Yarmulke.

The esteemed ktschwarz, who is doing an admirable job of paying attention to OED updates, writes at Wordorigins:

Yarmulke was briefly mentioned in the old thread on 1903 words. It’s from Yiddish, which got it from Polish, but where did Polish get it? (Note that while the Jewish practice of wearing religious headgear is older, the association of the word yarmulke specifically with Jews is surprisingly recent, only since the 19th century.) […] That Turkish origin is repeated in many English dictionaries. It’s not unprecedented: in the 17th century the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth had a border with the Ottoman Empire, fought a series of wars with it, and absorbed some Turkish words into Polish. However, in 2019 the OED revised yarmulke and decisively rejected the Turkish origin, choosing an origin from Latin instead. Here’s what they say:

Etymology: < Yiddish yarmolke, probably ultimately < post-classical Latin almucia, armutia hood, cape (see amice n.²), via Polish jamuɫka, jarmuɫka skullcap (mid 15th cent. in Old Polish as jaɫmurka, jeɫmunka, with an apparent extension by -ka, a Polish suffix forming nouns).
For borrowings of the Latin word into other languages, compare also mutch n. and perhaps mozetta n.

Compare Russian ermolka (1800 or earlier), Ukrainian jarmulka, jarmurka, Belarusian jarmolka, all in the sense ‘skullcap’, all probably < Polish.

An alternative suggestion, deriving the Polish and Yiddish words, via the East Slavonic languages (compare Old Russian emurluk′′ raincoat (1674)) < Ottoman Turkish yağmurlyk raincoat (see gambalocke n.), poses formal, semantic, and chronological problems.

Unfortunately, the OED doesn’t give sources (this is high on my list of things they should be doing for all difficult etymologies!), but Google found some publications in 2013 and 2015 by a Polish Turkologist and a Latinist that they were probably relying on. (If you sense David L. Gold’s hand in this, you are right: apparently he’d been trying for decades to get the attention of Polish scholars.) Some are in English and some in Polish; assuming DeepL has given me the gist of the Polish, the reasons for rejecting Turkish are:

• Chronological: Polish jaɫmurka in the sense ‘cap’ is attested from the mid-1400s, too early for significant Polish-Ottoman contact.
• Formal: The addition of j- at the beginning is consistent with other Polish borrowings from Latin, and the addition of the Polish noun-forming suffix -ka is also consistent with other Polish headgear names. However, in the 15th century the gh was still pronounced in Turkish (a voiced velar fricative), so if the word came from Turkish then the Poles would have represented that sound in writing, as, e.g., the Italians did when they first wrote down iogurt in the Latin alphabet. But there’s no trace of it in Polish.
• Semantic: The Latin word already meant ‘hood, cape’; a shift from ‘raincoat’ to ‘hat’ is not impossible, but there’s no evidence that the word ever meant that in Polish. […]

The bad news is, don’t expect to see this revision in any other dictionaries besides the OED and maybe Wiktionary; all the others are just going to keep copying the same old material, because they no longer have any staff to update it. (Well, maybe Merriam-Webster, if Jim Rader is still there; he’s discovered a few new etymologies in the not-too-distant past — everybody reading this site should buy Kory Stamper’s Word by Word and read the cool story about the strange origin of chaus in a misspelling! However, I don’t expect them to keep up with the literature at this level of detail.) If this had come out ten years earlier, I’m sure American Heritage would have updated it, but, well, too late now.

I would never have expected to see Latin supplying an etymon for this word!

Comments

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it pronounced as anything other than “yamaka”, which I see in Wkt is even one of the many spelling variants.

    Anyone heard differently?

  2. David Marjanović says

    That’s a strange Latin word…

    The Polish letter is Łł with /, not ɫ with ~ – that one is only used in phonetic transcriptions (mostly but not only IPA).

    yamaka

    What. From Featherstonehaugh to Fanshaw in 150 years or less?

    (I’ve never heard the word at all, so I’m not doubting anything here.)

  3. J.W. Brewer says

    I *think* I’ve most commonly heard the vowels in the unstressed second and third syllables of “yarmulke” as schwas. And I also think I’ve heard the first syllable pronounced both rhotically and non-rhotically – it wouldn’t surprise me if it gets a non-rhotic pronunciation by some otherwise-rhotic speakers.

  4. Anyone heard differently?

    I don’t think I’ve heard it without the /l/ (though of course I can’t be sure). I imagine it differs from place to place.

  5. @Owlmirror: The liquids sometimes affect the length and rounding of the vowels preceding them, but they are virtually never fully pronounced. Unfortunately, yarmulke is a word one hears less and less in recent decades, as the Yiddish is replaced by Hebrew kippah.

    The more I think about it, the more I find the Jewish tradition of covering the head to show respect weird. It’s fine in a religious framework based on adherence to explicitly arbitrary rules, but anywhere else it would seem backwards. Just as the handshake is a ritualized descendant of the act of showing that you are unarmed, removing your hat indoors is a ritualized show of respect for your host’s roof.

  6. Unfortunately, yarmulke is a word one hears less and less in recent decades, as the Yiddish is replaced by Hebrew kippah.

    Sad. My experience is mostly from the ’80s and ’90s, so I’m (as usual) out of date.

    removing your hat indoors is a ritualized show of respect for your host’s roof.

    Come on, a yarmulke is not a hat.

  7. J.W. Brewer says

    It was certainly the convention for gentile males in Anglo-American society (until the generation before mine, when hat-wearing suddenly fell out of fashion) to remove their hats as a gesture of respect, including doing so momentarily a la https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hat_tip. (The formerly widespread custom of gentile females wearing hats or other headcoverings inside when attending church, which now survives only in enclaves, seems somehow connected to this.) The Jewish tradition seems quite contrarian in that context, but I am not willing to assume that the cultural norms of my own ancestors in this regard were somehow natural or universally valid.

    Some of the recent obituaries of the late Desmond Tutu mention an anecdote he frequently told from his childhood of being astonished when out walking with his mother one day to see a well-dressed white man deviate from local norms of hierarchy by respectfully tipping his hat to the black lady, which was a thing Simply Not Done in South Africa in the 1940’s. (The white man in question turned out to be the Rev’d Trevor Huddleston, whose attitudes were atypical for the time and place in all sorts of ways.)

  8. @languagehat: Hebrew kippah just means “hat.” At the Cutler Jewish Day School here in Columbia, the male students are required to wear kippahs, but many of the non-Jewish pupils (about half the kids who attend are gentiles) wear baseball caps.

  9. Kid Yamaka, Z"L.

  10. Hebrew kippah just means “hat.”

    Another reason to deplore its displacement of the lovely and specific term “yarmulke.”

  11. Thanks! These are the links to the 2013 and 2015 papers:

    LingVaria, a journal of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, reprints an old paper (in English) arguing for the Latin origin, with comment (in English) by David L. Gold, and then an examination (in Polish) by Marek Stachowski, a Turkologist, who argues against the Turkish origin.

    I ran the Polish through DeepL and Google and the result seemed to make sense, but if anyone with actual knowledge of Polish wants to look at it, that would be great! This is the paper that says that the ğ was still audible in 15th-century Turkish, and therefore Turkish couldn’t be the source of the Polish word.

    On the (Im)possible Latin Etymons of Polish jarmuɫka (in English) by a Latinist also at Jagiellonian University, who considers the very large number of variants of medieval Latin almutium, almucia, aumucia, almussa, amussa, etc., and where they are attested.

    There are a huge number of borrowings of the Latin word, most though not all referring to clerical wear. It shows up in English as not only amice (via Anglo-Norman), mutch (via Middle Dutch), and mozetta (via Italian) given in the OED entry, but also aumusse and mosette (via French) and almuce (directly from Latin). In other languages, there’s Spanish muceta, and German Mütze.

    The origin of the Latin word is unknown. OED s.v. amice: “The initial al- has sometimes been taken to represent the Arabic definite article al , but no likely Arabic etymon has been found.”

    So many hats! Has Language Hat collected one of each?

  12. I can only wish! I do have a yarmulke, of course (as well as a Central Asian skullcap).

  13. J.W. Brewer says

    A sobering anecdote (albeit with no source cited) from the Ottoman era: “Observing in 1730 that some Muslims took to the habit of wearing caps similar to those of the Jews, Mahmud I ordered the hanging of the perpetrators.”

  14. cuchuflete says

    What name is used for the skullcap worn by Popes?
    Do Roman Catholics think it’s a hat?

    Google suggests “zucchetto”. Is this different in shape from a yarmulke?

  15. Modern Hebrew כִּפָּה kipa is not the generic term for hat; rather, it means a cap specifically, e.g. kipa aduma ‘red cap’, Little Red Riding Hood.

    There’s a lot on the cap, its different styles and their social signification, and the history of the requirement for head covering (the tradition of universal head covering is quite recent.)

    Hebrew Wikipedia has a specific entry for yarmulka, separate from the general one for kipa. In Jerusalem (learns heathen me) the term is used specifically for a large white knit wool cap. The yarmulka sensu stricto (I need two different styles of italics here) is associated with Hassidic Jews of the Old Yishuv, i.e. descended from pre-Zionist immigrants.

    The knit white yarmulka was originally associated with the older Sephardi community of Jerusalem. When Ashkenazim were banned from living in Jerusalem, they assumed the typical Sephardi head covering in order to pass and keep from being evicted.

  16. David Eddyshaw says

    The formerly widespread custom of gentile females wearing hats or other headcoverings inside when attending church, which now survives only in enclaves

    As an occasional inhabitant of such enclaves, I can say that this is almost without exception referred explicitly to St Paul’s diktat in 1 Corinthians 11, though among the less hardcore and/or less Protestant I imagine it’s more to do with “that’s the way it’s always been done.”

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

    I have always presumed (when thinking about it at all) that St P himself got the notion from contemporary Jewish practice.

  17. Come on, a yarmulke is not a hat.

    . . . and thus began the Great Headcovering Schism . . .

  18. David Marjanović: The Polish letter is Łł with /, not ɫ with ~

    Good catch, thanks. That’s an unfortunate slip by the OED; the evidence is from *written* Polish, and they should represent it accurately. And I made the same mistake with the title of the second paper: the Polish author wrote jarmułka, but the title was in all-caps so I retyped instead of copy-pasting, and used the wrong letter. Lesson learned…

    The OED *does* use the correct letter in the etymology of some Polish loanwords: kielbasa “< Polish kiełbasa“; pulk (a regiment of Cossacks) “< Polish pułk“; zloty “< Polish złoty“.

    I’m also wondering about the OED’s transliteration of the Yiddish word as yarmolke with an o. Is that correct?

    Language Hat: deplore its displacement of the lovely and specific term “yarmulke.”

    In English at least, both are equally specific. I don’t know about Hebrew.

  19. So it’s like “sombrero,” which is just ‘hat’ in Spanish but means a specific type in English.

  20. cuchuflete says

    So it’s like “sombrero,” which is just ‘hat’ in Spanish but means a specific type in English.

