under pungo we find
      > a brief discussion of pugna and related words. Again it is claimed
      > that before -gn- vowels are automatically long, a statement which is
      > hard to maintain in view of Italian degno, segno < dignus, signum
      > (not too much should be made of the spellings seignum in CIL 1^2. 42
      > and dIgne, with i longum, in CIL 6. 6314). Under quiris we read that
      > the word might be a loanword with Sabellic connections; but in that
      > case the labiovelar would be odd. Under saxum de Vaan lists Germanic
      > words for "knife" as possible cognates, but then says that the
      > connection between "rock" and "knife" is not straightforward.
      > However, Latin saxum can of course also refer to a flint knife (as
      > in the proverbial inter sacrum saxumque sto), so perhaps the
      > connection is not far-fetched. Under se, it is wrongly claimed that
      > Plautus still uses the accusative / ablative sed (he only uses med
      > and ted). Under limus "oblique", an adverb sublimen is listed.
      > Though this word occurs several times in Plautus manuscripts (e.g.
      > Men. 992), we are probably dealing with nothing more than a
      > corruption of adjectival forms of sublimis. Subuolturius is listed
      > under uoltur as if it were a normal derivative, while in reality it
      > is a nonce-formation punning on subaquilus (Plaut. Rud. 422). Under
      > uerbera I miss a reference to the verb form uerberit in a lex regia,
      > discussed in Szemerényi (1987). Since de Vaan distinguishes between
      > vocalic u and consonantal v, it should be veruina rather than
      > vervina (under veru), and conversely, volvi rather than volui (under
      > volvo). The alternative form uotare for uetare is not a hapax, pace
      > de Vaan. Vinum receives an Indo-European reconstruction and the fact
      > that this might be a later loan (possibly from Semitic, where words
      > of similar shape occur) is not even mentioned. The form ullo (Acc.
      > trag. 293), a future perfect of ulcisci, should probably be restored
      > to ulso; de Vaan comes up with an ad hoc sound change *-lks- > *-ls-
      > > -ll-, but obviously l and s look rather similar in certain types
      > of minuscule manuscripts.
      > The treatment of Faliscan data is sometimes less than satisfactory.
      > Of course Bakkum's impressive treatment of Faliscan, published in
      > 2009, was not yet out when de Vaan submitted his book, but some
      > oddities point to a lack of knowledge of Faliscan. Sta MF 28,1
      > glossed as "(it) stands", and statuo MF 29, glossed as "I erect",
      > are considered to be related with stare. Since in both cases these
      > are the only words on the objects, the interpretation looks
      > unlikely. It is clear that a dedicated object stands, the question
      > is who set it up for whom. Probably we are dealing with abbreviated
      > names. Tulom MF 68 certainly does not belong with tollere. The
      > alleged meaning, "I set up", makes no sense on a one-word
      > inscription, where we would expect the donor or the recipient; there
      > are also morphological difficulties if the 1st sg. perfect ends in -
      > ai (pe:parai EF 1), unless one resorts to the unlikely assumption
      > that Faliscan preserved a separate aorist ending as well. Perhaps
      > the inscription just means "of the Tulli" (with an old genitive
      > plural in -om). It is odd that under unda, Faliscan umom "water
      > vessel" EF 2 (< *ud-mo-) is not mentioned. Finally, the alleged
      > Faliscan forms datu (under do), rected (under rego), sacru (under
      > sacer), and uootum (under uoueo) all come from an inscription in the
      > Faliscan alphabet (LF 214), but the language is clearly Latin; the
      > Faliscan ending is -om or -o, not -um or -u, and long vowels are not
      > written double in the Oscan style in Faliscan.
      > Venetic remains a language of which we know little. Several times de
      > Vaan follows earlier literature in assigning meanings to words which
      > in fact remain obscure. Atisteit (*Es 1222), under at and sto, is
      > considered to have a prefix ati- and is glossed as adstat; the
      > meaning of this word remains uncertain. Equally obscure is stati (Od
      > 1), analysed by de Vaan as an instrumental singular meaning
      > "weight". Whether Venetic poltos (Es 113) belongs with pellere, as
      > alleged, is doubtful. A certain amount of scepticism, along the
      > lines of Untermann (1980), would have done no harm.
      > In an etymological dictionary one expects correct indications of
      > vowel length. By and large, de Vaan gets it right, but there are
      > several unfortunate mistakes. Before -ns- and -nf-, and before -nct-
      > and -nx-, vowel length is automatic because the nasal was lost and
      > there was compensatory lengthening (Meiser 1998: 78); de Vaan omits
      > macrons in around eighty cases. On the other hand, vowels are not
      > automatically long before -gn- (see above), and while de Vaan does
      > not always mark them as long here, he does so in around fifteen
      > cases where they are probably short. Elsewhere, macrons are often
      > omitted, which can lead to some confusion.3 Occasionally de Vaan
      > marks a vowel that is short as long; thus the prefix re- always has
      > a short vowel, so it should be réconcinnare4 (under concinnus),
      > récusare (under causa), rélaxare (under laxus), and résumere
      > (under emo). Similarly, de- is shortened before vowel, so we should
      > have déambulare (under ambulo), déesse (under sum), déhortari
      > (under horior), déorio (under haurio), and déosculari (under os
      > "mouth"). The other cases where a short vowel is marked as long are
      > the following (head words in brackets): conuóuere (uoueo), dáre (in
      > several places), denté (dens), éra ("mistress", under ira), faucé
      > (faux), latébricola, latébrosus (both under lateo), monétrix
      > (moneo), nísi (ni), prófecto (facio), and prófiteri (fateor).
