Words of Latin origin in German

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by bearded man, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. bearded man

    bearded man Senior Member

    Milan
    Italian
    Hello everyone
    I know very well that in every language, whenever foreign words are received and accepted, they are often modified in order to conform with the 'receiver's' grammar or pronunciation rules. Anyhow, in German there are some words of Latin origin, which have been changed in such a strange way as to create monsters, at least for the ears of 'Latin'-speakers. Take e.g. the word Exponat, which at first appears like a sort of past participle of a verb 'exponare'. Now, this verb does not exist: in Latin it is 'exponere' (exhibit, ausstellen). then why not say 'Expositum' instead of Exponat? Another terrible (for us) word is Milizionär (Militionär). There is no such a thing as a Milition, which it could refer to. The Latin word is 'militia' (Miliz), then why not say 'Milizer' or Milizianer ,following the example of Italian 'miliziano'? ((It is not my intention to italianize German anyhow:))).
    Another mysterious territory in German is the gender of some Latin words that have arrived through English or that remain as pronounced in English. OK in English there is no gender, therefore I understand that - for Germanic words - the gender should be the same as in German, whenever it exists. For example, you say DER thread (der Draht). But what happens with 'DAS Image'? Why is it not feminine like in the whole line: Lat.imago, It.immagine, Fr.image..? Since in English there is no gender, I think the gender in the original language should have been chosen.
    I would be so glad to read your comments on those 'mysteries', and thank you in advance.
     
  2. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Exponat is a loan from Russian, so you are asking the wrong people here and Milizionär is modeled after Logionär, so it is quite straight forward. If this sounds horrible to an Italian ear, I am afraid it can't be helped. We are creating these words for our own use and not to satisfy your aesthetic concepts. Sorry.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
  3. bearded man

    bearded man Senior Member

    Milan
    Italian
    I did not mean to offend anyone by saying that those words were horrible: that is why I added FOR US / TO OUR EAR, and I asked only for linguistical comments, therefore I really do not understand the resentment in your reply.
    Anyhow, my first doubt was about Exponat, not Exponant. Is Exponat also a Russian loan? And which people could I have asked, if not Germans, when I did not know that a German word came from Russian? You say that Milizionär is modeled after Legionär (Log.?), but I could object that Legion exists, while Milizion does not exist. Thank you anyway.
     
  4. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Sorry, I meant Exponat not Exponant. It was a mere typo.

    I am not offended. I meant what I wrote as a serious answer to your question. We construct words in the way they appear logical to us, not necessarily to you and not necessarily faithful to the language of origin. That's what languages usually do: Once a loan word is assimilated (like Miliz) people start to form derivations according the logic of their own language ignoring the rules of the language of origin. People simply don't think in etymological chains and when they use the anglicism das Image, nobody cares how the word entered English.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
  5. bearded man

    bearded man Senior Member

    Milan
    Italian
    Now that is a good explanatory comment, thank you. Friends?
     
  6. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Of course. As well as I am concerned we always were. I am sorry, if my original comment came across as hostile.:)
     
  7. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    The word exponát exists also in Slovak, maybe a loanword from Russian, I don't know. However, the "logic" of such words can be explained in the following way: there are some "etymologically correct" words of Latin origin in the Slavic languages, for example citát (<citatum) and citovať (<citare) that serv as examples or "paradigm".

    The word exponát is not a direct Latin loan, but the verb exponovať (<exponere) is. Thus the noun exponát is simply created from the root expon- adding the suffix -át.

    P.S. Even in Italian we can find "incorrect" usages of verbal roots from the Latin point of view, e.g. ponesti (passato remoto) instead of posuisti, premuto instead of presso, etc...
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013
  8. bearded man

    bearded man Senior Member

    Milan
    Italian
    Thank you, Francis, very interesting.
     
  9. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    In Scandinavian languages there is a word bil that means "car". It has been formed from "automobil" (sic!).
    From the latin word "promotio" a new Norwegian verb was coined: promotere (not the "correct" *promovere).
    In Polish the word album borrowed from Latin and was once a indeclinable neutrum. It is now declined as a masculine noun.
    The English data was once a direct Latin loan, and "correctly" plural (these data), now it has become singular (this data).

    As you can see, one should not expect that languages would respect the original grammar of the loanwords.
     
