German Leute, Russian люди - cognates ?

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by englishman, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. englishman Senior Member

    English England
    Are these words cognates ?
     
  2. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
  3. englishman Senior Member

    English England
    Thanks.

    1. I note that there seems to be the rather odd "liber-" (free) cognate in that list. What is the connection of this with the more obvious "people/grow" meaning ?

    2. Are these two words the only cognates of this meaning still extant in IE languages ? I can't think of any others myself, offhand.
     
  4. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    The connection is with the meaning "offspring". A household, clan or tribe consisted of the children of the group, the free ones, on the one side and the the slaves on the other side.

    There is a similar, though etymologically unrelated concept behind the Germanic word "free" which is related to "friend" and denoted the free man of the tribe, your friends as opposed to the slaves which were usually captured enemies and there descendants.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
  5. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Reading, UK
    English - UK
    Greetings
    What about "lad" - or even "lady"? - masc. and fem. forms - on the assumption, that is, that the primary IE sense is "person" as in Latin homo?
     
  6. englishman Senior Member

    English England
  7. englishman Senior Member

    English England
    Is that speculation or can it be attested ? It sounds a little folk-etymological as it stands. For example, wouldn't it imply a widespread custom of families living together with their slaves, as a unit, for that meaning to have arisen ?
     
  8. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    You find it in every dictionary, including the Pokorny entry quoted by CapnPrep #2.
     
  9. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Reading, UK
    English - UK
    Greetings once again

    I have looked at both these entries, as well as some others from etymonline.com, and to honest, I am not hugely impressed. I might be persuaded by "lady" being related to "loaf", Russian хлеб, AS hlaef &c.

    "Lad" though looks right, in the light of

    This is in no spirit of contemely.

    Best,
     
  10. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    Pokorny doesn't really stick his neck out about how the various senses are related. According to Calvert Watkins, "the precise semantic development [from 'grow' to 'free'] is obscure".

    But it's rather unreasonable, englishman, to require such things to be "attested" to avoid being dismissed as speculation.

    Lēod is indeed a reflex of *leudh-, but what makes you believe that lad derives from it? There is no hint of this in the OED (the real OED), which reviews and rejects several other proposed etymologies and prefers to remain cautious: "of obscure origin".
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
  11. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Reading, UK
    English - UK
    Greetings once again...

    ...and apologies that for my last post in this Thread I had not found it possible to organise or eliminate the table. CapnPrep (#7) is no doubt right - as ever - that there is no such hint in the OED (the big one), but there is precious little help anywhere else either. Collins and Webster have "origin unknown" vel sim. But the indomitable frequency with which the word 'lad' crops up in British English, in all regions (though not always with the same nuances), points to an ancient origin.

    In the conceptual cluster of "man"/"person" this seems prima facie to make sense, and I submit that the onus probandi is with those who would claim otherwise.
     
  12. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    It would indeed. Is that a problem?
     
  13. englishman Senior Member

    English England
    Well, is it ? Either we have some direct evidence, or we have to speculate, no ? And I'm not really dismissing the point (that would imply that I know better - I don't), rather than being curious as to why anyone would think of that connection in the first place.
     
  14. englishman Senior Member

    English England
    Well, it would be a problem for the etymological derivation if there were no evidence that such a custom was widespread. I'm no anthropologist, so I have no idea if such evidence is available or not.
     
  15. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Reading, UK
    English - UK
    All good wishes again

    "Speculation" does not necessarily mean "blind guesswork", It may also mean "rational conjecture", which is after all the stuff and being of Comparative Philology anyway.

    And I still conjecture, I hope rationally, that "lad" / "Leute" / "людн" are connected.
     
  16. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    And there were more recent instances in European overseas colonialism, though admittedly the topic here concerns Latin.
     
  17. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Well, the concept of a Roman "familia" (="household") consisting of the "pater familias", his next of kin, the "filii" or "liberi" ("children") as well as the slaves is really O-level history stuff which can be found in any text book on Roman history and is not at all speculative.

    That liberi means child/children in a legal sense is included:
    lat. Li:ber `ital. Gott des Wachstums, der Zeugung, Anpflanzung', osk. Gen. Lu/vfrei/s `Liberi', lat. li:beri:, -o:rum `die Kinder', juristisch auch von einem einzigen Kind, also `*Nachwuchs';li:ber `frei' s. oben;
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
  18. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Reading, UK
    English - UK
    Dear all

    Exactly.

