Etymology of ocean

PersoLatin

Senior Member
UK
Persian - Iran
I came across 'akhshaena' while looking up Pontus Euxinus (The Black Sea), on OED:
Euxine
archaic name for the Black Sea, from Latin Pontus Euxinus, from Greek Pontos Euxenios, literally "the hospitable sea," a euphemism for Pontos Axeinos, "the inhospitable sea." From eu- "good, well" (see eu-) + xenos "host; guest; stranger" (see xeno-).

According to Room, The Old Persian name for the sea was akhshaena, literally "dark," probably in reference to the sudden, dangerous storms that make the sea perilous to sailors and darken its face (or perhaps in reference to the color of the water, from the sea being deep and relatively lifeless), and the Greeks took this untranslated as Pontos Axeinos, which was interpeted as the similar-sounding Greek word axenos "inhospitable." Thus the modern English name could reflect the Old Persian one.

And also for ocean:
ocean (n.)
late 13c., from Old French occean "ocean" (12c., Modern French océan), from Latin oceanus, from Greek okeanos, the great river or sea surrounding the disk of the Earth (as opposed to the Mediterranean), of unknown origin. Personified as Oceanus, son of Uranus and Gaia and husband of Tethys. In early times, when the only known land masses were Eurasia and Africa, the ocean was an endless river that flowed around them. Until c. 1650, commonly ocean sea, translating Latin mare oceanum. Application to individual bodies of water began 14c.; there are usually reckoned to be five of them, but this is arbitrary; also occasionally applied to smaller subdivisions, such as German Ocean "North Sea.

Is there a possible link between akhshaena & ocean?
 
  • sotos

    Senior Member
    Greek
    According to an etymology (which I could not verify in an academic source) Ωκεανός derives from ωκύς (fast) and νάω (v. to flow). Originally, oceanos was understood as a river that flows around earth (see Iliad, 14, 246).
    It's my assumption that some kind of "folk etymology" or "folk explanation" worked on the basis that ωκεανός sound similar to κυανός (dark bleu, black).
     

    apmoy70

    Senior Member
    Greek
    According to an etymology (which I could not verify in an academic source) Ωκεανός derives from ωκύς (fast) and νάω (v. to flow). Originally, oceanos was understood as a river that flows around earth (see Iliad, 14, 246)
    The problem then arises, how does one expalin the variants with γ instead of κ:
    Ὠγενός, and Ὠγηνός
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    The word "Okeanos" occurs in Greek before a Persian contact.
    I was thinking linguistically rather than through contact. On that point, contact between Iranian & Greek speakers must have been happening well before Persia's contact with Greece. Unless I am not mistaken, in the lands surrounding the Black Sea, the main languages, for many centuries, must have been Iranian, Greek & Hittite. There must be words that were exchanged between the Greeks & Iranians (then to Persians), that predate Persia/Greece contact.

    Look at the link I gave you. axšaēna- has cognates in Pashto and other modern Iranian langauges.
    Thanks fdb. I have read it now, there doesn't seem to be an obvious NP for it.

    The colours for axšaēna, among various Iranian cognates, is an ambiguous blue/green/grey/dark blue, even yellow. Could the reason for ambiguity be that axšaēna defined something approaching 'incandescent' which can appears as any of those colours (seen in birds, pigeon/king fisher), in different light, and therefore there still may be a link between axšaēna, and Axeinos/Euxenios?
     
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    sotos

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Sotos, I'm afraid you're wrong, you cannot compare two words from two different languages, the former is Greek, the latter is Turkish < lağım < Ar. لغم (laġam)
    I think you 're right. However, K can become Γ when greek words pass to other mediterranean languages. Hesychius focused on non-mainstream Greek words.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I think you 're right. However, K can become Γ when greek words pass to other mediterranean languages. Hesychius focused on non-mainstream Greek words.
    You mean like Greek Πέργαμος > Turkish Bergama? This is because the Greek Π is phonetically closer to the Turkish /b/ than to the Turkish /p/ (at least word-initially). This can hardly serve as evidence for theorizing about inner-Greek developments.
     
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