Latin 'turris' > Germanic 'Turm, torn' (tower)

AndrasBP

Senior Member
Hungarian
Hello,

In European languages, the word for 'tower' derives from Latin 'turris', which was borrowed from Ancient Greek 'túrrhis'.
In Romance languages, the modern form is 'torre', 'tour' or something similar, but in Germanic languages a nasal consonant appeared after [r]:

German: Turm
Swedish: torn

Also, presumably under Germanic influence: Hungarian torony, Finnish torni, Latvian tornis.
(English tower derives from French.)

Can anyone suggest a possible phonological motivation behind the added nasal?
 
  • AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Thank you.

    I'm not sure I understood everything correctly.
    Does the article basically say that the -n developed in Late Latin, under the influence of the verb "tornāre"? If so, how come the -n is not present in French, Italian or Spanish?
     

    Sardokan1.0

    Senior Member
    Sardu / Italianu
    It's not possible that "Turm" derives directly from Latin accusative ?

    "Turrem" -> Turr(e)m -> Turm

    Usually in Romance languages the word for Tower derives from accusative.

    Latin : Turrem (accusative) -> plural accusative Turres
    Italian : Torre
    Sardinian (Logudorese/Nuorese) : Turre -> pl. Turres
     
    Last edited:

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    Greek
    As I understand from the linked source in #2, the OHG torn and the MHG turn, torn, the MG turm etc. derive in the first place from Old French (afranz.) *torn (reference is made to old French and middle French diminutives, tornele and tournelle, respectively). The old French tor > Fr. tour is another form. All these are based to the Latin turris and Greek týrsis.
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    how come the -n is not present in French, Italian or Spanish?
    You can find it in the augmentative

    Italian : Torre -> Torrione
    Spanish: Torre-Torreón; although torreón (meaning big tower, mainly those of fortresses) is a word by itself that you can find at any (decent) dictionary.

    In European languages, the word for 'tower' derives from Latin 'turris', which was borrowed from Ancient Greek 'túrrhis'.
    There are many European languages so you are likely to find exceptions. Lithuanian bokštas or Slovak Veža seem to me two of them.
     

    AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    The article says it is attested in Old French, though only in the diminutive form.
    So this diminutive form disappeared from later French?

    You can find it in the augmentative

    Italian : Torre -> Torrione
    As far as I understand, the augmentative -one/-ón is a distinct suffix which is not related to this nasal I'm asking about. Or is it?

    There are many European languages so you are likely to find exceptions.
    Yes, I should have written "most European languages".
     
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