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  1. aefrizzo

    aefrizzo Senior Member

    Palermo, Italia
    italiano
    Hello.
    Can someone tell me (or quote the relevant reference, sorry I do not speak polish):
    1) where and when is this term reported for the first time;
    2) the accepted etymology.
    Thank you.
     
  2. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    The etymology is eventually from the Celtic tribe Volcae (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcae). Their tribal name was first borrowed to Germanic, where "k" experienced the first Germanic consonant shift, and "o" was substituted with "a" (most probably since Germanic had lost its original Indo-European "o" and still hadn't developed its newer "o" from "u") thus getting the form "*walxo:z" (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=welsh). Then, this word was borrowed by Slavs who used it for their Romance neighbors (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlachs). The Late Common Slavic form of the 6–7th centuries was "*wålxi", which subsequently developed following the phonetic evolution of separate Slavic branches, giving eventually e. g. "Wlochy" in Polish, "власи (vlasi)" in Bulgarian or "волохи (volokhi)" in East Slavic languages.
     
  3. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    I cannot answer your first question, but maybe you'll find interesting that in Hungarian Italian is olasz and for Rumanian the term oláh was used in the past, both of the same etymology.

    According to Hungarian etymology dictionaries, in Hungarian it is a Slavik borrowing (< vlach). The Slavic vlach (plural vlasi) is an (Old High) German loanword from walah/walh that was used in the sense of "Celtic, Romance, foreigner ...". The German word is etymologically connected to the Latin Volcae, the name of a Celtic tribe.

    P.S.
    1. Italy is Olaszország (lit. Italian country, Paese italiano) in Hungarian.
    2. This word in Hungarian written documents appears from 1138.
    3. In Hungarian also the term talián/talján existed (not common today, documented from 1370) which is of Northern Italian origin (taliàn < italiano).
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
  4. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

  5. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Why is the consonant *x in Germanic *walx- taken as evidence of pre-Grimm's Law borrowing, whereas the vowel *a in this word is not taken as evidence of borrowing prior to the Germanic *o > *a shift?
     
  6. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    Because after the first consonant shift the Germanic got a new "k" sound (from *g), which in later times was used e. g. for Latin "c". Had this borrowing occurred after the consonant shift, the name would have been "walko:z".

    As to "o" we simply don't know: it may be so that indeed the original "o" shifted to "a" after that borrowing, but there are absolutely no clues to determine the date of that process. I would say that, except for some vague evidence from the Palaeobalkanic languages, all the IE groups that shifted "o" to "a" had already done this to the time of their first attestation (beginning of the 2nd millennium BC in most of the Anatolian, middle 2nd millennium in the Indo-Iranic + even earlier Aryan borrowings in Uralic, middle 1st millennium for Messapian and some northern neighbors of Greek, ancient Germanic and Baltic borrowings in Finnic), so everything indicates that it was a pretty ancient process, and most probably not independent in various branches (which, by the way were contiguous and located in the center of the IE areal). It is safer to think that there was a period when the Germanic simply had no short "o" (as do Lithuanian and Latvian till now).
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
  7. aefrizzo

    aefrizzo Senior Member

    Palermo, Italia
    italiano
    Hello Francis, Hello ahvalj.
    Thank you for your attention and the useful links. Many articles to browse:thumbsup:, including the "bracteatum":),
    By the way, have you got any idea about the hystorical, political, etc. reasons why the root word is still preserved (as far as Italy is concerned) just in a few languages namely Polish, Hungarian as well as Icelandic (according to W*)?
    Or, putting it in other words, why just for Italy and not for other European countries?
    Thank you
     
  8. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    I can speak only of Russian. Since Russian and its literary predecessor, the Church Slavonic, were official languages in the last thousand years, the stylistic base of the language is pretty formal and serious. The church has managed to eradicate almost entirely the pagan names; the names of months are also of Latin origin, unlike in many other Slavic languages. The same applies to the names of the countries: almost all of them (including Russia herself) got official latinized/grecized names on -iya, "Italiya" among them.
     