  10. bearded man

    bearded man Senior Member

    Milan
    Italian
    You are right, Ben. Of the words you have quoted, ''promotere'' in particular has made me merry.:)
     
  11. Peterdg

    Peterdg Senior Member

    Belgium
    Dutch - Belgium
    As to your question about the gender changes: this also happens in romance languages; just a couple of examples:

    SP: un error (m)
    FR: une erreur (f)

    SP: un tomate (m)
    FR: une tomate (f)

    SP: una serpiente (f)
    FR: un serpent (m)

    There are more.
     
  12. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    The gender is a quite complex matter as in the IE languages it generally depends on an existing declension paradigm that sometimes may lead to some "difficulties".

    Two Slavic examples for illustration (from Slovak):

    monument - masculine (< Lat. monumentum - neuter)
    dráma - femenine (< Gr. drama - neuter)

    A simplified explanation: there is no "adequate" declension paradigm for nouns ending in -t and -a of neuter gender, thus these nouns have "spontaneousely" passed to the masculine and feminine gender respectively, as maculine nouns in -t (non-palatal consonant) and feminine nouns in -a are frequent and thus "easily declinable".

    This "logic" does not affect only loan words, but curiousely also some "original" nouns. For example, the word girl in Slovak is dievča which, inspite of the well known fact that the girls used to be of feminine sex, this word is of neuter gender because of the ending -ča. Something similar happens also in case of the German Mädchen ("girl", neuter).

    As to the Romance languages, here we can observe rather an "opposite problem": the loss of the Latin declension leads to a certain confusion concerning the gender: la flor (Spanish) but il fiore (Italian), etc (including examples of Peterdg #11) ...
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013
  13. Cossue Junior Member

    Galiza
    Galician & Spanish
    Galician/Portuguese: o mel (m), o leite (m), o sal (m), a ponte (f) [honey, milk, salt, bridge]
    Spanish: la miel (f), la leche (f), la sal (f), el puente (m) [idem]

    Just for citing closely related Romance languages
     
  14. jasio Senior Member

    And another Slavic example, of a similar nature, from Polish:

    Polish nouns and names ending in "-a" in Nominativus are almost universally of feminine gender. There are only a few exceptions to this rule, like "atleta" (from latin 'athleta', meaning a 'sportsman'), and its feminine version is "atletka". But even in these cases, despite the masculine gender recognised by matching forms of pronouns, verbs, adjectives, numerals etc., they follow feminine gender declension rules, at least in singular number. The more interesting example is "kometa" ('a comet') though. This word was loaned from latin in its original masculine gender ("ten kometa") and was used in this form as late as in 19th century. Later however its grammatical gender was switched to feminine ("ta kometa") thus matching grammatical gender with the ending.
     
  15. bearded man

    bearded man Senior Member

    Milan
    Italian
    Hi jasio
    What are 'ten' and 'ta' in your kometa example? They look like Greek articles (Latin had no articles), but then in Greek 'ten' was feminine singular accusative, and 'ta' neuter plural nominative/accusative. Or are they Polish words (I don't know Polish) ? Please clarify.
     
  16. jasio Senior Member

    In Polish there are no articles as such either, so I used pointing pronouns which must always share grammatical gender of the pointed to word in a manner similar to the articles in German and romance languages:

    ten - masculine pointing pronoun (questo, dieser)
    ta - feminine pointing pronoun (questa, diese)
    to - neuter pointing pronoun (-, dieses)

    I'm sorry for lack of clarity.
     
  17. Lugubert Senior Member

    Göteborg
    Swedish
    In many other words that perhaps were more rare so that they did'nt need extreme shortening, we retain "auto": automatisk "automatically".
    One upon a time, we used album to mean like originally intended, a bound collection of blank pages (for attaching photos etc.) Nowadays, it's most often used for a collection of music, be it on vinyl, CD or whatever. For Swedish: declinable neuter.
    The same disease is affecting Swedish. A professional translator, I vigorously fight this uneducated nonsense anytime. Until losing customers' money, I stick to treating "data" as a plural in any and all languages.

    A similar pet peeve of mine is "professor". The word is masculine in Latin, regardless of the biological gender of the reference. There can be no such thing as a professor emerita. She, like her masculine counterparts, is a professor emeritus.