    But what of “gorro” that has both the generic (head covering) and specific (cap) meanings?

  21. There’s a lot on the cap…
    I meant to add, in the WP kippah entry.

  22. Stu Clayton says

    The Legend of Gorro, starring Hat. Coming to a blog near you !

  23. David Marjanović says

    It was certainly the convention for gentile males in Anglo-American society (until the generation before mine, when hat-wearing suddenly fell out of fashion) to remove their hats as a gesture of respect, including doing so momentarily a la https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hat_tip.

    That was universal in the West, remained as teachers getting upset by boys wearing caps in class at least into the 1990s, and the explanation I got was that if a knight walked into a building and kept his helmet on, he expected to need the helmet, thus stating that his host was his enemy.

    (Girls wearing caps wasn’t fashionable, so I don’t know how the teachers would have reacted.)

    The formerly widespread custom of gentile females wearing hats or other headcoverings inside when attending church, which now survives only in enclaves

    Still widespread, as headscarves, in Orthodox places. It’s even shown in one of the 1990s Bond flicks.

    ‘red cap’, Little Red Riding Hood.

    Rotkäppchen; caps are not Hüte in German, except for the purpose of making teachers upset.

  24. David Marjanović says

    The Legend of Gorro, starring Hat. Coming to a blog near you !

    Thread won, I can go back to my grant proposal.

  25. “The zucchetto is worn throughout most of the Mass, is removed at the commencement of the Preface, and replaced at the conclusion of Communion, when the Blessed Sacrament is put away. The zucchetto is also not worn at any occasion where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed.” (wikip) I never knew or noticed this; either by not paying enough attention or by paying only a more elevated kind of attention.

  26. Still widespread, as headscarves, in Orthodox places. It’s even shown in one of the 1990s Bond flicks.

    It’s true that Sophie Marceau wore a headscarf to play Elektra King, but the movie takes place in Azerbaijan and King is implied to be of Azeri descent too, so perhaps hijab would be a more correct term? 🙂

    But yeah, headscarves are de rigeur for old women in the Balkans irrespective of religion or ethnicity (especially outside of urban areas). BCSM even has the verb “ubraditi [se]” meaning “to tie a scarf/kerchief around your head in the exact manner that old ladies do” (ie folded into a triangle with the points tied under the chin). And old ladies (at least in Bosnia) tend to wear it constantly whether they’re church goers or not (my grandma certainly wasn’t and she was always enscarved) so it functions more like a stylistic marker than a religious garment. And unlike in Russia, in the Yugoslav lands it’s not an unpardonable offence against proper decorum for women to enter a church with their heads uncovered (much less for young girls as in Russian churches).

  27. Dan Milton says

    High School Spanish class, 1949:

    !”Caballeros, quitatate el sombrero en el aula”!

    “They’re not hats, they’re beanies, Senora Andujar”!

  28. Re pronunciation: the other day I listened to John McWhorter’s latest podcast, 300 Years of Language Peevery, where he mocks the extremely mockable The Big Book of Beastly Mispronunciations:

    I’m a highly Jewish-adjacent person, have been my entire life. It started with my Montessori and Quaker schools, where in Philadelphia, at least in the 60s and 70s, there were a lot of Jewish kids at them. And as far as what you put on your head, I’ve said “yah-makah” all my life and nobody has ever corrected me. “Yarrrmulke” — no, I learned that’s how it was written, but everybody said “yah-makah.”

  29. A commentary by Wolanin (in English) on the aforementioned work of Struminsky, Gold, and Stachowski, noting that Plaut, in 1955, had already come upon the correct origin of the word.

  30. @ David M

    Not only in the West, but also in the communist East. I have a wonderful children’s encyclopedia ‘Svijet oko nas’ publushed in the 1960s in Croatia, with an article on politeness, that talks about the practice.

    @ nemanja

    You can remove the C in your reference to what went on in the former Yugoslavia (or if we are talking about defunct states, how about the former Austria-Hungary?!?): I’ve never heard the verb ‘ubraditi se’. Had to look it up. The ‘Veliki rječnik hrvatskoga standardnog jezika’ defines ‘ubraditi se’ as to tie something under the chin, as a kerchief. The Bosniak ‘Rječnik bosanskog jezika’ doesn’t have the word. The meaning you have given appears to be Serbian.

    Certainly the practice in Catholic and Protestant churches is different to Orthodox. Women are not obliged to cover their head.

    The practice of covering the head has not been de reigeur “in the Balkans” (of course, lots of people don’t think Croatia is in the Balkans) since 1945. No one in my grandmother’s generation or younger wore headsarves or kerchiefs. Of course there have always been some ancient rustics who i recall as a child in the 1980s might have worn headscarves then, but they have long since passed away.

  31. The commentary by Wolanin is the one I linked above, “On the (Im)possible Latin Etymons of Polish jarmułka”.

    The Turkish origin was endorsed by Vasmer, which may explain why it’s in so many English dictionaries. This has been a very slow-simmering debate, with publications at intervals of decades!

  32. I apologize, I skimmed too fast.

  33. For the curious, the Arabic etymon that has been proposed for almutia, almucia, etc., is مستقة mustaqa, ‘a kind of garment made of fur’. It seems that the Arabic word is already found in the 8th-century dictionary, Kitāb al-ʿayn. As for its being the etymon of the family of almutia, we have to wonder along with Corominas in his Spanish etymological dictionary, where did the final syllable -qa go? And how did it enter Europe? Federico Corriente does not include our family of words or mention mustaqa as an etymon for any words in his Dictionary of Arabic and Allied Loanwords: Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Galician and Kindred Dialects.

  34. @zyxt

    So let me see if I understand this correctly – the ‘Veliki rječnik hrvatskoga standardnog jezika’ gave the same definition of “ubraditi” that I gave in my comment above, and yet the conclusion you drew from this is……..that it’s a Serbian usage? Admittedly, it’s pretty funny that you composed this whole spittle-flecked nationalist screed only to concede the point, but I nevertheless tip my hat to you for putting so much effort into such a devastating own goal.

    I don’t know if it’s worth responding to any of the rest of this – from referring to the dictionary of the Bosnian language as “Bosniak”, to arguing that Croatia is not in the Balkans – it’s apparent that we are in the presence of a nationalist mind impervious to facts and logic. I’m honestly impressed that even the comparison between social norms at Orthodox churches in the Balkans and Russia STILL drew the comment that of course Catholic and Protestant norms are different to Orthodox (but honestly pretty hilarious to implicitly equate Catholicism and Protestantism).

  35. David Marjanović says

    Mütze

    Oh.

    Not only in the West, but also in the communist East.

    Yes, of course – I meant an older or newer meaning of “West” than that.

    No one in my grandmother’s generation or younger wore headsarves or kerchiefs.

    My grandmother, here in Austria, has worn such things in chilly weather; it’s widespread at least into southern Germany in her generation. There’s just no relation to church that I’ve noticed.

    (Or Azerbaijan, LOL.)

    Headscarves were fashionable for young women in the 1950s, often combined with sunglasses apparently.

  36. J.W. Brewer says

    At some point after the Cold War the CIA and EU and suchlike Western power structures tried to rebrand “the Balkans” as “Southeast Europe,” as an attempted sop to (some subset of?) Croatian nationalists and I suppose any non-Croats who similarly found the Balkan brand embarrassing. But since the subtext of the new label was to tell the Croats that unlike the Slovenes they weren’t going to get to rebrand themselves as part of “Central Europe” I’m not sure it did anyone very much good. But obviously all such borders have some fuzziness and arbitrariness to them and linguistic, cultural, and political/historical limes cannot be relied upon to neatly coincide.

  37. As to amice < L. almucium, the OED puzzlingly doesn’t mention G. C. S. Adams’s 1937 paper, “French Aumusse, English Amice” (the most recent treatment of that etymology in Liberman’s bibliography). Adams derives almucium from amiculum ‘cloak’ (itself of transparent etymology); the first u is suggested to be due to influence from a putative Gaulish *mucia, ‘press down, muffle, envelop’.

  38. David Eddyshaw says

    putative Gaulish *mucia

    Looks like a cognate of Welsh mygu “stifle, smother, fumigate”, but I think that’s an illusion: the primary meaning there was pretty certainly originally “smoke, fumigate” (cf mwg “smoke”*), which doesn’t seem all that vestimentary. Except with the appropriate headgear, of course.

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

    * Wiktionary, I notice, declares that mwg is actually cognate with “smoke”, but I can’t see how, in view of the Celtic *k (not *g.) Unless the Germans learnt how to fumigate from the Celts (like they learnt about kingdoms ..)

  39. In support of the semantics, Adams mentions the Irish idiom mucca suas le h-éadach dála mna tinncheara ‘muffled up in clothes like a tinker’s wife’ (taken from Dinneen’s Irish-English dictionary).

  40. David Eddyshaw says

    Fumigate those kings! Fumigate them I say!

    And thus the torch of civilisation is passed on … vitai lampada tradunt

    Sorry. Normal service will now be resumed.

    I imagine that it’s quite possible that the Irish verb isn’t related to the Welsh mygu, which itself looks pretty transparently derived from mwg and may be a secondary formation that just happens to resemble an originally quite different “envelop” word.

    What’s with the Irish -cc-? That should correspond to Welsh ch rather than g. (Mucca looks like it should be cognate with moch “pigs” in fact.)
    Is it secondary?

  41. i’m pretty sure i’ve never – early 1980s to present, in a wide range of u.s. jewish contexts – heard a consonant besides “m” and “k” inflicted on the word “yarmulke” in anyone’s english speech.

    af yidish, it’s יאַרמלקע or יאַרמעלקע [yarmlke / yarmelke] in the dictionary, but i don’t think i’ve heard it spoken often enough to know if that reflects living pronunciation. i assume יאַרם [yarm] “yoke” is unrelated.

    and for what it’s worth, on two summer-long trips to eastern europe in the 00s, once south and east of former czechoslovakia, everywhere i went* most of the grown women (especially older women) i saw outside of cities wore headcoverings or one kind or another. i think the same was true on a shorter trip to serbia in 2016, but i wouldn’t swear to it (and my rural time on that trip was almost entirely at the guča trumpet festival, so mostly with urbanites).

    * western & northern romania, central & western bulgaria, southern macedonia, greek thrace; plus in passing eastern hungary, northern slovenia, far western & southern central ukraine.

