Gothic: silk

Whodunit

Senior Member
Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
Does someone have a good idea on the Gothic word for silk? I can't come up with a good word ... :(

This is not only because no dictionary gives a translation, but also because almost every Germanic language uses a slightly different word for the same material. This makes it hard to reconstruct a word for an East-Germanic language.

All right, I'll pass the rest to you. :)
 
  • Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Hi,

    My 2 cents :)

    I think there are three possible approaches:
    1. To come up with a word yourself, a kind of self-made 'Germanic-like' compound ( e.g. "glossy_textile"). This is often done, especially by people ("conlang-ers") who want to reconstruct / 'translate' a word into an old (Germanic) language. Not my favourite approach since it treats the reconstructed language often as an isolate (or in a kind of (cultural) void);
    2. To base your reconstruction upon other (Germanic) words: OE sioloc, seol(e)c (<*siluc), ON silki (also OCL
    šelku). (Data from the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology).
    3. To base yourself upon Greek σηρικος, originally referring to 'the Chinese', later to 'silk(en)'. I don't think Wulfila would mind if you'd use a Greek word in this case :).

    Groetjes,

    Frank
     

    Whodunit

    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    1. To come up with a word yourself, a kind of self-made 'Germanic-like' compound ( e.g. "glossy_textile"). This is often done, especially by people ("conlang-ers") who want to reconstruct / 'translate' a word into an old (Germanic) language. Not my favourite approach since it treats the reconstructed language often as an isolate (or in a kind of (cultural) void);
    I don't like that version either. ;)

    2. To base your reconstruction upon other (Germanic) words: OE sioloc, seol(e)c (<*siluc), ON silki (also OCL šelku). (Data from the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology).
    That's what I've been trying for some months. Here are the translations into other languages; maybe you can help me with a reasonable reconstruction: :)

    English: silk
    German: Seide
    Dutch: zijde
    Icelandic: silki
    Faroese: silki
    Norwegian: silke
    Swedish: silke/siden
    Scottish: silke/sylke
    Frisian: side/siden
    Old English: sioloc/seoloc
    Old High German: sīda
    Middle High German: sīde
    Middle Low German: sīde
    Middle Dutch: sijde
    Middle Latin: seta/saeta
    Old Provençal: seda
    Old Norse: silki
    Italian: seta
    Spanish: sea
    French: soie
    Greek: serikon (σερικον)
    Old Church Slavonic: šelku
    Lithuanian: silkai
    Chinese: si1 (丝)
    Manchurian: sirghe
    Mongolian: sirkek

    There are two main roots for the words: silk- and sīd-. Which one should I choose for an East Germanic language, for which I have no equivalent of silk in any of their exponents. :(

    3. To base yourself upon Greek σηρικος, originally referring to 'the Chinese', later to 'silk(en)'. I don't think Wulfila would mind if you'd use a Greek word in this case :).
    If we could just ask Wulfila! :)

    Well, the problem is that I want to compare several lines by different Germanic languages. If I now use a Greek word there, it will destroy my idea. I can do it and explain the problem in a footnote, but it would be better if someone could come up with a reasonable reconstructed word for silk in any East Germanic language! ;)

    By the way, it is sometimes easy and sometimes quite hard to reconstruct a word in an ancestral language, depending on the word and its usage and descendants. I was able to easily reconstruct a word for plumage in Old High German, because collective nouns had a very consistent pattern (same in New High German). However, I can't do that for Gothic (which had easy collective noun patterns, too), because there's no attested word for feather, not even for flying. :(
     

    tom_in_bahia

    Senior Member
    South Florida/Phoenix-Tucson/the Adirondacks. Native of North American English
    Where did you go to find such a detailed comparative dictionary for the word silk? Was it a site devoted to comparative lexicons? Or just a site about silk? Also, just a side note, in Spanish it's seda (the d got left out).
     

    kelt

    Senior Member
    Czech Republic, Czech
    Interesting that Old Church Slavonic had "šelku", whereas Czech has a special term of "hedvábí"... It was probably coined during the era of the National Revival in 19th century.
     

