I had occasion to look up the Russian word чапан (chapan), which turns out to be a kind of outer garment worn in Central Asia (there’s an English Wikipedia article as well, although the OED has it only in a citation for “colourful”: “The chapan, a colorful ankle-length cape, usually in striped silk fabric”). That would have been the end of it, except that I checked Wiktionary and discovered that its etymon, Arabic جبة ‘jubbah,’ is the source of an astonishing variety of words: Italian giubba (as in “Vesti la giubba”), French jupe ‘skirt’ (which gives Spanish chupa ‘leather jacket’ and English jumper), Russian ю́бка (júbka) ‘skirt,’ Japanese 襦袢 (juban) ‘a type of lightweight under-robe worn under a kimono,’ жупан/župan/żupan in a bunch of Slavic languages, Chagatai Turkish چپان‎ (çapan; presumably the source of the Russian word, though its Wiktionary article gives no etymology), Greek ζιπούνι ‘short jacket or waistcoat’ (which gives yet another Russian word, зипун ‘medieval Russian type of peasant upper garment’), Tibetan ཕྱུ་པ (phyu pa; this gives English chuba ‘long sheepskin coat,’ a word entirely unknown to the OED), Ottoman Turkish جبه‎ (cübbe; this has descendants all over the Balkans), and a bunch of others. Another of those well-traveled words!

As lagniappe (via Trevor Joyce’s Facebook post): ‘Book of Leinster’ pages to be restored and digitised. That’s excellent news, of course, but I’m a little surprised they’re only getting around to it now.


  1. Wow. So юбка and джемпер are the same word!?

  2. David Marjanović says

    I was wondering what jumper had to do with jumping…

  3. I had thought that the name of the fashion and cosmetics company Joop! was a play on French jupe. But it’s apparently actually the (German) founder’s surname.

    Robert E. Howard used jupon a number of times in The Hour of the Dragon,* for example:

    It was uncanny, but those watching knew it was no more than the reflected image of Orastes’ thought, embodied in that mirror as a wizard’s thoughts are embodied in a magic crystal. It floated hazily, then leaped into startling clarity—a tall man, mightily shouldered and deep of chest, with a massive corded neck and heavily muscled limbs. He was clad in silk and velvet, with the royal lions of Aquilonia worked in gold upon his rich jupon, and the crown of Aquilonia shone on his square-cut black mane; but the great sword at his side seemed more natural to him than the regal accouterments. His brow was low and broad, his eyes a volcanic blue that smoldered as if with some inner fire. His dark, scarred, almost sinister face was that of a fighting-man, and his velvet garments could not conceal the hard, dangerous lines of his limbs.

    This is near the end of the opening scene with the barking dog.

    * For a long time, this (Howard’s only novel) was published under the bastardized title “Conan the Conqueror.”** Presumably that name was selected by de Camp and Carter, who wanted to have Conan’s name in the title of every book as a branding and marketing maneuver.

    ** This is not in italics, since I do not consider it an actual title.

  4. I wonder where the Wiktionary editor found the etymology taking Turkic چپان‎ çapan from Arabic جبة jubba

    Gerhard Doerfer (Türkische und mongolische Elemente im Neupersischen vol III, 1967, p. 47-48, snippet visible here, I hope) suggests that Persian چپان‎ čapān is a borrowing of the Turkic word seen in Chagatai چپان‎, چاپان‎ čapan, Kazakh шапан, etc. As for the further etymology of the Turkic word, Doerfer says: “Vielleicht hängt es mit čapγut zusammen, s[iehe] چغبت; unklar.” (There is actully not much more at چغبت. This Turkic word čapγut appears in Anatolian Turkish dialects as çapıt ‘old piece of cloth, rag; part of the aba or shepherd’s cloak wrapped around the feet’. Turkic čapγut was also loaned into Persian as چغبت čaγbut, ‘wadding of cotton or the like for quilting or stuffing cushions; stuffed with cotton or wool’.)