  9. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    This article is pretty accurate, but the clause "... a mildly derogatory word for "Italian", can also be mentioned" is confusing. In Polish the word Włochy is not derogatory at all , it is as respectful as it can be. By the way, this name is used only about the Italian peninsula from the Middle Ages and later. While speaking about ancient Italy the name "Italia" is used.
     
  10. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    The sentence seems quite clear to me:
    But unsourced statements of the form "XXX can also be mentioned" do not really represent the best Wikipedia has to offer…
     
  11. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    In Hungarian not only for Italy. Polish is lengyel, German is német, Rumanian was oláh, Slovak (former also Slovenian) was tót. These are simply exonyms, as Hungarian or ungherese for Magyar, each having it's own story. In the geographical sense, Itália is used in Hungarian, as Olaszország refers rather to the country/state.

    The relations between Hungary and Italy, and also between Hungary and Poland were during the history important and quite intensive. This may partially explain why the words olasz and lengyel survived and were not gradually replaced by talián and polyák respectively.

    P.S. Maybe I have misunderstood your question ... Did you mean why Włochy and Olaszország are used only for Italy and not for other countries?
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
  12. aefrizzo

    aefrizzo Senior Member

    Palermo, Italia
    italiano
    Hello, Ben
    I am rather confused. Do you mean that somewhere after the Dark Ages, for unknown (to me ) reasons you abandoned the term "Italia" and went back to the old term "Wlochy"? Or may be you still do use both terms, each of which depending on the hystorical period one is referring to?
     
  13. aefrizzo

    aefrizzo Senior Member

    Palermo, Italia
    italiano
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
  14. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    The word olasz/oláh in Hungarian historically denoted something that we could today define as "Romance speaking person". The first Romance speaking people with whom the Magyars had direct contacts (some 1000 or more years ago) were the Rumanian (as direct neighbours) and the Italian (due to the cristianization of Hungary and the political/ecclesiastical relations).

    It's important to say that neither the Rumanians nor the Italians spoke "Romanian" or "Italian" in the modern sense of these words, instead they spoke a variety of vernacular languages. So it is possible (or perhaps even probable) that other Romance speaking people were also called olasz in the past ... (though I have not found any source or written attestation for this).

    Later on, terms like francia, spanyol (Italian loanword), portugál, etc ... entered in Hungarian, but in different circumstances. For example, the word francia (French) originally denoted rather a "person from France" and not a "Romance/French speaking person".

    In other words, olasz originally refers to the people/language, while the terms francia, spanyol, portugál ... derive from the names of the respective countries (finally, Italy as a political entity with this name did not exist before the unification in the 19th century).
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
  15. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    Of course not. Before the Middle Ages nobody in today's Poland had ever heard about Italy. The first monks from Italy settled in Poland about CE 1000.
    The name Włochy is used nowadays while speaking aboutcountries/states of the Appenine Peninsula (plus Sicily and Sardinia) in the timespan from ca. CE 1000 to 1861, and for the unified state of Italy afterwards.
    The name Italia is used nowadays while speaking about the historical region of the Appenine Peninsula in Roman, pre Roman and early postroman times.
    Speaking about the period between about CE 600 to 1000 both names may be used.

    During the Polish history from the year 1000 to our times both Italia and Włochy were used parallely, until today's usage was established. In newer times Italia became gradually a learned word for historical usage.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
  16. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    From a purely "logical" point of view (letting apart any other circumstances), once the word Włochy became to denote Italy, it is hard to imagine that later an other country (France, Spain,....) would have the same name in Polish.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
  17. aefrizzo

    aefrizzo Senior Member

    Palermo, Italia
    italiano
    Yes, that was my question 1) in my post #1.
    Your answer: >1138 CE is relevant to olaszorszàg in Hungarian.
    As for Polish, I will presently make do with the last paragraph of Ben Jamin answer in post #15.
    Thank you both for your patience.:)
     
  18. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    Only to avoid any kind of misunderstanding: the date 1138 refers to the word olasz (Italian) not Olaszország (Italy). I'll try to look after the first written occurence of the term Olaszország ...

