Ger. Kamin/Sp. camino: any connexion?

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Arrius, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    English, UK
    German der Kamin, derived according to Duden from Latin caminus, a furnace (sicut in camino ardenti, Revelations I ), means fireplace and in the South, also chimney (the English word, via French cheminée, which contains the French word chemin = road/way, having apparently the same origin).The morphologically similar el camino in Spanish means road or way.
    I wonder if there is a connexion here, my theory being that a fireplace and a chimney provide a way out for the smoke of a fire.
    The Real Academia give the origin of the Spanish word as "Celto-latin camminus, a word of hispanic origin; cf the Celto-iberian camanon". This does not help much as I know little or nothing about the Celtic languages.
    Is my explanation of a German-Latin-Spanish connexion correct, or just yet another bizarre coincidence?
  2. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Kluge, Etymologisches Wörterbuch gives another etymology, not related to Spanish 'camino': Latin 'caminus' = 'furnace' < Greek 'kaminos' = 'oven'.

    Theoretically, as you say, the semantic relation between Spanish and German words could be bridged, but it seems that this is not the case here.
  3. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    English, UK
    You have added the older Greek cognate to the Latin one I already gave. Latin and Greek roots are often similar. If the connexion I suspected does not exist, then this is one of the weirdest coincidences (especially in view of the French chemin/cheminée) I have come across in Volksetymologie.
    I have just checked in Larousse and found that whereas chemin (road) comes from the word camminus said to be of vulgar Latin origin and a word used in Gaulish, which would be mainly Celtic, cheminée comes from the Latin caminus, which we have already mentioned, but I do not know whether camminus with two m's has any relation to the latter word with one.
  4. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    From what you have dug up:
    - Latin 'camino' > French 'cheminée', English 'chimney', German 'Kamin
    - vulgar Latin (be it of Gaulish or Iberic origin) 'cammino' > French 'chemin', Spanish 'camino'
    the similarity of both words indeed looks like a very strange coincidence as they often happen with languages.
    In fact, your own answer was much more helpful than mine which wasn't much more than looking up a word in the dictionary. ;)

    And yes, one thing which is really interesting here is that in French 'chemin' and 'cheminée' do so obviously look like cognates - and nevertheless the meaning between the two never seems to have been mixed up (or have they?), in which case I'd say that this is a further argument in favour of the similarities being coincidence.
    But as you I know next to nothing about Celtic languages.
  5. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    English, UK
    Assuming that the resemblance is, in fact, pure coincidence, it is a lesson to us not to jump too easily to conclusions about the origin of a word. The weirdest coincidence I have so far come across was that, contrary to the belief of many arabists, the Arabic word for graveyard مَقْبَرَة maqbara was not the origin of our word macabre or makaber, which in fact came from a person's name in Hebrew who was involved in an historic massacre! This also yielded the French slang word for corpse, macabée, also nothing to do with the Arabic word.​
  6. gatto

    gatto Senior Member

    L'Aquila, Italy
    Just to add my little bit...
    In Italian the words are camino (fireplace but also chimney) and cammino (walk, path). So here actually the link is a Latin origin for all the words you cited...
    Hope it was of some interest :)
  7. robbie_SWE

    robbie_SWE Senior Member

    Trilingual: Swedish, Romanian & English
    In Romanian we have the word cămin (a type of fireplace; also şemineu < Fr. cheminée), but not a similar word for "path" (which in Romanian is cale < Lat. callis).

    :) robbie
  8. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    English, UK
    Tak så mycket to robbie SWE. Incidentally, as you may already know, Spanish has both calle (a street in a town) and camino (thoroughfare, highway), as well as chimenea for chimney/fireplace.
    And molte grazie to gatto: I have subsequently looked in both my Classical and Mediaeval/Church Latin dictionaries for a word connected with cammino with two m's and been unable to find anything. This is not surprising, as the Italian Online Etymological Dictionary ascribes a Celtic origin to this Italian word. (perhaps it may have been brought back by legionaries who did an awful lot lot of "camminàre" in their conquest of Gaul, but it never became respectable enough to get into the dictionary until Latin had become Italian). The source already cited even links the word to German kommen, past tense kam, and consequently to English come/came:
    Thus it would appear that Kamin and camino have discrete Graeco-Latin and Celtic origins respectively, "and never the twain shall meet" as Kipling says, though, of course, all the languages we have mentioned in our search are Indo-european.
  9. tompoly New Member

