TR- : from 'trace' to 'track'

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by ThomasK, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I suppose you could imagine this kind of sentence:

    (1) The tracker (2) traced (3) the traces,
    which later on appeared to constitute (4) a track [a path] leading to the suspect, but not a (4b) railway (track)

    (5) EXTRA: the findings did not correspond, were not coherent [like 'rail']* with the facts.


    Not very stylish, but in Dutch you would have :
    (1) De speurder [detective, the tracker/tracer ?]/ de spoorzoeker -trace searcher, the tracker ?)

    (2) opsporen [a person] (track down) -- bespeuren (traced, but meaning: simply note, ...)

    (3) het spoor, de sporen,

    (4) het spoor [so: same as 3]
    > de spoorweg (railway)

    (5) EXTRA*: sporen met

    So in English I see 4 parallels out of 5. How about your language? If you use a different word, I'd be pleased to hear about the etymology, or the underlying metaphor at least.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 17, 2011
  2. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek:

    To track
    : «Ιχνηλατώ» (ixnila'to); Classical verb «ἰχνηλατέω/ἰχνηλατῶ» (ĭxnēlă'tĕō [uncontracted]/ĭxnēlā'tō [contracted])--> to track, track out. Compound, neuter noun «ἴχνος» ('īxnŏs)--> lit. track, footstep metaph. trace (with unknown etymology) + verb «ἐλαύνω» (ĕ'launō, e'lavno in the modern language)--> to drive away, carry off, strike (when armed) with obscure etymology.
    Trace: See «ἴχνος» ('īxnŏs) above.
    The tracker/tracer is «ιχνηλάτης» (ixni'latis, m./f.).
    So, no TR-

    «Τροχιά» however (tro'ça, f.)--> orbit does contain the stem TR. It's a medieval construction in order to translate the Latin orbis. It derives from the ancient masculine noun «τροχός» (trŏ'xŏs) or «τρόχος» ('trŏxŏs)- «τροχός» in Modern Greek -which describes the wheel, ultimately from the ancient and modern Greek verb «τρέχω» ('trĕxō and 'trexo)--> to move quickly, run (PIE base *dʰregʰ-, to run)
  3. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Sio you have the full series? But not 4a and 5, I believe. I did find Σιδηροτροχιά for railway track, but Σιδηρόδρομος for the railway itself (I believe the first element refers to iron). The Τροχιά did remind me of another homonym spoor, the English spur, meant to help a horseback rider to spur his horse, to make it move faster.

    Could there be a link ? I suddenly realize that it is etymologically related with track/ trace, indeed,but I can't seem to find an equivalent in Dutch... But then there is no sound link with spur/ spoor.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  4. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Indeed, they derive from «σίδηρος» ('siðiros, m.)--> iron; «σιδηροτροχιά» (siðirotro'ça, f.) is the railway track (lit. iron-orbit) and «σιδηρόδρομος» (siði'roðromos, m.) is the railway (lit. iron-road).
    Nr 5 is described by either «αντιστοιχώ» (andisti'xo), or, «ανταποκρίνομαι» (andapo'krinome), so nothing like TR-.
    Interesting, all your observations provide food for thought ;)
  5. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Pleased to hear that some considerations offer food for thought!

    I am a little surprised though at orbit as such: it reminds me of a round track, une piste in French, whereas I thought of a man-made path towards some place.
  6. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I see there are not many replies. Feel free to keep your answers very brief! ;-)
  7. Tjahzi

    Tjahzi Senior Member

    Umeå, Sweden
    Swedish (Göteborg)
    I'm not sure whether to base the list on your English or Dutch list, I find them somewhat different. However, Swedish displays the following list:

    (1) spårare - tracker. n
    (2) spåra (upp) - track (down). v.
    (2b) (upp)spårad* - tracked. adj/n/past participle.
    (3+4) spår - track, trail, trace. n
    (5) No match.

    Adding upp to the verb spåra or the adjective/past participle spårad (the verb requires upp to be separately suffixed while the adjective/pp requires it to be incorporated as a prefix) gives them a perfective aspect.
    The noun spår is neuter and as such has as plural suffix.
  8. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod (AL mod)

    French (lower Normandy)
    In French, I'm afraid we don't have words of the same family like this.

