Vai de mine!

Aoyama

Senior Member
français Clodoaldien
My poor knowledge of Romanian is mostly aural.
I often heard my grand-parents say :
vai de mine (vaï dé miné), meaning something like "my God !".
- What it is the proper spelling ?
- What is the meaning ?

Merci.
 
  • OldAvatar

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    My poor knowledge of Romanian is mostly aural.
    I often heard my grand-parents say :
    vai de mine (vaï dé miné), meaning something like "my God !".
    - What it is the proper spelling ?
    - What is the meaning ?

    Merci.
    The proper spelling is: Vai de mine!
    Vai is an interjection describing a lot of feelings: starting from pain, suffering, deception and ending with regret, compassion and even admiration etc. Vai could be related with Italian Vai (meaning go, as an imperative; however, the meaning is different, but many centuries ago, it could mean the same thing) since it is considered to have the same root, from Latin vae.
    The expression Vai de mine! is nowadays mainly used only to depict an unpleasant situation in which someone may be. In my oppinion, it is a quite common expression among the older people, it is not that often used by young generation. de mine means of me.

    A similar expression in English would be My, oh my!

    Best regards!
     

    Aoyama

    Senior Member
    français Clodoaldien
    Right. Thank you.
    I new the proper spelling (guessed it) and wrote the phonetic equivalent.
    What I wanted to know was the literal (word to word) meaning.
    de mine = of me, I know.
    vai = vadere in latin (?) to go (but Romanian uses duc)
    It could mean : "go of me" or like the French "pauvre de moi" ...
     

    OldAvatar

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Right. Thank you.
    I new the proper spelling (guessed it) and wrote the phonetic equivalent.
    What I wanted to know was the literal (word to word) meaning.
    de mine = of me, I know.
    vai = vadere in latin (?) to go (but Romanian uses duc)
    It could mean : "go of me" or like the French "pauvre de moi" ...
    As I said, Vai is an interjection. So, it hasn't got an exact meaning in modern Romanian, it is just an exclamation word which can define a series of feelings. It depends on the context. It could be, etymologically speaking, related with Latin vae and, therefore, with Italian vai, but it certainly hasn't got the same meaning anymore. Probably, sometime in the past, it meant something like go of me but we can't say that for sure...

    Anyway, Vai de mine! (sometimes also used as Vai de mine şi de mine! as a much intensive complaining expression) is, nowadays, considered to be rather an excessive complaining expression and therefore, some avoid to use it or use it only in dramatic situations.

    Best regards!
     

    Aoyama

    Senior Member
    français Clodoaldien
    Thank you again.
    I understand vai as being an interjection, like vai vai used ... in Yiddish (and maybe in other languages).
    For Vai de mine şi de mine (poor me, poor me again/too) as an emphatic form, I had heard too.
    But you are saying that this expression is rather old fashioned.
     

    OldAvatar

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    But you are saying that this expression is rather old fashioned.
    Well, for me it is old fashioned. And I don't use it. Perhaps, vai alone is much used than vai de mine. Vai de mine has a high level of complaining which can be annoying. But that's my point of view and my personal remark, I can't tell for sure if that will be indeed a general impression.

    Best regards!
     

    Aoyama

    Senior Member
    français Clodoaldien
    I don't think that vae and vai could be related, even if vai could be linked to vadere in Latin (but that should be confirmed but experts).
    Vae victis etc
    If, as OldAvatar is stating, vai is used to complain ,how could it be compared to vae which was used as a salute or a hailing ...?
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I think you have confused vae (not related to vadere, as far as I know) with ave. Ave means "hail", but vae means "woe" or "oh".
    Vai de mine seems to be a direct equivalent to the (old fashioned) English expression "woe is me".
     

    Aoyama

    Senior Member
    français Clodoaldien
    Nope, I did not. Ave and vae are two different words, even if they look like the anagram of each other. I didn't even think about ave.
    For the etymology of vae (but this a bit of topic here) you can check google. There is an article in The University of Oklahama Bulletin about this (pertinent or nor), linking vae with via, way, went etc.
    Vae victis means woe to the victor, as we know.
    Does vai de mine mean woe of me ... ?
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    For the etymology of vae (but this a bit of topic here) you can check google. There is an article in The University of Oklahama Bulletin about this (pertinent or nor), linking vae with via, way, went etc.
    So it's not related to vadere? Just as I thought.

