Churchdown.

I was leafing through my beloved old copy of Daniel Jones’s Everymans English Pronouncing Dictionary (13th ed., 1967) when my eye lit on the following entry:

Churchdown (near Gloucester) ˈtʃəːtʃdaun
  Note. — There was until recently a local
    pronunciation
ˈtjəuzn, which is
    now probably obsolete as far as the
    village is concerned. It is preserved
    as the name of a hill near by, which
    is now written
Chosen.

That is one of the most remarkable deformations I have seen, far better than Beauchamp “Beecham” or Cholmondeley “Chumley.” I’m not surprised it’s gone out of use, but I’m glad it got recorded.

And in trying to find somewhere to copy the text from (being a lazy fellow), I found what is apparently the first edition of the dictionary online at Internet Archive; if you want up-to-date info, you’d do better to look elsewhere, but for old-fashioned ways of speech Jones is your huckleberry. Bookmark and enjoy. [As mollymooly points out in the comments, it appears to be the second reprint of the eleventh edition (1958) — bad metadata!]

Comments

  1. I will not cease from Mental Fight till I learn why the hell it was pronounced that way.

    P.S. It was called CIRCESDUNE in the Domesday Book, so nothing unexpected there.

  2. Fusion of the fricative part of the affricate with the alveolar feature of the stop? Doesn’t seem too unnatural when you think about it. Or maybe the [z] is a direct inheritance from the Domesday version?

  3. Not really on-topic, but speaking of old-fashioned ways of speech, I just ran across an 1890 tome on English Prose: Its Elements, History, and Usage which contains a useful thirty-page table of words categorized as Saxon, Romanic, or Latin, enabling one to speak of ire, rage or choler according as one aims for the Doughty Bewoaded style, Imperial Purple, or some color in between. Makes for fun browsing.

  4. That’s great, what a treasure trove: ask for, request, solicit; bait, allurement, temptation; bewray, disclose, reveal; bold, impudent, audacious… And I love “Doughty Bewoaded” and will try to remember to steal it when the occasion arises.

  5. It turns out to be actually quite simple: /ˈtʃɜrtʃɪzdən/ > /ˈtʃɜrzdən/ > /ˈtʃɜrzən/, reinterpreted as /ˈtʃɜʊzən/. The puzzling /z/ comes from the old genitive ending, abandoned in the modern spelling.

    There was an old lady of Churchdown
    Who sometimes felt hungry and frurchdown.
    But when friends from Cirencester
    Once came round to virencester,
    She said, ‘Well, it’s the life that I’ve churchdown.’

  6. Excellent, thanks!

  7. Until I saw the Domesday Book name, it had never occurred to me that down (in the Watership or Fornost sense of high terrain) was cognate to dune.

  8. AJP Crown says:

    Thank you for the link, Language. Hours of fun here.

    Cecil (Christian name, surname) ‘sesl [-sil], ‘sisl [-sil]
    Note. —The family name of the Marquess of Exeter is ‘sesl [-sil]; that of the Marquess of Salisbury is ‘sisl [-sil].

    Never knew that. “And why should you?” I hear you ask – and I do sometimes mix Lord Salisbury, the 19C Prime Minister, up with Lord Sainsbury, of the Sainsbury’s supermarket chain – but for instance Lord David Cecil of the Salisbury lot was always on the wireless when I was a lad and it was pronounced Cecil not Cicil by the BBC. This Jones had a PhD from Zurich. He couldn’t possibly have had a Swiss-German accent.

  9. David L says:

    Churchdown/Chosen reminds me somewhat of the place in Sussex called Bodiam (it has a castle that’s worth a look) that most people these days pronounce approximately according to its spelling, but which is traditionally pronounced to rhyme with ‘dodgem’.

  10. Surely it was her cirencester who lived in Cirencester.

  11. Churchdown/Chosen reminds me somewhat of the place in Sussex called Bodiam

    Of course Jones has that as well:

    boudjəm [-diəm]

    And nearby are some nicely precise differentiations:

    Bohun ˈbouən, bu:n
    Note. — bu:n in B. Shaw’s ‘You
    never can tell.’

    Bolivar (S. American general) bɔˈlivɑː*
    (boˈlibar), (places in U.S.A.) ˈbɔlivə*
    [-vɑː*], (restaurant in London)
    ˌboliˈvɑː* [ˈbolivɑː*]

    I love his noting the proper pronunciations for a Shaw play and a London restaurant!

  12. From longest to shortest, the known variants of Cirencester are as follows:

    1. ˈsaɪᵊrənˌsestə(r)
    2. ˈsaɪᵊrənstə(r)
    3. ˈsɪsɪstə(r)
    4. ˈsɪsɪtə(r)
    5. ˈsɪzɪtə(r)
    6. ˈsɪstə(r)

    According to Daniel Jones, #4 was used by “members of country families” and #5 could “still be heard in the country round”.

  13. Found in Where to Dine in London (Bon Viveur, 1937), p. 51:

    The Langham is something of an institution among London restaurants. It was opened by Edward VII, when Prince of Wales, as far back as 1865. Five or six years ago it started a brand new establishment, BOLIVAR, in Chandos Street. This is a Snack Bar and Grill Room much frequented by the young men from the B.B.C. It is furnished in the Spanish style with quaint and amusing wall-paintings of Don Quixote. There is a lunch at 2/6 or à la carte, and dinner only à la carte.

  14. Another good one is Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire — pronounced Ozzle-twizzle.

  15. What about this Bolivar? The background notes make an interesting read.

  16. Trond Engen says:

    I was going to ask if Churchdown > Chosen and Gloucester > Gloster could be the same dialectal elision of middle clusters. I think not, now that Piotr found the explanation, but I throw it out there just for proof of thought.

  17. What makes ire Saxon? Seems Romanic to me.

  18. AJP Crown says:

    I know a family who bought a hotel very much like Fawlty Towers at Bodiam and pronounce it to rhyme with odium. But they were from that London.

  19. ktschwarz says:

    Yes, ire is Romanic. Tsk. Wrath is Saxon, but anger is Norse (which might deserve its own column).

  20. The Domesday citation may be relevant, but you really need to consult Some Account of the History of Churchdown to get the full story. The narrative wanders through the years, Kyrchdon in 1189, then Chirchesdune in 1230, Churesdon in 1288, and Chursdown at the time of Shakespeare, before landing the real punch — as told to the Reverend Smithe for his history of St Barts, the church atop Chosen Hill, pre-Christian documents in the possession of the canons of St Oswalds, Gloucester, who served St Barts, show that it was originally Thorsdown.

    Seems dubious, but more fun than Circesdune, unless someone wants to derive that from the seductress of Odysseus. It also seems apocryphal that in predissolution days, the canon sent from Gloucester to sing mass at St Barts was ritually greeted by villagers chanting Many are called, but few are Churchdown.

    I love the old village histories that preface secular events with the underlying geology.

    Kyrchdon, from the Pipe Roll of Richard I, sounds anomalous to me. Can someone here can put it in etymological context?

  21. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    There was an old lady of Churchdown
    Who sometimes felt hungry and frurchdown.
    But when friends from Cirencester
    Once came round to virencester,
    She said, ‘Well, it’s the life that I’ve churchdown.’

    One of my cirencesters lives near Cirencester. She says that is pronounced locally as written, except when it’s shortened to Ciren (pronounced as written).

  22. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    Norwegian writes kirke and pronounces it with some relative of the ch in loch…

    Conversely, the OED, talking about ‘Kirk’ placenames in southern England where that was never the usual English form, says:
    (The ch digraph in several of the examples from Domesday Bk. is probably intended to represent the sound /k/, reflecting the influence of Anglo-Norman spelling conventions.)

    There are a few other names with both ch- and k- variants listed there, so no doubt there are more.

  23. Trond Engen says:

    Norwegian writes kirke and pronounces it with some relative of the ch in loch…

    Bokmål kirke [²çɪrke], colloquially [²çɛrke], Nynorsk kyrkje [²çʏrçə], in some dialects [²çœrçə] or [²çœrkə]. I dont think I’ve ever heard [²çɪrçə] or [²çɛrçə], but it’s supposed to be traditional in Northern and Northwestern dialects. The çsound is an ich-laut, but the phoneme is on its way to be merged into /ʂ/. The wovel represented by schwa can be a full-blown e or a in dialects that don’t do reduced vowels, and it can be somewhere inbetween. Or it can be apocopized away.

  24. Athel Cornish-Bowden

    Of course the spelling-pronunciation (full or abbreviated) is used practically to the exclusion of everything else nowadays. In Daniel Jones’s time it was already “most usually heard” in the town of Cirencester, and the traditional variants were sliding into obsolescence (Jones died in 1967, but earlier editions of his Dictionary tell the same story). In the 19th century there were heated disputes between the champions of the “time-honoured” local pronunciation (who pointed out that the etymological -n- was missing already in the Domesday Book) and those who regarded “Ciceter” or “Cisiter” as “the most corrupt of all pronunciations” (see B. H. Blacker [ed.], 1879, Gloucestershire notes and queries, vol. 1, London: Golding & Lawrence, pp. 65–66).