    Here is Clauson (An Etymological Dictionary of Pre-Thirteenth Century Turkish, 1972, p. 396) on the family of Turkic çapğut with citations from various sources:

    ?D[erivative]; çapğut perhaps Dev. N. fr. çap- [a widely attested Turkic sound-symbolic root referring to noisy actions, like striking, urging on, slapping mud on a wall, plashing while swimming(?)] but the semantic connection is remote. Survives only(?) in NC Kır. çapan çapkıt ‘outer clothing’; çopkut ‘body armour’, and SW Osm. çaput ‘rag, patch; gore, gusset’. The original meaning may have been ‘a quilted coat’, cf. yalma:. See Doerfer III 1082. Xak. XI çapgut al-ḥaşīya ‘a padded garment’ Kaş. I 451: Kıp. XIV çapuṭ (c-b-) al-hudma ‘a patched garment’ İd. 41.

    (As far I can find, Clauson has no separate discussion of çapan.) Thus this family of words in general seems to have to do with clothing that is patched together or assembled from smaller pieces of cloth.

  5. Huh, so the word that drew my attention to this cluster may have nothing to do with it. Thanks, as always, for your etymological expertise!

  6. The Chapan rebellion was one of the largest peasant uprisings against the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War. Taking place in March-April 1919, the uprising covered the territory of Syzran, Sengileevsky, Karsunsky districts of Simbirsk and the Stavropol and Melekessky districts of Samara. It got its name from the clothes of the rebels: the chapan – a winter coat, made of sheepskin, a special robe belted with a sash, a popular clothing among the peasants of the region during cold weather. The uprising was brutally suppressed, and its participants, mostly peasants, were subjected to terror and mass repression.

  7. Wow, what an unexpected historical connection! And it’s probably related to why the word turns up in Fedin’s Города и годы, where I found it; the novel is set in 1914-21, and the word occurs in the 1919 chapter. Too bad the Wikipedia article doesn’t show a rebel in a chapan!

  8. David Marjanović says

    But it’s apparently actually the (German) founder’s surname.

    There he is.

    [s?]plashing while swimming

    Ah, like in Spanish.

  9. the (German) founder’s surname.

    So what kind of name is Joop? Sounds like a Dutch nickname (like Jaap for Jacob).

  10. David Marjanović says

    Also, his daughter Henriette getting shortened to Jette* strikes me as so Dutch (Jenne, Jelle…) I’m actually surprised to find the family is German, and not from right next to the Dutch border either (within the last 3 generations; Wikipedia doesn’t tell further).

    Given Johan > Jopi, that could be where the name comes from…


  11. I’m actually surprised to find the family is German, and not from right next to the Dutch border either (within the last 3 generations; Wikipedia doesn’t tell further).
    I see that he’s from Potsdam; there’s a Dutch quarter there that was built by Dutch builders and partly settled by Dutch craftsmen in the 18th century, so maybe he’s a descendant of one of them.

  12. Lars Mathiesen says

    Jette can be Danish too, FWIW. 22k people with the name right now, all women. I never thought about where it came from, but Henriette is not uncommon here either (8k). That doesn’t mean it’s a domestic nickname, we could have it from Dutch (or Frisian or Platt) like Jan (37k) whose native forms are Jens and Hans, but it would be hard to be sure either way.

  13. @Xerîb: The Kazakh entry for шапан makes the same claim (< jubbah), and the Russian entry for зипун sums it up:

    Ultimately from Arabic جُبَّة‎ (jubba, “long garment”). Doublet of шу́ба (šúba), дже́мпер (džémper), ю́бка (júbka) and жупа́н (župán).

  14. See also Arabo-Ecclessial English jibbee (cassock/подрясник/αντερί).

  15. David Eddyshaw says

    I wiondered if this might be related to the widely borrowed Arabic word for “pocket”; seems that it may be, though it’s all a bit speculative:

  16. David Eddyshaw says

    The WOV words for “pocket”, like Kusaal gɛfa, Mooré gɩfo, are presumably connected with Hausa aljihu (/g/ for Hausa j is standard, and Hausa h and f are allophones.) The Hausa word, in turn, is obviously from Arabic, but I’m not clear exactly what Arabic word: Naden’s dictionaries say جيب, but that looks problematic to me. All these languages have a perfectly good /b/ (though Hausa lacks /p/.)

