ARAK-29.

The Arak-29 website is a fine resource for all things Armenian, grouping its links under the headings Language, Literature (starting with Armenian Shakespeare), Culture, Law, Economy, History, Church, Insight, and Environment. Needless to say, it’s the first that interests me most immediately, and among its offerings are an etymology page, where you can look up (say) ագռաւ ‘crow’ and be taken to the PIE root *gerə-, which also gives կռունկ ‘crane’; it helpfully mentions English words from that root (CRACK, CROON, CRANE, PEDIGREE) and provides a PIE-to-Armenian sound change [*g > կ]. I’m adding it to the blogroll in the hopes that it will give me an incentive to dabble in Armenian, which I haven’t done since grad school. (Via Memiyawanzi.)

Comments

  1. Crake.

  2. Bathrobe says:

    The PIE root looks onomatopoeic.

  3. Geranium.

  4. Shakespearean, Newtonian, Shavian, Orwellian are all Armenian surnames. A lot of people don’t realise that.

  5. Kråke is Norwegian for crow.

  6. croak is US for ersticken

  7. Shakespearean, Newtonian, Shavian, Orwellian are all Armenian surnames.
    Not to mention Lando Calrissian.

  8. In the History section in the essay Origins of the Armenian People there is a Cognate Chart with this portion: Pattern English
    Latin/Greek
    Indo-Iranian
    Armenian
    f-p-p-h
    father
    pater
    pitar
    hayr ѳÛñ
    Damn, that didn’t come out horizontally.
    My question is: Is the Armenian h bilabial like the Japanese?

  9. Off topic:
    On the Language Science for Kids post I have commented further to Spell Me Jeff’s comment; would anyone care to respond?

  10. My question is: Is the Armenian h bilabial like the Japanese?
    No, it appears to be your basic voiceless glottal fricative. (And the Japanese phoneme is bilabial only before /u/.)

  11. Thanks for reminding me about the Japanese h, Hat.
    But how does one explain a glottal h in Armenian when cognates in three related languages have bilabials?

  12. It presumably went through a bilabial fricative stage before becoming a plain old /h/ (which is far more common). These things happen; in fact, far stranger sound changes have happened, including in Armenian itself, e.g., *dw > (e)rk (as in the word for ‘two,’ erku).

  13. Rodger C says:

    In Celtic, /p/ seems also to have become a bilabial fricative, then /h/, then zero. The only written witness of a non-zero reflex is “Hercynian,” the Forest of Oaks (lightning-trees).

  14. “In Celtic, /p/ seems also to have become a bilabial fricative, then /h/, then zero. The only written witness of a non-zero reflex is “Hercynian,” the Forest of Oaks (lightning-trees).”
    Further evidence is that the reflex of PIE *pt is /xt/, as in Old Irish secht “7″ (Latin septem etc.), and the reflex of PIE *ps is /ks/, suggesting an imntermediate stage /xs/.

  15. David Marjanović says:

    “Hercynian,” the Forest of Oaks (lightning-trees)

    *lightbulb moment*
    Perkūnas! The medieval Lithuanian thunderstorm god!!!
    That y is really interesting. Either it means the word was recorded so early that at least some Greek dialects still hadn’t shifted [u] to [y], or some otherwise unrecorded Celtic or whatever intervening language had done so independently.

    suggesting an imntermediate stage /xs/

    /xs/ turning into /ks/, BTW, is probably common. It has happened in German – and interestingly, it did so not long after the High German consonant shift had created /xs/ in the first place by turning /k/ into /x/! If it weren’t for the spelling (Dachs, Fuchs, Lachs, Buchsbaum, Ochse…), we probably wouldn’t have any evidence of this back-and-forth sound change.
    (Perhaps at the same time, /sx/ turned into the completely new phoneme /ʃ/. Ever since we’ve been stuck with the otherwise stupid spelling sch. It’s still [sχ] in Dutch.)

  16. David Marjanović says:

    (Also Achse – “axis”, not “ax” –, but Axt “ax”. Further Flachs, E(ide)chse, wechseln, Weichsel and probably many more.)

  17. I had no idea these were all /ks/ rather than /xs/.
    I suppose that Wachs, Sachsen, Luchs, sechs can go in the same list?
    I’ve just learned that
    - Buchsbaum is not beech tree but box tree
    - Buchsbaum/Büchse/box is of Latin origin
    - box=container is related to box=boxtree

  18. Buchsbaum is not beech tree
    I knew that because I had a school friend whose palatial house was called Beechwood and in German, ironically, that’s “Buchenwald”. In the Wikipedia article it says:

    Originally the camp was named after the hill Ettersberg but it was later renamed to Buchenwald (German for beech forest) because of the close ties of the location to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who was being idealized as “the embodiment of the German Spirit” (Verkörperung des deutschen Geistes).

