-y in Czech & Polish (e.g. Čechy, Czechy)

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Lusus Naturae

Senior Member
Cantonese
How often does -y function in Czech and Polish (e.g., Niemcy, Uhry) like -ia does in Latin (e.g., Germania, Hungaria)?
Why do Czech, Polish, and English have somewhat similar usage of such -y?
 
  • This Czech and Polish -y is the ending of the Nominative-Accusative Plural, so literally Niemcy means "Germans". It is absolutely unrelated, both etymologically and grammatically, to the Latin -ia and the English -y (which is the phonetic continuation of this Latin form).
     
    Slavic, however, has a somewhat related pattern to form toponyms: in Czech it looks like and in Polish like -ie, e. g.: Meziměstí ("Interurbium") : Międzylesie ("Intersilvium"). It is etymologically identical to the Latin -ium-type found in Latium, Samnium, Bruttium etc. and grammatically is a neuter counterpart of the -ia-type you mention.
     
    Last edited:

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    This Czech and Polish -y is the ending of the Nominative-Accusative Plural, so literally Niemcy means "Germans". It is absolutely unrelated, both etymologically and grammatically, to the Latin -ia and the English -y (which is the phonetic continuation of this Latin form).
    A little correction: Niemcy is the Nominative form plural for both Niemcy as a country, and Niemcy as a people. Th Accusative form plural for the country is also Niemcy, but for the people it is Niemców.
    It means that the name of the country is treated as plural masculine non personal, while the name of the people is plural masculine personal.
     

    Lusus Naturae

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    @ahvalj @Ben Jamin
    Does Polish y often function like Russian ий when borrowing Latin -ius (e.g. Gervasius, Gerwazy, Гервaсий; Ignatius, Ignacy, Игнaтий) ?

    What's the nuance between the name for the country and the name for the people being the same (e.g. Niemcy) and being different (e.g., Włochy, Włosi; Węgry Węgrzy; Prusy, Prusowie)?
     
    @ahvalj @Ben Jamin
    Does Polish y often function like Russian ий when borrowing Latin -ius (e.g. Gervasius, Gerwazy, Гервaсий; Ignatius, Ignacy, Игнaтий) ?
    It doesn't. The Russian -ий-/-ij- in these words is a nominal suffix, persisting throughout the declension: Ignatʲij, Ignatʲija, Ignatʲiju… That's the original Slavic approach. The Polish -y is here an adjectival ending, present in the nominative singular but replaced in other cases: Ignacy, Ignacego, Ignacemu… That's a secondary development. The nominative suffix is etymologically the same, but in West Slavic such names began to decline as adjectives.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    @ahvalj @Ben Jamin
    What's the nuance between the name for the country and the name for the people being the same (e.g. Niemcy) and being different (e.g., Włochy, Włosi; Węgry Węgrzy; Prusy, Prusowie)?
    It is like in English: Italy/Italians, Hungary/Hungarians, Prussia/Prussians.
    There are however some traps here.
    "Prusy" has historically two meanings: the nation of "Old" Prussians, a Baltic people living between Poland and Lithuania, and not forming any state, but a loose array of independent tribes (like Germans in the Roman time). These inhabitants are called "Prusowie" in Polish (Borussi in Latin).
    People inhabiting the German dominated state founded on the teritory of "Old Prussia" after the conquest in the XIII century AD began to be called "Prusacy" probably in the XVII century. The name was extended to inhabitants of the Prussian Kingdom created in 1701 after fusion with Brandenburg. This name has a negative connotation in Polish, the new Prussian state being the main agressor against Poland from the west.
     
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