  17. David Eddyshaw says

    I see that Bambara has jufa “pocket” too. The WOV words may well not have been transmitted via Hausa, which is by no means the only way that words of ultimate Arabic origin have got to that part of the world; Mooré gɩfo could also easily owe its final vowel to the analogy of the singular noun class suffix -fo.

  18. What’s so Arabic about pocket?

  19. David Eddyshaw says

    The al- (of Hausa aljihu.)

    The Hausa work can scarcely be unrelated to the Mooré, Kusaal and Bambara words, and I don’t know of any case where a word which is not of Arabic origin has acquired a spurious al- in Hausa. (The word has, come what may, to be a loanword in Hausa because of the syllable-final /l/.)

    Zarma has ziiba, Humburi Senni has zifiyo and Fulfulde has njiiba. So the words all do seem to be pretty clearly connected with Arabic jayb(un), for all that the f/b alternation is perplexing.

  20. David Eddyshaw says

    The word for “pocket” is not always a loan in Oti-Volta languages, though: Moba has ŋundu, cognate with Gurmanche ŋuunu (in both cases with a derived verb meaning “unpocket something”); Nawdm has ruuga (though that may not be quite the same thing: beɦɛɛruuga,where the first element means “woman’s breast”, is glossed “soutien-gorge” in my dictionary); Buli uses either lok, which also means “burrow, den, nest, lair” or fori, which also means “crop (of a bird.)” Waama, boringly, borrows the French word, though.

    At any rate, the idea of pockets doesn’t seem to be foreign to the area. Not some fancy Muslim innovation, or anything like that.

  21. @DE, yes, I meant the pocket as such. Becuase why borrow from Arabic? But if a large portion of clothing/weaving vocabulary comes from there (is this the case?) then why not.

    It is also possible that Islam itself brough more clothing thant there used to be.

  22. David Eddyshaw says

    But if a large portion of clothing/weaving vocabulary comes from there (is this the case?)

    Muslim influence has been around in the Sahel and Savanna for a very long time, so it’s hard to rule out an effect on clothing categorically; but having said that, traditional woven and dyed clothing goes back a long way before the Fulani jihad which established (or consolidated, perhaps) Islam over much of the region in question, or even before the Songhay Empire.

    In particular, the Kusaasi, Mamprussi, Dagomba and Mossi each have their own distinctive dyed pattern of the traditional woven heavy “fugu shirt” (actually called banaa in Kusaal; fuug(u) is the generic word for “clothing.”) People also wear them on top of European-style shirts and trousers as formal wear. (I have one myself.)

    Jerry Rawlings liked them (though he was himself Ewe/Scots, not a northeasterner):

    The Hausa city-states were renowned for this kind of dyed and tailored clothing long before they became Muslim.

    Nowadays, at any rate, Muslims in northern Ghana definitely don’t typically wear fugu style clothes; they wear long gowns of the sort that north Africans tend to. You can guess pretty accurately whether to address a stranger in the Bawku area in Kusaal (non-Muslim) or Hausa (Muslim) based on how they’re dressed.

    None of the Kusaal words for clothing (there are quite a few terms for different distinctive traditional styles) that I know of seems to be loaned, apart from those associated specifically with non-Kusaasi clothing. And “pocket” …