    1) le traqueur (animals) // poursuivant / détective (personnes)
    2) traquer quelqu'un (track sb down / hunt sb down) / suivre la trace de (follow the trace of)
    3) les traces
    4) la trace
    4b) la voie ferrée (railway track)
    5) correspondre / (there must be others but I can't think of others right now)
  9. sakvaka

    sakvaka Senior Member


    Jäljittäjä jäljitti jälkiä, joiden myöhemmin havaittiin muodostavan polun, joka johti epäillyn jäljille, mutta ei junarataa. 

    It's probably clear by now that jälki (G jäljen, P jälkeä) means 'footprint, trace, mark; the thing that you leave behind you (jälkeesi)'. Pay special attention to the words polku ('path' < polkea 'tread, stamp, stomp') and rata ('railroad track', <> Germanic 'trata/trad').

    There are some common jälki-related expressions. One of them is the abovementioned
    olla rikollisen jäljillä = lit. be on the criminal's footsteps (be after him, follow him in order to catch him)
    talosta ei ollut jälkeäkään = there wasn't a sign of the house
    olla oikeilla/väärillä jäljillä = be on the right/wrong track
    siivota omat jälkensä = clean up one's own mess

    And then, some strange derivations.
    jäljellä/jäljelle = left (over)
    Rasiassa oli jäljellä enää kolme suklaapalaa.
    jälkeen = after (illative)
    Kello viiden jälkeen tuli jo pimeä.
    jälkeenjäänyt = retard (lit. afterleft)
    + a dozen jälkeen (after) derivations, inluding jälkeläiset (posterity)
  10. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I understand polku is not etymologically linked with jälki, only semantically (the tread leaves an footprint). Very interesting is that I can copy your expressions when translating: they all refer to sporen, except for the last one; We only know: alle sporen opruimen (which can mean: to clean one's mess, but is more general).

    The link between trace and left is fairly evident, but I don't see a parallel in Dutch. My main question here would be: did jälke give rise to a postposition?
  11. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    I forgot some old words in Tagalog but here are few that i remember, 1.) Tracker= sumususog/bumabagtas 2.)Traced= Nasusog/Natunton 3.)Traces= Bakas/footprints 4.)Track= Daanan/bagtas <> I don't understand no. 5 explanation about the etymologies of these words will take time.
  12. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Do you see any common roots (without an etymological dictionary) ? (As for 5 : it is something like 'correspond with', because sporen can also refer to trainrails.)
  13. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    I see! number 5 is "Pathway" and it is "landas" in Tagalog.In the following words, Bumabagtas,nabagtas= the root word is "Bagtas".This word is old and archaic to Pilipino language.It means " the route" that has no definite trail but within a broader area that will lead to the right destination. In the word "Natunton" the related Tagalog word is "Tungtong" that means "Set the foot" or " standing in point of location".The meaning of "tunton" is " find"/ "i reached the place". Bakas is footprint or something marked in the pathway like the "bakas"/marks of wheels in the soft ground."Daanan" means the road from root word "Daan"(road) with other term in Tagalog like "lansangan"(road/street). These are the sample sentences that show how these words are used. 1.) Trace the route= susugin ang Daanan/Bagtasin ang Daanan. 2.)Can you pinpoint the exact location? Matunton mo kaya ang wastong Dako? 3.) The pathway to serenity= Ang landas patungo sa Katiwasayan/Landas ng katiwasayan. 4.) Another route= Iba pang daanan/lusutan. Note: I am using Tagalog terms/phrases that are not commonly used by the urban folks.The words may sound funny to most Pilipino, but i need to use them so that preciseness of Tagalog language will not change or be altered by the entries of loan words. I am using the Tagalog from Manila/Bulacan and Cavite.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
  14. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    But then: is there a word like fitting in into the pathway, containing 'landas'? In the words you mention, I seem to find 'susu' and 'bak' as roots, but maybe I am simply wrong.
  15. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    The word "landas" is often used in poetry or teachings. but we can use landas as "pathway" in = 1.)There is the pathway to the next town= Nandiyan ang landas patungo sa kasunod na Bayan. 2.) The pathway to serenity is good morality.=Ang landas sa katiwasayan ay ang mabuting Dangal. /// The word "susug" has root word "Sug" meaning "to move while searching", and the word "Bakas" is original term for "mark" as a result of weight/pressure.
  16. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    That information is quite interesting. As for 'sug': do you happen to have a sug-word referring to error (looking for something but not finding it, the original meaning of error).
    How come that tungtong referring to setting foot, and tunton to finding ? I may have taken the wrong path, may I not ?
    Could you explain bakas a little more and link the meaning to the above (a1)? Is it like marking, establishing a mark, literally ?
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  17. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    Sug means "to move" with clear form "isug"(move a little bit).(not exactly "error" /maybe "trials") . Tungtong can be expressed as = I am standing already in a holy ground= nakatayo/nakatungtong na ako sa banal na lupa. "Tunton" can be expressed as = Atlas, I reached/find the exact place.(Sa wakas, natunton ko na ang wastong Dako!). "Bakas" is an old term for "footprint"(in the sand) or "mark"(anything that were formed in the soft pathway)1.) There were footprints of the visitors in the sand.= may mga bakas ng paa ng mga panauhin sa buhanginan. 2.) But sometimes,past memories can be reffered as "bakas ng lumipas" = The past history have signs/clues that will tell/reveal the truth= Ang nakalipas na kasaysayan ay may tanda at bakas na magsasabi/maghahayag ng katotohanan.
  18. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I like it because it is more precise now. Thanks! I wish to add though that to say the least, I am amazed at the meanings of "Tun(g)ton(g)".
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
  19. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Using Google Translate I found these for 'trace', tracking, noticing:

