Č in the Czech and Slovak kočka

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ahvalj

Senior Member
What do Czech and Slovak etymologists say about the origin of č in the Czech and Old Slovak kočka “she-cat”? This word apparently comes from late Common Slavic *koťьka < earlier Common Slavic *kati̯ukā (compare the Lithuanian kačiukė<*kati̯ukā “little she-cat”), but the outcome č in West Slavic languages is unexpected (must have been c, that is **kocka). Is it regarded as an eventually western South Slavic (don't know if this word is attested there) or East Slavic (Belarusian/Russian кошка/koška, Ukrainian кішка/kʲiška, with an irregular simplification *č>š) loan?
 
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  • jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Maybe by analogy with the profusion of words ending in čka, which very often refer to something little and cute?

    This is an interesting read (in Czech), but it unfortunately doesn't address the reason for a č in the word.
     

    ahvalj

    Senior Member
    Thank you. That may work indeed. I've also found the Polish dialectal koczka mentioned in a dictionary. In Upper Sorbian it is kóčka vs. the Lower Sorbian expected West Slavic kócka.

    While the word for “cat” is almost certainly a loan in Indo-European languages, there is a suspiciously similar word for “small animal”: for example Latin catulus and the Slavic *kotiti/okotiti sę “give birth (of animals)”, hence *okotъ.

    Concerning your second link:
    Naši indoevropští předkové kočku ve svém asijském domově
    is this lilac area in the center Asiatic for an average Czech?
     

    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    I've heard some people say that for Prague residents anything east of Prague is Asia, and that includes Moravia. :D

    I can't speak for Czechs or other Brazilians, but that area you pointed to is Asia for me.
     

    ahvalj

    Senior Member
    [In an unrelated English publication I've recently seen the very same area called “south-eastern Russia” (for a Russian mind south-eastern Russia is somewhere near Manchuria and Japan). Just an illustration of perception in different cultures.] :confused:
     

    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    My paper Český etymologický slovník, by Jiří Rejzek, says there is no satisfactory explanation as to why kočka and cognates in other Slavic languages have a č or other sibilants, which are not found in Proto-Slavic koťьka .
     
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    ahvalj

    Senior Member
    Purely theoretically, the attested East Slavic кошка would be the expected Bulgarian outcome: from the Old Church Slavonic **коштька. So, much of West Slavic has an expected East Slavic form, East Slavic has an expected eastern South Slavic form, and South Slavic has lost this word altogether ,)
     
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