según - segundo - secundum

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by ryandward, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. ryandward

    ryandward Senior Member

    Earth
    English - USA
    Firstly I would like to apologize, this topic doesn't fit neatly in any category.

    I have spoken Spanish for the past 20 (of 26) years of my life and I consider myself a fluent speaker, and recently got a job doing some research in Portuguese.

    I found out the way you say 'según' in Portuguese is 'segundo', which is just baffling. So I went to the RAE and the Spanish etymology is of course from Latin as well; 'secundum'.

    Can anybody explain the logic the Romans had when expressing themselves, when thdy said 'according to' they used the same word as 'second'?
     
  2. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    Latin secundum is a participial form of the verb sequor "follow". So the basic meaning is "going in the same direction as, following", which gave rise to several additional meanings: favorable/propitious, second/inferior, with/according to.

    Think of how Spanish seguir gives you siguiendo (which can have a meaning similar to según) and siguiente (which can have a meaning similar to segundo).
     
  3. aruniyan Senior Member

    Tamil
    I think the act is "Sec" which means parting or segregating something,
    and the result of this is could be Second, that which follows or result after that "sec" action.



    FYI there is a word in Tamil "Secu" which also means the same (segregating).
     
  4. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    The etymology of second is very well known, well documented and has been explained very precisely by CapnPrep. I don't understand why you add any "I think" and "could be"s now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012
  5. aruniyan Senior Member

    Tamil
    fine I Understood, but is there any relation between Secantem and Secundus ?
     
  6. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    No. Secantem is the accusative present participle of the verb seco which is from the PIE root *sek-. Secundus is from the verb sequor which is derived from the PIE root *sekʷ-. For some reason the participle stem of sequor looses the distinguishing "qu" (representing the sound // which is not the sequence of /k/ and /w/ but a different phoneme) and becomes "cu". I don't know why. Maybe someone else can answer that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012
  7. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    Yes and no. Or actually, "no" and "maybe, sort of". As berndf said, two distinct roots are involved here: *sē̆k- "cut" > seco (and secantem) and *sek- "follow" > sequor (and secundum). I don't know if anyone has proposed a link between these roots in PIE; in the absence of strong arguments to this effect, we have to suppose that they are just similar-sounding, unrelated roots. Their phonetic similarity did lead to some interactions in Latin. For example, the noun secta "sect" can be considered to belong both to the family of sequor in the sense of "followers of a particular philosophy", and to the family of seco in the sense of "group of people cut off from everybody else".

    But this is not the case for secundum, which is derived only from sequor "follow". I don't see any reason to link secundum with seco "cut".
    The labial articulation was lost before PIE u and o: *seqʷondos > secundus (see here for example).
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012
  8. aruniyan Senior Member

    Tamil
    Now i understood it better, it seems there is no relation.

    Yes. I was confused with the sound similarity between words like "second " , "sect" etc.. and words like secant,secede etc....




    But when comparing these with some words in Tamil i think i found the difference is the shorter and longer "e" sound,
    seco = Secu (with short "e") (seggregate/cut)

    sequor = SEk ( with long "E") (accompany, follow etc...)

    i will limit myself here, considering the forum rules. :)


    anyway thanks for the great Input
    CapnPrep and Bernf.
     
  9. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Thank you.
     
  10. ryandward

    ryandward Senior Member

    Earth
    English - USA
    Thank you for this in-depth explanation, I really appreciate the effort you guys took! I lost track of this thread because some nice moderator moved it from where I clumsily originated it :)
     

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