    (Now I realize that the point 2 in the P.S. of my post #3 is a bit ambiguous ...)
     
  19. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    A curiosity that may be of your interest:

    There is a settlement in Hunguary with the name Olasz. This settlement is mentioned for the first time in 1181 and, according to Wikipedia, it was founded by Walloon settlers in the 12th century. This seems to confirm that the word olasz was historically used to denote "Romance speaking people" in general, i.e. not exclusively the Italians.
     
  20. bibax Senior Member

    Czech
    In Old Czech:

    Vlach (plur. Vlaši or Vlachové) = Italian;
    Vlaška = Italian (woman);
    Vlachy = Italy;
    vlašský = Italian (adj.);

    Now these words are used mostly in historical context (e.g. in historical novels). BTW, vlaška now means the Leghorn (Livornese) variety of Gallus gallus domesticus. Vlach is also a common Czech surname (no wonder as many Italians moved to Bohemia in the past).

    In the Czechlands there are many places connected with Italians, e.g. Vlašská Street (Wälsche Spitalgasse) in Prague (near the Prague Castle). The most prominent building bearing the adjective vlašský is Vlašský dvůr, the centre of the economic power of the Bohemian Kingdom for many centuries.
     
  21. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

  22. Christo Tamarin

    Christo Tamarin Senior Member

    Bulgarian
    The proto-Slavic form was *walx-, exactly the same as that supposed for Germanic. Actually, the quality and the quantity of the vowel do not matter, because the later development in Slavic would be the same, whatever that vowel was originally. It might be long or short since no quality distinction existed in that case at that time. Probably, it was short.

    Anyway, the proto-Slavic *walx- (the origin of the Polish Włochy) is a loanword from Germanic. I suppose, High German. Actually, I doubt that there existed Germanic *walx- with -x- prior to the High German shift k->x.

    Since the very old times when this Slavic word was attested (approx. 1000 years ago), it has had two main meanings: (1) people speaking Romance (e.g. Romanian, Italian, French, ..) and (2) nomadic people.

    As Hellenophones (e.g. of Constantinople) did not distinguish foreign speakers, they often confused the ethnonyms Bulgarians and Vlachs.
     
  23. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    I write "å" instead of "a" because we don't know when the reconstructed earlier Common Slavic "a" started to move towards "o". Since we're dealing here with a borrowing of the Gothic of post-Gothic times, the vowel may have perfectly been already somewhat labialized.

    It did exist in the form of an acute/non-acute opposition, and in modern languages it may be reflected e. g. in the position of the stress (on the root for the former acute or one syllable to the right for the former non-acute: Russian «болото» vs. «долото»).

    There is absolutely no evidence to decide whether the source was High German, Gothic or any other dialect.

    In this you disagree with the entire tradition of Germanic reconstructions of the last 200 years. Cp. also the tribal names "Cherusci" or "Chatti" (> modern "Hessen").
     
  24. Christo Tamarin

    Christo Tamarin Senior Member

    Bulgarian
    There was misunderstanding. I am contesting the change Volcae => (Germanic) walx- to be attributed to the 1st Grimm's law. I was meaning just that case, not the entire 1st Grimm's law, of course. Happily, the -x- sound in Germanic *walx- might have its origin in the High German shift k=>x (Engl. make => NHG machen). I doubt that there existed Germanic *walx- (just this word is in consideration) with -x- prior to the High German shift k->x. The relation with Engl. Welsh/Wales could be disputed, too. Usually, ethnonyms do not have so long duration in time, and that's why I tend not to apply the 1st Grimm's law in this case.

    I agree. There is no evidence. I have just preference - I prefer High German. I have already explained my doubts.



    I tried to answer Gavril's question. I agree with you.