    But we can try...
     
  18. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    An example: I have mentioned (post #12) the Slovak dráma (feminine) from the Greek drama (neuter). The same in Czech is drama (neuter), in plural dramata. (For me more "elegant", to say so).
     
  19. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    I am not quite sure about this one. In Latin a word like bos is communis generis and can take an adjective either in the masculine or the feminine form depending on whether it means “bull” or “cow”. If professor is to be applied to both sexes, then it should also be treated as communis generis, in which case it is perfectly good Latin to distinguish a professor emeritus and a professor emerita.
     
  20. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    Polish has added a "t" to the word "dramat" and we got a masculine noun "dramat" (plural "dramaty"), which declines like the words of Latin origin (postulat, certyfikat).
     
  21. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Moderator note: I think we have discussed the examples of Slavic gender change long enough now. Can we concentrate on German (or at least Germanic languages) again?
     
  22. Cynical New Member

    English - American
    Ambulanz, I think.
     
  23. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Germany
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    Exponat isn't a loanword from Russian, since the Russian equivalent is not a loanword, but a calque: выставка (exhibition), выставочный объект (exhibit, literally "exhibition object").
    Unfortunately, in German all verbs of either Latin or Romance origin take the common combination of suffix & ending "-ieren" (until the beginning of the 20th century, "-iren"). Since the most common past participle ending in Latin is -atum, it is but logical to form "Exponat" from "exponieren".

    Anyway, the logic of Russian derivates of Latin (or "Latinate") origin doesn't concern this thread, otherwise I could give some other examples of this derivation pattern in Russian that would sound odd for a native speaker of German.
    And why does Italian have polizia & poliziotto, but milizia & miliziano/-a, in German Polizei & Polizist(in) going with Miliz & Milizionär(in), in Spanish policía & policía (bot m & f)?

    What would be the female for professor in Latin, *proferetrix, if it exists? Professor is clearly masculine in Latin, and since there are words which have different grammatical and natural gender, it shouldn't be too difficult to accept this language twist and to use professor only in the masculine.
     
  24. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
  25. bearded man

    bearded man Senior Member

    Milan
    Italian
    @ Angelo di fuoco
    Just a few remarks on your interesting post #23.
    - Exponat: as you undoubtedly know, the original Latin verb was 'exponere', past part. 'expositum'. What sounds horrible to a 'latin' ear, is precisely the false past participle in -at, as if from a verb exponare...But of course I do understand the logic of its origin, as you have well explained. On the basis of berndf's #24, it seems to me that the question about the origin (Russian?) of Exponat is still unsolved.
    - Polizia: please consider the difference in stress and origin of the two Italian words polizìa (from Greek politèia, or (guard) of the town, and milìzia - not milizìa ( Lat. milìtia from miles= soldier). This explains perhaps the different 'destinies' of derived words polizotto / miliziano.
    - Professor: it is of course a vain speculation to imagine non-existing words, but since professor is related to the Lat. deponent verb profiteor, the virtual feminine of professor should be profit(e)rix/ profet(e)rix rather than proferetrix. Italian has created the word professoressa, -essa being a feminine ending.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  26. jasio Senior Member

    Excuse me, are you suggesting that a German Exponat can be a loanword from Russian? This word also exists in Polish ('eksponat'), and my 'Dictionary of foreign words' derives it from Latin 'exponere'.

    Considering geographical, cultural and historical circumstances, I would rather suggest that in Russian it's a loanword from German, while in Polish it's either from German or directly from Latin (we have really a lot loanwords from Latin, either direct or through German, or just with German phonetic influence, through Czech, French, sometimes Italian) while in Russian most loanwords I could easily identify as a foreigner seemed to come from German, and latinisms could be borrowed mainly indirectly, through other languages (I would bet on German in the first place, then perhaps French and perhaps Polish). Plus of course a whole bunch of "international" words most of them with Latin origin anyway.
     
  27. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Germany
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    Does French "exposer" & "exposé" sound horrible to you? And what about the participles "ceduto", "perso", "reso, "visto" or "costruito" in Italian? ;)

    Thanks a lot, I suspected something of sorts.

