Occitanoromanic: Quelcom, quicòm, quaucòm

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by ryba, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. ryba

    ryba Senior Member


    I'm asking this question for a practical reason (I'm trying to contribute to Wiktionary) but also because it seems to me the question is worthwhile, perhaps even fascinating (depending on one's sensibility :D).

    According to the Gran diccionari de la llengua catalana, the origin of Catalan quelcom 'something' is not clear, but it probably developed from Latin quidcumque:

    quelcom [s. XIV; probablement del ll. quidcum(que) 'qualsevol cosa', a través d'un *quecom, analitzat com què o com, d'on queucom i, per ultracorrecció, quelcom]

    In the light of the above entry, the development of quel- is quite exceptional, and what led to it was a series of analogies and reinterpretations. (French quel- < Latin quālis, and its Occitano-Romance counterpart is qual-, var. quau-).

    The Occitan language possesses the form quicòm 'something', which can be traced back to Latin quidcumque more easily. And, indeed, Loís Alibèrt ([1966] 1976: 530) indicates its origin as Latin quīcumque, which seems quite plausible except that quīcumque is the plural masculine (Acc., Nom., and Voc.) of quiscumque, while the Acc./Nom./Voc. quidcumque (with its Nom./Voc. variant, as indicated in the Wiktionary, quiccumque) is singular neuter and, therefore, more plausible as a source for quicòm 'something'.

    There's also Occitan quaucòm, also meaning 'something' (Alibèrt 1976: 529), which coexists with quicòm in Vivaro-Alpine (and probably also in varieties of Languedocien), and its Gascon variant quaucom (Champlain [2002] 2010: 198). When I discovered it, I thought it would be closer etymologically to Catalan quelcom than quicòm is. Should we proceed on that assumption, we'd have to account somehow for the difference between quelcom and quaucòm (the quau- part being pronounced [kaw] or [kɔw], depending on the dialect).

    Maybe it's worth mentioning there exists another synonym of the above words (one very wide-spread dialectally), namely quauquarren (quauqua ren) (Alibèrt 1976: 528).

    I reconstructed the origin of quauquarren as:

    De qualqua (deu latin quālis + quam, acusatiu femenin de quī) + ren (deu latin rem, acusatiu de rēs)

    on the basis of these entries (GDLC):

    • qualque: [s. XIII; de qual i que]
    • qual: [s. XII; del ll. qualis, adj. i pron. interrogatiu, 'tal com; com; de quina mena']
    • que: [s. XII; com a relatiu, del ll. quem, acus. de qui; com a conjunció, del quid interrogatiu, amb aportacions del quia causal; com a comparatiu, d'una confusió de quem i la conj. quam]
    • re
    and my pretty basic knowledge of Latin.

    It seems to me there might not have been substantial analogy operating between qualqua ren and what was to become quaucòm alone, but there are also words like Occitan qualqu'un (var. quauqu'un) 'somebody' (~ Catalan qualcú).

    Yet, there is also Latin quāliscumque (> French quelconque), which seems to be the perfect candidate for the source of quaucòm, so perhaps there's no need to go as far as to explain the origin of quaucòm by morphological leveling and contamination?

    If quaucòm / quaucom descends from quāliscumque, then quelcom and quicòm quite likely are cognates, while quaucòm and quicòm are not.

    What do you think?

    Alibèrt, Loís. [1966] 1976. Dictionnaire occitan-français d'après les parlers languedociens. Tolosa: Institut d'Estudis Occitans. (http://mertyl.free.fr/dico/alibert.pdf) (darrièra consulta: 21 julh 2012).

    Chaplain, Éric. [2002] 2010. Dictionnaire gascon (béarnais)—français ancien et moderne. (3na edicion; 1ra edicion 2002, 2na edicion 2008, 3na edicion 2010.) Cressé: PyréMonde.
  2. ryba

    ryba Senior Member

    Frederic Mistral (1878: 674) indicates the origin of ‹quicom›, ‹quicon› (Rhodanien Languedocien), ‹quicouon›, ‹ticon› (Rouergat), ‹queicon› (Velay), ‹queicouen›, ‹quencouen› (Forézien), ‹quaucon›, ‹tiéucon› (Vivarais), ‹quoucon›, ‹quaucoum›, ‹quaucoun› (Gascon) as Latin "quicunque, qualiscunque, quodcunque." It seems reasonable to suspect Alibèrt took his etymology ("quicumque") from Mistral's dictionary ("quicunque"), as it is no secret Alibèrt used Mistral's dictionary as a source. Mistral mentioning "qualiscunque" (= quāliscumque) seems to corroborate my quāliscumque > quaucòm, quaucom hypothesis.

