malinconia

Lusus Naturae

Senior Member
Cantonese
Is malinconia inherited from melancholia given the changes unlikely to occur in borrowing (n<l, a<e, i<a)?
Maninconia is said to be older than malinconia - the l seems to be the result of dissimilation.
The l > n in melancholia > maninconia looks curious - is l > n a pattern from Latin to Italian?
 
  • Perseas

    Senior Member
    Greek
    I am not aware of the evolution of the word within Italian, but it sounds somewhat strange that "maninconia" is older form than "malinconia", given that the Latin form was "melancholia". I look forward to what experts have to say.
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    Italian
    The mali- part derives from a folk etymology: Lat./It. malo, male = bad, badly (cf. French mal). ''Melan/malan'' was perceived/misunderstood as bad/evil.
    As concerns l>n in malinconia, I'm not sure, but there is no usual l>n pattern from Latin to Italian. Maybe just ''euphonic dissimilation''. Real experts will know.
    Etimologia : malinconia
     

    Dymn

    Senior Member
    In Catalan it's also malenconia. I don't think you can explain that by regular sound changes. With such long words and repetition of the same or similar consonants, metathesis is simply bound to happen...
     

    sotos

    Senior Member
    Greek
    L>N is rare, but Λευκωσία > Nicosia.

    The suffix -nia may come from a folk etymology (or false understanding), from greek words referring to psychic/mental conditions ending in -noia (-νοια < νούς), like homon(o)ia, dichon(o)ia, paran(o)ia etc.
     

    sotos

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Thanks for one more example. I have reason now to suspect l>n might be as common as n>l (Bononia>Bologna, Hieronymus>Girolamo)
    Possibly, if you assume that the AGr χαύνος Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, Χ χ, , χάρυβδις , χαῦνος has the same root *kel- with Eng hole etc hole | Origin and meaning of hole by Online Etymology Dictionary

    I would also consider AGr. αχλύς (fog) and NGr αχνός (steam), but see also AGr άχνη .
     
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