     
  25. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    You are the only one :), e.g. Zaicz's Hungarian etymology dictionary writes that in Slavic it is "of Germanic, probably Old High German origin".
     
  26. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    All this is based solely on the assumptions that
    If one doesn't feel convinced by either statement, and is unable to find forms on "*walk-" across other Germanic languages, all of which have only "walh-", there are no objections against the traditional point of view that derives the attested forms from the Common Germanic.
     
  27. eamp Junior Member

    Vienna
    German (Austria)
    Germanic /k/ doesn't become /x/ in German after /l/ and /r/ (cp. walken, welk, Falke, Werk, Mark, ...) so a reconstruction of "*walkaz" is impossible in any case.
     
  28. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    "Welche" vs. Swedish "vilken" or English "which"
    "Storch" vs. Swedish and English "stork"
     
  29. jasio Senior Member

    What "other European countries" did you mean? In the article "Walia", "Walonia" and "Wołoszczyzna" are mentioned, at least in their English spelling ("Wales", "Wallonia", and "Wallachia"). Exonyms are created by a whole range of different relationships, for example a Polish word "Niemcy" (a loanword from Czech) referring to Germany and Germans was derived from "niemi" ("mute"), probably because they were the only people in the area with which the Slavic tribes in Bohemia could not communicate (at the time Slavic dialects reached as far to the West as the Elbe river, and their languages were probably pretty unified).
     
  30. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    That's a common Slavic word with no particular confinement to Bohemia.
     
  31. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    I'd like to add that the Hungarian term for German német (from Slavic) is attested in written documents from 1086. Regardless of the fact that the "first written document' does not mean the first real occurrence of a word in a given language, this date is relatively "early" in the sense that the "old" Hungarian loanwords from Slavic are typically (not exclusively) of Southern Slavic origin (however, we cannot exclude the possibility of some borrowings from Eastern Slavic languages as well, even before the arrival of the Hungarians to the Carpathian basin).

    I have consulted two Hungarian etymology dictionaries, none of them mentions the Czech as a probable source of német (they mention only "Slavic", without any specification).
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2014
  32. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    The Old Church Slavonic dictionary by the Czech Academy mentions the occurrence of the word "нѣмьць/němьcь" in "Vita Methodii", which is "a 12th century copy (the earliest extant copy) of a now lost Old Bulgarian text […] The original Vita Methodii was written in the 9th century" (http://www-bcf.usc.edu/~pancheva/ParsedCorpusList.html).
     
  33. jasio Senior Member

    Don't take it too personally, but the end of 11th century is pretty late in the context of this discussion. ;)

    Seriously speaking, Poles (or more precisely: the Slavs which were later to become Poles) had their first broad contacts with Saxons not later than in a middle of 10th century (the official baptism of the Polan's Prince, Mesco, was 966). Choosing between Saxons and Czechs he decided on Czechs, who were Christians since 884 (in Slavic rite, which meant OCS influence, although Latin Church with their German-speaking hierarchy was also known there). Mesco was baptised in the Roman rite, and many early christian loanwords come from or through the Czech language, including the word for the church itself (kostel from castellum in Czech, kościół in Polish). So it is possible, that the word "Niemcy" might have come to Poland from this direction, which does not contradicts a theory that it had been loaned by the Czechs themselves from OCS or other Slavic dialects. Anyway, the first contacts of West Slavs with Germans might have been some time about 6th century, and with Germanics (like Gots) even earlier.

    Anyway, I've found an interesting observation, that adjective "niemy" ("mute") is very close to a phrase "nie my" ("not us"), both of which could be potentially used to denote virtually any strangers, not necessarily of germanic origin. I'm not sure though, if it was not a folk etymology. ;)
     
  34. eamp Junior Member

    Vienna
    German (Austria)
    "Welch" is a contraction of earlier "welich", the k here was not in contact with the l during the High German sound shift.
    As for "Storch", I would say it's an exception. There are other cases of fricative from final -rk/lk in Upper German dialects, but Standard German as a rule has a stop here.
    Anyway, if the word in question had an old sequence lk it would show up as such somewhere in German old or new.
     