  23. De Wolf’s (multidialectal) Fulfulde dictionary has a Fuuta Jaloo form jiifa.

  24. pocket 1. n.
        (i) (bag in garment)
    aljifu /aljifuuji           (1/25)    (ED, SOK) < Ar.;
    mbootoowo /mbootooji        (14/25);
    danga /dangaaji             (18/25)   (FT, M);
    dannga                      (18)      (MAL);
    fulkuru /pulki              (11/25)   (stomach ~ of ruminants);
    giiba /giibaaji ~giibaaje   (1/25~24) (V, K, V:Y, B) < Ar.;
    jeyba /jeybaaji             (18/25)   (FT) < Ar.;
    jiba /jibaaji               (18/25)   (ED) < Ar.;
    jifa (1) ->jiifa < Ar.;
    jiiba /jiibaaji             (18/25)   (A, N, M, V, SUD, DVL, ED) < Ar.;
    here it (=the card) is, in my ~ ndaa ngol ɗon nder jiiba am;

    jiifa /jiifaaji             (1/25)    (FJ) < Ar.;
    jikaare /jikaaje            (9/24)    (SOK);
    njiiba /njiibaaji ~jiibaaji (18/25)   (M, MAL);
    kuuse /kuuseeje             (1/24)    (P) (stomach ~ of ruminants);
    mokoturu /mokotuji          (11/25)   (V:Y) (for the Koran);
    pos /posiiji                (1/25)    (GAM) < Fr.;
    pulkel                      (3)       (dim.)

    (ii) (purse) …
    (iii) (pouch) …
    (iv) (cavity in rock) …
        2. vt.(i)….(vii)…

  25. I wonder where the Wiktionary editor found the etymology taking Turkic چپان‎ çapan from Arabic جبة jubba…

    R. G. Akhmetyanov, in the entry for чапан in his 2015 Татар Теленең Этимологик Сүзлеге (Etymological Dictionary of the Tatar Language), mentions the etymology from Arabic jubba, which is definitely the source of Tatar җөббә ‘robe, cloak’. A quick approximate translation:

    чапан “long-sleeved outer garment worn by clergy” > Chuvash chappan, < Chagatai, Uyghur, Kyrgyz чапан > Nogai, Kazakh, Karakalpak чапан “cloak, chapan”, Uzbek, Tajik чаппон “dervish clothes, patched robes, etc.” < Persian. It comes from the dialects of Arabic and is cognate with the [Tatar] word җөббә. The word чапан is rare in the Turkic languages (Russian чапан, чепан is of Kipchak origin, probably Tatar) and is not actively used in Persian either. Therefore, there are those who doubt the Near Eastern origin of the word. However, Turkic roots for the word are not apparent (the comparison with чабу “gusset” raises many questions). Budagov I: 452 (чапан generally denotes old clothes); Vasmer IV: 315; Fedotov II: 390; Anikin: 643–644 (with rich bibliographic literature, although Tatar is not mentioned).

    Fedotov in his Chuvash etymological dictionary doesn’t mention the Arabic etymology. Anikin himself (Этимологический словарь русских диалектов Сибири, 2000, p. 643f) just says:

    Тюрк. слова едва ли из перс. čapān ‘чапан’ (вопреки KWb: 349 [с сомнительным перс. čafan]), скорее наоборот, перс. из тюрк.

    Akhmetyanov doesn’t say where he got the Arabic etymology from, and he doesn’t offer an account for the changes in vocalism (a vs. u in the first syllable) and consonantism (-p- vs. -bb- and the final -n) involved, or specify the general timing of the borrowing and the Arabic-Turkic contact situation in which the word might have been borrowed.

    S. Starostin, A. V. Dybo, and O. A. Mudrak (2003) An Etymological Dictionary of Altaic Languages, provide what is, in this case at least, a useful compilation of some data to be considered in relation to чапан, available online here, along with the following interesting remark:

    Several derivations are clearly distinguishable: a) *čap-gut ‘upper clothes, garment’ (with later development > ‘used clothes’); b) *čap-rak ‘bedding under the saddle’; c) *čap-an ‘cloak, gown’; d) *čap-gu ‘lap, gusset’ — all clearly related to each other.

    As Doerfer summed up, unklar.

  26. Hudson Valley says

    “…gives English chuba ‘long sheepskin coat,’ “ —via the Russian
    ’ shuba ‘ ?

