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Thread: Navas de Tolosa

  1. #1
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    Navas de Tolosa

    Etimología: ¿Que significan "navas" y "tolosa" ? (de la batalla de las Navas de Tolosa)

    What is the origin and meaning of the words "navas" and "tolosa" (from the battle of las Navas de Tolosa - 1212 in Jaén, Spain)

    --Thanks for any illumination!
    Por favor • no dudes en corregir mis errores : El perfeccionismo no es malo si no es obsesión

  2. #2
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    Re: Navas de Tolosa

    The Spanish-language Wikipedia article on Tolosa gives an etymology for that name.
    And here is what Corominas (Breve diccionario etimológico...) says about Nava:

    NAVA, fin S. VIII, 'llanura elevada y yerma, rodeada de cerros, en la cual suele concentrarse el agua de lluvia'. Palabra arraigada en todo el territorio español de lengua castellana y vasca, de origen prerromano; como reaparece en ciertos dialectos de los Alpes orientales y en la toponimia de otras zonas romances, no parece ser de origen vasco. Quizá del indoeuropeo NAUS 'barco' (por comparación con la forma combada de las navas rodeadas de cerros, según ocurre en el alto-arag. barcal y barcalada 'hondonada' etc.), traído a España y alterado en la forma NAUA por invasores arcaicos procedentes del Centro de Europa.

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    Re: Navas de Tolosa

    Many thanks, Cenzontle (ie, "one who has of four hundred words"?)
    Por favor • no dudes en corregir mis errores : El perfeccionismo no es malo si no es obsesión

  4. #4
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    Re: Navas de Tolosa

    Quote Originally Posted by Cenzontle View Post
    como reaparece en ciertos dialectos de los Alpes orientales
    What does he mean? German dialects? Rhaeto-Romance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cenzontle View Post
    Quizá del indoeuropeo NAUS 'barco' (por comparación con la forma combada de las navas rodeadas de cerros, según ocurre en el alto-arag. barcal y barcalada 'hondonada' etc.)
    If the etymological meaning is indeed "boat", what is the point of deriving it from PIE rather than simply from Latin navis?

  5. #5
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    Re: Navas de Tolosa

    Your two questions, fdb, may be related. But please note that I can't give you answers, only conjecture.
    Corominas—usually so explicit—is being a bit cryptic here. He doesn't tell what basis he has for saying "de origen prerromano",
    but if the word is indeed pre-Roman (before 218 BCE), then it was in the Iberian Peninsula before Latin was there, thus taking Latin nāvis out of the line of direct descent.
    But if it is Indo-European (which Corominas qualifies with "quizá", 'perhaps'), then—
    what Indo-European-speakers were in the Iberian Peninsula before the Romans? Celts? Why doesn't Corominas say this?
    My limited knowledge about the Celts is that they were in many places in ancient times,
    but it will take more of an expert than me to say whether they left vocabulary in "dialectos de los Alpes orientales", and whether these dialects were Germanic or Romance.
    I have it from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language that naus is Greek for 'ship', and that the PIE root is *nāu-2.

  6. #6
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    Re: Navas de Tolosa

    The idea that Spanish "nava" is not Latin, but pre-Roman, has been around for a long time, but for earlier scholars (e.g. Meyer-Lübke) the fact that nava does not mean “boat” was the main argument for rejecting a derivation from navis, and positing a pre-Roman origin. It seems that Corominas has actually sabotaged his own argument. The fact that the word occurs also in Basque proves (of course) nothing, as it could easily be an Ibero-Romance loan word in Basque.

  7. #7
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    Re: Navas de Tolosa

    Actually, there's a series of rivers called Navia, Navea, Neiba... in NW Iberia; the largest one, the Navia river, flows from Galicia to Asturias and was already well known by Roman geographers; its name is the same of an old native divinity present in a large number of Roman inscriptions. Coromines knew those facts (DCECH s.v. nava, note 7: "el nombre del río Navia, seguramente derivado de nava, se documenta ya en la época romana. Es frecuente además como nombre de diosa en inscripciones de la Tarraconense y del Convento Lucense").

    He found a similar meaning in Udine, Italy: "reaparece nuestro vocablo en Tolmezzo, Alpes dolomíticos: nava «superficie di terreno uguale, ma con i due lembi opposti alquanto rialzati»" (CDECH s.v. nava)

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