  25. By the way, Churchdown Hill (traditionally Chosen Hill) is one of those tautological “Hill-hill-hill” names, like Pendle Hill, Lancashire, since the -down part already means ‘hill’. Moreover, there is a theory that Churchdown originated as a folk-etymological reshaping of an earlier *Crȳċ dūn, with the first element reflecting Old Welsh crūc ‘hill’ (modern crug). For a parallel case, see Creechbarrow Hill near Taunton, Somerset. A charter of AD 682 calls it collem qui dicitur brectannica lingua cructan, apud nos crycbeorh.

    I have found another traditional variant of Churchdown, Choren, which seems to have been common in the mid-19th c.

  26. PlasticPaddy says:

    @pg
    I don’t know Welsh but in Irish this place name would have a genitive, I. E. Cnoc an Dúin. And this would not be “Hill hill” but “Hill of the hill-fort”.

  27. Those tautological hill names in England are hybrids. A Brittonic common noun was adopted as a proper name and an Old English noun was appended to it for the sake of clarity. Hundreds of years later the resulting compound was no longer analysable, so a Modern English noun was added for good measure. Dūn (f.) was an Old English word, even if it ultimately came from Celtic. And it meant ‘hill, mountain’, as in the alliterative formula of denum and of dūnum ‘from valleys and from hills’.

  28. SFReader says:

    2. ˈsaɪᵊrənstə(r)

    After Gloucester and Leicester, that’s the pronunciation I would expect.

    But you never know with Brits.

  29. Rodger C says:

    What makes ire Saxon?

    Somebody was connecting it with OE. yrre.

  30. John Cowan says:

    What makes ire Saxon? Seems Romanic to me.

    A small matter of over-education, I fear. Ire is indeed < ira, but there was an Old English word ierre, irre, yrre with the same meaning, now lost; its Latin cognate was error. The dual meaning ‘wandering’ > ‘making a mistake’ and ‘angry’ seems to be of PIE origin. Wrath, which is native, would have been a better choice. The epithet godes yrre bær in Beowulf is ‘God’s wrath bearing’, and is applied to Grendel (not, as David M thought, ‘God’s crazy bear’, meaning Beowulf himself).

  31. PlasticPaddy says:

    @pg
    OK, so what you are saying is that *Crȳċ dūn was not the Brytthonic name. But maybe just *Crȳċ to which the Angles appended dūn. Since the church is built on (part of) the site of an ancient hill-fort, it would seem attractive to me if there was no appending, but an original Welsh name including Dun as “Hill fort”. But maybe that is ruled out or just not attested.

  32. John Cowan says:

    English dune is apparently of dual origin: from un-Great-Vowel-Shifted Middle English /u:/ from Oopnorthia and Bagpipia, and from French < Dutch duin. The Germanic word is probably a borrowing from Proto-Celtic, though a direct PIE origin has also been proposed. The same Celtic dunom also came into Germanic separately with a /t/, giving us on the one hand German Zaun ‘fence’ and English town orig. ‘fortified place’. The wonders of semantic spread.

  33. David Marjanović says:

    …with Dutch tuin “garden” in the middle.

  34. Trond Engen says:

    Norw. tun “farmyard” (if that’s the term. Maybe “courtyard, esp. on a farm”)

  35. Haugen has “yard (courtyard, farm yard) usu. surrounded by a cluster of farm buildings.” On the next page I notice “turnipsen turnip.” Which seems odd.

  36. AJP Crown says:

    Tun isn’t either courtyard or farmyard because a tun (a gathering area or focus point with one tall tree as its marker) doesn’t exist in an English farm site plan. A farmyard might contain pigs and hens; a courtyard is lots of things both urban & rural but is usually enclosed on at least three sides (4 is better) by its surrounding buildings.

  37. Wikipedia redirects Turnips to Vanlig nepe.

  38. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    Ordinary neep 🙂

  39. But maybe just *Crȳċ to which the Angles appended dūn.

    That’s the idea. The Saxons heard that the local Britons called the hill Crūc ‘the Hill’ and so they adopted the name as Crȳċ (which was a reasonable rendering of the original pronunciation). Adding their own ‘hill’ word to it (sometimes dūn, sometimes beorh, sometimes hyll) was their normal practice. That’s why tautological hill names are pretty common in Great Britain.

    I remember my surprise, ages ago, when I learnt that the various Downs of England were hills, not valleys.

  40. So Churchill Downs was settled by the same tribes, but in different order, as Churchdown Hill.

  41. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    These double names are also quite common in Gaelic – Loch Langabhat, Rubha Robhanis, and so on. Are they really so uncommon in other countries?

  42. David Eddyshaw says:

    North America has quite a few, I think; Lake Michigan occurs to me as one off the top of my head. And the Mississippi River, of course,

    You need a history of language replacement that was not so rapid that placenames got lost wholesale in the process. It’s bit of a mystery exactly what the situation was in what is now England, given that there are a good many more placenames of Brythonic origin in English than other loanwords, of which there are remarkably few. Presumably it’s all tied up with the fact there never was a wholesale massacre or expulsion of the Britons when the English took over; which is hard to square with the striking lack of influence of Brythonic on English (whatever John McWhorter thinks.)

  43. Trond Engen says:

    Norway:

    Vatnvatnet
    Fjelljellet
    Dalsdalen
    Viksvika

    I can go on.

  44. Trond Engen says:

    These are cheating, sort of. The settlement was named for a significant nature formation nearby, and then the nature formation was named for the settlement nearby.

  45. Trond Engen says:

    AJP Crown: Tun isn’t either courtyard or farmyard because a tun (a gathering area or focus point with one tall tree as its marker) doesn’t exist in an English farm site plan. A farmyard might contain pigs and hens; a courtyard is lots of things both urban & rural but is usually enclosed on at least three sides (4 is better) by its surrounding buildings.

    (I started thumbing a long reply on my phone before going out for a walk, and then the battery run low.)

    True. But a tun can take a lot of forms, and an English farmsite, its layout, its buildings and its open spaces could all be described as a tun in Norwegian. The first hit in an image search for “English farmsites” is without doubt one. So is this from Wikimedia and this from some travel site. In the two latter, the space between the buildings would also be a tun. In the first image, that is less clear, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear i tunet for the road-like space between the buildings.

  46. Are they really so uncommon in other countries?

    A few months ago Peter Trudgill was writing a an article for a linguistic column he’s running on tautological placenames. He asked me if I knew any examples from Poland. I’ll just quote my e-mail to him:

    On the Slavic side it isn’t easy to find such examples, since in most cases the ‘River’ or ‘Mountain’ word is not part of the toponym in question. There are mountain names like Babia Góra, Barania Góra, etc., but in these instances the accompanying word is usually a native adjective. Of course, as elsewhere, also in Slavic and German-speaking areas there are some ancient river-names whose original meaning was ‘river’ (or ‘stream’, ‘flowing water’, etc.). The Rhein and the Danube are possible examples. Some Polish rivernames ending in -awa and -bok have probable Germanic etymologies (with *axwō: ‘river’ and *bakjaz ‘brook’, cf. Ger. Bach, as the second element). But there’s nothing as spectacular as the River Avon.

    The best example I can think of is the hill name Góra Chełm (399 m) in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains (the same name recurs at a couple of other locations). Chełm comes from Germanic *xulmaz ‘hill, mound; island’. Holm Island in the Thames is a parallel case.

    Perhaps you can use an example of the opposite phenomenon: a lake name that appears to be tautological but isn’t: “jezioro Jeziorak” in NE Poland, in an area once inhabited by speakers of Old Prussian. Jeziorak looks like an obvious derivative of Pol. jezioro ‘lake’, but in fact it’s a post-WW2 Polonisation of the German name Geserichsee (recorded as Geyserich in the 14th century). This in turn is thought to contain the Old Prussian name of the heron (attested as geeyse = *gēizē). I have no ready access to the relevant literature, but I suppose the second element is OPrus. rīki ‘kingdom’, borrowed from Germanic, so the whole name would mean ‘the Kingdom of Herons’.

  47. Trond Engen says:

    A tun is:

    a. the site of the central buildings on a farm
    b. the bulidings on the central site of a farm
    c. the space between the central bulidings on a farm, used for work, reception of guests, or both, traditionally with an old tree for shadow, shelter, dehydration*, and show,
    d. any space of similar form or function, like the place in front of a single house, especially rural (but I use tunet for my frontyard)
    e. in architecture, organisation of buildings around a space similar to that of the central site of a farm

    *) Too bad I couldn’t find a word starting with sh.

  48. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    Trond Engen: Although not quite as neat, there’s a nice one in the Cairngorms where a corrie which happens to hold water is Coire an Lochan, distinguishing it from the many which don’t, and the (presumably initially nameless) water is now Loch Coire an Lochan – the loch of the corrie of the little loch, named after itself.

  49. AJP Crown says:

    any space of similar form or function, like the place in front of a single house, especially rural (but I use tunet for my front yard)
    And where does that come from? I’m guessing English suburbia, starting late 19C with the Garden City movement, for the first (probably) deployment of rural & floral-arboreal ie horticultural names & metaphors like wells, barns & fairies, roses & willows (my first seven years were spent in suburban London in so-called “Old Church Lane”, brick Bauhaus-Deco style 1930s houses) for the folk leaving the Smoke every evening on the new Underground railways to Metroland.