  42. J.W. Brewer says

    This 1975 clip is a great one from a purely musical standpoint, but is also perhaps noteworthy for the headcovering and the general wardrobe gestalt (when the camera pulls back you can see how high the neckline is etc.) suggesting that Mrs. Thompson is the most modestly-dressed female singer to appear on a BBC “pop music” broadcast not only in calendar 1975 but for a decade or more either side of that year. This was when she and her then-husband had gotten mixed up with a British hippies-turned-Sufis commune (not a period of her life fondly remembered in subsequent interviews), so it was very much like the Balkans in that you can’t tell the Muslim ladies in headscarves from the Christian ladies in headscarves without a lot of nuanced local knowledge. (I’m not sure what the deal is with her then-husband’s headgear, other than it’s consistent with an overall look that suggests he’s busking in a dodgy part of London on a very cold winter’s day rather than playing in a well-heated BBC studio.)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnP07s_O14Q

  43. Headscarves were fashionable for young women in the 1950s, often combined with sunglasses apparently.
    I’ve seen photographs of my mother (b. 1943) from the 60s dressed like that and remember her wearing headscarves occasionally still in the 70s (in typical 70s colour combinations like orange-brown, no less).

  44. The current euphemism of choice is “Western Balkans”, though in fairness that also includes Albania. You can call it any damn thing you please and twist yourself into a pretzel with definitions – it’s a cluster of countries bound together by a shared language, but also a shared culture and a shared history, a good portion of which is within living memory. Not just in a broad sociocultural sense, but in the real and tangible sense of having family or other deep personal connections all over the region. I even have Croatian citizenship for God’s sake, yet every time that guy responds to me he appears to be imagining a rabid Chetnik on a mission to insult his beloved Croatia.

    In his famous essay On Nationalism, Danilo Kiš wrote that nationalism was first and foremost a paranoia, and by way of illustration he added that “in its Serbo-Croatian variant it takes the form of squabbling over that national origins of those traditional gingerbread hearts topped with coloured sugar.” It’s all so hollow and tiresome and predictable, and the only reason it upsets me is that I absolutely adore LH and I find it soul crushing that even this little sanctuary isn’t completely free of it.

  45. @nemanja

    The ‘Veliki rječnik hrvatskoga’ doesn’t have any reference to old ladies, which you seem to have made a salient feature in your post.

    As i mentioned, i’ve never heard of the verb and i had to look it up. From the definition in the Croatian dictionary, it seems that in Croatian it would refer to anything that you can tie under under the chin and merely gives a kerchief as an example. That would suggest to me that it can apply to things like a bike helmet or even a sun hat with a chinstrap. There is nothing about old ladies.

    If you think that the “old lady” usage is wider than Serbian, you’re welcome to provide examples.

    It’s easy to label someone a nationalist and go for ad hominem arguments. Much harder to provide something of substance.

    {You don’t know me and i don’t know where you get off making all sorts of insinuations like that.
    I have family in 5 of the former Yugoslav (going back further: Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, Venetian, Roman) states, plus in other countries and other continents. I have fond memories of my childhood in the Socialist Federal Republic.}

    {However, as much as it hard for some people to believe, Yugoslavia is no more, and Croats don’t need to be afraid to say the obvious – that they speak Croatian – without being labelled traitors and jailed.}

  46. J.W. Brewer: … well-heated BBC studio

    Assumes facts not in evidence.

  47. To Brett’s initial comment – I have also noticed, as a gentile living a Jewish adjacent life, the gradual replacement of “yarmulke” with “kippah.” It has almost become a shibboleth because my impression is that most American goyim to this day would call it a “yarmulke” (if they have any name for that headwear at all).

  48. I was reading this article on yarmulke/kippah, which just recaps most of the points already raised about the words. I was a bit confused by “how to pronounce kippah without sounding mocking”; why should any pronunciation be “mocking”?

    The only thing that occurred to me was that with a non-rhotic accent, without final stress, “kippah” could sound pretty much like “kipper”.

    the primary meaning there was pretty certainly originally “smoke, fumigate” (cf mwg “smoke”*), which doesn’t seem all that vestimentary. Except with the appropriate headgear, of course.

    [WikiP:Smoking cap]

    “Smoke me a kippah, I’ll be back for breakfast!”

    The article recommends stress on the second syllable, but doesn’t mention anything about the vowels. For me, at least, the first “i” for “kippah” is FLEECE, but “KIT” for “kipper”, and the final vowel for “kippah” is PALM, not the LETTER for “kipper”.

  49. Andrej Bjelaković says

    Here are my two dinars:

    – I’ve literally never heard or seen ‘ubraditi se’
    – my grandad’s rural sisters would normally wear a headscarf all day (b. 1920s)
    – my grandma, who grew up in a small Bosnian town, would wear it only when it was windy in 1990s Belgrade (also b. 1920s)

  50. Dinars? Andrej don’t you realize that the dinar is the obsolete currency of a state – a Balkan state, natch – that has long since ceased to exist? Why not say “my two Groschen” to give it a more authentic Mitteleuropäische feeling.

    I would have expected that the phrase “de rigueur” in reference to the sartorial choices of elderly Balkan peasant women would read as faintly ridiculous, or at least clearly signal the lighthearted tone. As a child I feel like I was constantly in the presence of various babas with enormous headscarves (and dressed in the customary black), and I grew up in a suburb of Sarajevo not some mountain village. In any case, I”m glad that, if nothing else, new words are being learned, because let’s be honest, if you had to guess without knowing what “ubraditi se” means, you would never in a million years guess correctly,

    In any case, a google image search for “kumice s placa”, an extremely Croatian way to refer to the women who sell their own produce, esp cheese, at the farmers market, reveals that a huge number of them are indeed wearing headscarves even in the year of our lord 2021, so i daresay I was just a smidge closer to the mark than “only ancient rustics [sic] wear this”

  51. By the way, “yarmulke <yarmlke" is or was restricted to American (and English?) Jews under Litvish Yiddish influence. This word was never used by ex-Yiddish speaking European Jews who are mostly from Poland and say (or said given that here too kippah has taken over) "kapl/kapele". For my part I discovered "yarmulke" through American Jewish literature.

  52. PlasticPaddy says

    @de
    eDIL has múchaid
    “The primary meaning may be that of stifling by smoke, etc.; hence variously covers over, presses down; suffocates; quenches, extinguishes (fire, etc.); oppresses; suppresses, obliterates.”
    The modern adjective is múchta. I do not know the specifics of Dineen’s recorded form mucca (e.g., if not an error, it may be a variant *múchaithe in a dialect where ch is very close to or identical to c). per incuriam could probably tell you more.

  53. “A few ancient rustics” is a reference to those last few relics who still spoke Etruscan in the days of Emperor Claudius. ie. a dying habit.

    I stand by the fact that no one in my part of Croatia (or the Balkans or whatever you are calling it) wears the thing on their head (ancient rustics excepted of course). So it’s certainly not de rigeur “in the Balkans”, or whatever twaddle nemanja is trying to push.

    I don’t live in Zagreb, but i always thought that those ‘kumice’ were from rural areas. Happy to be corrected if i err.

    Still no example of the ‘old lady’ sense in Croatian, though?!

  54. On the subject of hats, i looked up what the thing is called in Croatian.

    The Croatian terms are jarmulka and kipa. I’ve only ever heard it called ‘kapica’ (little cap), but then i don’t know any Croatian Jews so can’t confirm what term they actually use.

    There was also a cross reference to ćelepoš and ćulaf, these being the little skull caps worn by Muslims. The etymology of the words, according to the Croatian Encyclopedic Dictionary, is from Persian, through Turkish.

  55. a Central Asian skullcap

    Do you mean the one featured here? Exactly as in the following saying.

  56. By the way, yarmulke […] is or was restricted to American (and English?) Jews under Litvish Yiddish influence

    This matches my experience. Growing up Masorti in Latin America, I never heard anything but kippah, even from the folks in my grandparents generation who grew up speaking Yiddish at home.

    (They were mostly Galitzianer, though; I never met my one Litvak great-grandfather, so I’m not sure what his term of choice would have been.)

  57. Anecdata: growing up in greater Philadelphia in the 70s and 80s, I was the nice Gentile boy invited to four of my friends’ Bar Mitzvahs, and each time I was given a “yarmulke” to wear (or later wore my own from an earlier celebration).

    Flash-forward to weddings of other friends in the 2010s in greater Washington, DC, where my husband and I were asked to wear “kipot”.

  58. David Marjanović says

    Why not say “my two Groschen” to give it a more authentic Mitteleuropäische feeling.

    Because that existed, in the last few hundred years, only in the Republic of Austria. The monarchy had Heller, preserved in Czechia as haleřy to this day.

  59. By the way, “yarmulke <yarmlke” is or was restricted to American (and English?) Jews under Litvish Yiddish influence. This word was never used by ex-Yiddish speaking European Jews who are mostly from Poland and say (or said given that here too kippah has taken over) “kapl/kapele”.

    Thanks very much for that, I love knowing these details! (As did my late friend Allan Herman, who would have been delighted to learn this if he didn’t already know it. And he would have resisted and resented the “kippah” trend — he was a lover of alte-kacker Ashkenazi usage.)

  60. J.W. Brewer says

    Surely for the Croats it would be “my two filir“?

  61. J.W. Brewer says

    Or the even more old-school “my two krajcar.”

  62. I first encountered the word as a boy (~1960) in a magazine article about Israel where it was spelled yamalka and implied (I thought) to be a Hebrew word. Perhaps the author was a non-Jewish American journalist.

  63. I first encountered the word as a boy (~1960) in a magazine article about Israel where it was spelled yamalka and implied (I thought) to be a Hebrew word.

    That reminds me — in various places, there’s an amusing folk “etymology”/”definition”. The word supposedly derives from the Aramaic:

    WikiP.kippah:

    (ירא מלכא) ‘yireh malkha’ meaning “fear of the King”

    (or “awe of the King”)

    Three guesses who “the King” is, and the first two don’t count.

  64. rozele: af yidish, it’s יאַרמלקע or יאַרמעלקע [yarmlke / yarmelke] in the dictionary

    Thanks! There are some dictionaries with yet other spelling variants יאַרמולקע‎ and יאַרמאָלקע; that last one could be the source of the yarmolke transliteration in the OED. I have no knowledge of which spelling is most favored in Yiddish, but that transliteration with o looked odd to me.

    The Marek Stachowski cited above must be the same as the author of The etymology of İstanbul, discussed here several years ago.

    There *is* a word from Yiddish that the OED accepts as derived from Turkic: lokshen (noodles).

    Etymology: < Yiddish lokshn [לאָקשן‎], plural of loksh noodle, apparently < a Turkic language (compare Old Uighur laqša noodles, wheat flour (11th cent.), Tatar lakša noodles), probably via East Slavonic (compare Russian lapša (16th cent. in Old Russian; also regional lopša , lokša ), Ukrainian lapša , lokša , both in the sense ‘noodles’).

    The Turkic word is probably < Persian lāḵisha , lākcha noodles (see laksa n.).

    Later Slavonic words.

    Compare Polish (regional) łokszyna, Russian (regional: southern and western) lokšiny (plural), Ukrainian lokšyna, Belarusian lokšyna, all in the sense ‘noodles’, which are < Yiddish, with reinterpretation of the Yiddish plural ending -n as Slavonic -ina, -yna, suffix forming nouns.

