How is उदजन (Hindi for "hydrogen") related to Sanskrit?

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by rbrunner, May 30, 2013.

  1. rbrunner Senior Member

    German - Switzerland
    I am trying to find out whether there is any trace left in modern Hindi of the PIE root *wed- ("water") and found the word उदजन (udjan, Hindi for "hydrogen"). The Wiktionary entry atउदजन says in the etymology that the first part उद stands for "water". lists उद as a Hindi root from Sanskrit.

    This entry for उद uda seems to confirm that there is indeed such a Sanskrit root. The full Sanskrit word for "water" seems to be उदन् udán, as given here:उदन्#Sanskrit

    Now, do you think that the Wiki-based info that I link to is correct and trustworthy? And if yes, what does that mean about my question: Can you say that the Hindi word for "hydrogen" with its first part from Sanskrit is ultimately connected to the PIE root *wed-?

    It could be that the Hindi word for "hydrogen" was coined some time after the discovery of this element in 1783, and that the people coining it used that Sanskrit "water" root for doing so, because they saw it fit for the purpose, and then this would merely be something like a loan.

    Or maybe the Sanskrit root really survived into Hindi times. However, on the one hand I could not find any other modern Hindi word starting with उद, and on the other hand no modern Hindi word meaning "water" contains anything similar, which looks suspicious to me.

    Can anybody with Sanskrit and/or Hindi knowledge shine some light on this?
  2. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Modern Hindi started its life in 1805 so it must be coined after this date. In Sanskrit there are lots of words for water and Hindi borrowed ''jal'' from Sanskrit ''jala''.

    I am afraid there is no single word in Hindi which derives from Sanskrit 'udan', the one which you submitted for hydrogen being an exception. It is a direct calque on the pattern of hydro- ud- and -gen -jan, using Sanskrit roots, quite a nice one, I must say.

    The Wiki links are reliable and this word, ud(a) relates indeed to PIE.
  3. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    jal is a part of Hindi's NIA vocabulary and not a loan from Sanskrit.

    No, there are several words in Hindi derived from the Sanskrit base udan, including the Sanskrit loanwords udak and sam-udra and the NIA form sam-undar.

    This is correct. ud-jan was coined on the basis of hydro- + -gen.
  4. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Perhaps you mean jalaa or jalii, not jal.
    Thank you, I haven't thought of samundar (or samandar).
  5. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    No, I mean jal "water" is a NIA Hindi word. It's also present in nearly the same exact form (jala) in Sanskrit.
    Last edited: May 30, 2013
  6. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Thank you, it is always very nice to learn something.
  7. rbrunner Senior Member

    German - Switzerland
    Just to make sure that I understand correctly: You say that some of the Hindi words for "ocean, sea" are not loans from Sanskrit, but are words descending directly from Sanskrit, i.e. they were used continuously from Sanskrit times until today (with some modifications of course, as languages and their words evolve over time)?
  8. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    Yes, that was my original premise. However, upon further review, it appears samundar was adapted from samudra at some point in the past and modified to better suit the Hindi pronunciation of the time. The Prakrit word was samudda, so samundar can't be the true NIA form.

    To sum it up: Forms derived from the Sanskrit udan, uda, udra, etc. with the meaning "water" are used in Hindi, but apparently only in loanwords or Sanskrit-based neologisms such as ud-jan.
    Last edited: May 31, 2013

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