    You know when you drive through Skåne län in southern Sweden towards Malmö it’s dead flat with few trees and nothing but farmland, wind turbines and golf courses all the way to the horizon and the farmhouses are surrounded by very high hedges laid out in plan as a square, presumably as a windbreak; so are those called tun by the Swedes? If not, they should be. Only a suggestion.

  50. AJP Crown says:

    dehydration*, and show,
    *) Too bad I couldn’t find a word starting with sh.

    Shedding water? You could have had shade too (shade and shadow are different in architectural drawing).

  51. the loch of the corrie of the little loch

    In Andorra there is a (presumably infinitely expandable) Riu de la Vall del Riu, which I think I’ve mentioned here before.

  52. Trond Engen says:

    AJP Koronavirus: are those called tun by the Swedes? If not, they should be.

    I don’t think they are, but they should, and so should the Danish. Even more typical in its somewhat looser structure is the Northern Swedish farm. There’s also a Central Swedish type where the buildings are grouped around two tun. This was common in parts of Norway too — an inntun for living quarters, reception of guests, and finer work, and an uttun for animals, manure and rough work. They could be separated by the barn or a fence.

  53. John Cowan says:

    there never was a wholesale massacre or expulsion of the Britons when the English took over; which is hard to square with the striking lack of influence of Brythonic on English

    Not so surprising, I think. If the natives are wiped out, it doesn’t happen overnight, and their names for places, novel species, novel geological formations, etc. are still often preserved faute de mieux. And if they are not wiped out, their vocabulary is still lost but for the same exceptions because the conquerors look down on it: the substrate influence is of the incomplete-learning type, typically affecting syntax and very basic words (as in the Latin substrate in Welsh).

  54. David Marjanović says:

    Belle-Île-en-Mer, disambiguated from Belle-Île-en-Terre, a place on the mainland apparently named after the island.

    Zell am See on the shore of the Zeller See: both named after each other.

    Altausseer See: may be a fake example like Jeziorak, because I don’t know if there’s a “lake” in Aussee.

    We’ve mentioned the Val d’Aran before, from Basque haran “valley”.

    the striking lack of influence of Brythonic on English

    The Saxon and Kentish dialects of Old English may have a Romance substrate instead, which itself had a Celtic substrate that left phonological features.

    (That’s also the paper on the Latin substrate in Welsh.)

  55. Trond Engen says:

    Me: an inntun for living quarters, reception of guests, and finer work, and an uttun for animals, manure and rough work.

    A stylished form of this is the manor-like Søndre Brekke gård in my neighbourhood, now Telemark Museum. Here the front courtyard is a garden, while the rougher back courtyard has barns and stables that are now used for exhibitions. I wish I could find photos online of that too, but I think the map explains the concept.

  56. Trond Engen says:

    David M.: Belle-Île-en-Mer, disambiguated from Belle-Île-en-Terre, a place on the mainland apparently named after the island.

    Holmholmen.

    Like in my earlier examples, the farm must first have been named Holm(en)< for the small island, and then the island was named Holmholmen for the farm. But here the farm went on to be renamed for the name of the island. Sadly, the island now is just named Holmen on the map. Would be fun if it was called Holmholmsholmen. Which is an available option if somebody has to make a specific reference to that and not some other small island in the vicinity.

    (Since I’m already leaving a lot of personal information in this thread: This is close to where my last name is from. My father was born and raised on the north side of the fjord.)

  57. PlasticPaddy says:

    https://www.heimsheim.de/
    Alle Termine leider wegen Coronavirus abgesagt ☺

  58. January First-of-May says:

    Gloucester > Gloster

    Regular for the -cesters, IIRC (apparently except for Cirencester, which got too simplified and reverted to a spelling pronunciation).
    I wonder how that happened (and didn’t affect the -chesters, which are mostly pronounced as spelled).
    [Wikipedia, as far as I can tell, says it has to do with spelling pronunciations in Anglo-Norman, which… I’m not sure if it’s realistic, but it does at least result in the attested pattern.]

    one of those tautological “Hill-hill-hill” names

    The “Hill-hill-hill” etymology of Torpenhow had, I believe, been debunked (and the commonly-mentioned “Torpenhow Hill” does not in fact appear to exist), but it’s still worthy of inclusion in this thread for being pronounced (per Wikipedia) /trəˈpɛnə/.

    My own favorite insane British place name pronunciation is Happisburgh (of the hominid footprints fame), which is pronounced as if spelled “Haysborough”.

    down (in the Watership or Fornost sense of high terrain)

    …TIL. Having never read the actual book, I always thought that Watership Down was supposed to be some kind of low terrain.
    (I should have remembered the North Downs and South Downs, which I think I knew were hills.)

    giving us on the one hand German Zaun ‘fence’ and English town orig. ‘fortified place’. The wonders of semantic spread.

    Russian город “city” (also originally “fortified place”) and огород “(vegetable) garden” also essentially share their root, the latter word adding a prefix to it. (I don’t recall offhand whether the English word “garden” is related.)
    [It is, apparently, but the direct cognate is “yard”.]

    The same root, with the same prefix, also provides the adjective огороженный “fenced off”.

  59. огород

    I first learned that word in the saying “Если бы да кабы во рту росли грибы, то был бы не рот, а целый огород,” and it always carries a faint association of that in my mind.

  60. ktschwarz says:

    The water counterpart of Hill-hill-hill is Semerwater: sæ ‘lake’ + mere ‘lake’ + water. All three of those are Saxon, but I guess Semer became opaque anyway.

  61. My own favorite insane British place name pronunciation is Happisburgh (of the hominid footprints fame), which is pronounced as if spelled “Haysborough”.

    That’s Norfolk, and in Norfolkian toponymy hardly anything is pronounced the way it’s written (including Norfolk and Norwich, of course). Or rather, orthographic pronunciation has caused less damage there than elsewhere. For example, Letheringsett was [ˈlɑːnsət] within living memory (though this one is possibly obsolete), and Costessey, Wymondham and Hunstanton are still [ˈkɒsi, ˈwɪndəm, ˈhʌnstən]. The general rule there is that a placename should be maximally disyllabic no matter how many letters it has.

  62. tun

    In Norse mythology, Nóatún (Old Norse “ship-enclosure” is the abode of the god Njörðr, described in the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning as located “in heaven”.
    Nóatún

    Что стоишь, качаясь, тонкая рябина,
    Головой склоняясь до самого тына,

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8wol5F7iUo

  63. A few months ago Peter Trudgill was writing a an article for a linguistic column he’s running on tautological placenames.

    Вопросы клуба “Эрудит” (г. Чернушка, Пермская область). Вопрос 84
    Вопрос 84: Во время русско-турецкой войны 1878 года было известно укрепление под названием: крепость-редут-сухум-кале. Что означает это название?

    Ответ: Крепость-крепость-крепость.

    Комментарий: “Редут” — французская крепость, “сухум-кале” — турецкая крепость.

    https://db.chgk.info/question/chernush/84

  64. Trond Engen says:

    Yes, reinterpreted as “Abode of Noah” when the myths were borrowed into ancient Hebrew mythology, which led to Njörðr being borrowed as Noah.

  65. David Eddyshaw says:

    Strictly, I think the borrowing must be projected back to the period of Scandi-Congo unity*, but this is admittedly a nitpick.

    *Compare Kusaal nua “hen”, reinterpreted as a dove in the Hebrew tradition.

  66. While searching for Sukhum-kale I stumbled across this:

    Абхазский язык. Абхазо-адыгские языки. Лингвистика

    http://apsnyteka.org/8-abkhazian_language.html

  67. Вопрос 84: Во время русско-турецкой войны 1878 года было известно укрепление под названием: крепость-редут-сухум-кале. Что означает это название?

    juha’s comment is about a fortification known during the Russo-Turkish War as крепость-редут-сухум-кале [krepost-redut-sukhum-kale], which means “fortress-fortress-fortress” (Russian-French-Turkish).

  68. While searching for Sukhum-kale I stumbled across this

    Thanks for that great collection of links about Abkhaz!

  69. AJP Crown says:

    I spent large chunks of my school holidays just down the beach from Happisburgh lighthouse. Norfolk people when I was young had a very strong dialect and so as soon as you got there you knew the spelling of place names (Holkham, Stiffkey, Wymondham, Costessey, many more) was going to be guesswork. When I was seven-ish and started to read road signs to the county town of Norwich, I didn’t associate this witch place with Norridge, where my grandmother said she’d grown up.

  70. Interesting that Titteshall (“Tittsal,” presumably ˈtɪtsᵊl) and Tivetshall (“Titsorl,” presumably ˈtɪtsɔl) differ in writing in their first halves and in speech in their second halves.

  71. January First-of-May says:

    крепость-редут-сухум-кале

    This should probably be крепость редут Сухум-кале; крепость, редут and кале are indeed Russian, French, and Turkish terms for various kinds of fortresses respectively, but Сухум (Sukhum) is the local place name, which is probably not of Turkish origin, and even if it was it would not have meant “fortress”.

    However, another nearby fortress was in fact named Redut-Kale, and there are plenty of documents referring to “крепость Редут-Кале” – no Sukhum in sight.

  72. AJP Crown says:

    Interesting that Titteshall (“Tittsal,” presumably ˈtɪtsᵊl) and Tivetshall (“Titsorl,” presumably ˈtɪtsɔl) differ in writing in their first halves and in speech in their second halves.