    And laksa (Chinese-Malaysian spicy noodle soup) is from Malay “probably” from Persian. If those “probably”s are true, then this word spread out from Persian to both east and west, entering English from opposite sides of the world while still meaning noodles!

  65. In some places not a “former custom”. When I visited a bowls club in semi-rural Australia a couple of years ago I was told to remove my cap.

  66. I observe that ‘kepi’ (Eng.) or ‘képi’ (Fr.) refer back to Alemmanic ‘käppi’, meaning ‘cap’, eventually
    Vulgar (or military) Latin for ‘head’.

    What a wonderful swarming spaghetti-junction kind of post this has become!

  67. PlasticPaddy says

    @de
    Further on múctha vs. múchta:
    The spelling múctha can be found (but not in the corpuses or dictionaries I have checked apart from alleged mucca in Dinneen–I find there only múchta and a variant múchtha for the noun múchadh). I am not sure whether this is dialect, nonstandard variant or a spelling or “rapid speech” error (especially for a speaker that does not distinguish broad c and ch very much) BUT a similar observation applies re the forms crochta/croctha (hanged or hung), where crochta is standard.

  68. J.W. Brewer says

    BTW, after the Croatian nationalists liberated themselves from the Belgrade-based tyranny of dinar-denominated currency in the early ’90’s and got to use their own politically preferred names for the units of account, they used their new currency to promote such extreme nationalistic causes as … promoting Esperanto via commemorative coinage. https://en.numista.com/catalogue/pieces6591.html

  69. @PlasticPaddy: here is the Dinneen reference (you need to have a free archive.org account and “check out” the book to look inside.) It reads, in part (my retranscription from Gaelic script):

    múchta, p. a. extinguished, quenched, stifled, smothered; choked, stopped up; stifling, stuffy, close; sunken, sunk in or abandoned to (i) […] m. suas le héadach dála mná an tinncéara, muffled up in clothes like the tinker’s wife; […]

    If Adams purported to copy Dinneen exactly, he (or the typesetter) made a few mistakes. The association with clothing seems unconvincing to me (and why does the tinker’s wife muffle up in clothes?) In any case, the Celtic is an excursion in an attempt to explain the vowel change from i to u. Maybe there’s a better explanation coming from a different direction.

  70. cuchuflete says:
    “What name is used for the skullcap worn by Popes?
    Do Roman Catholics think it’s a hat?

    Google suggests “zucchetto”. Is this different in shape from a yarmulke?”

    It is called a zucchetto and it is worn not only by Popes but also by bishops and monsignors and other clerics and members of religious orders.

    This life-long, practicing Roman Catholic has always thought of it as a hat and I think so does everyone else. Whenever the subject has come up on Catholic blogs and forums its been called a hat (or something like “that little hat the Pope wears”) as far as I can remember.

    Wikipedia says that priests and deacons can also wear the zucchetto but I’ve haven’t seen a regular priest or deacon do so in person. However, when my childhood parish priest was elevated to the rank of monsignor he did begin to wear a zucchetto for mass.

    Among the religious orders, I’ve seen plenty of illustrations of Capuchin friars with zucchettos/zucchetti on their heads but I don’t remember any of the Capuchins I’ve met in real life to have been wearing one.

    P.S. Yes, It’s basically the same shape as a yarmulke.

  71. My understanding is that there is a rigid hierarchy of colors for the zucchettos worn by Catholic priests: white for the pope (and apparently pope emeritus), red (obviously) for cardinals, pink for bishops (and, according to the Web, abbots), black for lower-ranking priests. I’m trying to remember if my grandfather’s close friend, Monsignor Castaldi, wore black or another color. However, my childhood memories of Father Castaldi were probably already after the Catholic Church had moved to deemphasize monsignors (including eliminating some special titles for monsignors), so what he was wearing in the 1980s may not have been indicative of earlier (say, pre-Second-Vatican-Council) garb.

  72. J.W. Brewer says

    The wiki article on “Kippah” contains the following: “The 17th-century authority Rabbi David HaLevi Segal (The “Taz”) holds that the reason is to enforce the Halakhic rule to avoid practices unique to gentiles. Since, he points out, Europeans are accustomed to go bare-headed, and their priests insist on officiating with bare heads, this constitutes a uniquely gentile practice, and therefore Jews would be prohibited from behaving similarly. Thefore he rules that wearing a kippah is required by halacha.” It would appear that the distinguished rabbi in question was unaware not only of zucchettos and birettas but of bishop’s miters (and/or the various Eastern Orthodox analogues).

    There’s also a famous painting of Martin Luther by Cranach in which Luther is wearing a hat, I believe specifically the academic cap his doctorate entitled him to sport. But I don’t know whether he did or didn’t wear it when preaching or performing other ecclesiastical functions indoors. There is indeed a story about Luther’s younger years which presupposes that the custom in those days was for schoolteachers to wear hats (likely indicative of university degrees?) inside while teaching while the students were bareheaded, but Luther’s own teacher at Eisenach (John Trebonius) had the eccentricity of teaching bareheaded out of respect for the students and the social authority and importance they would no doubt come to possess when they were grown up.

  73. As to “Yarmulke” : when I first encountered the English word (more than twenty years ago), I assumed it has something to do with a type of Bulgarian shepherds’ heavy woolen cloak: Yamurluk. I never heard it with connection with Bulgarian Ladino-Sephradic Jewish communities. And I know people, and descendants of them, who did not take the Aliyah, or did not fuck off after the Soviet Union took over, and allowed them to get the fuck out. They tend to not want to share Bulgarian Ladino much. I doubt many would want to share.

    EDIT: When the Soviets took over Bulgaria, most Jews were encouraged to get out.

  74. @J.W. Brewer: I find there is something vaguely disconcerting about Cranach’s paintings of Luther—probably something about the way he depicts Luther’s ample jowls. Cranach the Elder seemed to have a fairly small repertoire of basic faces, which he adapted to the sitters of specific portraits—sometimes very successfully, it appears; but sometimes not.

  75. Luther’s own teacher at Eisenach (John Trebonius) had the eccentricity of teaching bareheaded

    As did Hegel, several centuries later. (I know everybody did by then, but I take any opportunity to share that wonderful image.)

  76. Since, he points out, Europeans are accustomed to go bare-headed, and their priests insist on officiating with bare heads, this constitutes a uniquely gentile practice, and therefore Jews would be prohibited from behaving similarly. Thefore he rules that wearing a kippah is required by halacha.” It would appear that the distinguished rabbi in question was unaware not only of zucchettos and birettas but of bishop’s miters (and/or the various Eastern Orthodox analogues).

    Above, mollymooly points out that the zucchetto is removed when the sacrament is exposed. Maybe that’s what the Rabbi meant, about officiating with bare heads?

  77. This part of the argument doesn’t sound convincing to me:

    if the word came from Turkish then the Poles would have represented that sound in writing, as, e.g., the Italians did when they first wrote down iogurt in the Latin alphabet. But there’s no trace of it in Polish.

    Емурлук is attested in Russian as early as 1634. The soft Turkish ğ had not yet weakened to zero by that time. Also compare ямурлук in Bulgarian. And, of course, zambe(r)lucco or giamberlucco in Italian.

    Perhaps it’s crucial that the ğ in yağmurluk is not intervocalic. Also, a trace of it can be discerned as the l (ł?) in jalmurky, the 1443 occurrence cited by Stachowski.

    “Too early for meaningful Polish-Ottoman contact” is a strong line of argument. But what about earlier Polish-Turkic contact? The Mongol invasion, the Golden Horde, Tokhtamysh’s troops fighting at Tannenberg, Lipka Tatars settling down in Eastern Poland, Lithuania and Belarus – all of that prior to 1443. I don’t know anything about the language of those Turkic speakers but jaɣmur or jamɣur for “rain” can also be found in Chagatay, Uyghur and Karaim, and jamɣurluk means “raincoat” is modern Uyghur.

  78. The semantics are a problem regardless of timing.

  79. Alex K: perhaps it’s crucial that the ğ in yağmurluk is not intervocalic: That might be that, also, but we’re grasping at straws, by this point.

  80. That does not sound convincing to me either, in general, but it depends on the dialect :shrug:

    EDIT: might be any king of a velar or prevelar thing.

  81. @ktschwartz: just for reference, my go-to dictionary (when i’m on a computer) is refoyl finkel’s, which is what i looked at for this. there’s nothing else in there for ‘skullcap’, but reverse-searching “yarmulke” turns up “kapl” (also ‘cap’), which Alon mentioned, and “kolpak” (also ‘lampshade’, ‘dome’).

    i’ll have to ask southern yiddish speakers i know what they grew up hearing: kapl, kolpak, yarmelke, or something else. it’s interesting that yarmlke would be specifically litvish, since older polish-origin vocabulary tends to be pan-(eastern)-yiddish.

    to me, “kipa” is very specifically ivrit, and thus the same kind of marker of zionist institutionalized assimilation/deculturation in yiddish-lineage contexts as “shabbat“.

    and i’d love to know whether other jewish languages have terms that separate out the local versions of ritualized jewish headgear from other hats, caps, &c – and if so, where the words are from. i can’t put my hand on my ladino dictionary right now, which is the only other one i have.

  82. My Ladino dictionary has takya/takye. (There’s a phrase echar la takya ‘renounce Judaism by throwing down your skullcap.’)

  83. Bulgarian wikitionary : The Bulgarian wikitionary describes “теке” as a “soft cap without a periphery”. Ottoman Turkish “takye” normally translates to Modern Bulgarian “теке” with the usual sound changes.

  84. Andrej Bjelaković says

    While we’re on the subject, could anyone recommend an English/Ladino dictionary?

  85. figures that the supposedly turkish-origin yiddish word would actually be latin/romance, and the ladino would be turkish. now we just have to find the slavic source for “takye” and everything will make perfect sense!

  86. PlasticPaddy says

    @Y
    “Last winter we hept ourselves all muffled up like the tinker’s wife”, M. J. Molloy, The Wood of the Whispering, Act III.
    According to Wikipedia, Molloy collected folklore in his area (i.e., near Milltown) of Galway, so I think he got the expression there. I do not know where Dinneen got it.
    To me it seems natural that “tinkers” and other people living in caravans and spending most of the winter days in the open air would want to dress warmly, maybe the men were more macho (or had to do a lot of heavy labour) and wore tee-shirts.
    Thanks for clarifying the Dinneen reference. What triggered me was the spelling mucca or múctha. This is unlikely to be the result of mishearing múchta in anything like the usual pronunciation (ch guttural, t pronounced).

  87. While we’re on the subject, could anyone recommend an English/Ladino dictionary?

    I have the Hippocrene (by Elli Kohen and Dahlia Kohen-Gordon) and am happy with it. (It’s the kind I love, with rambling, discursive explanations and examples.)

  88. @LanguageHat: “The semantics are a problem regardless of timing.”