    Vae victis means woe to the victor, as we know.
    No, "woe to the vanquished".
     

    sakurano

    New Member
    romanian
    Actually "Vae victis" means "Too bad for the losers"/"Woe to the vanquished", therefore, "vai" it is similar to the latin "vae". "Ave" is the saluting one.
     

    Spectre scolaire

    Senior Member
    Maltese and Russian
    I don’t think Rumanian vai comes from Latin. To me it sounds like the Turkish interjection vay expressing surprise or regret. In oldish [Modern] Greek it is pretty common.

    You should look up the word in Lazăr Şăineanu: Influenţa orientală asupră limbei şi culturei române. I-II-III, Bucuresci 1900.
    ;) :)
     

    OldAvatar

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    I don’t think Rumanian vai comes from Latin. To me it sounds like the Turkish interjection vay expressing surprise or regret. In oldish [Modern] Greek it is pretty common.

    You should look up the word in Lazăr Şăineanu: Influenţa orientală asupră limbei şi culturei române. I-II-III, Bucuresci 1900.
    ;) :)
    The book you presented as reference is pretty old. Romanian language studies were in early stages at that time...
    For example, some of the so-called Turkish words from Romanian language are actually borrowed from the language of the Cumans, centuries before contacts with Turkish world...
    I'm curious on what would be the Turkish vay etymology?
     

    robbie_SWE

    Senior Member
    Trilingual: Swedish, Romanian & English
    The book you presented as reference is pretty old. Romanian language studies were in early stages at that time...
    For example, some of the so-called Turkish words from Romanian language are actually borrowed from the language of the Cumans, centuries before contacts with Turkish world...
    I'm curious on what would be the Turkish vay etymology?
    It could actually be the other way around. Maybe Romanian is the true source of the Turkish word?! Unfortunately the Romanian influence on neighbouring languages is horribly underestimated according to many linguists.

    I still consider vai to be a Latin cognate.

    :) robbie
     

    Spectre scolaire

    Senior Member
    Maltese and Russian
    OldAvatar said:
    For example, some of the so-called Turkish words from in Romanian language are actually borrowed from the language of the Cumans, centuries before any contacts with the Turkish world...
    And wouldn’t you say that the Cumans belonged to a nomadic Turkic tribe?


    I think Şăineanu was well aware of the Cuman connection, but he may not have possessed the linguistic tools to distinguish between Turkish (the Ottoman strand, the prevalent one) and Turkic (the Cuman strand). Some work on this has been done in Hungary where the problem is the same as in Rumanian - only that in Hungary turcological studies are flourishing.

    In Rumania it has been much more important to assess the Latin origin of Rumanian and to study, say, French loanwords, than to continue Şăineanu’s work. I see the present debate in this light. “Consulting Aristotle” may be interesting enough, but diving into the linguistic reality of Rumanian would be epistemologically more rewarding. Şăineanu is forgotten and his huge Influenţa orientală ... is a liber rarissimus. I have got a copy of it – but my library is not next to me for the time being.

    robbie_SWE said:
    Unfortunately the Romanian influence on neighbouring languages is horribly underestimated according to many linguists.
    Could we have a couple of names here?


    Caveat: I am not saying that Rumanian vai unequivocally is a Turkish/Turkic loanword in Rumanian. I am now primarily reacting against peremptory statements like I still consider vai to be a Latin cognate.

    By the way, Turkish vay is considered to be of Persian origin.
    :) :)
     

    OldAvatar

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    And wouldn’t you say that the Cumans belonged to a nomadic Turkic tribe?

    I think Şăineanu was well aware of the Cuman connection, but he may not have possessed the linguistic tools to distinguish between Turkish (the Ottoman strand, the prevalent one) and Turkic (the Cuman strand). Some work on this has been done in Hungary where the problem is the same as in Rumanian - only that in Hungary turcological studies are flourishing.