  27. the widely borrowed Arabic word for “pocket”

    В статье рассматривается история исходного арабского этимона jaib ‘карман’, проникшего через тюркское посредничество ( cep ) в албанский ( xhep ) и русский (зепь, зеп) языки. Устанавливается приблизительный период существования слова в обоих языках. Сопоставляются: развитие семантики, степень усвоенности в общенародном узусе, отражение в словообразовании и в современной фразеологии.

  28. David Eddyshaw says


    Interesting that an overlap in meaning with “stomach of a ruminant” turns up, like Buil fori with “crop of a bird.”

    The association pocket ~ bird’s crop/cow’s stomach would not have occurred to me, but then I’m not a subsistence farmer.

  29. I wonder if зажо́пить is in any way related to зепь/зеп/жеп.

  30. @DE, note that “fulkuru /pulki (11/25) (stomach ~ of ruminants); kuuse /kuuseeje (1/24)(P) (stomach ~ of ruminants)” are not similar to anything (except “pulkel (3) (dim.)“). Possibly the pocket/stomach overlap occured in a European language in one of his sources.

    Cf. WP “Beef tripe is made from the muscle wall (the interior mucosal lining is removed) of a cow’s stomach chambers: the rumen (blanket/flat/smooth tripe), the reticulum (honeycomb and pocket tripe), and the omasum (book/bible/leaf tripe). Abomasum (reed) tripe is seen less frequently, owing to its glandular tissue content.

    And Donald W. Osborn; Joseph I. Donohoe Jr.; David J. Dwyer, 1993 (not one of his sources, but has French):

    fulkuru (ndu) / pulki (ɗi) DZ Z(-)
    large intestine; stomach cavity ? (of ruminants); viscera (less the intestine)
    gros intestin (D); poche stomacale (des ruminants) (Z); visceres (moins l’intestin) (Z)
    (R(A)): the fourth stomach or abomasum ; quatrieme estomac ou abomasum

  31. David Eddyshaw says

    Proto-Oti-Volta had *pʊ:- “stomach” (e.g. Kusaal pʋʋg, Moba puoug, Waama puuku.)

    Still, if Fulfulde is related to Oti-Volta at all (possible, but also possibly beyond rigorous demonstration), the relationship is very distant, and in any case comparing just initial CV- sequences without accounting for the rest of the word is Bad.

    The Nawdm ruuga “pocket” is possibly actually cognate with the WOV “bird’s crop” words; the Proto-Western-Oti-Volta form for “crop” may have been *jew-, which fits are far as the initial consonant goes but needs a bit of ad-hockery to make the vowels work. Moreover, Nawdm has a different word for “jabot”, viz lakafeegu (which has no very obvious etymology that I can see, like quite a bit of Nawdm vocabulary.) So, more than a bit dubious …

    I think that the bird’s crop/pocket analogy is not all that far-fetched, though, at least for someone who is familiar with bird’s crops, unlike a typical Western urbanite. I mean, they are a kind of pocket …

  32. DE, did anyone there make bags out of birds’ crops of any kind?

  33. David Eddyshaw says

    Not as far as I know. But, to be honest, it’s not really the sort of thing I would know.

  34. He didn’t have the conversation booklet that included “Excuse me, do you make bags out of birds’ crops?”

  35. David Eddyshaw says

    It’s just that I find that the question often offends.

  36. Usually I just say no. But it really depends, there are people for whom I am ready to make such a bag, I suppose…

  37. David Eddyshaw says

    You can always make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear instead, of course.

  38. But why do you need it?

  39. David Eddyshaw says

    To keep my bird’s crop in, of course.

  40. As the old saying has it, “bird’s crop in silk, you’ll always have milk; bird’s crop in cotton, your milk will be rotten.”

  41. “Making bags out of” reminded me about this musical instrument. I am a dedicated adherent of primitivism.

