surprise - sur (over)

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by Määränpää, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. Määränpää

    Määränpää Senior Member


    Are the words for "surprise" and "over" connected in your language?

    French: surprise / sur
    German: Überraschung / über
    Finnish: yllätys / yllä
  2. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Hi Määränpää.

    In Greek surprise is «έκπληξη» ['ekpliksi] (fem.) < Classical fem. 3rd declension noun «ἔκπληξις» ékplēksīs --> mental disturbance, passion, consternation, surprise < compound; prefix, preposition and adverb «ἐκ» ĕk --> out (PIE *h₁eǵʰs-/ *h₁eḱs-, out cf Lat. ex, ex- out of, from; OCS изу, out > Rus. из) + Classical v. «πλήσσω» plḗssō; its Attic variant «πλήττω» plḗttō is the MG «πλήττω» ['plito] (PIE *pleh₂k/g-, to beat cf Lat. plangere > It. piangere, Sp. plañir, Por. planger, Fr. plaindre, Rom. plângere; OCS плакати, to lament (to beat one's chest) > Rus. плакать, BCS плакати/plakati); now this verb is very interesting, as it's ambitransitive. When transitive, it means to strike, slap, thrust, hit. But when intransitive, it means to lose interest, get bored. So, «έκπληξη» ['ekpliksi] (fem.) is an unexpected encounter, that drags («ἐκ» ĕk) someone out of boredom.
  3. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Welsh syndod "surprise" seems to come from syn (noun) "feeling, perception" or syn (adjective) "sensible, concerned" + dod "coming". So, there's no clear connection with "over" in this case.
  4. 123xyz

    123xyz Senior Member

    Skopje, Macedonia
    In Macedonian, there is no connection with "over". The word is "изненади" and as far as I can infer, it is composed of "из-", "не-" and "над-", meaning "out" or "from" (ex-), "not" (un-/in-), and "hope" respectively. The "hope" part in this word may be better interpreted as expectation, so the whole word "изненади" means something like "from not expecting".
  5. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Strangely enough our synonym in Dutch of Überraschung is ver-rassing, not *over-rassing. I checked on the meaning and found out that the 'ras' (German rasch) refers to speed, and 'ver-' to negative aspects of a verb (well, in some cases at least, like this one). So it means: being too quick (for someone to react), so indeed to surprise.

    We could say: u overvalt mij daarmee, which means something like: you fall over me with that, and so there is some link with over in Dutch as well, if you want to, and it all boils down to being too powerful, überlegen in German, which can sometimes be conveyed using the prefix be- in German and Dutch.
  6. Awwal12

    Awwal12 Senior Member

    Moscow, the RF
    For something surprizing, Russian uses the loanword "сюрприз" (syurpriz), as well as the word "неожиданность" (lit. "unexpectancy").
    For a synonym of "astonishment", it uses the word "удивление", which can be roughly interpreted as "offwonderment" (the prefix "у-" has a wide field of meanings).
  7. caelum

    caelum Senior Member

    Northwestern Ontario
    Canadian English
    This makes sense. Literally, the French verb is sur- (over) + prendre (take), obviously referring to the aspect of a sneak attack for means of, what else, taking over.
  8. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

    أرض الأنجل
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    In Arabic it's from the root used to mean 'sudden-ness' and 'unexpectedness' مفاجأة.
  9. bazq Senior Member

    Same in Hebrew, root p-t-ʕ.
    The word is הפתעה [hafta'a], p and f are allophonic, ʕ is realised as a glottal stop (most of the time).
  10. AndrasBP

    AndrasBP Senior Member

    Budapest, Hungary
    In Latvian, there is a connection:

    The transitive verb "to surprise sb" is pārsteigt, and the noun "surprise" is pārsteigums.
    In these words, "pār" is a verbal prefix, but it also works as a separate preposition meaning "over".
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
  11. Circunflejo Senior Member

    Castellano de Castilla
    In Spanish it's sorpresa (from French surprise) but sor doesn't mean over in Spanish (unlike sur in French).
  12. Sardokan1.0

    Sardokan1.0 Senior Member

    Sardu / Italianu
    In Sardinian it's "Surpresa", and the verb is "Surprendere", while the Sardinian word for above is "Susu"; from Latin "Susum, Susus"; contraction of "Sursum" (above, upwards).

    So the verb Surprendere is composed by Sur (abbreviation of Sursum) + Prendere (to take, to immobilize)

    Sur + Prendere = Take / immobilize from above (like in an ambush)
  13. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    But then I guess Spanish has taken over the word (a calque), or hasn't it?
  14. Circunflejo Senior Member

    Castellano de Castilla
    Yes, it took the word from French. I don't think it's really a calque because writting and pronounciation are different. But basically is the French word adapted to Spanish.
  15. Olaszinhok Senior Member

    Central Italy
    In French, sur also means on, not only over, as well as the Italian preposition su.
  16. Circunflejo Senior Member

    Castellano de Castilla
    Yes, I knew it. But this thread is about the relations with over and therefore my comment. In Spanish, sor means nun (although monja is more usual for nun) what has nothing to do neither with over nor with the etymology of sorpresa.
  17. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    You're quite right. A calque is some kind of (literal) translation . This is more like a loan word, but as it has been adapted to Spanish, and I do not know what word there is for that right now.
  18. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    Lorraine in France
    English (US Northeast)
    I wonder if Spanish took the French word because the native word acquired a negative meaning: sobrecoger (to scare or frighten, which is not so welcome).

    Actually, come to think of it, English also took the French word. Likewise overtake has another meaning which sounds pretty negative (for something to befall or happen or to someone).
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
  19. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    In Czech there is a connection:

    překvapení = surprise;
    překvapiti = to surprise;

    prefix pře- = over-;
    kvapiti = to rush;
    kvap = rush, haste (in haste = kvapem instr.);
    kvapík = galop, gallopade (a dance, music);

    jsem překvapen = I am surprised, lit. over-rushed (Ger. überrascht);
  20. Penyafort

    Penyafort Senior Member

    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    Modern Catalan sorprendre was also taken from French. Then, from the verb, the noun sorpresa was derived.

    However, in medieval Catalan, the verb was sobreprendre (sobre + prendre).
  21. AndrasBP

    AndrasBP Senior Member

    Budapest, Hungary
    The base of the Latvian verb has the same meaning: steiga = hurry, haste (noun); steigties (refl. verb) = to be in a hurry
    I wonder if překvapiti and pārsteigt are natural developments or rather calques of überraschen. Both Czech and Latvian were heavily influenced by German.

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