    Since in school I had only French & Spanish, but no Latin at all, my (very rudimentary) Latin sucks and I probably mixed two verbs up.
    I know Italian pretty well, thanks. The funny thing about "professoressa" & "studentessa" is that -essa is from Greek.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  28. bearded man

    bearded man Senior Member

    Milan
    Italian
    @ jasio
    What you say is quite reasonable,but the hypothesis that German 'exponat' might be a loan from Russian was suggested not by me, but by berndf (see#2 above, and #24) a person who is really expert on languages. I find contradictory statements about the origin of that word, therefore I wrote 'the question is unsolved'. It does not seem probable to me that Polish 'eksponat' is a direct borrowing from Latin, because the word does not correspond to derivation laws of the Latin language (an item exhibited at a fair should rather be an expositum in Latin). More probably it was borrowed from German, as you say.
     
  29. bearded man

    bearded man Senior Member

    Milan
    Italian
    @ Angelo di fuoco
    You are right, in Italian several participles deviate from the original Latin ones, but in a way they contnue a tradition from vulgar Latin up to early romance languages. None of them so blatantly contradicts Latin derivation possibilities like 'exponat' does, especially because it sounds like a participle of a non-existing monster verb 'exponare'. But of course feelings (horrible vs acceptable and similar) are highly subjective.:)
    As for -essa, I do not regard it as so funny, because this ending already existed in late Latin, borrowed from Greek -issa, and as you will know late Latin and Italian were massively influenced by the Greek language (particularly in its byzantine version). But this would lead us too far away and is slightly off-topic, my friend.
     
  30. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    We are not discussing the ultimate origin of the root expon- but of the Verb form Exponat which cannot be explained by a Latin origin alone from which the expected German form would be *Exposit.
     
  31. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Germany
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    The Duden says Exponat is a recent (mid-20th century) borrowing from Russian.
    What I can find on the internet in Russian doesn't inspire much confidence. The only trustworthy source I've found so far gives it as a derivate from Latin exponere and cites a dictionary from 1933 for the etymology and another example from 1907, whitout etymology. Most give Latin "exponatus", but since they also give elegant as ultimately coming from Latin "eligare" (via French), I don't trust them.
    I would exclude Polish influences, since usually the loanwords from Polish in Russian are either Slavic or German.
    Russia had a history of Latin teaching of its own beginning with the Slavonic-Greek-Latin Academy, founded in 1687. Admittedly, it was rather short compared to the story of Latin in Western Slavic countries.
     
  32. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Germany
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    Many verbs shifted to other conjugation, and most of them to the -are conjugation (or -er, in French). French was particularly diligent in this, since they had the additional factor of the stress shift.

    I find this funny because neither professore nor studente are Greek words. I know there are some other words like sacerdotes & sacerdotessa, abate & badessa, but they have Greek roots. Especially studente seems funny because it's ultimately a present participle and as such it should be gender neutral in Italian.
     
  33. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    If it were a mere regularization the expected form would be *Expositat. Cf. dicere, ppl stem dict-, frequentative dictare, dictatum > German Diktat.
     
  34. bearded man

    bearded man Senior Member

    Milan
    Italian
    Hello Angelo di fuoco
    - Exponat
    What you say about shift of verbs to a conjugation different from the original one, is quite true, but to my knowledge (I know three Romance languages) 'exponere' never shifted to 'exponare' in any of them. So 'exponat' is an isolated, therefore odd, phaenomenon.
    - essa
    Once it entered the Italian language as an ending useful for obtaining feminine from masculine, evidently it spread even to areas where it would not have been necessary. For example, we say avvocatessa for a female lawyer, while there was the old It. form avvocata (now only used in a prayer to the Virgin who is avvocata nostra, as she is supposed to defend sinners so they may go to Heaven...).
    Just one Randbemerkung: you list 'sacerdote/-ssa' among words having a Greek root: well, no, it is a Latin word (sacerdos from sacer=holy), see Engl.sacred.
    I would like to add that the -essa ending is immediately clear (and perhaps for this reason had such a great fortune) to an Italian ear, as a feminine designation, also because it recalls the feminine pronoun 'essa' (=she) from Lat. ipsa.
    EDIT
    : what berndf says about frequentatives is quite accurate. From the simple verb ponere we have a composed verb deponere (like 'deponent' verb) and its frequentative depositare (It.), see Engl. deposit. So, if that were the way of derivation, German would in fact have 'Expositat' and not the strange 'Exponat'.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  35. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Germany
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    Oh, I remember my French classes in the Oberstufe (French Leistungskurs). The girls did form infinitives like *attender for attendre and définer for définir. :eek:
     
