Sanskrit/Persian: ranga/rang

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Wolverine9, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    This word for "color" is first attested from Classical Sanskrit and Middle Persian, but what is the ultimate etymology? Are the Sanskrit and Persian forms truly cognates or did one language borrow it from the other? Given the relatively late attestation, is it somewhat dubious for the two forms to be cognates?
     
  2. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Sanskrit raṅga- and Middle Persian/New Persian rang are definitely Indo-Iranian cognates. There are lots of proto-Iranian words which are not attested in the two known Old Iranian languages (Avestan and Old Persian), but which do show up in Middle and New Iranian. This is mainly because the text corpus of Old Iranian is actually very small.
     
  3. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Let me add that raṅga- and rang are both nasalised derivatives of the root represented by Sanskrit RAJ “take on colour, become red”, and also “become excited”. The p.p.p. rakta- “coloured, red” corresponds exactly to (Middle Iranian) Choresmian rxtk “red”. This root has been connected to IE *(s)reg, Greek ῥέζω “to colour, dye”. It is interesting that whereas the Skt. verb RAJ combines the meanings of “colour” and “excitement/anger”, Persian distributes them between the etymological doublets rang and ranj.
     
  4. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    Thanks for the information, fdb!

    Although Persian has rang and ranj, Old-Iranian or Proto-Iranian probably didn't differentiate the two, correct? It probably had the verb RAJ, as in Skt.
     
  5. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Something like that. Perhaps Old Iranian had two different stem formations: *rang-a- > rang, and *rang-ya- > ranj.
     
  6. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    I was just thinking about this some more. If the Skt. root of the word is raj-, would the Old Iranian equivalent have been *raz- or *ranz- (with *ranga- and *rangya- as possible derivatives), since the Skt. j and h are represented by z in cognate Avestan words?
     
  7. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    It is the Skt. j which comes from IE *g before a front vowel, not the j/h which comes from IE *ĝ. It is only the latter that becomes z in Iranian.
     

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