    Yes, I wonder if they really do – or did in 18whatever – pronounce ‘shall differently. I shouldn’t think so.

  73. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    Stiffkey

    Whose pronunciation [stju̟ːkɪ] is not much more obvious than that of Churchdown.

    The Rector of Stiffkey was a very colourful character in the 1930s. His death after being attacked by a lion made a fitting end to his life.

  74. The first one is actually written Tittleshall, though the first L is mute. In both cases the final hall is not what is seems to be (OE heall ‘residence’) but OE healh ‘nook, corner’, which produced variable ME and ModE reflexes: hal, hale and haugh (as in Featherstonhaugh). It was added to the genitive of a personal name, *Tyttel, in Tittleshall, and possibly to that of a bird’s name (an early variant of tew(h)it ‘lapwing’) in Tivetshall, see Teueteshala in the Domesday Book. My impression is that they can be perfect homophones, falling together as [ˈtɪtsᵊl]. I can ask Peter Trudgill, who knows everything about his native county.

  75. Trond Engen says:

    David E.: *Compare Kusaal nua “hen”, reinterpreted as a dove in the Hebrew tradition.

    Good point, but the identification of Njörðr/Noah with the hen is actually a shared retention. In the great exchange of hostages after the Æsir/Vanir war, Njörðr came to the realm of the Æsir in exchange for Hœnir, who became king of the Vanir. Arguably, this is a mythical representation of the merger of two older pantheons, where Njörðr was identified with Hœnir. Hœnir’s role as a creation god and survivor of Ragnarök is reflected in the Hebrew tradition by Noah’s role as survivor of the Deluge and manager of the repopulation. Similarly, Hœnir’s brother Lóðurr, who took equal part in the Norse creation myth, is reflected in Hebrew tradition as Lot, with a somewhat parallel story of destruction and repopulation.

  76. Trond Engen says:

    Note also that Hœnir was given as a hostage along with a god Kvasir, whose namesake Kvasir was a giant of infinite wisdom. He was slaughtered by two dwarfs, who brewed the Mead of Wisdom from his blood, eventually giving mankind the intertwined abilities of intoxication, poetry and wisdom. Compare the role of wine in both Noah’s and Lot’s repopulation myths, and of the fermented apple of wisdom in the myth of Adam and Eve. I’d argue that the dove, who came back with an olive branch, rather plays the role of Óðinn, who took on the shape of an Eagle and stole the brew from the dwarfs. Dofinn “the (male) dove” is a metathesis from early Old Norse Vóðinn.

  77. David Marjanović says:

    early Old Norse Vóðinn

    That only works if you route him through West Germanic, proving goropism once and for all.

  78. Kvasir was a giant of infinite wisdom. He was slaughtered by two dwarfs, who brewed the Mead of Wisdom from his blood

    Kvass, obviously.

  79. David Eddyshaw says:

    whose namesake Kvasir was a giant of infinite wisdom

    The name is transparently connected with the Kusaal verb kpans [k͡pãs] “observe, watch, keep a festival.”

  80. Trond Engen says:

    … again strengthening the case for an ancient connection of wisdom, poetry and intoxication. We see how a good and safe reconstruction is practically confirming itself.

  81. David Marjanović says:

    Kvass, obviously.

    (I was going to say… but, having become confused by kisel, I preferred to abstain…)

    The article says: “The name of Kvasir, a wise being in Norse mythology, is possibly related to kvass.[36][37][38][39][40]”

  82. Good lord. And here I thought I was just being silly. Five footnotes!

  83. David Marjanović says:

    Admittedly, most are from the 19th century, and the first one or two kind of look like they may have a nationalist ax to grind; but the last is an etymological dictionary from 2000.

  84. Kvass, obviously.

    caseus

    Latin
    Etymology
    From Proto-Indo-European *kwh₂et- (“to ferment, become sour”). Related to Old English hwaþerian (“to roar, foam, surge”), dialectal Swedish hvå (“foam”), Latvian kūsāt (“to boil”), Old Church Slavonic квасъ (kvasŭ, “leaven; sour drink”), Sanskrit क्वथते (kváthate, “it boils”).

    Pronunciation
    (Classical) IPA(key): /ˈkaː.se.us/, [ˈkaː.se.ʊs]
    (Ecclesiastical) IPA(key): /ˈka.se.us/, [ˈkaː.zɛ.us]

    https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/caseus

  85. *kwh₂et- flies in the face of PIE phonotactics and doesn’t even solve any problems.

  86. PlasticPaddy says:

    For kvasir, how about *kweyh1 meaning peace? Then kvasir would be like dionysus/bromius a sleep-bringer or (fitting his own myth) a peacemaker.

  87. Trond Engen says:

    juha (citing Wiktionary): […], dialectal Swedish hvå (“foam”), […]

    hvå page does not exist”. If the word exists at all, it must be marginal. I’m not aware of any Swedish dialect with preserved hv-. The survival is a West Scandinavian feature, seen in Insular and Jysk. In non-east Norwegian it’s hardened to kv-, except in a border zone where it’s gv-. The only Swedish dialects I’m aware of with hv- > kv- are the westernmost Jämtland dialects, which have much in common with the Trønder dialects in Norway. Eastern Central Scandinavian has hv- > h- before most vowels that don’t happen to be i, and an east/west border zone with preserved hv- wouldn’t be unthinkable, but it’s not described in my sources for Jämtland and Härjedalen. Elfdalian might be another suspect, but it has pretty much lost h all together. As for dictionary entries, Swedish dropped writing silent initial h more than a century ago. Hellquist’s only entry with hv- is “hv-, Se v.-; (Hven(a), se Ven(a))”. There’s no , and the entries on are clearly unrelated. SAOB is the same. The word is also unknown for my Norwegian dictionaries.

    Piotr: *kwh₂et- flies in the face of PIE phonotactics and doesn’t even solve any problems.

    One additional problem it would be nice if it solved is English whey,

  88. Trond Engen says:

    Forgot this:

    PlasticPaddy: For kvasir, how about *kweyh1 meaning peace?

    Mythological names are notoriously opaque, but unless it’s a loan from outside Germanic, ON kv- should be from PIE *gw- or *gʷ-. PIE roots that seem to fit with the latter are *gʷeh₂- “go” or *gʷet- “speak” (e.g. eng. ‘quoth’). If I’m not mistaken again, anything starting with *gw- would have to be a secondary full grade of a zero-grade derivation from a root with *gew-) or *ǵew-. That might e.g. be *gewH- “call, name, invoke, cry out”. In either case, I have no idea of how to get from the root all the way to Kvasir.

  89. David Marjanović says:

    Why cāseus and not **quāseus?

  90. Rodger C says:

    I’ve noted this someplace before, but when Prince Edward did his show about London some years ago, I was interested that he pronounced “Rotherhithe” as written. Swift spelled Gulliver’s home town “Redriff,” which was puzzling to an American boy trying to find it on a map.

  91. a bird’s name (an early variant of tew(h)it ‘lapwing’)

    Still generally “peewit” in Scotland (for obvious onomatopoeic reasons, like “cuckoo”).

  92. David Marjanović says:

    Redriff

    What is that, umlaut?

    And is a hithe a heath by any chance?

  93. AJP Crown says:

    If you mean Redriff is an earlier pronunciation of Rotherhithe, no, it’s just another name for the same place, south of the River in Bermondsey. I’d pronounce Rotherhithe as it says in Wikipedia, rɒðərhaɪð. If Prince Edward pronounced it some other way (hith?) that’s just bizarre and wrong (the guy is from London ffs). This tells all:

    https://knowyourlondon.wordpress.com/2018/07/18/redriff-an-old-place-name/

  94. David Marjanović says:

    Oh:

    The name Redriff derives from a ‘red reef’ of red sandstone rocks occasionally to be seen beside the Thames.

    The name Rotherhithe is believed to derive from the Anglo-Saxon words meaning ‘landing-place for cattle’. A ‘hithe’ (sometimes spelt ‘hythe’) is an English word, found in several place names, meaning ‘a landing place or small port for ships or boats’. In the case of Rotherhithe, the first recorded use of this name was in AD 898 as ‘Aetheredes Hythe’.

    I was asking if the e derives from the o in some way, but the question was itself wrong: the two names are unrelated and just happen to refer to the same place. And also a hithe is not a heath.

    So, thanks for the link!

  95. AJP Crown says:

    Yeah, I was thinking of you for the link, David!

  96. Trond Engen says:

    More from the article:

    The information mentioned thus far is to be found in many sources, including dictionaries and books containing the derivation of place names. What is probably even more interesting is the fact that red sandstone rocks appear in both derivations. While the sandstone is not evident today, it points to the fact that there must have been early signs of sandstone on the north and south side of the Thames. Bearing in mind that most of the ground in London is formed of various types of clay, the sandstone is certainly an unusual feature.

    The author has spent many years talking to watermen about the subject but none of them has ever seen the sandstone on the bed of the river. Authorities like the Water Board and the Gas Board have also been contacted, to see if any workers ever encounter sandstone when digging up the roads in the vicinity. None of them has ever seen the ‘red stone’ either. Even geological maps do not seem to show the rock but that may be because such maps are not of a sufficiently large scale. While there is no doubt that the historical information is correct, it would just complete the account if it was possible to trace the red sandstone outcrop that was responsible for the place names.

