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Alternatiivseid etümoloogiaid VII. kail, pendima, raidama, ruttama ja (muna)tael
Alternative etymologies VII

Author(s): Lembit Vaba
Subject(s): Language studies, 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: Alternative etymologies VIIThe article presents new or more precise etymologies for the words kail : kailu ‘white-headed cow’, pendima : pendida ‘to rot, decay’, raidama : rajata ~ raidada ‘to ruin, waste’, ruttama : rutata ‘to hurry, hasten’ ja (muna)tael : -taela ‘egg yolk’.kail : kailu ‘white-headed cow’ is a dialect word recorded in the Western Saaremaa parish which has a clear cognate in dialectal Finnish, where the noun kaila and its many derivatives denote primarily a skewbald or similarly colored domestic animal (cow, bull, horse). According to the data of the Finnish Dialect Dictionary, this word family is found in the southwestern (Varsinais-Suomi) and Häme dialects (western and southwestern Satakunta, northern and southwestern Häme). On the basis of the Finnish stem variants kail-o ‘skewbald cow, bull or horse’, kail-o-kas id., it can be claimed that the stem vowel -u in Estonian kail : kailu indicates the Finnic nominal affix -o. Etymological dictionaries of Finnic languages do not address this word family. It is an eventual Baltic loan with the presumed loan base *gaila- ‘white’, compare to Low Prussian gaylis ‘white’ < Latvian *gailas ‘white’ < ‘radiant’, likely Indo-European archetype *ghoilo- ‘radiant’. This Baltic word family also includes Lithuanian gaĩlis ~ gaĩlė ‘marsh Labrador tea’. It has previously been convincingly demonstrated that kail, the Estonian name for Ledum palustre, is also a Baltic loan.pendima : pendida ‘to rot, decay (tree, leaves), wither (turnips), grow mouldy (grain, hay), putrefy (fish, meat, corpse)’ and its phonological and derivational variants are known in dialects of Northern Estonian. This Estonian verb stem has a known cognate only in dialectal Finnish, e.g. pentyä ‘to rot’. Attempts to link this Estonian-Finnish stem with a similar Permic root (Udmurt pe̮di̮ni̮ ‘to suffocate under ice (fish), pant, gasp; to grow mouldy, fusty’, Komi pe̮dni̮ ‘to gasp, pant; to drown’) fail primarily for phonological reasons.The Estonian-Finnish verb stem pentV- is an eventual Baltic loan: Baltic *pendV-: compare to Lithuanian péndėti (péndėja ~ péndi, péndėjo) ‘to crumble, decay, rot, grow mouldy, fusty; to become weak, sickly, to dry up’, išpéndėti ‘to rot, decay, fester (farmhouse, tree branches, core of a growing tree); to dry and harden (meat); to become lean, thin, emaciated (due to illness or age), to grow old’.raidama : rajata ~ raidada ‘to destroy, waste (young forest)’ and the denominal adverb raidu ‘to waste’ from the same stem: raidu minema ‘to go to waste’, raidus ‘being wasted’ belong to the Islands and Western dialects, although they have been recorded in Harjumaa and elsewhere as well. The words rajama ‘to waste (of grain being cut, or of children wasting bread while eating it)’ and rajastama ‘to waste (of grass being trampled by animals)’ come from the weak-grade variant of this stem. This Estonian word family does not have plausible cognates in other Finnic languages. It is an eventual Baltic loan: Baltic *braidV-, compare to Lithuanian braidýti (braĩdo, braĩdė), bráidyti ‘to wade, paddle, tread on, trample’, nubraidýti ‘to trample, stamp on (e.g. of grain being trampled by geese and other animals); to tire from wading, splashing’, apibraidýti ‘to tread on, trample underfoot’. The presumed originaal meaning of this Baltic verb loan is ‘to ruin or destroy something by trampling on it’, from which the meaning of ‘to waste, squander’ has also emerged in Estonian.ruttama : rutata ‘to hurry, hasten’ and the related noun rutt : rutu ‘hurry, haste’ are well known throughout the entire Estonian language area. ruttama, ruttu, and rutem ‘faster’ are among the 10,000 most frequent words in modern Estonian. Their origins can be traced to the Finnic stem *rutta-, which is the derivational base of the verb ruttama, while rutt : rutu is presumably a verbal noun with the u-affix (< -o or ? -u). This word family has cognates in all Finnic languages except Livonian and Veps. While the loan base for this word family is not (as has been suggested) Russian круто́й ‘steep, abrupt (waterfront, curve); loud, harsh, short-tempered (of character); hard, dense, thick (e.g. a hard egg or thick porridge)’, кру́то ‘abruptly, suddenly; loudly, harshly; strongly, abundantly, densely’, one cannot rule out the semantic influence of these phonologically similar Russian words, including semantic loans appearing in eastern Finnish dialects and Karelian. I surmise that this Finnic stem is a Baltic loan: Baltic *kruta-, the descendants of which in modern Lithuanian include krutė́ti (krùta, krutė́jo) ‘to move, make oneself move (of a living creature or a device), to move to and fro; to show zeal, bustle about; to tremble, quiver, throb, pulsate; to loosen, break up (soil), to cultivate (soil), to scrub, clean (hide); to go, set off; to live, be located’, krutas ‘movement, work’, krutùs ‘lively, mobile, capable, hard-working, industrious’, krùtinti ‘to move, make smth move, force, prompt, incite to do smth; to set off, travel’, krùsti (kruñta, krùto) ‘to start moving, quickly start doing, embark upon smth’: sukrusti pie darbo ‘to get to work’ and others.(muna)tael : -taela ‘egg yolk’ belongs to the Islands and Western dialects, but has also been recorded in the Central dialect, which borders the Western dialect region. In Estonian etymological literature the position is taken that (muna) tael – like the other Estonian names for egg yolk: rebu, (muna) kollane jt, (muna) ruuge, (muna) ruske, vahanõ muna, verrev muna – is derived from the orange-yellow color of an egg yolk, and (muna)tael shares a stem with the Baltic loan tael ‘tinder (Fomes fomentarius) and the combustible made from it’, found in all Finnic languages, which has acquired the additional meaning of ‘egg yolk’ in Estonian. Finnish etymological dictionaries do not mention this additional meaning of Estonian tael. The Estonian dialect researcher Vilja Oja (2013) has begun to question this account, since tael is unusual in comparison to other names for egg yolk. However, there is no reason to doubt that coloration is the most widespread motivation in names for egg yolk, and that applies in this case as well. Growing tinder, not yet processed into a combustible, features coloration characteristic of both egg white and egg yolk, varying from gray (dirty white) to pale reddish-brown, while the base of the fruiting body is brown with a purplish tone. In Finnic languages, the coloration of tinder has evidently provided an impulse for the emergence of additional meanings. À propos, color is an inseparable part of the semantic field of Estonian tael and other modern words originating from the same loan base: Lithuanian dãglas ‘variegated, multicolored, spotted, patchy (pig, skirt)’ and others.

  • Issue Year: 2021
  • Issue No: 66
  • Page Range: 327-343
  • Page Count: 17
  • Language: Estonian