    In an ancient Roman household there were bambini crawling or running about all over the place. Few of the adult male members of the house would know exactly which of these little persons were their own progeny, and may not have cared.

    The "free ones" - the liberi - are those whom the father by choice picks up from the floor of the atrium, on the seventh day after birth, and explicitly by giving a name acknowledges as his legitimate offspring.

    The rest are the offspring, legitimate or otherwise, of sexual liaisons elsewhere. Male or female, they become absorbed into the great morass of the slaves.

    So the liberi - the "free ones" - are the children who have been formally acknowledged as "legitimate".

    A grim point, but true.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
  19. sotos Senior Member

    Greek
    No etymological discussion is complete without some Greek. :)
    The Gr. cognate is laos (people). The connection with the liber is found in the Gr. e-leuth-eros (free), but the semantic relation is not clear. Possibly in the ancient societies with the free and the slaves, only the former were considered as real laos, the latter been perceived more of a commodity. However, the word for freedom (e-leuth-eria) may have the same origin with the words arrival, coming (e-leus-is). Notice also that the Gr. godess of pregnacy and labor was called Eleutho (Ελευθώ). Is this because people are coming to life from somewhere?
     
  20. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Reading, UK
    English - UK
    Greetings, Sotos

    The connexion ("Leute" людн) with λάος is completely persuasive.

    I thought however that the goddess (of fertility and childbirth) was called Εἰληθυῖα.

    Is this a change between ancient and modern Greek usage?
     
  21. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    Yes, as I said, he lists the senses without wishing/wondering/guessing/speculating/conjecturing/hypothesizing/theorizing/explaining/demonstrating (or simply declaring) how the later ones developed from the earlier ones.

    Did the "free" sense develop from the "child" sense (as you seemed to suggest), or vice versa (which makes more sense to me)? Direct evidence only, please. :D
     
  22. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    I only answered the question where the connection between the senses "people" and "free" was. And the answer to this is the send "child" in the context of the Roman law and social structure. This seems clear to me beyond reasonable doubt. I didn't really expressly state any direction in which the development should have taken place.

    Now that you ask me, looking at all the different cognates listed, the recurring theme is clearly to growing, belonging to the the same consanguineous group. whereas the modern sense free is rather isolated (Greek and Latin). The case seems clear enough to me that I find it reasonable to reject the onus of proof and assert that it rest with you when you say the opposite development "makes more sense".

    Regarding the somewhat analogous situation concerning the Germanic word free (meanings being friends, belonging to the same clan vs. free), the situation is less clear (at least to me): Etymonline suggests that free is the derived meaning whereas Grimm regards free as the original meaning relating the adjective to Latin privus in the sense of "one's own" as opposed to "owned by someone else".
    .
     
  23. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    So how can ἐλεύθερος already mean "free" in Greek?

    What do you mean by "modern sense"? :confused: And the "child" sense is even more isolated, since it exists only in Latin…

    Ernout & Meillet give the following explanation, citing Benveniste and Westrup:
    In other words, many authors believe that the "free" sense existed before the "child" sense.
     
  24. sotos Senior Member

    Greek
    Thanks Scholiast. Ειληθυία is another form of Ελευθώ:
    "Barbara Walker maintains in her reference work The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and secrets that "women in childbirth prayed to Ilithyia Eleutho, the Goddess as Liberator, who freed the infant from the womb" (https://birthpsychology.com/journal-issue/volume-9-issue-1 ).
    The successor of this Godess in the modern Gr. Orthodox faith is Saint Eleutherios, protector of pregnacy and birth. You see the point!

    Ilith- is again one of the forms of the v. έρχομαι (to come), clearly visible in perfect tenses. Whether the similarity between freedom and coming in Gr. in the childbirth context is accidental or not, is a matter of debate.
    For a step farther: It is said that laos is etymologically related to las (stone, Lat. lapis). This is explained in the myth of Deucalion where the people were created from stones. You may notice the relation of Gr. lithos (stone) to leudh.
     