    Etymology is both form and semantics. The formal derivations of Ratcliffe and Redriff may be sane, but it’s a huge hole in the etymology if the sandstone of the red cliff of Ratcliffe and the red reef of Redriff is nowhere to be seen.

    The British Geological Survey’s map service Geology of Britain can help. I haven’t found a way to link to a view of Rotherithe and Ratcliff especially, but it’s easy to find, pick “Bedrock” and a useful background map and degree of transparency. It shows that the bedrock south of the northern shore of the river bend is a
    Lambeth Group formation
    , explained as:

    Vertically and laterally variable sequences mainly of clay, some silty or sandy, with some sands and gravels, minor limestones and lignites and occasional sandstone and conglomerate.

    So at least it’s not out of the question that there were a couple of reefs and rocks of sandstone along this section of the river.

    Norwegian red reef.

  97. AJP Crown says:

    From the
    Town of Bedrock
    They’re a page right out of history.

    That’s interesting. The only sandstone I’ve ever seen in London was on the face of the buildings. All you ever see in the ground or on the River bed at muddy low tide is clay.

  98. Trond Engen says:

    I don’t know how deep down the bedrock is, It may be completely irrelevant to any toponym more recent than the Cretacious period. But at least there’s supposed to be sandstone in that area.

  99. I found what is apparently the first edition of the dictionary online at Internet Archive

    In fact it appears to be the second reprint of the eleventh edition (1958). Internet Archive metadata is about as bad as Google Books on average; this scan is from its Digital Library of India component, whose metadata in my experience is a little worse. I expect a purge any day of works wrongly considered to be in the public domain. (Google Books, by contrast, usually only has snippet view for post-1920s books with erroneous pre-1860s publication-dates; deep down it knows something is wrong.)

  100. Jeez, I had no idea. Thanks!

  101. Rodger C says:

    the two names are unrelated and just happen to refer to the same place

    Well, that’s interesting. And by saying that the earl of Wessex pronounced “Rotherhithe” as written, I just meant rɒðərhaɪð or something similar. Maybe rʌðərhaɪθ, which is what I would have expected.

  102. Re: Redriff and Rotherhithe being unrelated.

    It comes as a suprise to many people that Wien/Vienna is not a simplified descendant of Vindobona but an unrelated word for the same place.

  103. David Eddyshaw says:

    I am one such person. Although it’s one of those surprises, where after you’re done being surprised, you’re surprised that you were surprised in the first place, because it seems obvious in retrospect. (There should be a word for that.)

  104. We call it Wiener Syndrome.

  105. David Marjanović says:

    It comes as a suprise to many people that Wien/Vienna is not a simplified descendant of Vindobona but an unrelated word for the same place.

    What is it, then? The old textbook explanation is that it is; the fact is pointed out that Vindomina is attested from late Antiquity.

    However, it does seem to form a doublet with its own fourth district (outside the medieval city walls of course), Wieden.

    The German Wikipedia article says the names are unrelated, but gives neither any details nor a citation. The English one goes into interesting Celtic details, but presents the big picture only as “could be”.

  106. David L says:

    On the subject of Vienna: according to the biography by his son, Lord Rayleigh liked to amuse his guests with a story that Charles Darwin once asked “What is this place ‘Wean’ where they seem to publish important books?”

  107. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    In 2012 there was an International Congress of Biochemistry in Seville, in which I introduced the session on Biochemical Education. There were two speakers, one from Vienna (Vienne in French), the other from Valencia (Valence). I commented that both cities are in France about 90 km apart along the A7, but that the speakers were from further apart than that.

  108. @David M:

    It’s all pretty speculative, since the historical documentation is discontinuous. There’s a gap of approximately five hundred years between the last attestation of Vindobona and the first putative attestation of Wien (apud uueniam in the Salzburg Annals – but we don’t know if it refers to a river or a settlement). The first unambiguous attestation of the city’s name is from the 11th c. And we have the various Slavic forms reducible to something like *vědъnjь (cf. Old Polish Wiadeń), which are relevant because during the “dark ages” the area became a palimpsests of Germanic and Slavic influences.

    Vindobona is transparently Celtic. The first part, *windo-, means ‘white’ (possibly employed as a personal name), and the second, *bonā, probably means ‘foundation, base’, and occurs in several placenames, such as Ratisbona ~ Radasbona (Regensburg) and Augustobona (Troyes). The combined High German and Slavic toponymic evidence – including Wien ~ Wean itself, the River Wien and the district of Wieden – suggests that this whole complex of names should be separated from the name of the Roman fort and derived instead from a hydronym like *wēdun-jo/ā-. The root is the same as in the shared Celtic and Germanic lexeme *widʰu- ‘forest, wood’, but the vowel of the full-grade adjective *weidʰo/u- > *wēd- must be Celtic. The adjective means ‘wild’ in Welsh (gwŷdd) and Irish (fíad), but this may be easily derived from ‘sylvan’, just like silvāticus > sauvage etc. The structure of *wēdunjo- would be like that of *ɸerkunjā ‘the Hercynian Forest’. It’s impossible to tell whether the namers intended it to mean ‘woodland river’, ‘wild river’, ‘wilderness river’ or maybe even ‘hunting-ground river’. The details of the historical transmission routes and of the Old Bavarian phonological development are not clear, however.

  109. David Marjanović says:

    So the Slavic forms can be derived effortlessly from the Celtic river name, and inserting a Roman(ce) intermediate doesn’t cause any problems. The big question is how the /d/ disappeared in the name of the river and one town but not the other.

    The area was first reached by OHG speakers well after the HG consonant shift, so there was no actual voiced [d] available, and some kind of sound substitution must have happened. Still, intervocalic [d] can hardly have been heard as anything other than /d/ – the [θ] > [d̥] was probably complete (and, for what that’s worth, the annals entry with apud uueniam is for the year 881), so a /d/ in a wide sense, distinct from /t/ [t], was most likely available. So, we could explain Wieden from an Early Romance *[vedVnja] or its Slavic successor (depending on what exactly was in that time & place), but not Wien.

    …and I just found that the German Wikipedia derives Wieden (first attested in 1137) from this word, a medieval term of law that basically meant “dower”. So maybe it’s irrelevant here, and the question is just how the /d/ disappeared.

    I find it difficult to hear the plosives in such clusters as [nd], [ld] or [mb] if they’re fully voiced. So, if the Vindo- form was still around (as a Romance *[vend-] or a Slavic *vęd-), its [nd] would likely have been adopted as [nː]. That’s what we find in the MHG form Wienne and of course the Medieval Latin form that has been spreading.

    So, maybe the ie comes from the original river name with *wēdu-, but the lack of */d/ from the original town name with *windo-.

    The form uuenia(m) may be Latinized by reverse-engineering. Or it may represent another conflation, with the vowel of *windo- through Slavic *-ę-, the /d/-lessness of *windo-, but the /nj/ of the *wēdu- form.

    The later developments are free of mysteries that I’ve noticed. After a round of apocope in late MHG times, the Bavarian dialects promptly shortened all of the new word-final long consonants (only those produced by the next round of apocope are still there). At some point, /ɪɐ̯/ acquired a prenasal allophone somewhere around [ɛɐ̯] (there is no separate [eɐ̯]); this later merged with /ɛr/ and /er/, explaining why Wiener and the personal name Werner are now dialectal homophones.

  110. Contamination od *wēdun- with *windo- (understandable if they referred to the same place) has been proposed by some to account for the problematic details of the reconstruction. The derivation of Wien directly from Vindobona would be more difficult. Even a Norfolk-style telescoping of Vindobona into *Winna (not very probable in OHG anyway) would still yield the wrong vowel.

    The are North and Central Bavarian dialects (including some of Lower Austria) in which /d/ is lost in sequences like -den, -del through vowel loss and contact assimilation with the following sonorant. But I believe it’s a relatively modern development which can hardly explain something that may have happened some 1200 years ago.

  111. David Marjanović says:

    would still yield the wrong vowel.

    Yes, though [e], not [ɪ], because it would have had to go through the Romance vowel shift.

    contact assimilation with the following sonorant

    That is universal in Central Bavarian when the syllabic sonorant is a /l/*; with /n/, not so much. (It does happen with schneiden, but that’s probably copied in from the 1sg and the imperative; loss of word-final lenes is more or less regular.) On top of that, the syllable boundary is generally retained.

    *…unless the /d/ is itself preceded by /n/. Instead, -/nl̩/ gets a /d/ inserted, which has been reinterpreted as a crazy fortition process and morphologized to the point that the diminutives of /p͡fɛɐ̯d/ (Pferd) and ?/lɒmː/ (Lamm) are now /p͡fɛɐ̯tɐl/ and /lampɐl/, the latter identical to the diminutive of /lɒmpm̩/ (Lampe).

  112. January First-of-May says:

    There were two speakers, one from Vienna (Vienne in French), the other from Valencia (Valence). I commented that both cities are in France about 90 km apart along the A7, but that the speakers were from further apart than that.

    At one point slightly over a year ago (March 2019 or thereabouts), I needed (or so I thought at the time) the mid-2000s match scores (dates and results) of the French football club AS Valence (from the 6th level of the French football pyramid) for a hobbyist-ish online project I was doing, and had trouble finding them for a while because the Google search results were swamped by the much more popular scores of Valencia CF.
    (I later found out that I made some minor mistakes earlier on in the project, and didn’t need the AS Valence scores after all; admittedly by then I already managed to find them anyway.)

