How etymologies establish an origin of words? Part 3. About sounds of
Speaking about historical sound changes in languages, it is necessary to tell that these changes had systematic character. If in the speech nothing changed then all languages which are going back to one source would not differ among themselves at all. But, unfortunately or fortunately, it is impossible therefore scientists and at us have a subject for reflections and talk.
We will begin with the fact that within the closest languages - relatives significant differences are observed. During independent existence languages of one branch underwent a set of changes which led to some divergences. For example, if to compare words the place, month, a knife and juice with closely related Ukrainian misto, misyats, nizh and cik , it is possible to draw a conclusion that in some cases about and e will correspond to the Russian vowels Ukrainian i .
Of course, such divergences meet not only in phonetics, but also at all other levels of language.
Changes in one language can be seen, for example, having compared cognate words: a wolf - a she-wolf, a hand - the handle, the river - the small river, I bake - you bake , etc. Alternation to / h , historically arisen, happened before public e, and, (Old Russian writing the small river, the handle ) while in other positions remained ancient to . That there is a lot of such alternations, knows each native speaker.
In language there were many such changes which did not leave obvious marks of a former state at all. Often words in the present are etymologically connected with absolutely different sounding with each other. In such cases the whole investigations in which data of different languages participate are made. For example, apparently, at all words which are not connected with each other a bull and a bee are related.
We will begin an explanation with more clear communication in words a bull and of a beech . To Bukat in Slavic languages means to low , to roar , the same value has a verb to buchat . Long ago there was a root - a beech - with a long sound which could alternate or with short at ( - a beech - ), or with a combination - ou - (double public is called a diphthong in science) - - bouk - . Then these three alternations dispersed in different words. - The beech - with long at became ancestor a bull , - bouk - developed in different Slavic languages of the word to bukat and to buchat , and - a beech - with short at remained only in one root - in the word a bee ! Yes, at the name of an insect historically the same root, as in the word a bull (davny - long ago considered that the bee also buchit, as well as a bull!) . Eight centuries ago this word was pronounced not as today, namely: a buchela , and it was written so: bjchela . Over time of Kommersant was lost and turned out a combination of a bchel . It is very inconvenient to say it therefore it had to become simpler: or inconvenient sounds have to become ringing, or deafs. There was both that, and another, two words - Ukrainian of a bdzhol and our a bee appeared .
The natural question follows from all these long explanations of origins of several words: how the ratio of sounds in different languages, especially ancient when there were no records is established? How scientists reconstruct words and furthermore sounds, the most ephemeral phenomenon if business concerns the dead of languages?
The matter is that at a present stage the set of tables in which ratios of sounds on languages, generally modern are stated is made. In many respects the dead, but very well remained Latin and Greek languages help. Also scientists resolve some issues of confirmation of reliability of some sound facts in very original ways, solving sometimes rather complex etymological challenges.
We will give an example. But we will begin from far away, with comparison of simple words the house and a smoke . Whether one root the called words? In the ancient time the tribute gathered on Russia from a smoke, that is from the center from the house . And some etymologies proved that these words are single-root.
But if to see on compliances of the word the house with Ancient Greek domos , Latin domus , Old Indian damas , it is easy to be convinced that in a root of the word * dom - (it is the restored Indo-European form) only in Indo-European language occurred changes ( * o → * a ). In other three languages the root did not undergo essential changes. Final * - os remained only in Ancient Greek language, and in Russian final * s was lost (it occurred in all Slavic languages), and public * about was reduced in Kommersant ( er ) . Then final Kommersant ceased to be said, and since 1918 - to write.
At the word a smoke absolutely other immediate family: Latin f ū mus [f ý: mousse] and Old Indian dh ū mas [dkhu:m á c] - smoke . These and some other relatives allow to reconstruct an Indo-European proforma ( initial form) * dh ū mos . Thus, initial d - in the word a smoke - other origin, than in the word the house (in the first case this Indo-European * dh , and in the second - * d ). Root vowels in these words also various.
There is a logical question of vowels why when comparing the word a smoke with Latin f ū mus and Old Indian dh ū mas we come to a conclusion that in a root of this word was primordial long * ū [ó:] changed in Slavic languages (and in Russian) in y , and not vice versa?
And here to linguists the cow comes to the rescue
of ! Those sounds which she says are more right. Look how the cow in different Indo-European languages lows:
Latin - mug ī to re [mu:gira] to low ;
German - muhen [m ý: en] to low ;
Lithuanian - m ū kti [m ý: kt] to low ;
Ancient Greek - m¢kaomai [myu:k á wash], in more ancient pronunciation - [mu:k á wash] I low .
All listed words - onomatopoeic on the origin, they reproduce low of a cow - of m ū [mu:] . Hardly cow low changed since existence of Indo-European languages. That is why sound ū it is necessary to recognize primordial.
Then why in Russian, the cow speaking mu the m y chit? Perhaps, our cows low on - special? Really, it is known that representatives of the different people sometimes represent " language; some animals differently, than their neighbors. For example, we clearly hear cock doodledoo , goose of hectare - hectare - hectare , dog gav - gav - gav . But, for example, the German will tell you that the rooster shouts of kikeriki [kikerik], a goose - of gickgack [gikgak], a dog - of kliffklaff [klifklaf].
But with a cow all is a little differently, and our verb does not prove that we incorrectly perceive cow communication . In many languages a cow mukat , our m y chit that is the proof of phonetic change ū [ó:] → y . Just the same what linguists establish for the Russian words on the basis of comparisons. For example, Lithuanian s ū nus [su:n ý c] - the son, Latin f ū mus - Russian a smoke .
It is natural that such cow the argument is not decisive a link in a chain of proofs, many sound compliances find, comparing and comparing different related languages. Knowledge of phonetic regularities of development of language allow scientists to restore an ancient form of words, to establish their etymology.
But the phonetic party is not only in the such analysis at all. Research of word formation and development of word meanings is not less important.
1. Yu. V. farmers, To word sources: stories about an origin of the words ;
2. Kolesov V. V., Russian History in stories ;
3. slovopedia. com - Fasmer`s Dictionary .