  36. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Germany
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    Thanks, particularly for the sacerdote. I think I was mislead by the nominative's vaguely Greek ending and by the fact that Spanish has sacerdotisa but hasn't adopted -isa as a productive ending.
    However, Exponat isn't as isolated in German as you think: there's also Deponat (caparra, specie quella che si paga al locatore e si restituisce quando scade il contratto d'affitto), and here I'm pretty sure it doesn't come from Russian, since the Russian calque (залог) really and truly does not have any Latinate equivalent.
     
  37. bearded man

    bearded man Senior Member

    Milan
    Italian
    Hi Feuerengel
    Thank you, I did not know about Deponat. Besides 'caparra' we can also call it 'deposito', as you will know (please note how regular, from depositum).:)
     
  38. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    We are not talking about German "Peneler" and the kind of mistakes they would be likely to make.
     
  39. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    That is a quite new and relatively rare word. Occasional occurances before the late 1970s can safely be regarded as mistakes. This is likely a formation by analogy to the at that time already well established word Exponat and cannot serve as an explanation for the formation of that word.
     
  40. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    This is essentially true for the Slavic languages, as well. This only confirms that the ending -at in some non-Romance languages can be attached to the true or supposed Latin verbal roots directly to form nouns, without taking in consideration it's original function (as participle of verbs in -are). Furthermore, the ending -at (< -atus/-atum) is used also to form nouns from non verbal roots/words as well, e.g. German Kommissariat ... Italian commissariato, principato ... Even if this is not exactly the same situation as in case of Exponat, I think, it may contribute to this kind of "incorrect" usage of the discussad ending -at.

    As to the origin of the German Exponat, the Russion verb is экспонировать which might suggest the German origin (< exponieren) of this verb in Russian. However, this doesn't imply that the noun exponat cound not be primarily used/created in Russian (decomposing it to экспон- and -ировать), as the ending -ировать is quite diffused in Russian. From a historical point of view, it may be also interesting that the corresponding word exists in Czech and Slovak (exponát), but not in Hungarian (as far as I know).

    From the non-Romance point of view, probably not. I think there are more words of this kind. An example (that comes to my mind now) is the Czech/Slovak komprimát (the Latin participle is compressus, and not *comprimatus). Question: is there a similar word in German?
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  41. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Germany
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    What does komprimát mean?
    No' but in Russian there's компромат: pieces of information or evidence which might compromise somebody or something.
    And there was also a phenomenon in art called suprematism.
     
  42. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    Komprimát is generally a product created by compressing some powder-like substance/material, e.g. a capsule or pastille (in the sense of medicine/medicament).
     
  43. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Germany
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    French: comprimés (m. pl.), German: Tabletten/Pillen (both f. pl.).
     
  44. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    You must not exclude words imported from Russian to Polish, but being of other origins. One such example is Polish "desant" from Russian "десант" from French "descente", meaning landsetting of troops from water or air.
     
  45. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    Should? By which rules or which logic? When people begin using a loan word, do they care where it came from or if it found a direct way into their language. How many people using the word "image" in German have any idea that it also exists in French or what gender it is in French?
    What happens is, they begin using it, uses the gender that feels right for whichever personal phonetically based intuition. Sooner or later the majority has decided which gender it is.

    If you want to talk about weird - why do people say "die CD" in German although they would never say "die Disk"?
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2014
  46. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    :confused:
    Natürlich heißt es im Deutschen die Disk/Disc.
     
  47. Lugubert Senior Member

    Göteborg
    Swedish
    Weil die Scheibe?
     
  48. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    ... oder die Platte. Ja, das ist wahrscheinlich der Grund.
     
  49. Herefordian

    Herefordian Junior Member

    Hereford UK
    British English
    I used to smile at this grotesque word until I realised that English and German "Bus" is formed by exactly the same process. :)
     
  50. Lugubert Senior Member

    Göteborg
    Swedish
    Wie in Festplatte, ja.




    What do you find grotesque? The 'i' isn't short as in English bill or Dutch bil, but long, so it's pronounced rather like the English name Beale.
     

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