    And while doing research for another (relatively) closely related project, TIL (a few hours ago) that the Croatian name for Vienna is Beč, for no particular reason that I could find (it appears to have been borrowed from Hungarian Becs, but as far as I can tell no one is quite sure where the Hungarians got it from either).

  113. A knowledgeable-seeming Quora answer claiming that becs is Avar for some kind of fortified place (though Bécs has a long vowel, which isn’t explained).

  114. I remember an elementary school principal who kept getting Vienna (where my high school orchestra was going to participate in the World Youth and Music Festival*) confused with Venice.

    * This does not appear to exist any more, although another similar youth festival appears to have taken its place. By the way, did you know they didn’t lock any of the doors of the performance halls at the Austria Center when they were not in use?

  115. Yes, though [e], not [ɪ], because it would have had to go through the Romance vowel shift.

    Not necessarily before a tautosyllabic nasal (see Windisch < Vindonissa).

  116. AJP Crown says:

    did you know they didn’t lock any of the doors of the performance halls at the Austria Center when they were not in use?
    One evening in 1980 I did some work for an architect with a deadline to meet – Tod Williams – whose office then was in one of the studios upstairs at Carnegie Hall. At 4am I was the last person to leave, only to find all the building’s doors locked – all except the row of doors into the auditorium. I may have spent twenty minutes: walking across the stage, peering out at the audience, admiring the space, but I was too anxious to really enjoy the experience. I can’t remember how I eventually escaped.

  117. I almost wound up spending the night in a bookstore in Buenos Aires — I dashed down to the front door just as the surprised owner was locking up.

  118. Rodger C says:

    I remember an elementary school principal who kept getting Vienna (where my high school orchestra was going to participate in the World Youth and Music Festival*) confused with Venice.

    Cf. Shakespeare’s Vienna (in Measure for Measure), where everybody has an Italian name.

  119. Well, in The Winter’s Tale Bohemia has a seacoast as well as a desert, and all the Czechs sport classical Greek names.

  120. Etienne says:

    David, Piotr: I have been following your discussions on the history of “Vindobona” with great interest, and I would like to offer my humble two cents.

    David: you wrote that-

    “The area was first reached by OHG speakers well after the HG consonant shift”

    I wonder? Further South, the city of “Turicum” underwent the HG consonant shift and became “Zurich” (It remains “Turitg” in Romansh, incidentally). Vindobona being much closer to the imperial (and thus early Germanic-Romance) border than Turicum, I would assume that “Vindobona” became known to (West) Germanic speakers before “Turicum” was. If so, this changes the problem: in particular, it would mean that there indeed can be no connection between “Vindobona” and “Wieden”.

    Piotr: you mention that a “Norfolk-style telescoping” of “Vindobona” into “Winna” is unlikely in OHG. But I would like to point out that in Early Romance, if we assume that stress in this particular place-name was word-initial (Celtic toponyms in Gaul often preserve Gaulish stress placement, which is often word-initial), the realization of “Vindobona” would have been something like */’wend(o)w(o)na/, with either or both unstressed /o/’s liable to be reduced or even wholly lost. If this form was the one Early West Germanic + Early Slavic speakers encountered, well, we do seem to be closer to the attested Slavic and Old High German forms.

  121. David Marjanović says:

    I wonder? Further South

    Yes, yes, but that’s in the west. There was a time when the border between Germanic and Slavic was just east of Linz; that’s how far Slavic place names go. When the Lombards left Lower Austria, they were not immediately replaced by Bavarians, but by Slavs first.

    The political situation was similar. This map is supposed to show the Duchy of Bavaria in 788; Carinthia and (most of?) Styria are already in, but Lower Austria is not.

  122. Etienne says:

    David: the question is not “When did Zurich and Vienna become German-speaking?”, but rather, when did the names of each town (Turicum, Vindobona) become known to (i.e. part of the vocabulary of) speakers of the forms of West Germanic which are ancestral to the Bavarian and Swiss dialects of today? For reasons of geography, I suspect that Vindobona was the first of the two place-names which entered West Germanic.

  123. David Marjanović says:

    It would help if we had a handle on what became of the Marcomanni & Quadi. I doubt Vindobona was important enough to have a widely known exonym.

  124. Etienne says:

    I definitely agree we do not know enough: but remember that Vindobona was a fort on the Danube, which not only was the dividing line between the Empire and the outside world but also a major trade/communication route. Thus, as a place-name, it had some chances of being known beyond its immediate vicinity. Also, while Slavic within present-day Austria certainly spread much further West than Vienna, as you pointed out above, it is by no means clear that the territory where Slavic place-names are found ever was exclusively Slavic-speaking: some West Germanic-speaking travelers may have first acquired the name “Vindobona” (or whatever form/variant is ancestral to the present-day forms) from L1 Romance-speakers still in the region, perhaps in Vindobona itself actually…

  125. Do we know when denasalisation happened in the Slavic of the region? Could věd- be the outcome of wind- in a local Slavic dialect that denasalised early?

  126. Well, in The Winter’s Tale Bohemia has a seacoast as well as a desert, and all the Czechs sport classical Greek names.

    If you generously read “Bohemia” as shorthand for “Habsburg lands” (and the Kingdom of Bohemia was a far more important possession than Austria in the early 17th century), than maybe you can call Trieste and Istria “Bohemia”. The Deliblato desert in Vojvodina was still under Ottoman rule during Shakespeare’s time, but it had been part of “Greater Bohemia” under the Premysls.

  127. Has anyone mentioned the fact that the Slovene name of Vienna is Dunaj (after the river, of course, though the Danube is called Donava)?

  128. In the Czech-Slovak group and Upper Sorbian *ę was denasalised to ʲä (an [æ]-like sound); the process began about 1000 AD, soon after the disintegration of West Slavic unity (good King Wenceslas < *vętje-slavъ still had a nasal vowel in the early 10th c.). It partly merged with the reflexes of *ě in Czech. In particular the long í of Vídeň could go back (via ʲǟ) to lengthened *ę. One would have to examine the earliest mentions of Vienna in Czech sources; those older than 1200 might be relevant. Slovak Viedeň is more problematic. A long nasal vowel would have developed into ía there; ie is consistent with (lengthened) *ě.

  129. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    I almost wound up spending the night in a bookstore in Buenos Aires

    My wife and I almost wound up spending the night in a theatre in St Petersburg. At the opening session of a biochemistry congress there was a ballet (a short extract of Swan Lake) followed by a welcome reception. As we were leaving the ballet we were following everyone else to the reception for the rank and file, but were accosted by two young people who said “This way, this way”, indicating a direction quite different from the way everyone was going. We went the way we were told, and a very complicated route took us to a smallish room (maybe for 50 people) where a reception for the big shots at the meeting was in progress, with decent food and wine. (Apparently the reception for the peasants was very bad). We were puzzled as to why we were so privileged, but thought it was probably because it was one of the rare occasions that I was wearing a tie — something I almost never do. That was fine, until it was time to leave, when we got lost in the labyrinth and couldn’t find how to get out, as there were no exit signs. I don’t think we were the last to leave, but somehow we got separated from everyone else.

  130. So it’s at least not impossible that the ě in the Slavic form would have entered the surrounding Slavic languages from a dialect where ę -> ě happened early. Let’s assume that the river was Celtic *windos/-a -> early Romance *vendo/-a. The incoming Slavs called it *vędъ/-a and the fort / town on the river vędъnjь (gordъ). Later the river was called after the city vędъnja (rěka), the source of uenia. After denasalisation in the local Slavic dialect, the city name was loaned into the neighbouring Slavic varieties with ě. For the Bavarian / German forms, we could assume that the yers had already fallen or weren’t heard by the Germanic speakers, and that n: was a way to simplify the Slavic cluster dnj. Yes, lots of speculation, but does it have any obvious holes?

  131. David Marjanović says:

    That’s very early for the yers to fall; they’re still transcribed in the one OHG and the one MHG examples that I think I remember. OHG was full of epenthetic vowels, so “present but inaudible” seems even less likely. And as I said, [nd] is much easier to perceive as [nː] than [dn(ʲ)] is.

  132. in The Winter’s Tale Bohemia has a seacoast as well as a desert

    The “desert country near the sea” is just a wilderness, though, not a desert in the modern sense (which would not be likely to provide the famous pursuing bear).

  133. David Marjanović says:

    (Unrelated pet peeve: a desert in the American sense, with few exceptions, would barely count as a semidesert elsewhere.)

  134. This isn’t a desert?

  135. I mean, yes, it’s got plant life, but so does the Arabian Desert. What is your ideal desert?

  136. PlasticPaddy says:

    A desert averages less than 250 mm of rain per year
    The Mojave Desert; less than 2 inches (51 mm) of rain a year
    The gobi desert: approximately 194 millimetres (7.6 in) of rain and year
    Sahara: from 100 millimetres (4 in) to 250 millimetres (10 in)
    So North America wins, although I suppose not over Antarctica and maybe Australia.

  137. @David Marjanović: I have no idea what you mean by a desert “in the American sense,” but the American Southwest has some really, really dry areas. Death Valley is up there with the middle Sahara in terms of its inhospitability.