  35. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    The Old Church Slavonic forms of these words were "ne my" and "němъ/němъjь", with only "n" and "m" common for both expressions. "Ne my" resembles more the Accusative Plural "němy" but even there the first vowel is different, and also the "y" in the latter word must have been nasalized (not reflected in the orthography). The reconstructed earlier forms were even more different ("*ne mu:" vs. "*nä:mə/nä:mə ji" for around the 6th century).

    Also, there is no indication that the adjective "němъ" itself was used for Germans of "any strangers" — as far as I imagine, attested is only the derived noun "němьcь".
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2014
  36. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    Sorry for "welche", I must have thought before writing. As far as I know, the recent "rk" and "lk" are later leveled forms originating from the Middle German dialects, and the Old High German forms normally had "ch" [kx] in these cases: "trinchan", "scalch", "march".

    More interesting is the chronology: Langobardian texts show the second shift since the 8th century and this is considered to be the first attestation of this phenomenon. Had the word been "*walk-", the Slavs must have had borrowed it not earlier than the 7–8th centuries, which is rather late for its attested distribution. Of course the "*walx-" variant is much more substantiated.
     
  37. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    To be done with the Old High German etymology: the word "влахъ/vlaxъ" is attested in the same "Vita Methodii" from the post #32: «из влахъ и из грькъ и из нѣмьць», i. e. in the 9th century. The second consonant shift is attested since the 8th century (post #36), i. e. just 100 years earlier. So, in the case of a High German borrowing, the Slavs should have suddenly borrowed a German word for their Romance neighbors with which they had been in contact for several centuries to that date. Not especially convincing. Plus, the absence of "*walk-" forms in Germanic languages, so this scenario must be rejected.
     
  38. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    The explanation of the etymology of "Niemcy/nemet" with the Slavic word "niemy" is just a guesswork, without hard facts to substantiate the theory. There is another, newer theory, deducing this ethnonym from the name of the Germanic tribe "Nemeti", attested in ancient written sources. (This name, by the way, fits the Hungarian form "nemet" perfectly).
    Personally, I like this theory much better.
     
  39. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    Not that it is completely impossible, but it is just not too serious. That tribe is attested at Caesar's time (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemetes), when the future word "němьcь" still was something like "*næ:mikas" vs. the Germanic "*nemetaz", again with just two root consonants similar. Plus, the word "*nemetaz" is of obvious Celtic etymology (<"*nemetos"), so unless its bearers were fully germanized, it would be strange to expand a name of a less typical tribe to the entire nation.
     
  40. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    I don't take it personally :). All I wanted to say is that the Slavic loanwords in Hungarian from the 9th-11th century are mostly from the Southern Slavic languages and not from Czech or Polish. As the word нѣмьць is attested also in the Southern Slavic languages (#32), from the Hungarian point of view there's no need to suppose it's Czech origin.
     
  41. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    This is true, but the "t" in német < нѣмьць can be also explained, i.e. by the fact that the sound [ts] did not exist in old Hungarian.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2014
  42. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    The Slavic Etymological dictionary by Trubachov compares this "t" with the Hungarian name for Moravians — "marótok" (http://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morvák), where "marót" is derived from "moravьcь" (obsolete Czech "moravci" — http://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moravané) with the same substitution "c">"t" in earliest borrowings.
     
  43. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    As usual, I have confused the centuries: the Second consonant shiift is attested in the Langobardian texts since the 7th century, so it gives at least 200 years for this form to reach the Southern Slavs — yet I think the general evidence speaks against a High German origin in favor of an earlier Common Germanic one.
     
  44. bearded man

    bearded man Senior Member

    Milan
    Italian
    @ aefrizzo
    There was a recent discussion in the the thread entitled Vlachos, from February 2014, which you might read with some interest.
     

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