    Southern California
    American English
    "Kamen" is a common Slavic word for stone, the material from which chimneys and older roads were made. Connection, or another coincidence?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2013
  10. Maroseika Moderator

    Looks like just a coincidence, because earlier Slavic form was *kamy < *okmen < IE *аk(ə)mеn- < *ak - sharp.
    IE cognates:
    Ancient Indian asma - stone, sky
    Ancient Persin asman - sky
    Ancinet Iselandic hamarr - rock, cliff
    Ancient German hamar - hammer (originally from stone)
    Ancient Greek αχμον - anvil (originally from stone)

    Metathesis *kamen < *okmen is considered as merely Slavic phenomenon, however even the form with "o" (*okmen) is also peculiar only to Slavic languages, while even Baltic languages preserved IE "a" as in Lithuanian akmuo - stone.

    By the way, here is one more funny coincidence: Ger. Kamin - Rus. kamenka.
    Russian каменка (kamenka) is an oven without a chimney (black heating), called as such just because it is built from stone.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2013
  11. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    A minor correction if I may, it's «ἄκμων» ắkmōn (masc.).
  12. origumi Senior Member

    I know that the etymology Maccabee -> Macabre appears in the OED, and yet it sounds like an amateurish folk etymology. Other sources say "uncertain origin".
  13. Quiviscumque

    Quiviscumque Moderator

    Ciudad del paraíso
    A lot of theories, really. Vid.
  14. Maroseika Moderator

    Thank you for your correction, now I see why I could not find it in my Greek dictionary, it was recognition error in my scanned source.
  15. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    Road is "kelias" in Lithuanian. I don't know if it is related to "akmuo" or something else. Street is "gatve".
  16. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    In Czech kamna (dim. kamínka) means stove (stufa, estufa, печь, der Ofen), probably from Italian camino, not from kámen = stone. But who knows?
  17. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    In Polish "komin" means chimney and also in Lithuanian, of course, "kaminas" -- chimney. "Kauliukas" is also stone. I am not sure if they are related.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  18. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    Polish komin is from Czech komín that is from Romance 'camino' (Lat. caminus, Greek kaminos).

    Czech komín (chimney) and kamna (stove) are from camino.
    Czech komnata (chamber, die Kemenate; originally a room with stove) is from caminata.

    Similarity with kámen (stone) is merely a coincidence.
  19. Maroseika Moderator

    Does it have a chimney?
    In Russian baths (also in Finnish saunas) stove really consists of a heap of stones with the fire chamber beneath. Such stove can be built offhand in any place such as a hunter's cabin or even in the open air.
    Besides, the word камин was not known to the common people in the 19 century, it was used only in the noble houses, while каменка was widely spread.
  20. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek, the colloquial name of chimney is «καμινάδα» [kami'naða] (fem.), which is a re-loan < Venetian caminada < Lat. caminus < Gr. «κάμινος».
    On the other hand we do use «κάμινος» ['kaminos] (fem.) for the furnace, while for the kiln or any small-scale furnace, we use «καμίνι» [ka'mini] < Byz. Gr. neuter diminutive «καμίνιον» kamínion of feminine noun «κάμινος».
  21. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    I'm probably splitting hairs, but Polish 'komin' derives from German Kamin (cf. Doroszewski). Except for 'chimney', it can also mean 'oven' or 'cooker' in certain dialects.
  22. francisgranada Senior Member

    Hungarian kémény (chimney).

    According to this online etym. diccionary kémény < komen (Serbo-Croatian) < kamin (Old High German) < caminus (Vulgar Latin) < kaminos (Greek)
  23. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    According to V. Machek the Slavs originally had ovens/stoves without any chimney (the fume went trough a hole in the roof). Later they learned to build the chimneys from the Romance nations. In Czech and Serbo-Croatian the word komín/komin is directly from Romance camino (not necessarily via German), assumed Machek.

    In Old Czech the word komín meant both chimney and stove with a chimney. According to Machek Polish komin is from Old Czech rather than from OHG.

    In Czech the word kamna is newer than komín and meant any stove with a chimney. Now kamna is a general word for any type of stove/heater, even without a chimney (electrical storage heater = el. akumulační kamna).

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