  138. J.W. Brewer says:

    There has been semantic shift in AmEng over time. Only certain portions of the vast area referred to in 19th century sources as the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_American_Desert would be thought of as “desert” by currently-living AmEng speakers, reflecting at least in part a narrowing of the semantic scope of the lexeme as well as perhaps being better-informed about the degree of internal variation in the quondam GAD. Of course, when you fly over the quondam GAD there are parts of it that look pretty green in season because of modern agriculture enhanced by man-made irrigation but which would look a lot dryer and bleaker if the irrigation infrastructure were removed and it reverted to its previous state.

  139. I had forgotten about the Great American Desert, since nobody calls it that any more. Certainly, Americans do not think of that territory as desert terrain, and thanks to modern irrigation, it is now one of the most bountiful agricultural areas in the world.

  140. Etienne says:

    Hans: to me, the main hole in your argument is the assumption that a Slavic dialect which had lost vocalic nasal phonemes could have enjoyed enough prestige to cause ALL neighboring Slavic dialects to wholly replace their inherited reflex of “Vindobona” with this borrowed, nasal vowel-free form. I would need evidence (in the form of other loanwords, for instance) that this high-prestige nasal vowel-free dialect of Early Slavic actually existed. Otherwise, postulating its existence does seem rather ad hoc.

    Thinking out loud here: if the form I postulated upthread, */’wend(o)w(o)na/, corresponds to historical reality, and if we assume the first /o/ to have been wholly lost (thus, /’wendw(o)na/), I wonder: could the difference between the Old High German and Early Slavic reflexes of this place-name (loss of /d/ in the former, loss of /n/ in the latter) simply be due to the two different languages using different phonological adaptation strategies to accomodate the /ndw/ (or perhaps it was /ndb/?) cluster? What do hatters knowledgeable about historical Slavic and High German linguistics have to say on the idea?

  141. David Marjanović says:

    I mean, yes, it’s got plant life, but so does the Arabian Desert.

    Less, though. It doesn’t cover almost half of the ground!

    I had forgotten about the Great American Desert

    I didn’t even know about it.

  142. Less, though.

    So? I’m still waiting to hear what you consider “desert.”

  143. David Marjanović says:

    I just found this:

    “The identity of Roman Vienna with the place mentioned as ‘Vindobona’ in ancient sources is secure, though the proof required voluminous research. Vindobona is first mentioned by the geographer Claudius Ptolemaeus of Alexandria in the 2nd century AD. In an ancient street directory, the Itinerarium Antonini from the time of Emperor Caracalla (211–217), it appears as ‘Vindomona’; the famous Tabula Peutingeriana, the copy of a Roman road map from the 5th century, correctly mentiones Vindobona again; other sources offer the misspellings Vendobonae, Bendobona, Vindomara, Vindomana and Vindomina – evidence that the camp on the Danube did not enjoy any particular fame with the Romans. The chain of proof of Vienna’s identity with Vindobona could only be finally completed by the discovery of numerous bricks with the stamp of the Xth legion, which is after all mentioned in the ancient texts as stationed in Vindobona.

    In the ‘dark’ centuries of the Migration Period the name Vindobona was forgotten; a ‘Vindomina’ shows up one last time in the chronicle De origine actibusque Getarum of the Ostrogothic historian Jordanes. The new name ‘Wenia’ (first in 881) had nothing to do with the name of the Roman legion camp anymore.”

    The next page offers a map of the many, many Roman fortifications in Pannonia Prima and eastern Noricum as of the 4th century, with the Quadi lurking north of the Danube.

    The text on that page explains that when the Romans showed up, the Celtic settlement on a hill on what is now the northern rim of the city was abandoned, and the inhabitants presumably resettled around the camp. This, I think, increases the probability that the names of the town and the river originally had nothing to do with each other because the town was moved to the river. The original purpose of the camp for a few hundred soldiers was to protect the flank of the much larger camp of Carnuntum (see map). It has not been possible to excavate most of the civil town or even to locate its forum, and although the maximum total population of everything together is estimated at 35,000, it is not known if it was ever officially recognized as a municipiumbefore the Marcomanni destroyed everything sometime between 167 and 170. That status came, however, in 212. In 380, the Danube flottilla was moved there. In the early 5th century some barbarians or other burnt it all down; it is not mentioned how far the attempt to rebuild it progressed, only that it didn’t matter anymore in the larger scheme of things. Along the March/Morava there was a kingdom of Suebi, interestingly enough; at least some of those people later moved to Italy with the Lombards. Vindomana is mentioned in the Notitia dignitatum (first third of the 5th century), Vindomina as mentioned in Jordanes. Lombardic graves have been found scattered over Vienna, followed by Avar graves. The fight ad uueniam in 881 was with the Hungarians, who cashiered the place soon after. Bécs is explained as “place with a steep incline”. A place where there might have been a Hungarian settlement was reportedly once called “Jeuls oder Jeus“, which would both be [jɶs] and are explained as Hungarian nyulas “hare field”. (I can confirm that nyula is “hare”.) The next mention of Vienna is only in 1030, when the annals of Niederaltaich in Bavaria say an army of Emperor Konrad II had to surrender to the Hungarians near Vienni, which the Hungarians took over again. Only at the next mention in 1043 has the Empire stricken back.

    Then comes a photo of the Salzburg annals entry.

    Dccclxxxi Sol obscuratus est a tertia usque ad sextam horam ?primum? bellum cum ungaris ad ̛ цᵘeniam secundum bellum cum couuaris ad culmite:

    It’s clear that the thing on the a represents -m, but the two hooks around the full-sized u make me wonder if the whole thing should really be unpacked to uueniam.

    Wienne is from around 1115/20.

    So? I’m still waiting to hear what you consider “desert.”

    Well, no vegetation, or very little, definitely less than 1/4 ground coverage.

  144. So North America wins, although I suppose not over Antarctica and maybe Australia.

    The Atacama Desert is commonly known as the driest nonpolar place in the world, especially the surroundings of the abandoned Yungay town[21] (in Antofagasta Region, Chile).[22] The average rainfall is about 15 mm (0.6 in) per year,[23] although some locations receive 1 to 3 mm (0.04 to 0.12 in) in a year.[24] Moreover, some weather stations in the Atacama have never received rain. Periods up to four years have been registered with no rainfall in the central sector, delimited by the cities of Antofagasta, Calama, and Copiapó, in Chile.[25] Evidence suggests that the Atacama may not have had any significant rainfall from 1570 to 1971.[5]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atacama_Desert

    Annual precipitation ranges from 2 millimetres (0.079 in) in the most arid regions to 200 millimetres (7.9 in) at the escarpment, making the Namib the only true desert in southern Africa.[1][3][4] Having endured arid or semi-arid conditions for roughly 55–80 million years, the Namib may be the oldest desert in the world[1][4] and contains some of the world’s driest regions, with only western South America’s Atacama Desert to challenge it for age and aridity benchmarks.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namib

    AFAIK, both owe this to cold currents passing by.

  145. David Marjanović says:

    Sahara: from 100 millimetres (4 in) to 250 millimetres (10 in)

    Yes, but it all comes down at once, so its effects other than erosion don’t last for long.

    cold currents

    Correct.

  146. John Cowan says:

    The Navajo distinguish between “male rains” (monsoon rains with lots of thunder and lightning, downpours that run off rapidly, no net gain for farmers or herders) and “female rains” (spring rains with long-lasting slow rains that have a chance to soak in, very good for both). There are a lot more male rains. (The Navajo have Father Sky / Mother Earth, like most traditional cultures except Ancient Egypt, but both cultures, like Earthsea, are all about the Equilibrium.)

  147. : to me, the main hole in your argument is the assumption that a Slavic dialect which had lost vocalic nasal phonemes could have enjoyed enough prestige to cause ALL neighboring Slavic dialects to wholly replace their inherited reflex of “Vindobona” with this borrowed, nasal vowel-free form. I would need evidence (in the form of other loanwords, for instance) that this high-prestige nasal vowel-free dialect of Early Slavic actually existed. Otherwise, postulating its existence does seem rather ad hoc.
    My idea was that the form of my (admittedly simply postulated) local Slavic dialect won out because the neighbouring Slavic varieties did not have a word for neither the city nor the river, because the place would become significant enough to be talked about by Slavs further away only later. I don’t assume that other Slavic languages had an inherited reflex of Vindobona. That chimes with DM’s post about the place becoming insignificant around the 5th century and the name Vindobona being more or less forgotten after the 6th century.

  148. It seems interesting that the book David tracked down characterizes Vindobona as correct, and characterizes as misspellings four different options — Vindomona, Vindomana, Vindomina, Vindomara — that all carry an M.

    I’m not sure why we would exclude those as relevant to someone’s pronunciation in antiquity or the middle ages. On what basis? The book mentions Avar graves in the very gap we’re trying to explain. How would Avars have pronounced a Roman word Vindobona? What about a Celtic Vindobona in Avar? Might they interpret the b as an m? Or Avars trying to pronounce some Germanic mangling of the Roman or Celtic name. Are there other ethnic groups who might have settled there for a time during the missing 400 years?

    Even assuming that it was mostly Germanic speakers, can we really exclude the m-spelling? Why did it keep popping up?

