Macedonian дека

123xyz

Senior Member
Macedonian
Hello,

Could someone enlighten me as to the etymology of the Macedonian complementizer (conjunction) "дека", equivalent to English "that"? There is no Macedonian etymological dictionary and the word does not occur in other Slavic languages, at least not in the standard varieties, so Serbo-Croatian and Bulgarian etymological dictionaries were not of great help. The Bulgarian one gave me an idea, though: it cites "дека" as an adverb meaning "where" (also attested in Macedonian dialects) and explains it as derived from *kъde (with loss of the yer, cf. Serbo-Croatian "gde", and subsequent simplification of the initial cluster, cf. Ukrainian "де") with the adverbial suffix -ка (which also appears in other Bulgarian and Macedonian adverbs, e.g. Macedonian "тука" ("here"), "овдека" ("here"), "ондека" ("over there"), "денеска" ("today"), etc.). Could this adverb "дека" have generalized into a completive complementizer from its relative use in contexts like "the place where X happened"?

Thank you in advance
 
  • OBrasilo

    Senior Member
    Brazil, Brazilian Portuguese
    Could the suffix have common Slavic (or at least, common South Slavic) origins? As I something very similar in Slovenian with the -kaj suffic: tjakaj, tamkaj, tukaj, semkaj - compare the non-suffixed forms tja, tam, tu, sem. There's even the archaic kjekaj, literally from kje (where) + -kaj, with two uses that correspond to the two uses of Macedonian deka. So, assuming Macedonian -ka and Slovenian -kaj are related, the suffix would then not be exclusive to Macedonian.

    Note: From what I know, Slovenia kje is also from kъdě, so it would be related to Macedonian de. So I would presume an Old Slavic kъde-ka(j), whose descendants have survived in Macedonian and, to some extent, in Slovenian.
     

    123xyz

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    According to Snoj's etymological dictionary:

    Enako je nar. hrv., srb. -ka, -k v tȕka ‛tukaj’, sàdek ‛zdaj’, rus. -ka v poká ‛dokler, za zdaj, medtem ko’, nar. doká ‛doslej’. Pslovan. *ka̋ je delno razširjeno s členico ali oziralnim zaimkom *jь znano še v nar. polj. ka, kaj ‛kam’, nar. češ. kaj ‛kje’, brez njega še npr. star. bolg. koj ka ‛kdor koli’.

    So yes, the two suffixes are cognate, except that the Slovenian one incorporates an additional suffix. I was not suggesting that the suffix was exclusive to Macedonian; on the contrary, I acknowledged that it exists in Bulgarian too. It's the whole word "дека" with the meaning "that" ("da" in Slovenian) that appears to be exclusive to Macedonian. Slovenian "kjekaj" may be a morphological match, but presumably it is not used in contexts like "*vem, kjekaj nič ne vem" (Macedonian "знам дека ништо не знам"). There is also no Macedonian "де", only the bound morpheme "де-" in "дека". Otherwise, the reflex of "kъde" is "каде", with full vocalization of the yer.
     

    agcnec

    New Member
    English
    Otherwise, the reflex of "kъde" is "каде", with full vocalization of the yer.

    In this case the etymon is actually *kǫdě which arose from the contamination of *kъdě with *kǫda.
     
    Last edited:

    OBrasilo

    Senior Member
    Brazil, Brazilian Portuguese
    123xyz said:
    but presumably it is not used in contexts like "*vem, kjekaj nič ne vem" (Macedonian "знам дека ништо не знам").
    You're right, it's not. But what we do use in that contest is, "vem, **da** nič ne vem", and that da is often colloquially pronounced as de. Could it have existed at some point in the other South Slavic languages as well, and formed its own suffixed form from something like da-ka, that then got conflated with the other word from kъde-ka, due to phonetic mergers?
     

    123xyz

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    In this case the etymon is actually *kǫdě which arose from the contamination of *kъdě with *kǫda.
    Thank you for the valuable input.
    You're right, it's not. But what we do use in that contest is, "vem, **da** nič ne vem", and that da is often colloquially pronounced as de. Could it have existed at some point in the other South Slavic languages as well, and formed its own suffixed form from something like da-ka, that then got conflated with the other word from kъde-ka, due to phonetic mergers?
    That sounds like a both unlikely and unverifiable hypothesis.
     
    Top