  25. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    If you doubt that liber and Leute, люди, etc. are cognate, then your argumentation makes sense and the explanation you cited is indeed the more obvious one. If you don't, it doesn't. Therefore by citing liber as a cognate, Pokorkny does "stick out his neck" in this matter.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011
  26. englishman Senior Member

    English England
    OK, I suspect that I misunderstood what you were suggesting about the "free" meaning: that it was a sense that existed generally in IE languages. If the meaning arose from a particular family arrangement common in Roman society, I guess it's restricted to the Romance languages and those with borrowings from them, and is specifically not in the Slavic languages ?

    [And on an unrelated note: we don't have "O levels" in the UK anymore; the equivalent exams are now called GCSEs]
     
  27. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    My explanation was specific to Latin (and derived words in other Languages) and under the assumption that liber is cognate to Leute and люди as Pokorny suggests.
     
  28. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    I still have trouble following your reasoning. I am willing to accept that Leute "people", ἐλεύθερος "free", and liberi "children" are all reflexes of *leudh, whose basic sense is "grow". This is basically what Pokorny says, and nothing more.

    The first part of your hypothesis — correct me if I've misunderstood you — is that "grow" came to mean "grow within the same group", giving rise to the "people" and "child" senses. This seems reasonable to me, but there is a lack of evidence for the "child" sense outside of Latin. (Pokorny cites a Gothic form meaning "Jüngling", but it is a compound noun and the *leudh part only has the general meaning "Gestalt").

    The second part of your hypothesis is that "free" is a specifically Roman/Latin development from "child". But the "free" sense exists outside of Latin, suggesting that it is an earlier development. Pokorny specifically mentions the suffixed form *leudhero- "zum Volk gehörig, frei".

    It's restricted to Latin, apparently (nothing attested in later Romance, according to ML). I don't know of any borrowings.
     
  29. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Reading, UK
    English - UK
    Good morning, all.

    No disrespect to anyone whatever, but I remain highly dubious about the putative link between Leute/люди/λάος and Lat. liberi = "children": as CapnPrep says in this latest post (#28), this is a uniquely Roman, or rather, Latin, phenomenon, for which (#18) there is a straightforward socio-historical explanation which obviates the need for philological speculation.

    That is not, however, to deny that a postulated connexion between έλευθ- and liber- in the sense of "free" has merit.
     
  30. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    So, what you are saying is that you agree with me that the meaning free is derived from grown within the same group. But you think that this be an earlier development, probably because in most slave-holding societies salves are captured enemies or other foreigners and their decedents. And you think that in Latin the meaning free for liber was already completely dominant and the meaning child is a subsequent derivation from the meaning liber=free. Is that your position?
     
  31. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    This part, yes, following E&M cited above and other authors.

    This part, no. I said that the notion of "grow within the same group" can reasonably give rise to the senses "people" and "child", although evidence is lacking for "child". I don't know how the sense "free" arose, but it must be pre-Latin. Maybe it had something to do with slaves, etc., but I never suggested anything like that myself.
     
  32. englishman Senior Member

    English England
    Isn't "liberal" in English and German a borrowing from French (or OFr) ?
     
  33. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    I was referring to liberi "children", but the "free" sense of liber didn't survive much in Romance either (in inherited vocabulary). Liberal in English and German is a borrowing from Latin (possibly via French, but it's a borrowing from Latin in French, too).
     
  34. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Not entirely. You have "Nachwuchs" ("offspring") as meaning of "liut" (click) in OHG (I believe Pokorny mentions this too, can't check, the server is down).
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011
  35. Dan2

    Dan2 Senior Member

    US
    US English
    I'm most likely just misinterpreting something in this sentence, but maybe others are confused too. The basic word for "free" in It/Fr/Sp/Port is libero/libre/libre/livre; is that not inherited vocabulary?
     
  36. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Apparently not. The dictionnaire de l'académie française lists liure/libre as 12th century loan from Latin.
     
  37. Dan2

    Dan2 Senior Member

    US
    US English
    So did each of those languages (It/Fr/Sp/Port), plus, for ex., Romanian, borrow it from Latin? And how did they express the general concept before the borrowing?
     
  38. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    "Borrowing" is kind of a vague term; it doesn't necessarily mean that the word didn't exist in the early period of the language. What it means is that the word did not undergo all of the regular phonetic changes that applied to fully assimilated, inherited vocabulary, and instead remained closer to the original Latin form.

