Etymology of "prieten"

Discussion in 'Română (Romanian)' started by JoshuaG., Nov 1, 2013.

  1. JoshuaG. New Member

    USA (Midwest)
    English - US
    I'm very new to Romanian, but not new to the field of etymology, historical grammar and Latin languages.

    What is the etymology of the word "prieten". Are there other cognates in other Latin languages that perhaps don't preserve a very similar meaning but are, indeed, related.

    More generally, are there any non-Latin Indo-European cognates. Although it seems to obvious, I have wondered if it is is somehow related to our word "friend". The furthest back any etymological source will take the word is to Proto-Germanic but I haven't found any suggestion of what it could have come from in Indo-European (if anything).


  2. JoshuaG. New Member

    USA (Midwest)
    English - US
    Apparently it comes from the Slavic word prijatelĩ.

    Ours is from Proto-Germanic frijōną and frijōndz.

    Are these words related?*

    Is their any scholarly observation that a tendency of initial /pr-/ and /fr-/ sounds being related among Indo-European languages?

    *I still feel this is related to this thread since it is ultimately about my question "if prieten is histocially related to our word friend."
  3. farscape mod-errare humanum est

    Ottawa, Canada
    Not sure this can help you much: if there are any similarities between the languages it's highly unlikely they would be found where Germanic or Proto-Germanic roots are involved, unless modern French becomes the transport vehicle.

    Just speculating, maybe there are some connections with the Celtic languages. A possible clue might be the name Ioan: same spelling and pronunciation in Romanian and the legend I was told in mid-school about a proto-Romanian (sic) king who has defeated the Celts in several battles. Or I could be terribly wrong :)

  4. 123xyz

    123xyz Senior Member

    Skopje, Macedonia
    Indeed, "prieten" is a Slavic loanwoard. However, I find it curious that "prieten" comes from the form "prijatel"* rather than a cognate, due to the n~l discrepancy. There is a Macedonian word "пријатен" (BCS "prijatan"), with "n", which means pleasant, but I suppose that the adjectival "-n" here is coincidental with the "-n" in the loanword "prieten". Anyway, since Romanian has been influenced by Slavic while other Latin languages haven't (except relatives of Romanian, such as Aromanian), I don't suppose there are any cognates of this word in any of them.

    As for general connections in Indo-European, I believe that "friend" and "prijatel/prieten" are indeed cognates. The Slavic word "prijatel" is derived from a verb with the agentive suffix. Nowadays, the verb means to do good and to be beneficial, at least in Macedonian (прија) and BCS (prijati) nowadays. The English word "friend" is apparently derived from OE "freogan", meaning to love or to favour, which is close to the meaning of the Slavic cognate. It is derived from the verb with a present participle suffix, which is analogous to the agentive suffix in Slavic "prijatel". It is apparently cognate to "free". Take a look at this information too - you have some Indo-European connections listed, as well as the ultimate reconstructed root *priH. Also, you have some additional information about the origin in the Russian entry on Wiktionary for "приятель". Look at the part where it talks about the etymology. If you can't understand it, it basically links the word "приятель" to the Indo-Iranian, Germanic and Baltic languages, as well as Greek; it provides some cognates to illustrate the connection.

    *When I refer to the word "prijatel", I don't mean to imply that it exists in all Slavic languages in this form - I am merely referring to all of the Slavic languages' words derived from Proto-Slavic "prijatelĭ" collectively.

    P.S. I haven't taken a look at multiple resources and I can't vouch for the credibility of either Wiktionary or the etymological dictionary, so it is possibly that the derivations are in fact wrong.
  5. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    English “friend”, Russian прия́ть, Sanskrit priyá-, etc. are all Indo-European cognates (the development of pr- to fr- is regular in Germanic). And so yes, if the Rumanian word does come from Slavic then it is indeed cognate with English “friend”.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2013

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