      > All remaining errors are of minor importance. The author's English
      > is very good and almost free of mistakes, but Latin of the Empire is
      > called Imperial Latin rather than "Empirical Latin" (p. 503). This
      > new, important dictionary cannot be neglected by anyone interested
      > in the history of words.
      > References:
      > Bakkum, G. C. L. M. (2009), The Latin Dialect of the Ager Faliscus:
      > 150 Years of Scholarship, 2 vols. (Amsterdam).
      > de Melo, W. D. C. (2007), The Early Latin Verb System: Archaic Forms
      > in Plautus, Terence, and Beyond (Oxford).
      > Duckworth, G. E. (1940), T. Macci Plauti Epidicus: Edited with
      > Critical Apparatus and Commentary, in Which Is Included the Work of
      > the Late Arthur L. Wheeler (Princeton).
      > Ernout, A. and Meillet, A. (1959^4), Dictionnaire étymologique de la
      > langue latine: Histoire des mots (Paris).
      > Pellegrini, G. B. and Prosdocimi, A. L. (1967), La lingua venetica,
      > vol. 1: Le iscrizioni (Padua).
      > Szemerényi, O. S. L. (1987), "Si parentem puer verberit, ast olle
      > plorassit", in Scripta Minora: Selected Essays in Indo-European,
      > Greek, and Latin, vol. 2: Latin, ed. by P. Considine and J. T.
      > Hooker (Innsbruck), 892-910.
      > Untermann, J. (1980), "Die venetische Sprache: Bericht und
      > Besinnung", in Glotta 58: 281-317.
      > ------ (2000), Wörterbuch des Oskisch-Umbrischen (Heidelberg).
      > Walde, A. and Hofmann, J. B. (1938^3), Lateinisches etymologisches
      > Wörterbuch (2 vols. + reg.) (Heidelberg).
      > Notes:
      > 1. The numbers are those in Bakkum (2009).
      > 2. The numbering system is that introduced by Pellegrini and
      > Prosdocimi (1967).
      > 3. The correct forms are as follows (I leave the head words in
      > brackets unmarked): âctiô, âctor, âctus, âctûtum (all four
      > under ago), adârêscere (areo), adulêscentia, adulêscentiârî,
      > adulêscentulus (all three under alo), afflîctim (fligere),
      > ârdêre, ârdor, ârdus, ârfacere (all four under areo),
      > ascrîptîuus (scribo), bilîx (licium), cânûtus (canus),
      > capessitûrus (capio), catîllâre, catîllus (both under catina),
      > cênâculum, cênâre, cênâticus, cênâtus (all four under cena),
      > clâmôs (clamo), cômptiônâlis, cômptus (both under emo),
      > cônâtum (conor), conciliâtrîx (calo), concubînâtus (cumbo),
      > cônsentês (sum), corrêctor (rego), crâstinus (cras), creâtrîx
      > (creo), dêlectâmentum (lacio), dêpudîcâre (pudeo), dîlêctus
      > (lego), êbriâcus, êbriolâtus, êbriolus (all three under ebrius),
      > êlêctilis (lego), êmptîcius, êmptor, êmpturîre, êmptus,
      > exêmptiô (all five under emo), facit ârê (areo), farînârius
      > (far), fautrîx (faueo), fictrîx (fingo), fugitîuârius (fugio),
      > honôrârius, honôrâtus (both under honos), immâtûrus (maturus),
      > indipîscî (endo), inêscâre (edo "eat"), labôrâre (labor),
      > lâpsus (labo), lupîllum (lupus), mandûcâre (mando),
      > mendîcâbulum (mendum), môrâtus, môrigerârî, môrigerâtiô,
      > môrigerus (all four under mos), mûstêlînus, mûstricula (both
      > under mus), nefâstus (fas), neglêctus (lego), nîxârî, nîxus
      > (both under nitor), obuâgîre (uagio), ôrâculum, ôrâtiô,
      > ôrâtor (all three under oro), ôsculentia, Ôstia (both under os
      > "mouth"), pâstus (pascere), praefestînâtim (festino),
      > praemâtûrus (maturus), prômptâre, prômptârius, prômptus (all
      > three under emo), Pûblius (populus), quadrâgintâ (quattuor),
      > quârticeps (-ceps), quîntânus (quinque), quînticeps (-ceps),
      > quîntîlis (quinque), rêctâ, rêctor (both under rego),
      > redêmptitâre, redêmptor (both under emo), rêgillus, rêgnâre,
      > rêgnâtor, rêgnum (all four under rex), rôbôsem (robur),
      > scîtâmenta (scire), scrôfipâscus (scrofa), sêmêstris (sex),
      > struîx (struo), subrêctitâre (rego), sûmptiô, sûmptuôsus (both
      > under emo), tâctus (tango), trilîx (licium), uîndêmia,
      > uîndêmiâtor, uîndêmitor (all three under emo), ûtî (utor).
      > 4. For typographical reasons I use the acute here to mark a short
      > vowel.
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      Carl Edlund Anderson

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