Alternative etymologies VIII Cover Image

Alternatiivseid etümoloogiaid VIII. ahervare, -vars, kahju, laukama, ruttuma ja (vihma)sagar
Alternative etymologies VIII

Author(s): Lembit Vaba
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Finno-Ugrian studies, Baltic Languages
Published by: Teaduste Akadeemia Kirjastus
Keywords: etymology; loanwords; Estonian language; Finnic languages; Baltic languages;

Summary/Abstract: The article presents new or revised etymologies for the words ahervare, -vars ‘(stone) ruins of a burnt-out building’, kahju ‘material loss, damage, harm etc’, laukama ‘to sprout’, ruttuma ‘to rot, decay’ and (vihma)sagar ‘raincloud, rainshower’.ahervare, -vars ‘(stone) ruins of a burnt-out building’ has often been linked to the word ahi ‘oven’. Estonian aher- belongs to a word family including Estonian dialectal aher, ahervare, aherik, ahermik ‘pile of rocks’; Votic aherikko ‘poor, sandy soil’; Finnish dialectal ahera ‘thick beach sand’, aherikko ‘gravelly, pebbly land with little soil’ and others. This word family comes from the Finnic derivation ahe-ra and its further derivations from the stem *aho. The original meaning of ahera is ‘land poorly suited or unsuitable for cultivation’, which has led semantically to the meaning of ‘pile of rocks’. ahervare, -vars with the secondary meaning of ‘(stone) ruins of a burnt-out building’ has overridden ahjuvare and other variants.The phonetic variability of kahju : kahju ‘material loss, damage, sad mood, commiseration’ in Estonian dialects is considerable: kahi, kaeho, kaih, `kaiho, kahu and others their source form is *kaiho. This word family comprises a number of verbs with phonetically variable derivation stems, among them kahjustama ‘to damage, harm’, kahjatsema, kahetsema ‘to feel dissatisfied’ and others. The Estonian word family in question has equivalents in all Finnic languages except for Ludic and Veps: Courland Livonian ka’i ‘damage’, Votic kaiho ‘damage, destruction’, Finnish kaiho ‘sorrow, shortage; worry etc’, kaihota, kaihoa ‘to sadden; to lament’, Izhorian kaiho ‘lament, loss’, kaihoDa ‘to lament; to yearn, long for’; Karelian kaiho ‘sadness’, kaihota ‘to sadden’, kaihuo ‘to yearn, long for’. This word family has erroneously been thought to include Finnish kaihi and Estonian kae ‘cataract’, as well as Finnish kaiha, kaihe ‘shadowy’, kaiho, kaihu ‘hiding place’, kaihi, kaihe, kaiho ‘clouding of eye lenses; concealing cover; dim, dusky’, kaihea ‘dark; bitter’, kaihota ‘to conceal oneself’, kaihtaa, kaihtia ‘to prevent from seeing’, kaihto ‘bashful’ and others, Karelian kaihte and Ludic kaehte ‘cataract’. This etymology is based on the assumption that the word family has developed semantically from the root word kaihV ‘a covering providing protection’: ‘shadowy place’ > ‘dim’ > ‘to prevent from seeing, keep hidden’ > ‘to hide, cover’. According to this interpretation, the semantic line ‘sadness, grief’ > ‘to be sad’ > ‘to pity’ is related to ceremonial rituals that demanded the covering of the head and face, while the Estonian-Livonian meaning of ‘accident’ can allegedly be explained as an attempt at euphemism. However, this explanation fails to draw a logical semantic connection between the family represented by Estonian kahju ‘material loss’ and that represented by Finnish kaihi ‘cataract’ and others. This is clearly a Baltic loan: Old Finnic *kajša < Baltic gaiša(-): Lithuanian gaĩš-ti (gaĩšta, gaĩšo) ‘to waste time; to become wretched/pitiful, die, perish etc’.laukama ‘to sprout (shoots, barley)’ has been registered in western Saaremaa and from the Mulgi dialect area in Karksi. It is an obvious borrowing from Latvian: plaûkt (plaûkst, plaûka) ‘to sprout, burst into bloom, etc’.ruttuma ‘to rot, decay’ is a South Estonian verb, borrowed from Latvian strutuôt ‘to rot’.(vihma)sagar ‘raincloud, rainshower’ and (ukse)sagar ‘(wooden) hook of a gate or door hinge’ have been regarded as homonyms of different etymological origin. Estonian sagar ‘wooden door hinge’ and its cognates, found in all Finnic languages, are borrowed from Baltic < *stagara-: Lithuanian stãgaras ‘dried plant stem, twig; leaf stalk’. Estonian (vihma)sagar, on the other hand, has an equivalent only in Courland Livonian: zägàr ‘rainshower, blizzard, storm; rain-, snow-, or thundercloud’. Analysis of Estonian vernacular cloud names reveals that Estonian-Livonian cloud semantics is based on a metaphor, reflected in this case as well, in which jagged or unevenly shaped clouds are compared to the word sagar ‘(crooked) wood slat’.

  • Issue Year: 2022
  • Issue No: 67
  • Page Range: 151-168
  • Page Count: 18
  • Language: Estonian