    And then if we accept Vindomona as real, might the name follow a different etymological path from what various people have posited above?

  149. January First-of-May says:

    I think “Vindomona” (and the other M-spellings) is supposed to be a “misspelling” in a tabula non tabla way; the name might well have been pronounced Vindomona (or similar, especially if with initial stress) by then at least by some of the locals, but the official spelling was Vindobona, which (as I understand) also happens to be the one with the better Celtic etymology.
    In any case, if the spelling with a M already pops up in the 3rd century, it’s probably not the Avars’ fault. Were there already Germanic tribes around by then?

    Random shot in the dark: how far back is Iacomus for Iacobus (whence James etc) attested? It looks like the same /b/>/m/ shift on first glance, though of course it’s from a very different region.

  150. PlasticPaddy says:

    *swépnos > somnus
    *dap > damno
    Seems to be a Latin thing, so at least pn>mn is possible. Since the Celtic name had a very strong 1st syllable stress (compare French Vienne, established as the colonia Vienna with Latin penultimate stress), i suspect vindobona may have been a purely written form so if it was pronounced as VIND-o-bna the b could have been heard as or altered to VIND-o-mna and then the second o and 4th syllable restored to VIND-o-mona.

  151. Going beyond Europe, it can be found in Korean, eg:
    The difference can be shown in “to do” spelled “hapnita” and pronounced “hamnida.”

    as well as the ben ~ men variation in Turkic:
    https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Reconstruction:Proto-Turkic/ben

  152. SFReader says:

    How would Avars have pronounced a Roman word Vindobona?

    Viedeň or something similar.

    Whatever language Avar nomads originally spoke, it is pretty clear that they switched to Slavic early on – perhaps by 7th century already.

    Bulgars of Asparukh (late 7th century) who, I suspect, were rebels from the Avar Khaganate, apparently were already Slavic speakers (though they did retain some memory of their original language – in names, mostly).

    Origin of Vienna is clearly from Slavic Vieden too. Don’t know where the “d” went though.

  153. January First-of-May says:

    and then the second o and 4th syllable restored to VIND-o-mona.

    This has the bonus of also explaining “Vindomana” and “Vindomina”.

    I’m still not sure how exactly we get from there to /wenna/ or the like, though, but at least we don’t have to posit /ndw/>/nn/.

  154. David Marjanović says:

    I’m sure most of the “misspellings” reflect genuine sound changes in Vulgar Latin. Here’s the Appendix Probi:

    baculus non vaclus
    vapulo non baplo
    hirundo non herundo
    Sirena non Serena

    These explain Bendobona.

    grundio non grunnio

    Interesting.

    how far back is Iacomus for Iacobus (whence James etc) attested?

    I don’t know, and can’t find any in the Appendix Probi, but that’s supposed to go a while back (the modern forms Giacomo, Jaime, Jaume are worth mentioning) and is the usual explanation for the vindomVna forms.

    VIND-o-bna

    It is interesting that first-syllable stress in a four-syllable word is impossible in Classical Latin, and yet no form with fewer than four vowels is attested. Maybe the stress simply shifted to the 3rd-to-last syllable as expected in Latin.

    (And then Germanic would have shifted it right back. Non-initial stress was clearly allowed in MHG, but I’m not aware of evidence that it goes back farther, inseparable verb prefixes excepted. And indeed the first syllable is all that survives today.)

    Whatever language Avar nomads originally spoke, it is pretty clear that they switched to Slavic early on – perhaps by 7th century already.

    What’s the evidence for that?

    (Not that it matters. They may not have been a majority anywhere in their empire.)

  155. January First-of-May says:

    It is interesting that first-syllable stress in a four-syllable word is impossible in Classical Latin, and yet no form with fewer than four vowels is attested. Maybe the stress simply shifted to the 3rd-to-last syllable as expected in Latin.

    (And then Germanic would have shifted it right back. Non-initial stress was clearly allowed in MHG, but I’m not aware of evidence that it goes back farther, inseparable verb prefixes excepted. And indeed the first syllable is all that survives today.)

    So Celtic ‘Vindobona > Latin Vin’dobona > Vin’dobna > Vin’domna > Germanic ‘Vindomna. (Or possibly more like ‘Wendomna by this point.) This makes surprisingly much sense, at least without knowing the actual realistic sound changes.

    (And then different nearby languages could easily have turned this Wendomna into something like Wędъmna > Viedeň or Wenno(n)na > Wenna.)

  156. Yes, that makes a very pretty picture.

  157. David Marjanović says:

    No, because we need a long vowel for ie on the German and probably the Slavic side. That would have to come from the name of the river.

    Early Romance /e/ was borrowed as short /e/, which did not diphthongize, in OHG: piper > Pfeffer and pica > Pech have /e/ as opposed to /ɛ/ in my dialect.

  158. grundio non grunnio
    So, a form *vindia might be behind uenia… but where would we get a long /e:/ for the Bavarian forms from? Maybe by contamination from Slavic vědъnjь or a special development in local Romance or in the local mapping of local Romance vowels to Bavarian?

  159. equs non ecus
    coqus non coqus

    “Get it right, you vulgar mob, like Virgil and Cicero! … Wait, you’re saying they spelled it how?”

  160. January First-of-May says:

    As I understand it, a ~5C Vindom?na (possibly pronounced Wi- or We- by then), with an unclear (if any) vowel in the third syllable, is fairly well supported by the attestations; the question of how we got from Vindobona to Vindomina etc. is interesting but irrelevant for the later developments.

    The question is whether this Vindom?na could have resulted in the later forms. Is the 9C Wenia (if it’s even Wenia at all, with those hooks, and if it’s even the same place) supposed to refer to the town, or the river?

    (And for the Uralic experts here: what would the ancestor of Bécs have looked like in 9th century Hungarian? Would be hilarious if it’s also from the same origin after all. Don’t think it is, though.)

  161. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    A desert averages less than 250 mm of rain per year
    The Mojave Desert; less than 2 inches (51 mm) of rain a year
    The gobi desert: approximately 194 millimetres (7.6 in) of rain and year
    Sahara: from 100 millimetres (4 in) to 250 millimetres (10 in)
    So North America wins, although I suppose not over Antarctica and maybe Australia.

    Parts of the Atacama: no rain at all. There are said to be places (maybe San Pedro de Atacama) where no rain has been measured in 400 years. That’s probably an exaggeration, but it is certainly true that the rainfall is close to zero.

  162. David Marjanović says:

    “Get it right, you vulgar mob, like Virgil and Cicero! … Wait, you’re saying they spelled it how?”

    Cicero spelled them equos and so on. A hundred years later, -quo- turned into -cu-, giving ecus, but in an irregular paradigm (plural equi for instance). In some of these words, -qu- was copied back in from the rest of the paradigm, like equus; -quu- did not exist before that. The author of the Appendix was evidently for this restoration, but refused to write quu and simplified it to qu

    supposed to refer to the town, or the river?

    Impossible to tell from the text. I quoted the entire entry for 881.

    where would we get a long /e:/ for the Bavarian forms from? Maybe by contamination from Slavic vědъnjь

    That’s what I’ve been saying: /ɪɐ̯/ borrowed from /je/ from the river, /n:/ borrowed from /nd/ from the town that had been moved to the river 850 years earlier. Conversely, Wenia may have /e/ from the town and /nj/ from the river.

  163. John Cowan says:

    Continental Celtic, or at least Gaulish, had fixed penultimate stress. Etienne back in 2013 giving me the works.

  164. PlasticPaddy says:

    @jc
    “The Handbook of Language Contact”
    Editor: Raymond Hickey (2010)
    has a discussion unfortunately by Theo Vennemann, who takes the side of a 1st syllable stress accent, citing Mercado (2007) and Hyman (1977) in favour. The thing is, where there is a lot of material (Old Irish) there is an uncontroversial 1st syllable stress accent. But I imagine Etienne has good reasons for ruling this out for Gaulish, unless he has changed his mind.

  165. David Marjanović says:

    Wenia may have /e/ from the town

    …or it may have /ɛ/ from the town, through Slavic .

    Continental Celtic, or at least Gaulish, had fixed penultimate stress.

    That’s not in the comment you link to, or anywhere between there and the end of the word. Fixed penultimate stress was found in Proto-Brythonic, where it is attributed to Romance influence, and has landed there again (on the former antepenultimates) in Modern Welsh.

  166. John Cowan says:

    Latin also went through a mild first-syllable stress stage, but nothing like as strong as Irish; it provided reductions like amicus > inimicus.

  167. David Marjanović says:

    I don’t think vowel reductions come from how “strong” (loud?) the stress is, but from whether the language is closer to stress-timed or syllable-timed.

  168. I posted something on Gaulish stress in this discussion; there’s evidence that it may have been on the antepenultimate in several cases, with rules differing from Latin. In a discussion on Academia.edu a couple of weeks ago someone gave me a reference to Dottin, who seems to have come to the conclusion that in compounds, the stress regularly was on the last syllable of the first element. As they say, more research is needed.

  169. David Marjanović says:

    …and I managed to forget it all.

    in compounds, the stress regularly was on the last syllable of the first element

    That would certainly explain why nobody had figured it out earlier!

  170. Well, Dottin would have figured it out around 1900 if it’s true. I need to check what he actually wrote, and I think then it will be time to look at the evidence.

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