  42. Jokes aside, isn’t it possible that the development was the other way round (pocket / bag -> bird’s crop)?

  43. David Eddyshaw says

    I’ve just discovered that “bird’s crop” is feoo in Mampruli and fiɛɣu in Dagbani; that would certainly do for a cognate with the second element of the Nawdm synonym lakafeegu, though I’m still in the dark about the first bit. There seem to be no cognates elsewhere in Western Oti-Volta, though. Kusaal fɛn’og “ulcer” would correspond exactly to the Mampruli/Dagbani forms as far as segmental phonology goes (that branch having lost all contrastive nasalisation and glottalisation) but the meanings seem completely incompatible.

    The Farefare word is kõnkolŋo, presumably with the same root as Kusaal kɔlʋg “sack, bag.”

    Dagaare yuoni matches Toende Kusaal yooŋ completely (apart from the noun class membership); along with Mooré yoosengo and Agolle Kusaal yɛog these are all derivable from Proto-WOV *jew- with various different but well-established noun-deriving suffixes.

    Buli has yui “(small) sheep or goatskin bag, e.g. for tobacco”, which could also be cognate with these (Buli shares the initial *ʎ -> j change with WOV) and would actually make an entirely unproblematic cognate for Nawdm ruuga “pocket”, differing only in noun class membership.

    I think all this supports the crop/pocket association, but suggests that the “crop” meaning is secondary to the “pocket” meaning rather than vice versa.

  44. David Eddyshaw says

    (Just saw your question after I’d finished editing the previous post, Hans: basically, Yes.)

  45. David Eddyshaw says

    “Making bags out of” reminded me about this musical instrument. I am a dedicated adherent of primitivism

    Electric guitar?

  46. David Eddyshaw says

    Moba for “bird’s crop” is gbanfiɛɔg, where the second element again matches Mampruli feoo and the second component of Nawdm lakafeegu without any problems; the first element is “gizzard” (Moba gbandl.)

    Moba does not now have contrastive vowel nasalisation, but several Proto-Oti-Volta nasal vowels have different reflexes in Moba from the corresponding oral vowels, and the Moba cognate in fact shows that the original form was *fẽ:gʊ; the stem vowel can’t have been glottalised, because Nawdm (alone outside WOV) preserves glottalisation. (So there is actually no need to exercise our ingenuity for a way to link “ulcer” and “crop” semantically; Kusaal fɛn’og cannot be cognate.)

    As all the reflexes of this *fẽ:gʊ seem specifically to mean “bird’s crop”, I suppose that this may represent the original Proto-Oti-Volta word, replaced by various “bag/pocket” words in many languages.

    It’s an interesting word because of the initial *f: there are very few non-clitic words securely reconstructable with initial *f in Proto-Oti-Volta, and I was beginning to wonder whether it actually existed at all, or was just the allophone of *v found in clitics and noun class suffixes.

  47. David Eddyshaw says

    Buli fori “crop; pocket” can’t be from *fẽ:gʊ, even if the vowel mismatch could be explained away somehow; the same stem turns up in a different noun class as foruk (any kind of bag for carrying things, from the traditional string bag to a suitcase), so the stem is for-, not fo- (and indeed the singular ri noun class suffix, from Proto-Oti-Volta *ʎɪ, itself becomes just -i in Buli unless the stem itself had final *ʎ, so this is clear even from the form fori alone.)

    So I think the Buli “crop” sense has indeed to be derived from “pocket”, not the reverse.

  48. Clapping hands:) A true Master can use her own body as an instrument…

    No, a half of a gourd (or what is it) floating in water, monotonously hit with a shoe (or what is it). In other videos it is definitely not a shoe, but here it is similar to a shoe. (I suspect it’s “water drum” and is well known, but it looks like half a gourd in water, and I did not know it)

  49. David Marjanović says

    It’s an interesting word because of the initial *f: there are very few non-clitic words securely reconstructable with initial *f in Proto-Oti-Volta, and I was beginning to wonder whether it actually existed at all, or was just the allophone of *v found in clitics and noun class suffixes.

    Phonetically, devoicing/fortition in unstressed intervocalic position would be very strange anyway.