    Are they really? “Hooded cape” > “hood” > “small cap” doesn’t seem that problematic. Consider Russian еломòк (яломок, ялымок), a dated but well-attested regionalism, and Ukrainian яломòк. All of them appear to be descendants of yağmurluk and all refer to headgear.

  89. I’m not saying it’s not believable, just that it’s enough off that it doesn’t help a dubious reconstruction. Sure, if it’s already clear the word was borrowed from that source, you can provide a plausible chain of development, but if it’s not, that’s a problem. Not a huge problem, just a stumbling block.

  90. Like, if I know for sure that you wrote a letter, then I can explain the fact that it doesn’t sound like you in all sorts of ways — that’s how you get when you haven’t had your breakfast, or you were probably under the influence of that philosopher you sometimes get obsessed with, or whatever. But if I don’t know that you wrote it, then the fact that it doesn’t sound like you is going to make me think you probably didn’t write it.

  91. It’s not clear which item of papal headgear is the “funny hat” he is proverbially supposed to wear. Of the five hats listed at Wikipedia, the Mitre and Zucchetto are not restricted to popes, while the Papal tiara, Camauro, and Cappello romano are no longer worn. Ask not for whom the modus tollens

  92. ktschwarz says
    There *is* a word from Yiddish that the OED accepts as derived from Turkic

    There are definitely other Yiddish words derived from Turkic, though perhaps not noted in the OED. For example, the dish פעטשאַ petscha, from Turkish paça (itself from Persian پاچه pācha). See here.

    languagehat says
    My Ladino dictionary has takya/takye

    From Ottoman Turkish طاقیه takye (modern takke) “skullcap”, ultimately derived from Arabic طاق ṭāq “arch”.

  93. Alex K, thanks, I was about to ask that same question after V brought up the Bulgarian ямурлук. Possibly I didn’t understand Stachowski’s paper in Polish correctly (it’s in LingVaria, where’s Piotr Gąsiorowski when we need him? :); however, here’s a whole book in English on The Treatment of Turkic Etymologies in English Lexicography, by Mateusz Urban but edited by Stachowski, which gives the same argument about ğ.

    Somebody should ask Stachowski if he accepts the Bulgarian, Russian, and Italian words as Turkic borrowings, and if so, why not Polish.

    He does seem to have a mistake in his argument about yogurt: he says that since yogurt didn’t become popular in Europe until after the ğ was no longer pronounced, the g in Western European words for yogurt is due to “Orientalists” who inserted an etymologizing spelling and a spelling pronunciation, and this shows that Europeans are likely to insert a g but not to drop it! Well, it’s true that commercial mass production of yogurt only dates from the late 20th century, but the OED’s entry on yogurt (this is why I was asking) indicates that it was known at least in travellers’ tales in English for a few centuries before that, and the English spelling and pronunciation are a fossil of the old Ottoman pronunciation.

    zambe(r)lucco or giamberlucco in Italian: How did Italian get a z there? This word also showed up in English briefly during the 1600s as gambalocke, probably from the Italian.

  94. E: *Wow*, thanks, that is an excellent tweet-series from @yakabikaj “Professor of sundry Persianate things” (who also tweeted a link back to this very post):

    petscha … The etymology goes Persian > Turkish > Ladino > Yiddish. …

    Though Ladino is basically a Jewish dialect of Old Spanish, it took on Turkish loanwords after tens of thousands of Jews were expelled from the Iberian peninsula in the 1400s and settled in the Ottoman empire. Ladino- and Yiddish-speakers later came into contact in Palestine. …

    Variants of this dish made from boiled sheep’s head + trotters (and sometimes offal) are eaten all over the Balkans, the Caucasus, Middle East, & South Asia. It’s usually known by words for “head & trottters” (like Persian kalla-pācha) or just derivations of the Persian pācha.

    And no, no English dictionary has ever included this word as far as I can find, although it is in Wikipedia: P’tcha.

  95. Thanks, nice to see LH tweeted about! I liked this too:

    My best friend is taking a grad seminar called “What is Time?” I begged him to show up on the first day and announce, in a Russian accent, “time is 9:30” but he wouldn’t go for it

  96. I was thinking of Martin Luther’s appearance yesterday, and today I was reminded of another depiction of Luther—although obviously not a series of life portraits like Cranach’s—the one in the 1953 film Martin Luther,* where he was played by Niall MacGinnis with minimal jowls and wigs in several different styles. It is probably one of the two roles most associated with MacGinnis, the other being Zeus in Jason and the Argonauts—in which he also wears a silly-looking wig. MacGinnis was actually a really interesting guy, who went back and forth between making his living as an actor and a surgeon several times.

    * That Wikipedia page includes this gem:

    The film failed to be approved by Quebec’s film censorship board, which was made up entirely of French-speaking Catholics, because Luther’s radical teachings remained as heretical in 1953 as they were in the 16th century, and thus was never released in Quebec’s movie theaters; it could be seen there only in the basements of Protestant churches.

  97. About Hegel teaching in Berlin. Can we say that someone not wearing a headgear is in fact covered by zero-hat? Like there is a zero derivation or zero morpheme and other imagined objects. This means that most people in the West nowdays wear zero-hats unless it is cold.

    A head covering vaguely similar to yarmulke is tubeteika, the word whose place in English language is somewhat murky. There are 96 pages listed by Google with this word, Wiki basically says that it is a Russian word without providing an English translation, GT gives generic skullcap. Etymology is from Tatar түбәтәй which comes from ??? It is not exactly a taqiyah, but close, maybe even closer than yarmulke.

  98. I have one of those too!

  99. J.W. Brewer says

    We just need someone to explain (for the benefit of those slow on the uptake who do not find it intuitive) why the zero-hat “is a useful concept in analysis.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_(linguistics)

  100. I have one of those too!

    A tubeteika, or just a zero-hat?

  101. why the zero-hat “is a useful concept in analysis.”

    I mean, did you look at that picture of Hegel? The first thought one has “it really would be better if he were wearing a hat”.

  102. A tubeteika, or just a zero-hat?

    A tubeteika. I have zero zero-hats. I think.

  103. The Doppa (Uzbek: دوپپا, Uighur: دوپپا, Doppa) is a square or round skullcap originating in Central Asia, worn by Uzbeks, Uyghurs, Kazan Tatars and Tajiks. The doppa means “hat” in Uzbek, whereas in Uyghur it specifically refers to Doppa, not other types of hats. The hat is derived from the Khwarazmians, more pointed, ancestral cap, which can be seen in some of the portraits of Jalaleddin Mingburnu. Differences between Uzbek and Uyghur Doppas can be observed from their shape, method of making, and colour. Uyghur Doppas are round, whereas Uzbek doppas are square with pointy edges. Uyghur Doppas are relatively softer, while Uzbek doppas are slightly harder and set into shape with mold.

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

  104. Going way back to Owlmirror’s first comment, the only instance I can definitely remember hearing yarmulke pronounced is in “The Hanukkah Song” by Adam Sandler, where he uses it as a near rhyme for Hanukkah (and “fun-ukah”, “marijuana-kah”, etc.). He does pronounce it like “yamaka” there.

  105. Lars Mathiesen says

    I presume that zeroes are what allows people to believe in X-bars, and such people find that useful? (I don’t see the word hat in the article, but I can see the use of claiming to be wearing a zero one if hats are de rigueur, and not if not. Unless it rains).

  106. Түбәтәй (тюбетей) түбәгә генә кейә торған түңәрәк баш кейеме – круглая шапочка, облегающая темя. От түбә “холм” + словообразовательный аффикс -тәй. В диал. (дем., средн.), кәләпүш, калапуш (дем., кызыл.), кәпәс (кызыл.), таҡыя (кызыл., средн.), теүәтәй (аргаяш., кызыл., миасс., средн.), тибетей (сев.-зап.), таҡыя диал. (дем., кызыл.) [БТДҺ, с. 301]. Ср. тат.: түбәтәй (тат. лит.), түбитий (кас.), тәбәтәй (чст., бараб. диал.), төбәтәй (приур.), төбәкәй (менз., приур., оренб.), тебет’ий (перм.). Бытует в диалектах казахского языка: тобатай, чув. туппетей, кирг. тебетей. Восходит к общетюркск. төбә, тәбә − холм, выпуклость, вершина [Шипова, 1976: с. 339, Севортян, 1980: с. 199, Ахметьянов, 1978: с.119]. Слово проникло и в соседние финно-угорские языки: у восточных марийцев тÿбäтäй – тюбетейка, ермолка [Рамазанова, 2002: с. 117-118].

    https://bashedu.ru/sites/default/files/dissovets_files/disrab/dissertaciya_shamigulovoy_a.t..pdf

  107. ” It is not exactly a taqiyah, but close, maybe even closer than yarmulke.”

    Lets do not forget chechia then:

    Le mot chéchia désigne au Maghreb et en Égypte la calotte que l’on pose sur la tête et autour de laquelle on a longtemps roulé une pièce d’étoffe pour former le turban. La tradition fait remonter la fabrication de ce couvre-chef à Kairouan, au deuxième siècle de l’hégire (IXe siècle) ; il tire toutefois son nom de l’adjectif dérivé de Shash[4], nom de l’actuelle Tachkent en Ouzbékistan. On lit dans l’ouvrage du voyageur maghrébin Ibn Battûta (lors de son séjour à Chiraz vers 1327) :

    « Le lendemain, un envoyé du roi de l’Irak, le sultan Abou-Saïd Bahadour, arriva près du cheïkh : c’était Nâcir eddîn Addarkandy, l’un des principaux émirs, originaire du Khorâçân. Lorsqu’il approcha du cheïkh, il ôta de dessus sa tête sa châchiiah, que les Persans appellent calâ[5],[6]. »

  108. Huh. One of my grandfathers apparently always wore a shashiyya tunsi; I would never have guessed the word had an Uzbek connection.

    “One of the most prestigious professions in Tunisia during the eighteenth century was the manufacturing of the shashiyya… Introduced into Tunisia by the Andalusian immigrants, the shashiyya industry continued to be dominated by them, although during the eighteenth century they were not the only ones engaged in it. This industry was concentrated in the capital.”

  109. I have no insight on the matter, and this may not necessarily reflect his current scholarship (which would be good to know), but a bibliographic note in history of scholarship. Letter to the editor, NY Times, April 2, 1986 by David L. Gold:

    To the Editor:

    It is time to lay to rest the folk etymology of the word ”yarmulke,” as erroneous as it is widespread, that it ”may be derived from the Hebrew words meaning ‘awe of the king’ ” (news story on Supreme Court decision upholding a military ban on wearing skullcaps, March 26).It is from Yiddish, from one or more Slavic languages, derived from a Turkic language. Hebrew is completely irrelevant. DAVID L. GOLD Brooklyn, March 27, 1986 The writer is president of the Association for the Study of Jewish Languages.