    French libéral, for example, is obviously a direct loan from Latin līberālis, with minimal phonetic evolution. It is a learned word, absent from everyday conversation in the relevant periods and thus untouched by sound changes driven by popular usage.

    Livrer
    , on the other hand, is an inherited word. If you start with Latin līberāre and apply all the regular sound changes, you get livrer.

    So it turns out that libre (< līberum) is somewhere in between. Such words are sometimes called "semi-learned" because some sound changes applied (e.g. loss of post-tonic and final vowels), but not others (e.g. lenition b > v), because for whatever reason the association with the original Latin form remained strong. I imagine that libre has been in continuous use in day-to-day conversation since the Latin period, but its phonetic evolution was checked, perhaps because of its status as a legal term, or because people felt the need to prevent homophony with livre "book" and livre "pound". Just speculating here… ;)

    I don't know if the same conclusions can be drawn for all of the other Romance languages. Catalan lliure looks pretty regular to me, for example, but Meyer-Lübke (5012) only mentions Sardinian as having inherited forms of līber.
     
  39. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    What is more, while there are cognates of liber in the Romance languages, I am not aware of any that mean "child".
     
  40. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Reading, UK
    English - UK
    Good afternoon, everyone

    Sorry, but this is not quite right.

    "Borrowings" must be distinguished from "Derivations". Fr. livre, Ital. libro, (for example) from Latin liber = "book" are drectlyi derived. Modern English "jodhpurs", "intelligentsia", "delicatessen" and "haka" are in contrast Lehnworter ("borrowed" from, respectively, Hindi, Russian, German and a Maori tongue of which I know little).

    The derivation of Russian интеллигенция, for example, is entirely clear, from Latin intellegere, which other English words ("intellect", "intellectual", "intelligence") share. But in its modern, differentiated, sense, it is a loan-word.

    The same can be said for Delikat-essen: both owe part of the stem to Latin (delic-, as in "delicious", "delectable") but the rest to a Germanic word, essen (related to, but not derived from, Latin, edo, esse, "eat"). The compound, Delicatessen ("Delikat-essen"). Hence this is a loan-word - a "borrowing".

    Best to all,

    Scholiast
     
  41. Dan2

    Dan2 Senior Member

    US
    US English
    I like this derivation :). But other sources say the word is from French "délicatesse".
     
  42. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Reading, UK
    English - UK
  43. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    I would avoid the term "derivation" because this has a different, morphological sense. As far as I can tell, you are using it to mean the same thing as what I called "inherited" vocabulary (other commonly used terms are "native" or "popular" words). And my point was that there is not a clear division between borrowings and native words, particularly in the case of Latin/Romance. For example, livre "book" in French is not "drectlyi derived" from Latin lĭber. The stressed short vowel ĭ should normally have become e > ei in Old French, giving modern French loivre (cf. pĭper > poivre). The fact that the vowel remained i shows that livre is semi-learned (i.e. neither fully native nor fully borrowed).
     
  44. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    There is no chance of analysing Delikatessen as Delikat-Essen. The latter would be pronounced /de.li'ka:tˌʔɛ.sn/ whereas Delikatessen is pronounced /de.li.kaˈtɛ.sn/. Very different.
     
  45. Walshie79 Junior Member

    Shropshire, UK
    English (British)
    As for surviving English cognates, I'm not convinced by "lad"- but what about the colloquial 2nd person plural "you lot"? It's remarkably similar to Dutch "jullie", which I believe derives from a cognate of "you" combined with one of "Leute". I know it would require devoicing of the final [d], but that's disappeared altogether from the Dutch version. And in everyday combinations like this words can be disguised (eg Hello> Hale be thou).
     
  46. OBrasilo

    OBrasilo Senior Member

    Koper, Slovenia, Central Europe
    Brazil, Brazilian Portuguese
    Liber as in free, was līber, with long i. Hence, the evolution to French i should be right then. Liber as in book however, had a short i but it's an unrelated world, cognate with Old Church Slavonic lubŭ (and Slovenian lubje), meaning tree bark. I think līber -> livre (free) is a direct derivation.
     
  47. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    Except that "free" is libre in French, not livre. :rolleyes: You are right about the vowel, but the preservation of the is learned (compare with livrer < līberare, as I mentioned already above). But I'm sure you can find livre/liure in older texts, and that would indeed show the expected popular form.
     
  48. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)

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