  50. Is it a universal that lenition is voicing/aspiration?

  51. David Eddyshaw says


    True, but the distribution of /f/ and /v/ is very odd, even so. The consonant /f/ is very much rarer than /v/, with the major exceptions of the 2sg pronouns *fV and the sg noun class suffix *fV. Neither consonant seems to have occurred stem-internally in the protolanguage (they still don’t in most of the modern languages.)

    It’s also less of a stretch in Oti-Volta inasmuch as although proclitic particles seem very often to lose the voiced/unvoiced distinction in initial obstruents, it is difficult to predict whether the actual outcome will be voiced or unvoiced. For example, the indicative negative marker varies from language to language as pV or bV and the imperative negative between tV and dV. Even Toende and Agolle Kusaal have respectively and for the indicative negative proclitic.

    In WOV derivational and flexional suffixes, all consonants are voiced except for /s/ and /f/ – and /z/ /v/ do not occur.

    There is also a marked tendency in several other branches for consonants to be voiced or be otherwise lenited when they follow short root vowels, but neither stem-internally after long vowels, nor in flexional suffixes following vowels whether short or long.

    There was probably no voicing distinction in non-initial obstruents in Proto-OV: all the apparent cases of voiced obstruents were most likely really liquids or approximants. It is therefore difficult to say if one is dealing with intervocalic lenition or fortition in the daughter languages: the question probably isn’t even actually meaningful.

    Eastern Oti-Volta has devoiced most obstruents in all positions, to confuse matters further, and even the Gurma languages have shifted Proto-OV *v to /f/ (e.g. Kusaal vʋe “be alive” = Moba fo.)

  52. David Marjanović says

    There is also a marked tendency in several other branches for consonants to be voiced or be otherwise lenited when they follow short root vowels, but neither stem-internally after long vowels, nor in flexional suffixes following vowels whether short or long.

    Oh, that’s interesting. There’s a Central Bavarian lenition process that turned /t/ into /d/* after vowels, and /tː/ into /d/ specifically after short vowels (some 500 years ago when phonemic vowel length still existed). After long vowels & diphthongs, /tː/ was preserved. (Overlong syllables? What’s a syllable?) And so, we have lenition in the cognate of Standard German lauter “louder” < *-/t/-, but not in the one of lauter “lots and lots of”, “only or almost only” < *-/tː/-.

    * Both voiceless, both unaspirated, both plosives…

  53. Lars Mathiesen says

    Livet er ikke lutter lagkage, as we say here.

  54. David Marjanović says


  55. David Eddyshaw says

    Beer and skittles.

  56. Lars Mathiesen says

    You slice a round sponge cake into layers (hence the name) and put custard between them, decorate to taste (icing or whipped cream and fruits are traditional). Traditional for birthdays (with candles) and other celebrations, so I suppose you could put it like “Nobody can have a party every day”.

    EDIT: DE nailed it. Life is not all beer and skittles. But I really just wanted to exhibit lutter. We don’t have the cognate of E loud, though.

  57. Trond Engen says

    Da. lagkage = Norw. bløtkake “soft cake”*.

    * There used to be other names for it locally but I think these have more or less died out**.

    ** Except when covered in marzipan and ordered from pastry shops for festive occasions. That’s a hvit dame “white lady” in Bergen and lukket valnøtt “closed walnut” in Trondheim.

  58. Lars Mathiesen says

    The marzipan one is prinsesstårta in Sweden (paging Des), usually green, but we don’t do marzipan on lagkage in Denmark, because where would the whipped cream go then? Except maybe in perverted reality show baking competitions. Bakers make other things with marzipan coverings, but they are not lagkager.

  59. No, life is like a box of chocolates.

  60. I have just written (independently and without knowledge of this article) two articles to my blog about etymology of word jubba. I had no information about jubba being spread also eastwards, so I covered only Turkey and Europe. In Central and Eastern Europe it became šuba and juba (Czech version) from German schaube and joppe (short fur coat and women upper garmet) and župan (now bathroom dressing) from Italian giubba. Although the texts are only in Slovak, I prepared maps of word spreading at:

  61. Thanks, those are great maps!

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