    While Mistral, with the spelling he employs, is probably close to exhaust the range of allophonic/allomorphic variation, I recognize most forms he enumerates as:

    • ‹quicom›, ‹quicon›, ‹quicouon›, ‹ticon› = (standard spelling) quicòm
    • ‹quaucon›, ‹quoucon› = quaucòm
    • ‹quaucoum›, ‹quaucoun› = quaucom,
    but I must admit ‹queicon›, ‹queicouen›, ‹tiéucon›, and ‹quencouen› are totally new to me. Could ‹queicon›, ‹queicouen›, and ‹tiéucon› represent a missing link between Catalan quelcom and Occitan quicòm?

    I was also initially surprised by all the forms with initial t-, but I assume they must be instances of palatalization and, possibly, a merger:

    Grange also provides in his lexicon the form quincòm that I seem to have overlooked:

    «quicòm (=), quaucòm, quincòm (pr. ind. neutre)
    quelque chose (Grange 2008: 131)»

    Quincòm resembles the Forézien variant ‹quencouen› provided by Mistral. Forézien is an Arpitan (= Franco-Provençal) dialect (Bert and Costa 2009: 13, 16).

    Bert, Michel e James Costa. 2009. Francoprovençal et occitan en Rhône-Alpes. Lion: Université Catholique de Lyon. (http://icar.univ-lyon2.fr/projets/ledra/documents/Etude_FORA_rapport_définitif.pdf) (darrièra consulta: 30 junh 2011).

    Grange, Didier. [2006] 2008. Lexique occitan — français du viraro-alpin au nord du Velay et du Vivarais. (http://www.marraire.com/Ressour/Lexique.pdf) (darrièra consulta: 14 agost 2011).

    Mistral, Frederic. 1878. Lou Tresor dóu Felibrige [Lo Tresaur dau Felibritge]. Vol. 7: P-REL. (Numerizat per Gallica.) París: Institut d'Estudis Occitans. (http://ieoparis.free.fr/delo/Freder...20d%f3u%20Felibrige%20-%207%20%28P-REL%29.pdf) (darrièra consulta: 31 julh 2012).
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012
  3. Phosphorus Senior Member

    Truly magnificent explanations Ryba. I am unfortunately a very beginner in terms of Occitan or Romance languages in general; but, as you already know, I am a fond of the language of Troubadours.

    So while "tiéucon" (< "qiéucon*" <? "qiélcom") to me appears to be suggesting an idea of kinship with Catalan "quelcom" (thence the same root for "quicòm"), "quincòm" arouses my curiosity to know about its Latin predecessor?
  4. ryba

    ryba Senior Member

    Thank you, Phosphorus!
    Perhaps it's just a reflex of Latin quinam, just like Catalan and Occitan quin are. What could bridge such a(n analogical) transfer is the fact that qual and quin are synonymous in many varieties of Occitan. Technically speaking, it could possibly also be an effect of a dissimilation in quiccumque (quidcumque > quiccumque > quinc-) reminiscent of what happened to Greek γγελος (ángelos). But I have no knowledge of the local Romance that would allow me anything more than a careful conjecture. :)
  5. Penyafort

    Penyafort Junior Member

    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    Two additions you might find interesting.

    In the great Alcover & Moll's Catalan/Valencian/Balearic Dictionary, one can read:

    QUELCOM (ant. escrit també queacom, queucom, calcom, caucom)
    Etim.: la mateixa del prov. calacom, quezacom i queacom, per al qual s'han donat diferents explicacions: llatí qualecŭmque, llatí quiddamcumque; però Spitzer les refuta (Misc. Fabra 264-269) i proposa un ètim llatí quale-quomŏdo, ‘qual com’.​

    And in Bruguera's Diccionari Etimològic:

    QUELCOM s. XIV, Llull, probablement ll. QUIDCUM(QUE) 'qualsevol cosa', que hauria donat un *quecom i, analitzat com què i com, hauria estat refet com queocom (què o com), d'on queucom i quelcom (com malaut, malalt), amb influx també de qualque, qualcú.

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