    Whodunit

    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    Where did you go to find such a detailed comparative dictionary for the word silk? Was it a site devoted to comparative lexicons? Or just a site about silk?
    I just browsed some dictionaries and searched some etymological databases to find the translations. One very important group is missing, though: East Germanic languages! They must have had a word for silk, but I can't find a good Vandalic or Burgundian dictionary. :(

    Also, just a side note, in Spanish it's seda (the d got left out).
    Thanks. It was just a typo. :)

    Interesting that Old Church Slavonic had "šelku", whereas Czech has a special term of "hedvábí"... It was probably coined during the era of the National Revival in 19th century.
    Hm, I'm almost sure there was another word for silk in Early Old Czech. In Russian, there's still a cognate: шёлк (shyolk).
     

    Elkelon

    Member
    Italy Italian
    Here are other translation from Indoeuropean languages:

    Old Lithuanian: Zilkaĩ
    Persian: Abrišam
    Hindi: Rešam
    Romanian: Mătase
    Polish: Jedwab
    Croatian, Slovene, Serbian, Bosnian: Svila

    Outside Indoeuropean languages I have:
    Finnish: Silkki
    Hungarian: Selyemszál
    Basque: Zeta

    I don't know how much these words can help you...:(

    By the way, I would choose the root sīd- for the construction.

    :idea:Is it possible both Polish and Czech word for silk come from this root?
    Jedwab = hedvábí = sīd-wa-?

    I don't know, maybe it is just an assonance.

    Ciao
     

    Whodunit

    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    All right, I've found 21 languages using sil- as a root and 15 using sîd-. The rest should not be mentioned. Gothic being an East Germanic language makes it hard to decide between North Germanic and Balto-Slavic sil- versus West Germanic and Romance sîd-. However, since the Germanic peoples had more influence on the Goths than any other folk regarding language, I guess (please correct me here if I'm wrong).

    I would use seida for Gothic now and explain that this is reconstructed and not attested. It fits the ô-declension for feminine nouns and matches the Old and Middle High German patterns for sîda and sîde, respectively. A long i vowel equaled a Gothic ei (as in English hey), so the word seida should be okay. :)

    Thank you all for the great support. :)
     

    werrr

    Senior Member
    Interesting that Old Church Slavonic had "šelku", whereas Czech has a special term of "hedvábí"... It was probably coined during the era of the National Revival in 19th century.
    No, the revivalists are innocent in this case. :D
    Elkelon said:
    :idea:Is it possible both Polish and Czech word for silk come from this root?
    Jedwab = hedvábí = sīd-wa-?
    No, the West Slavic words for silk are derived from Old German gotawebbi, gotowebbi, godowebbi or Old English godwebb.
    Isn’t it the answer to the original question?

    For other possibilities search for silk in the Germanic Lexicon Project.
     

    Whodunit

    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    No, the West Slavic words for silk are derived from Old German gotawebbi, gotowebbi, godowebbi or Old English godwebb.
    Isn’t it the answer to the original question?
    No, the question is about Gothic. ;)

    First off, thanks for the great link! :)

    The database only gives possible Proto-Germanic words for silk. That's good, so I can reconstruct a Gothic word. The PGerm word sída perfectly matches my Gothic seida. :)
     

    jaxlarus

    Senior Member
    Greek (el-CY)
    Here are the translations into other languages; maybe you can help me with a reasonable reconstruction: :)

    .
    .
    .
    Greek: seerikon (σηρικόν)
    .
    .
    .
    The word σηρικό(ν) refers to something made of silk, not silk itself. It derives from σηρ, the classical word for silkworm, modern Greek μεταξοσκώληκας. Silk is μετάξι in modern Greek, from medieval μετάξιον, classical μέταξα.
     

    Whodunit

    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    The word σηρικό(ν) refers to something made of silk, not silk itself. It derives from σηρ, the classical word for silkworm, modern Greek μεταξοσκώληκας. Silk is μετάξι in modern Greek, from medieval μετάξιον, classical μέταξα.
    Interesting ... so I won't take the Greek word - which I assumed was σερικόν - for my work, since μετάξι is not a good word to compare languages.

    I guess I will use seida for Gothic. That is very fine with me. :)

    PS: Thanks for the correction, but I know that the η is different from ε in pronunciation, so I should have used ê in the transliteration. :)
     
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