  110. David Eddyshaw says

    I am currently wearing, not a linguist’s Zero Hat, but a mathematician’s Null Hat. They are quite different.

  111. I would think so, but we really need Ø to weigh in on this.

  112. I believe the null hat is these days mainly donned by logicians; most mathematicians prefer, rather, the trivial hat.

  113. By the way.
    Another Slavic word with a similar meaning (felt hat, Jewish and not only):

    Russian yelomók / yalomók

  114. @DE, J Pystynen,
    How do you treat absence of null, zero, trivial and other hats?
    Do you introduce a next degree zero, or do you use [zero hat] for absence of [null hat] or [trivial hat] if you are a linguist, [null hat] for absence of [zero hat] if you are a logician/mathematician and so on?

  115. Vasmer:

    еломо́к, -мка́ ‘Käppchen, Kapuze’, geht wohl wie ермо́лка (s.u.) auf osman. usw. jaɣmurluk zurück, s. Brückner EW. 198; nicht möglich ist die Herleitung aus ahd. hëlm (gegen Korsch Igorl. XXXI) und diejenige aus kirg. jüleme ‘Filzzelt’ (Gegen Gorjajev Dop. 2, 11).

    ермо́лка ‘Kappe, Scheitelkappe, jüdische Hauskappe’, ukr. jarmúłka, wruss. jarmółka, poln. jamułka, jarmułka (15.—18. Jhdt.), aruss. jemurlukъ ‘Regenmantel’ (17. Jhdt., s. Srezn. Wb. 1,827). Aus osman. jaɣmurluk ‘Regenmantel’: jaɣmur ‘Regen’, dschag. jamɣurluk (Radloff Wb. 3,55 ff.; 310), s. Brückner EW. 198, KZ. 45,294, Karłowicz 228. Unrichtig Verf. GrslEt. 61.

    яломо́к ‘Filzmütze der Juden’ (Gogol’), s. еломо́к (oben 1, 397).

    (in Russian: https://gufo.me/search?term=еломок)

  116. I was about to say shame on the New York Times for spreading that “awe of the king” myth — but they were quoting a rabbi, and I can’t blame the journalist for trusting a rabbi uncritically. But the rabbi wasn’t an etymologist, or maybe there’s a slight chance he was doing a backronym-to-teach-a-moral-lesson bit without meaning it literally.

    And yes, David L. Gold did change his mind between 1986 and 1987; he says so in the issue of Jewish Language Review where he originally published the Struminsky article (and he quotes the same Vasmer entry that was quoted just above). His opinion as of 2013 is given in LingVaria, linked above.

  117. (much less for young girls as in Russian churches).

    A friend of mine as a teenager obtained a permission (or a clarification) from a bishop not to cover her head (and maybe also wear trousers).

  118. Zero Hood ®

    A word I found when looking up подшлемник in Multitran. It is an excellent something-to Russian dictionary when you need to translate a text from English to your good or native Russian. Among 70 possible translations of an Englsih phrase to Russian there can be one that matches the English phrase just perfectly… in the context. And often it simply does not occur to you. Multitran can remind you of it.
    But when you need to know “how do they say […]?”, it is difficult to use.

    So maybe this “zero hood” is actually used in the jargon of people dealing with industrial safety for helmet lining, or maybe it is just a registered trademark.

    Multitran, and an example.

  119. Wow. I actually put Multitran on my sidebar at some point, presumably having been impressed by a search like you just showed, but then I forgot about it. I’m going to try to remember, because that’s a terrific translation site.

  120. Lars Mathiesen says

    My mother, born 1935, did the headscarf and sunglasses thing well into the 60s. And as she tells it, as a teen she was not allowed out of the house without a proper hat, at least not in the company of her own mother, much less in church.

    Also den lille rødhætte is wearing some sort of short hooded cape, I think — or is that just how Doré drew her? The German film treatment I just found has a cap, but very voluminous and not much like a yarmulke in any case.

  121. Trond Engen says

    I learned in school around 1980 that men uncover their heads in the presence of God or the king. The teacher also told that women traditionally cover their heads for the same occasions, but that this was no longer observed except maybe by older women in church. Still, I distinctly remember my mother (b. 1943) and friends, in what must have been the early seventies, discussing whether it was proper to go to town vithout a hat or a headscarf. But for them this was more about dressing properly for the occasion than being properly dressed. By 1980 none of them would even consider it, except that the headsccarf might be used on windy days. But my grandmother (1906-1987) would certainly not go to town or to the corner shop without covering her head.

  122. John Cowan says

    So maybe this “zero hood” is actually used in the jargon of people dealing with industrial safety for helmet lining, or maybe it is just a registered trademark.

    It was apparently a trademark for a thermal lining to protect a helmet wearer from the cold, but it was canceled in the U.S., at a guess because it was genericized.[*] I think Zero in Zero Hood refers literally to 0 deg. F ~= -18 C, but figuratively means “freezing cold”, that being the recommended temperature of food freezers as a compromise between longer preservation and energy efficiency.

    [*] There is still a trademark “Net Zero Hood”, but this refers to the kind of hood you have above a stove.

  123. Stu Clayon says

    Multitran

    Playing with it a little, starting with the linked подшлемник, I found this for подшлеп:

    inform. shuffle; smack; spank slightly; walk in a dragging manner

    Looks like both schleppen and “slap” are involved. “I gave the kid a slap and he shlepped off”.

  124. Stu Clayton says

    Why is my innocuous comment in moderation ? Because I copied-and-pasted two Russian words into it ??

    Is there no way to “escape” text so that the spam filter will lay off it ? This is the kind of thing that moves people to complain about the nanny state.

  125. Simmer down, soldier. Your comment will appear when the General Staff approves it, and not a second sooner. Now eat your gruel.

  126. <code> works for multiple hyperlinks (of course rendering them unleftclicable).

  127. Stu Clayton says

    Multitran

    Playing with it a little, starting with the linked подшлемник, I found this for подшлеп :

    inform. shuffle; smack; spank slightly; walk in a dragging manner

    Looks like both schleppen and “slap” are involved. “I gave the kid a slap and he shlepped off”.

    [Thanx drasvi, that’s the kind of “escape” mechanism I was looking for. The result don’t walk in beauty like the night, but it’ll do.]

  128. “The semantics are a problem regardless of timing.”

    I do not think so. You can name MANY words that underwent the very same coat-headgear development, including words that began as Euro-coat and landed as Turco-cap.

    Voilá:

    Disputed. The leading theory is that it is perhaps the shortened form of capitulāre (“head tax”), from caput, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *káput-. Another theory derives it from Ancient Greek
    Alternative: capa
    cappa 1. (Late Latin) cape, sleeveless coat

    Now let us make a hat: cappa > chape > шапка > شاپقه‎

  129. Ah! Alex K. already mentioned еломок.

    0 deg. F.” – wow. I did not think about temperature at all! And I did not know that 0 has a figurative Fahrenheit meaning. The ‘freezing point’ (0 C) is figurative on its own, if I were analyzing a figurative 0 i would likely have connected it to freezing (you too refer to ‘freezing” in “freezing cold”).

  130. voilà, of course.

  131. The root шлеп-/шлёп- refers to the sound of spanking, slapping lightly or dropping something wet and soft and to the action of spanking [butt] or slapping something with this sound. The Butt just sounds right and for most people it is also the first acquitance with the verb.

    отшлёпать resultative “to spank out” (“I spanked her” [one session]).
    шлёпнуть [по ….] “to slap lighly once with your hand [on [a body part or an object]]”.
    шлёпнуться “to fall/be dropped with this sound”, figuratively just to fall/be dropped.
    Imperfective (to slap/spank often/continuously) is шлёпать / шлёпаться.

    The meaning of slapping one’s face (a rude gesture) is expressed differently: “to give an on-cheek-er” or “to hit/strike someone on cheek”, шлёпнуть по щеке describes the physical action of giving a light slap on a cheek for unknown purpose.

    The verb also means walking in a way that you produce such sounds (particularly in шлёпать по лужам, “… on puddles”). Various types of slippers including, but not limited to vietnamki (“flip-flops”) are commonly called shlyópantsy or (a shortened version) shlyópki’.

    Also (but it is unrelated to подшлёпывать) we invent euphemisms for walking/going. Someone can say poshlyópali for “let’s go!” (but also pochapali or poskakali or popizdyukhali and many other things).

    Cf. a joke popular in 90s about a German alpinist leading a German-Russian group. The punchline is “Helicopter nicht, popistofali” ( popizdovali with German accent). https://www.anekdot.ru/id/-9938125/
    As a German he tries to do things properly. As a sportsman [note “experienced”] he is ready for the plan B. The switch of plans is paralleled by the switch of registers.

  132. @ktschwarz: “zambe(r)lucco or giamberlucco in Italian: How did Italian get a z there?”

    I’m not sure how but consider the most common etymology of Zanni, a type from the commedia dell’arte: a Bergamese or Venetian variation of Giovanni or Gianni.

  133. amice
    made in China

    If THIS thing became yarmulke it would be another exmaple of coat-to-cap shift (in addition to cap).

    I promiced many, here you are:

    mantum (the source of Persian manteau, Russian mantilla. Un manteau is what women in Tehran actually wear, as for Russian I am kidding: we know it from скинь мантилью ангел милый и явись как яркий день, сквозь чугунные перилы ножку дивную продень)
    Fr. capote (already means both things)
    hoodie

  134. I do not think so. You can name MANY words that underwent the very same coat-headgear development, including words that began as Euro-coat and landed as Turco-cap.

    As I said above, the problem isn’t that it’s impossible, the problem is that it’s not transparent. If you know one word descended from the other, then sure, there are parallels. If you don’t, it’s a problem. To repeat myself:

    Like, if I know for sure that you wrote a letter, then I can explain the fact that it doesn’t sound like you in all sorts of ways — that’s how you get when you haven’t had your breakfast, or you were probably under the influence of that philosopher you sometimes get obsessed with, or whatever. But if I don’t know that you wrote it, then the fact that it doesn’t sound like you is going to make me think you probably didn’t write it.

  135. jaɣmurluk appears (and it must be obvious to German, Russian and Yiddish speakers) because it perfectly matches yarmulke

    ɣ is an uvular fricative. r in Yiddish is often also an uvular fricative.

    Thus French transcriptions of Kabyle /ɣ/ (an uvular trill, often labialized, phonemically a /ɣ/ by virtue of its contrast with the alvelolar sound) have r.

    Moreover -ka means the same thing as -luk.

    Vitautas invited Crimean Jews and Karaites, so they arrived in Lithuania starting from 1390s and in the first half of 15th century. Lithuania also founded Crimean khanate:) Or well, Haji Girei (Belorussia-born), a protege of Janike (WP does not have an article about her!) arrived with Lithuanian army to Crimea to become a khan in 1440.
    As far as I know, in modern Lithuanian Karaim ɣ is exactly uvular fricative.

