The word for "Bird" in Romance languages

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by vince, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. vince Senior Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    In Latin it was Avis, and "aves" seems to be preserved in some languages.

    But where do the forms that look like "paxaro" and "ocel" come from?
  2. Athaulf

    Athaulf Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    Interesting question... According to this source, Spanish pájaro and similar words come from the Latin passer, meaning "sparrow" (which is apparently still used for sparrows in taxonomy).

    I wonder if Spanish ave has survived all the way from Latin, or if it's a more recently introduced Latinism?
  3. franz rod Senior Member

    In Italian bird is "uccello". It comes from latin aucellus, diminutive of avis
  4. mgwls Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Spanish (Argentina)
    From what I could gather: Italian uccello, French oiseau and Catalan ocell are all cognates and stem from the Late Latin word for "little bird": aucellus which is cognate of Spanish ave and derives from Latin avis.

  5. OldAvatar Senior Member

    In Romanian is pasăre, from Latin passer (sparrow).
    Some regionalisms kept the form paser-paseră (sg.), paseri(pl.).
  6. CapnPrep Senior Member

    Just to provide the presumed original form: classical Latin avicellus > Vulgar Latin aucellus
  7. SerinusCanaria3075

    SerinusCanaria3075 Senior Member

    United States
    México, D.F. (Spanish)
    Sardinian has "puzone" as the general word for bird.
    Of course there are variants depending on the region: pigioni, pilloni, pizone, pixone, pugione, puzona, puzone, and as we can see it can be either masculine or feminine.

    Plural: Is pillonis (most certainly Campidanese) or sos puzones.

    Ave (or Ae) and Cedda (or Cedha) are the other 2 variants for bird.

    Pilloni apparently comes from Latin pipio, -onis, which of course evolved into Piccione (it), Pigeon (fr), Pichón (esp) in other languages.
    Sardinian pigeon on the other hand is Columbu (colombu, culumbu, caombu) from Latin Columbus and still present in Italian Colombo (and Colombe for French lovers).
  8. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Ave is also Portuguese. It's been used in Portuguese since the 13th century, according to this dictionary.

    And here's the difference between pássaro and ave (in Portuguese).
  9. demalaga Member

    España castellano
    In Catalan big birds are called aus and small ones are called pardal.I suppose that this word is derived from Latin "pardalis"but this word meant panther ,also used in compound scientific names for several animals like furcifer pardalis and camelo pardalis which is also the name of a constellation.

    I have to add that the usual name for birds in Catalan is ocell.Pardal is just used in some areas
  10. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Pardal means "sparrow" in Portuguese.
  11. Cilquiestsuens Senior Member

    By the way passereau, also means sparrow in French. However, we prefer moineau in modern French. Passereau is now used in modern French, since the beginning of the 19th century to describe a category of small sized and singing birds.
  12. J.F. de TROYES Senior Member

    The Corsican forms are very close to the previous ones :
    acellu, ucellu, ocellu (it depends on the areas )
    The same for Occitan :
    Old French had oisel which the still used "oiselet" (small bird ) comes from.
  13. Nizo Senior Member

    As a sidenote, as with other words (such as moon/lunar and sun/solar), the adjectival form in English harkens back to the Latin:

    bird (n)
    avian (adj) : bird flu / avian influenza

    an aviary (fr= une volière, es= una pajarera, it= una voliera)

    No one asked, but I think it's interesting :D
  14. tom_in_bahia Senior Member

    Teixeira de Freitas, BA, Brasil
    South Florida/Phoenix-Tucson/the Adirondacks. Native of North American English
    Hmm.So, I suppose that since the central Romance languages (Italian, French, Catalan) use a word derived from aucellus (uccello, oiseau, ucell) and the peripheral Romance Languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian) use a word similar to "sparrow" (passer --> Pajaro, Passaro, Pasare), I can assume that the idea of sparrow meaning any bird in general was a concept present at an early time in common spoken Latin than the diminutive (little bird) which remains present in the heart of the old empire.

    What do you think? Pajaro=bird is older than Oiseau=bird? (in simplified terms)
  15. xupxup Senior Member

    El Vendrell
    català - Spain
    The standard word for bird in catalan is ocell (or aucell), derived from the latin diminutive aucellu - avicella. The word au, derived from avis is rarely used, since it is a cultism and would sound extravagant in common speaking. Another word for saying bird in catalan is pardal, derived from pardalus, that can mean only sparrow or any kind of little bird, depending on the catalan dialect. The diminutive of passer, passerellu, has derived to the word passerell, that is used for a only one kind of bird, (in english I have found it's called linnet). Another word for bird is moixó, derived from latin muscione, that meant little bird in latin, and that still means little bird in catalan, but dialectally can be used for any bird, even an ostrich.

    Please excuse my english.
  16. demalaga Member

    España castellano
    This is an answer to Tom in Bahia
    Catullus, famous Latin poet who lived in 1st century BC used a language more like the language "of the street".For example for "to kiss" "basiare" instead of "osculare".He used "passer" with the meaning of "little bird kept as a pet".In poemm III you read
    passer mortuus est meae puellae, passer, deliciae meae puellae, quem plus illa oculis suis amabat. nam mellitus erat .My girlfriend's bird is dead, wich she loved more than her own eyes, since it singen very well
  17. MarX Banned

    Indonesian, Indonesia
    In which Romance language is bird called "paxaro"?
    As far as I know, In Portuguese it's pássaro and in Spanish pájaro.

  18. CapnPrep Senior Member

  19. MarX Banned

    Indonesian, Indonesia

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