    In Rumania it has been much more important to assess the Latin origin of Rumanian and to study, say, French loanwords, than to continue Şăineanu’s work. I see the present debate in this light. “Consulting Aristotle” may be interesting enough, but diving into the linguistic reality of Rumanian would be epistemologically more rewarding. Şăineanu is forgotten and his huge Influenţa orientală ... is a liber rarissimus. I have got a copy of it – but my library is not next to me for the time being.

    Could we have a couple of names here?

    Caveat: I am not saying that Rumanian vai unequivocally is a Turkish/Turkic loanword in Rumanian. I am now primarily reacting against peremptory statements like I still consider vai to be a Latin cognate.

    By the way, Turkish vay is considered to be of Persian origin.
    :) :)
    The Persian origin of vay brings the idea of an ancient common indo-european interjection closer to the truth... Doesn't it?
    Anyway, I'm impressed by your knowledge...

    Best regards
     

    Luchia

    New Member
    Romania/Finland
    Hi

    I'm probably out of my depth here, but I always thought "vai" comes from "a se vãita" / "vaiet" which in turn could come from "wail". According to my dictionary, "wail" is probably of Scandinavian origin.

    Then again, I make strange connections between languages so I'd recall things easily...I have no real etymological proof for this x_x

    By the way, nice conversation :D
     

    robbie_SWE

    Senior Member
    Trilingual: Swedish, Romanian & English
    And wouldn’t you say that the Cumans belonged to a nomadic Turkic tribe?

    I think Şăineanu was well aware of the Cuman connection, but he may not have possessed the linguistic tools to distinguish between Turkish (the Ottoman strand, the prevalent one) and Turkic (the Cuman strand). Some work on this has been done in Hungary where the problem is the same as in Rumanian - only that in Hungary turcological studies are flourishing.

    In Rumania it has been much more important to assess the Latin origin of Rumanian and to study, say, French loanwords, than to continue Şăineanu’s work. I see the present debate in this light. “Consulting Aristotle” may be interesting enough, but diving into the linguistic reality of Rumanian would be epistemologically more rewarding. Şăineanu is forgotten and his huge Influenţa orientală ... is a liber rarissimus. I have got a copy of it – but my library is not next to me for the time being.

    Could we have a couple of names here?

    Caveat: I am not saying that Rumanian vai unequivocally is a Turkish/Turkic loanword in Rumanian. I am now primarily reacting against peremptory statements like “I still consider vai to be a Latin cognate.”

    By the way, Turkish vay is considered to be of Persian origin.

    :) :)
    Is it still peremptory when many linguists (including a myriad of dictionaries) attest the Romanian word "vai" to be a Latin cognate? I admit that it is a difficult subject to study and discuss, because languages are like living creatures. They breathe, reproduce and adapt themselves to new circumstances. They never acquire a solid form. ;)

    My comment about the Romanian influence on neighbouring languages is mostly referring to the Slavic languages in the Balkans. Sorin Paliga did extensive research on the subject and though Turkish wasn’t a part of his research, it still awoke my curiosity. I apologise for my misleading sentence, it was mostly an unqualified guess. :eek: But the question is interesting don't you think?

    Best regards,

    :) robbie
     

    Vaga Lume

    New Member
    Brazilian Portuguese
    I know it was written 13 years ago, but I got here and probably other people will, so I'd like to add information

    In Portuguese we have the expression "ai de mim", which is way too similar to be a coincidence.

    "Ai" is used to express pain. Brazilians in pain will scream ai, or ai ai. Other than that, it can be used to express that a kid is doing something wrong, to express dismay...

    So I guess the origin of the word Vai is Latin, the ancient Romans probably had a very similar expression to "vai de mine"
     

    farscape

    mod-errare humanum est
    Romanian
    The article linked by irinet presents a valid explanation of how the the Romanian interjection Vai is derived from the Latin vado/vadere (go) - see here for more on the Latin part.

    I think "Vade mecum" is a rather common expression (from Latin) for come/walk with me therefore its usage as an expression today for guide/follow me/instruction manual.

    Moderator's note: Let's try to keep the discussion about the Romanian connection and not turn this into a discussion suitable for the Latin forum.

    Thanks.
     
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