    Now, Struminski:

    The earliest evidence for the word in Yiddish is indirect: the accusative singular form jermylku is found in a register of gifts to the Crimean Khan and his men by the Lithuanian envoy, Prince Siemion Bielski, written in southwestern White Ruthenian in 1541–1543 (Akty, otnosjaščiesja k istorii Zapadnoj Rossii, vol. II, St. Petersburg 1848, p. 382). …. Northeastern Yiddish yarmolka has its model in the Lithuanian Polish form jarmołka (attested for 1582 in M. Stryjkowski, who lived in Lithuania); this Lithuanian Polish form is also the etymon of White Ruthenian jarmołka.

    And above people said that the Yiddish word is specifically Litvak.

    —-

    Now the problems:

    1. I think Lithuanian Tatars were mostly (but not exclusively) Kipchak speakers? Karaim “rain” is janɣur/yamɣur.
    2. there is an assortment of different forms.

    I do not mean by this that the etymology is “good”. Phonetically it is, but I think we need to study historical and philological evidence closely before evaluating anything.

  136. @LH, yes, I read one of the referenced articles (they are interesting) and browsed 4 more, and I am in the middle of this thread, so I just read that comment. But:

    • Semantic: The Latin word already meant ‘hood, cape’; a shift from ‘raincoat’ to ‘hat’ is not impossible, but there’s no evidence that the word ever meant that in Polish. […]

    “cape” is not “cap”. A raincoat is a hooded cape:(

  137. David Marjanović says

    r in Yiddish is often also an uvular fricative.

    Yes, but when did that start?

    Uvular trills and fricatives are pretty newfangled in German; apart from one valley in Carinthia and presumably a few other scattered exceptions like that, it’s been spreading for 200 years or less.

  138. The word domino has gone from meaning a cloak worn with a mask (OED: “a kind of loose cloak, apparently of Venetian origin, chiefly worn at masquerades, with a small mask covering the upper part of the face, by persons not personating a character”), to the mask itself (“sometimes applied to the half-mask itself”); I think the the OED‘s “sometimes” underestimates the relative frequency of the second usage, but it looks like that description is from the nineteenth century. When I mentioned the outfit (as a way of evoking a Renaissance Italian flavor for the setting), I made sure to mention both the masks and cloak elements, to make sure there was no confusion.

    They were about to ride on, when three masked figures suddenly emerged from the side door of one of the buildings. They stepped forward to block Damel’s and Lyka’s way, their fawn-hued dominoes trailing behind them in the dust. They wore no coat of arms, but beneath their voluminous cloaks, Damel saw the outlines of scabbarded swords.

  139. “Yes, but when did that start?”

    This question also occured to me, and I simply do not know.

    Funny r’s (subjectively the range is wide) are a part of Russian Jewish accent. Uvular fricatives and trills are hard to make and in Jewish jokes as told by Russians the accent is usually imitated by approximants. Jews (who tell Jewishs jokes much more often) also imitate Jewish accent but differently (or else they would sound funny:)).

  140. drasvi: amice; made in China: That’s not the same word, it’s a homonym. That amice (“a liturgical garment worn mainly in the Western Catholic Church … a separate, rectangular piece of linen worn across the shoulders and fastened around the back and waist”) is amice (1) in the OED, derived from French, from Latin amictus ‘clothed’.

    The English word that descends from the proposed Latin source of yarmulke is amice (2), “A hood, cape, or similar garment made of or lined with grey fur and worn by a member of a religious order (esp. a canon).” Also found in English as aumusse and almuce. In fact, the OED explains the change of the u in this word to i as due to confusion with the other amice, because “both words could denote garments covering either the head only, or the head and shoulders … and were often used in ecclesiastical contexts.”

    In any case, current usage is irrelevant: we need evidence of what was meant in Latin, in Poland, before 1443, by almucia or whatever variants were in use in that place at that time.

  141. In any case, current usage is irrelevant: we need evidence of what was meant in Latin, in Poland, before 1443, by almucia or whatever variants were in use in that place at that time.

    Agree! Personally I think that these articles raise several extremely interesting questions (necessary for anyone who wants to evaluate both proposals – but extremely interesting per se!), starting from what you just said.

  142. Stephen Carlson says

    Not Poland unfortunately but the British Academy’s Dictionary of Medieval Latin according to British Sources has this entry for ‘almucia’:

    almucia, ~ium [etym.dub.; (?) infl. by amictus] , almuce, hood.
    nullus clericorum de superiori gradu ~ia utatur nisi nigra Offic. Sal. 19; a1272 capucium ‥ / alioquin dequadratur, / de quadrato rotundatur, / transit in almucium Pol. Songs 53; 1277 almiciis ‥ linitis sindone non utantur Doc. Eng. Black Monks 65; 1283 penulas ‥ amiciarum caprinas esse volumus vel agninas MonA VI 1332; accipiens ‥ pallium et ~iam super caput suum Obs. Barnwell 122; c1300 in yeme tamen, urgente frigore de nocte, liceat illis gestare ~ia simplicia de panno nigro ultra colli medium protensa Reg. S. Paul. 67; habeat in capite pileum foderatum; ‥ et sit quasi ~ium descendens usque ad spatulas Gad. 133 v. 2; s1330 quesivit episcopus ‥ in quali habitu esset [apostata]; et responsum est quod in tunica de burneto et ~ia sine cuculla Thorne 2057; ~ie due, una sc. furrata ‥ et alia non furrata Cust. Cant. 401; 1331 superpelliciis et aumuciis induti matutinas ‥ dicant MonA VI 705; c1335 almicias nigras nigris fururis furratas Eng. Clergy 269; 1336 pro factura ‥ v amuciarum Ac. Durh. 533; 1366 non capucia sed ~ia vel birreta tenentes in capite Reg. Aberd. II 4; 1397 presbiteri per totam villam incedentes amisiis utuntur, quin verius abutuntur, nulla auctoritate abbatis Reg. Heref. 141; 1400 pro j superpellicio, ij amusiis Test. Ebor. III 13; 1406 in habitu decente, saltem in superpelliciis et nigra almusia furrata de pellibus agninis Midlothian 315; amuce, almicium PP; 1451 puniant illos qui viciosi fuerint ‥ portare ‥ ~ia alba sive rubea, sive de panno vel de tela (Abbr. Stat.) Mon. Francisc. II 89; 1453 tibi ‥ nunc abbati ‥ licenciam damus uti hujusmodi ~ia instar decani ecclesie collegiate Cart. Osney III 95.

    This word gets around. ‘Almucia’ is also the source of Swedish ‘mössa’, a knit cap worn in the winter which some people in North America call a ‘toque’.

  143. I’m pleased to see it’s online: almucia.

  144. drasvi: r in Yiddish is often also an uvular fricative. — But that’s not relevant since everyone agrees the word was borrowed into Polish first, then from Polish into Yiddish. And Polish (if I understand correctly) has never had a voiced velar or uvular fricative.

    (Also, you don’t know that it was a uvular fricative in Ottoman Turkish. We just went through this.)

    What nobody has come out and said yet — too obvious to mention? — is that Poland had been a Roman Catholic country for centuries already by 1443, and Latin was and is the leading source of loans into Polish, and hence a likely place to look for the source of a word for a clerical garment. Polish does have borrowings from Turkic languages, but on a smaller scale; in the Wiktionary category Polish terms derived from Ottoman Turkish, around half the words are actually via Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, or Hungarian. (One example directly into Polish from Turkish: kawa ‘coffee’.)

    For Russian and especially Bulgarian, it’s the other way around: borrowing a word for a Roman Catholic clerical garment seems a lot less likely, just because of the social history, than borrowing something from Turkish. However, the Russian or Bulgarian words probably aren’t the source of the Polish word, since (going by what Alex K said) they are only documented *later* than the Polish word.

    But those are all just general likelihoods and not actual evidence. This is starting to look undecidable. I don’t know if I believe Stachowski’s phonological argument about the g anymore, since as Alex K pointed out, yogurt is not analogous.

  145. A naive question: why did the stress shift from the second, penultimate syllable in Polish and the three Eastern Slavic languages to the first syllable in Yiddish?

    Struminsky mentions prince Siemion Bielski (aka Semen Belsky), an interesting character whose life was an adventure novel. In the 1480s, Belsky’s father, Feodor, switched allegiance from the Grand Duke of Lithuania to the Grand Prince of Moscow. In 1534, Semen fled back to Lithuania and was initially well received by Sigismund I, the Grand Duke and the Kind of Poland. After that, Semen spent years trying to get the Crimean Khan to attack Muscovy.

    The list of gifts to the Khan and his men might be related to those attempts. The hat in question was presented to one of the Khan’s grooms, the one assigned to Semen’s mission. It’s called ермылка с перлы – with pearls – and it cost 40 golden coins (probably zlotys) to have made. That sounds like a pretty expensive piece: one marten coat from the same list is valued at 16 zlotys, another one for 30 zlotys; a sapphire ring is estimated at 30 zlotys.

    Struminsky then argues:

    …the y [ы] can be explained only as a borrowing of the presumed Southern Yiddish form at the time, i.e., I assume that the /u/ (which may still have been the stressed syllable of the Yiddish word) had been fronted and unrounded by then in Southern Yiddish…

    With all respect to the late scholar, isn’t it a bit of a stretch?

  146. Trond Engen says

    Stephen Carlson: Swedish ‘mössa’, a knit cap worn in the winter

    Yes, but traditionally all sorts of cap. Here’s maybe the most famous of them all, Emil’s mysse (in Småland dialect).

  147. John Cowan says

    why did the stress shift from the second, penultimate syllable in Polish and the three Eastern Slavic languages to the first syllable in Yiddish?

    Because Germanicses luv us our initial stress, which we may even have picked up long and long and long ago from Uralicseses. English has so many borrowings that the default stress for unknown words is now penultimate, and elsewhere in Greater Germania the Fremdwörter often keep their stresses, but otherwise initial stress is where it’s at, baby.

  148. warning: mild crankiness ahead.

    I can’t blame the journalist for trusting a rabbi uncritically

    i can! i think the journalistic practice of taking just about anything a religious professional says about just about anything as a truth not to be factchecked or even marked as an uninformed opinion is actually a major problem in all kinds of ways. and it’s damn near universal in u.s. media (and my impression is, elsewhere as well).

    i find it hard to take seriously any argument about “yarmulke” that hinges on the “r” or “l”, since i’ve never heard either consonant used in the wild. which is contemporary data and not particularly admissible, of course. but i think is worth taking as seriously as anything else that’s been said about that “ɣ”. my money, aftselakhis, would be on the latin etymon overlaid with a spelling based on the turkish one.

    and let’s please not get started on the various yiddish “r”s, which are varied enough geographically, socially, and chronologically (and are they clearly documented? /cackles in laughably small early-modern corpus/) to be unlikely to yield anything coherent enough to support or undermine anyone’s position on the latin-cape/ottoman-raincoat question.