    Czech: sledovat, trasování, trasování
    Polish: śledź ślad śladu
    Lithuanian: atsekti pėdsakų pėdsakų
    Russian: проследить след след (I believe I recognize /sp/ all over !)
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  20. arielipi Senior Member

    This thing just doesnt correspond with hebrew way of saying it; the structure would be more of
    (1)[the person whose job is to find] (2)[found/traced] (3)[the traces]

    though no parallels between numbers, each is its own word.
  21. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    No, the root of the Russian words is sled (л is l[ambda], it differs from п = p).
    The root sled is Panslavic.


    stopa = footprint, trace (e.g. scent trace, trace element, vanish without a trace), ft (unit);
    stopovati = to trace;
    stopař = tracker, scout, sleuth(hound);

    sled = sequence (e.g. sequence of events), train (e.g. wave train, train of thoughts);
    > výsledek (result), následek (consequence), poslední (the last);
    > následník (trůnu) = successor (of the throne);
    sledovati = to follow; tajně (secretly) sledovati = to spy on sb;
    slíditi = to sniff around, to snoop around;
    slídič = snooper, spy, tracker, sleuth (dog);

    Your sentence: Stopař sleduje stopy. Stopař stopuje (stopy, redundant).
  22. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    @ arielipi: I did not intend to describe some logic: I just listed verbs that have the same root. I'd say: the trace word is the root word in Dutch, and the rest 'follows' from that.

    @bibax : Please forgive me: I thought I recognized the small pi sign! But don't you see some kind of link between the two words?
  23. arielipi Senior Member

    So, there is no word that all other words follow; that is i dont have to use (or im not restricted to) certain words - i can have several constructs.
  24. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I thought the semantic similarity would lead to some words having the same roots at least, but that is not the case then...
  25. arielipi Senior Member

    You can have words from the same root, but its not restricted to having words of the same root in the sentence.

    EDIT: I'll make it clearer - in the sentence the tracker traced the traces, in hebrew, i dont have to use words from the same root, i can, but i dont have to; as with everything in hebrew - if its derived from the same root it will bear the same meaning.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  26. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    I have already forgiven ye. ;)

    Now I found that in Russian the noun след /sled/ means 'footprint/trace' whereas in Czech sled means 'sequence', an abstract concept (= последовательность in Russian, quite a long word derived from след).

    e.g. запаховый след (Ru) = pachová stopa (Cz) = scent trace (En);

    It seems that the abstract meaning of sled (i.e. sequence) in Czech evolved from 'a sequence of footprints' (the footprints usually occur in sequences).

    The Czech word stopa (= footprint) is related to German Stapfe with the same meaning.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013

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