1. germanbz Senior Member

    Benicàssim - Castelló - Spain
    Spanish-Spain/Catalan (Val)
    Hello everybody.
    As far as I know this word comes from the Acaedian godness Ishtar (24th century before Christ), as was named the sumerian godness Innana and later was known with other names as Astarte (Phoenician) and arrived to Hebrew (and until now as a name) as the name Esther.
    Now we can found this word that conserve his etymologic roots in several languages.
    Spanish - estrella
    French - étoile
    Italian - estella
    Portugues - estrela

    But I'm struck about other thing. If we look at some germanics languages we can see.

    English - Star
    Danish - stjerne
    German - stern
    Neerl- stern
    Norweian- stjerne

    Even in this languages that word seem to look like more to the "original", "ishtar".

    I find it very amazing the breadth of this word thinking that it is a key word in any language and closely related to the oldest traditions and theogonies. And to find it from the Tigris to a place as far as Norway it is to me etymologically impressive and more thinking that Aecadian spoke in an Semitic language.
  2. NorwegianNYC

    NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    The problem is that none of these go back to Accadian. The English word "star", and indeed the rest of them, comes from the PIE root -ster, which simply means 'star'. It is of course entirely possible that the PIE and Proto-Semitic word comes from the same root.
  3. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Akkadian Ištar is cognate with other Semitic forms with an initial laryngeal (ʻ). And besides, she is not associated especially with stars.
  4. Giorgio Spizzi Senior Member

    Hullo, germanbz

    As a matter of fact the Italian word is "stella".

  5. aruniyan Senior Member

    Star related words in Indian.
    Sanskrit - Satra (star)
    Tamil - Sudar (glow, flame) may be false friend.
  6. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Satra in Sanskrit for star? Could you provide the exact transliteration/Devanagari please?
  7. sotos Senior Member

    Orientalistic approach by 19th c. protestant linguists, according to whom everything must revolve around the Bible. Stars are visible everywhere and are important for all civilizations, therefore there is no reason that one borrows the word from others. They are probably cognate. The Greek word is aster (αστήρ). There are are two sanskrit words that look cognate (stR and stri, meaning star) but there dozens of other sanskrit words that sound irrelevant.
    The Greek aster has a peculiar form. Looks like there is a productive suffix -ter, wich confers the meaning of "doing something" (e.g. σώζω > σωτήρ = saviour, κρατήρ = the vessel where you mix wine & water, κοπτήρ = something that cuts etc). But the root ασ- cannot be related to anything relevant to stars. I suspect that might be an obsolete root related to word Asia, the Troyan name Asios, and the toponymic Assos.
  8. NorwegianNYC

    NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Are you sure aster is not from the same root as the rest? If you compare the Germanic forms and the Romance forms (and add inn the Sanskrit stR/stri), and the Celtic forms Wel. seren and Bret. stered, a reasonably clear picture emerges in favor the PIE root *ster. No expert on Greek etymology, but there is definitely a -ster- there as well.
  9. sotos Senior Member

    Probably so. But if ster is a root, what other words we have from this?
    The first guess is the w. stereos (firm, solid, immobile), a homeric word. From this we have stereoma, which metaphorically means the sky, heavens (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aalphabetic+letter%3D*s111%3Aentry+group%3D73%3Aentry%3Dstere%2Fwma). If are cognates, it is an obvious reference to the immobility of the stars in relation to sun and moon. Inderestingly, in the sanskrit dictionary I find a word sthira meaning exactly firm, solid etc. But I am against cherry-picking from sanskrit.
  10. aruniyan Senior Member

    Its stR - स्तृ .

    Star, could also be related to ustur* burn flame...?
  11. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    It's clear now, thank you.
  12. According to en.wikipedia Ishtar was the goddess of fertility, love and sex - and astonishingly of war. There is no mention of a connection with star/stars as fdb in no. 3 already has said.
    At first I liked the idea - it would be a connection between Semitic (or even Sumerian/Acadian) languages and IE languages I am looking for, but now it looks like a similarity that seems mere coincidence.
  13. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Keep reading:

  14. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    All the planets (and the corresponding days of the week) are named after Babylonian gods, including Ishtar > Aphrodite > Venus > Freya (as in Friday). This has no relevance for the question under discussion here.
  15. germanbz Senior Member

    Benicàssim - Castelló - Spain
    Spanish-Spain/Catalan (Val)
    I modestly think that forcefully assert that "This has no relevance for the question under discussion here" is a bit risky to say at least.
  16. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    What I am saying is that if all seven planets have the name of a god or goddess, then you cannot pick out one of seven and claim that his or her name means “star” or something similar. Ishtar is not more “starry” than Nabu or Marduk or any of the others.
  17. Ben Jamin Senior Member

  18. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    The PIE root is probably *Hster-; the laryngeal explains the initial letter in Greek 'aster'. Greek and Hittite often preserve the initial laryngeal that the other IE branches lost. It's unlikely to have any connection to words such as Asia.
  19. aruniyan Senior Member

    how you are sure?

    I see many false friends like,

    Hebrew Sodom(burnt),
    Sanskrit Usta(burnt)
    Latin Ustus(burnt)
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
  20. emdevon New Member

    I might be jumping in a bit late, but I always thought that 'star' and 'steer' were related. Can anyone shed some light on this? I think of 'starboard' (from, as I understand it, the Old Norse word 'styra', 'to steer') as an example of how 'steer' might become or at least relate to 'star'. One dictionary I consulted offered Greek 'stauros' ('stake'), which might come back to the idea of fixedness (the stars are fixed/a rudder or guide is fixed)? Any ideas?

Share This Page