    /end mild crankiness

  149. ….[290] And a certain nigh dignitary, just, worthy, frank, generous and valiant, became powerful in Morocco. And the king, who was pleased by the prowess [295] and service of such a man, would gladly have retained him to serve and honor his court. And the latter strove, for he knew how to do that, to protect his lord [300] and to honor and serve him well and willingly, and to keep him in his best state and the best renown that he saw him in. [305] One day he presented himself to him and like a worthy and well-bred man he said to him: “Lord, I was born and made only to serve you and to give [my service] and please you and hold you dear, with no deceit; [310] and if power is not enough for me, I am not lacking in heart or good sense. So that, among the other honors which you have bestowed on me, I would ask you, in case I suffer [315] misfortune or abasement, that you remember what good things I have said and done for you.”
    ” ‘And the king, who was always pleased by good deeds, said to him, “Friend [320] almassor, dear good friend, if ever a lord should congratulate himself on his vassal, I should, and I do so freely because of you. So I want you yourself to choose [take] [325] your honor and reward.” And he, who was well-prepared for some time, had had a head-dress, attractive and becoming and of a fine red color, which the pagans call almussa. [330] [And he said to the king. “I would like you to place it on my head with your own hand, so that one may know without doubt that] I have won it through prowess and as a sign of nobility and honor to my lineage. [335] And let no one else dare wear it for a single day on account of his high birth or his might. And if anyone does so, let him not return except on pain of losing all his reputation.” [340] The gift was, as….


    E sel que fon apparelhatz
    avia d’un temps un capel
    vermelh azaut e gent e bel
    almussa l’apelan payan.
    : de vostra man
    …..
    e.g.

  150. PlasticPaddy says

    @jc, alex
    The stress shift jarMULka => JARmulka does require more of an explanation (compare Ger. HaLUNKe). Maybe the first element was interpreted as year/ear (e.g., assimilation to Yid. jarmark). There is a general bias against stressed syllables with short vowels, but this bias is not observed in Halunke or I imagine in Yiddish words of Slavic, Romance or Hebrew origins (iVRIT, anyone).

  151. David Marjanović says

    Yiddish routinely takes Hebrew words, reduces the vowel in the last syllable, and stresses the penultimate.

    There is a general bias against stressed syllables with short vowels

    No. First the vowels in stressed open syllables were all lengthened, then heavy unstressed syllables attracted stress as in lebendig, Holunder, Wacholder, Forelle or no doubt Halunke, all of which have penultimate stress now (except I wonder about Switzerland). 17th-century prescriptivists witnessed the latter change and found it strange.

    (“live” adj., “elderflower/-berry”, “juniper”, “trout”, “villain”.)

  152. I think that both etymologies can be wrong.

    But that’s not relevant since everyone agrees the word was borrowed into Polish first, then from Polish into Yiddish. And Polish (if I understand correctly) has never had a voiced velar or uvular fricative.

    @ktschwarz, first attested in texts from Cracow and Warszaw.
    In Latin texts, alongside with caliga and tunica for boots and… jackets?

    As jalmurky and yalmvncha. One approaching regional conventions, and one approaching Western conventions.

    Let us present facts as facts and interpretations as interpretations:)

    google books 1443
    dictionary 1458

    Tunice stricte *muliebre al. nyewyeshcze, yelmvncha rubea, manutergio et podvyyka
    transcription: niewieście, podwijka
    elsewhere
    … ¢muliebre albo nyewyesche, yelmvncha rubea, manutergio et podvyyka

  153. • Formal: The addition of j- at the beginning is consistent with other Polish borrowings from Latin, and the addition of the Polish noun-forming suffix -ka is also consistent with other Polish headgear names.

    A note (not an objection) here: You won’t find those j- words in a dictionary. E.g. Słovnik staropolski does not have jamioł “angel”, but only has jamioła a variant of jemioła, “mistletoe” (PBS *emela > Rus. omela, Lithuanian ãmalas). Brückner gives:
    Jagnieszka (15400 google hits today… recently it was 3090:/ Hm. )
    jagwint ‘adwent’

    It is a continuation of a proto-Slavic phenomenon and I do not know how it is limited geographically and chronologically. Literary Polish did not allow it in loans (in writing at least). Brückner also menions h- “from 15th and especially 16th c.”.
    But it is normal for Sorbian: jandźel.

    Sorbian is worth of a note too: do not forget that in the Middle Ages everythign east of Elbe spoke Slavic. It must have played a role in German-to Slavic borrowing.

  154. The word discussed by Struminski is in https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wokabularz_trydencki (the oldest extant Polish dictionary). What is written is more like:
     Tÿara yalıııııııza
    with a line above ııııız which modern editors interpret as “Tyara yalmũicza” (omission of n).

    The edition of the codex is
    „Liber disparata antiqua continens”. Alexandro Masoviensi episcopo Tridentino dicatus, E. Winkler (ed.) Elementa ad fontium editiones, t. 2, Romae 1960.
    The dictionary is published as a photograph (Tab. X, fol 82 v. pars superior – 8th line, left. Libgen has the pdf (p220))

    Editions of the dictionary as such (e.g Il più antico dizionario latino-polacco (del 1424), E. Winkler (ed.), „Ricerche Slavistiche”, 8, 1960, pp. 96–111) are not available to me… apart of the Polish edition (the link can be found in the WP article).

  155. And: Polish dictionaries have an entry

    yarmuluk, explained as “double barracan” (fabric!). And it seems, Bulgarian and Romanian have variants jamurluk/jarmuluk, in various spellings with various first vowels (for both fabric and raincoat)…
    Even in Russian. Which is not surprising.

    IF this fabric was known to users of “yarmulka”, it would be interpreted as “a thing made of yarmuluk”:-/

    For a Russian speaker Yermolka is absolutely a hypocoristic of Yermola “Hermolaus”. The name was popular.
    IF it was also popular where the word appeared, local Slavic speakers also heard “Yermolka” in “yermolka”:/


    The more the merrier!

  156. Another word to my cape-cap list in a comment by DE:
    *birros “short”
    > Lat birrus a cloak to keep off rain, made of silk or wool
    > > English (learned) 1. A coarse kind of thick woollen cloth, worn by the poor in the Middle Ages. 2. A woollen cap or hood worn over the shoulders or head.

  157. J.W. Brewer says

    Other cap-like lexical descendants of “birrus” are said to include “beret” and “biretta.”

  158. Thence also:

    Arabic burnus (and Berber abeṛnus): a kind of woolen cloak
    Siwi abərnus: a baby’s hood

  159. “E: There are definitely other Yiddish words derived from Turkic, though perhaps not noted in the OED. For example, the dish פעטשאַ petscha, from Turkish paça (itself from Persian پاچه pācha).”

    And the Greeks have the audacity to eat it in the form of a soup, rather than aspic.

    BTW, the more popular pronunciation in modern Bulgarian seems tAke (where the capital letter stands for the stress), for the hat, based on some asking — from Takye.

  160. A few comments on modern pronunciation:

    1) In Dictionary of Jewish Words, Jewish Publication Society, 2006, ed. Joyce Eisenberg+Ellen Scolnic

    yarmulke n. Yiddish (YAH-mih-kah) The small, round head covering worn by Jews as a symbol of respect and religious observance.This word is not used much anymore; it has been replaced by the Hebrew kippah.

    I . . . guess I might have heard it like that? No hint of the “r” or “l” consonants being pronounced, I note.

    2) In The Joys of Yiddish, 1968, ed. Leo Rosten:

    yarmulkah
    yarmulke

    Pronounced YAHR-m’l-keh, to rhyme with ‘bar culpa.’ From a Tartar word, via the Polish, for skullcap.

    [Rosten discusses wearing a yarmulkah as tradition vs actual religious requirement]

    The current custom is:

    (a) Traditional Orthodox males wear a yarmulkah at home and at work, no less than in the synagogue, to remind them of whom they stand before at every moment.

    (b) Other religious males wear a yarmulkah in the synagogue, while studying sacred texts, and while engaged in a religious ritual at home.

    (c) Reform Jews, in western Europe and in America, do not wear a yarmulkah at all, although their opposition to this practice has somewhat abated.

    (d) Nonreligious Jews may don a yarmulkah for a brith, Bar Mitzva, wedding, funeral — for a combination of reasons: as pure sentiment; as a concession to tradition; to please their elders; to add a note of ceremonial solemnity.

    Since the yarmulkah has become the outwardly recognizable symbol of the Jew, the rabbis who participate in civil rights marches (including Reform rabbis) often wear yarmulkahs to serve as an identification of their faith.

    I wonder if older people might have used that pronunciation. Well, not as best I can recall.

    3) The New Joys of Yiddish, 2003, ed. Leo Rosten+R. O. Blechman

    yarmulke
    yarmulkah
    yarmlke
    yarmulka

    Pronounced YAHR-m’l-keh, to rhyme with “bar culpa.” Derivation uncertain.* The Hebrew word for skullcap is kippah (KEEP-ah).

    [The entry is shortened from the original. I’m surprised that the pronunciation was not modified for the new edition.]
    __________________________
    *: Sholom Aleichem wrote (Yidishes Folksblat, 1884) that yarmulke derives from the Hebrew yaray may-Elo’ah (fear of God), according to Macy Nulman (The Encyclopedia of the Sayings of the Jewish People, Jason Aronson, 1997). “Others,” Nulman adds, “attribute the name to a Slavic derivation.”

    Oy. I wonder if Sholom Aleichem was the origin of this particular linguistic bubbameise, or if it’s older than he is.

    I am surprised that the etymological information became more confused rather than less. *looks askance at R. O. Blechman*

  161. I wonder if older people might have used that pronunciation.

    I do. (I was seventeen in 1968.) I sometimes drop the /r/, but never the /l/.

  162. David Marjanović says

    kippah (KEEP-ah)

    This resistance to final stress is remarkable.

  163. Not among people used to Ashkenazic pronunciation.

  164. YAH-mih-kah

    Watching this has reminded me that Russian also does L-dropping in some words, notably только ‘only’, сколько ‘how many/much’, столько ‘that many/much’.
    The yarmulke/kippah also puts in an appearance at 27:50.

    I wonder if the name Sydney Jackson rings a bell. I guess not, but who knows?
    Briefly, SJ was born in New York in 1886, took up boxing, went on to become a champion, and in 1914 traveled to the UK to take part in a series of matches. He injured his hand/arm and had to stay in hospital there while the others returned home. Then he decided to travel to Russia, and he was in Saint Petersburg when WWI broke out. The consul advised him to travel to Central Asia, where he might have a chance to go to the US. As it happened, he ended up in Tashkent and lived the rest of his life there. He founded a boxing club where he trained boys. Many of his trainees became champions.

    My father and a school friend’s father trained under him, too.

  165. Good lord, what a story! How did a Jewish guy from the Bronx survive the Stalin years and live to 1966? I guess it helped to be in Tashkent…

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