  19. I knew that Buchenwald was beechwood, but did not know that Buchsbaum was boxtree. And I still don’t know whether Buchholz is beechwood or boxwood. Or why boxwood boxes gave the name “box” to boxes.
    Can it be that there is not yet a WiPe article about the the box tree?
    What is the German spirit meant to have to do with a beech forest, exactly?

  20. Can it be that there is not yet a WiPe article about the the box tree?
    No.

  21. And thanks to that little bit of research, I’ve learned that the Russian word is самшит [samšít], which is new to me. An odd word; it looks like it means ‘self-sewn,’ but is actually borrowed from Persian šemšād.

  22. Heh. And searching the Russian National Corpus, I discover this quote from Aksyonov: “Небольшое затруднение вызвало слово «самшит», которое по-английски звучало, как «некоторое количество говна», но вдвоем они благополучно выбрались из этой языковой ловушки.” [Василий Аксенов. Новый сладостный стиль (2005)] “A bit of trouble was caused by the word ‘самшит,’ which sounded in English like ‘some shit,’ but between the two of them they managed to extricate themselves from this linguistic trap.”
    It turns out that in Russia, the box tree grows only along the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus, and there’s only one forest of it, which is protected… except that a chunk of it was destroyed to build a road for the upcoming Sochi Olympics.

  23. The German spirit has to do with the oak (as does the English Royal Navy’s though Virgil already had “fighting hearts of oak” in Book 8 of the Aeneid), so the beech forest was just coincidence.

  24. самшит, другой день. Old Russian expression.

  25. There’s a whole novel by Mikhail Ancharov called Самшитовый лес (1979), “The Box Forest.” The first quote in the corpus: “― Нет, ― сказал Аграрий, ― это не рододендрон. Это дерево ― самшит. Только еще маленький.” ["No," said Agrary, "that's not a rhododendron. That's a tree, a box. But it's still small."]

  26. Only linguistically relevant, and not very, there’s an American maple called the box elder which is completely unrelated to the box tree.
    It’s not much good for making boxes, but it’s even worse for any other purpose, so by the rules of comparative advantage it’s called the box elder. My brother who studied forestry was not able to think of a single good thing to say about the box elder. I wandered into a landscaping forum once where someone asked “How do you transplant box elders?”. The answer was “Why would anyone ever want to transplant a box elder?” The box elder does have its own insect, the box elder bug, which is a pretty orange and blue and also has a smell. If I were the one making mythologies, the box elder would have been the tree cursed by God.

  27. It looks like a treeful of ground elder, the only plant I really hate.

  28. AJP: Why do you hate ground elder?
    Some say that box trees smell like cat pee.

  29. I don’t want it and yet it’s progress is unstoppable, that’s probably the main reason. I like my garden to be a paradise that’s under my control. Also – and I think this is instinctive – it’s threatening the rest of the plants. If I didn’t pull it up or mow it, it would take over the garden. I hate the smell, but probably only because I associate it with ground elder. It has a nice white flower, but that just reminds me that it’s trying to proliferate.
    In England, Box is used a lot for parterres and making those hedges that look like enormous chickens.

  30. David Marjanović says:

    I suppose that Wachs, Sachsen, Luchs, sechs can go in the same list?

    Yes. Except that little schoolkids sometimes use a spelling pronunciation for the last example in order to avoid the obvious homophone…
    Büchse of course also belongs. And so does wachsen (“grow”, or rather “wax” as in “wax and wane”).

    Buchsbaum/Büchse/box

    *two lightbulb moments*
    I had never noticed. Thank you!
    (Nor, however, had I suspected any connection to Buche. /bʊks/- and /ˈbuːxˑɛ/ just aren’t similar enough.)

    And I still don’t know whether Buchholz is beechwood or boxwood.

    Has to be beechwood. The -s- just isn’t an ending, so it couldn’t disappear like that.

    except that a chunk of it was destroyed to build a road for the upcoming Sochi Olympics.

    *sigh*
    Oh well. Some presidents want to be war presidents; others, with fewer billions to waste, just want to have olympics in a completely inapt place…

    ground elder, the only plant I really hate

    Eat it. As an ingredient in weed soup, it’s very good.

  31. I’ve tried it. You don’t eat fruit, I don’t eat ground elder.

  32. Bathrobe says:

    Needless to say, virtually all trees in Australia are named after European trees that they have nothing to do with. The Brush Box is a well known tree that belongs to the Myrtaceae, unlike the Box Tree, which belongs to the Buxaceae.

  33. This applies to animals, too. The wombat has nothing to do with the bat.

  34. Although some distant ancestors of mine were in the business of making wooden boxes, I never knew the noun phrase box shook until this minute. (Ignore definition 1, which clearly refers to “S-hook”.)

  35. Trond Engen says:

    What is the German spirit meant to have to do with a beech forest, exactly?
    The German spirit has to do with the oak (as does the English Royal Navy’s [...])
    We’ll fight them on the beeches!

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