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Polish etymology

osiol 55 | 3921  
5 Mar 2009 /  #1
Polish is traditionally classified thusly:

West Slavic

It also features borrowings from:


with a few borrowings also from Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, a couple of words of Mongolian and a (maybe suprisingly) small number of words from Russian.

What I find interesting in etymology is not only words that have a long history of borrowing (see ogórek, which has travelled from Greek to Polish and onwards to Dutch and the English word gherkin), but also words that develop within a language.

I read somewhere that the words zdrowie (health) and drzewo (tree) are somehow related (I know that drzewo descends from proto Indo-European and has cognates in other European languages, meaning tree, but often specifically oak, such as Welsh derwen).

Wiedzieć (to know) looks very much like it may have something to do with powiedzieć (say). Is this the case or has there been some convergent evolution going on? There are other examples of words that look related yet with contrasting meanings. I just can't think of any at the moment.

Lubic (to like) looks like it may descend from the same root as the English word love.

So if you've ever wanted somewhere to post any interesting facts about Polish etymology, here is the place to do so.
Piorun - | 655  
5 Mar 2009 /  #2
I read somewhere that the words zdrowie (health) and drzewo (tree) are somehow related (I know that drzewo descends from proto Indo-European and has cognates in other European languages, meaning tree, but often specifically oak, such as Welsh derwen).

I thought that English “health” derives from Old English “Hal” which meant (healthy or whole), and “Hal” in turn was derived from Germanic “Hailitho”, but the roots of this word can be found in proto Indo-European “kailo” which had same meaning.

According to (W. Boryś Słownik etymologiczny języka polskiego) Polish “Zdrowie” is derived from the word “Zdrowy” which is found in Polish language since the very beginning but it's much older then that and it was found in proto-Slavic as “Zderv” which in turn is derived from proto Indo-European “su-doru” which meant (from good wood). In its original form it was used in reference to the objects made of wood however with passage of time it meant (full of health, not sick) in reference to people and animals.
6 Mar 2009 /  #3
welcome among etymology freaks osiol ;)

powiedzieć is a derivative of wiedzieć (original meaning must have been somehow projected from wiedzieć - perhaps share one's knowlegde)
'po' is a very popular prepositional prefix in many cases perfective verbs are created from imperfective bases by adding 'po' - 'słuchać' --> 'posłuchać'

but 'powiedzieć' is not a perfective of 'wiedzieć' (which is obvious to you and everyone who looks it up in a dictionary) 'wiedzieć' to my knowledge does not have perfective form/ derivate (in a sense it is perfective itself) but maybe some fellow Pole would be of different opinion (I am not a trained linguist nor a Polish phylologist)
Polonius3 983 | 12333  
22 Mar 2009 /  #4
We can see that obywatel was one of the words borowed from Czech, because an indigenous Polish wor would have had the -ciel ending: obywaciel, as in nauczyciel and przyjaciel.
MrBubbles 10 | 613  
22 Mar 2009 /  #5
the roots of this word can be found in proto Indo-European “kailo”

Although it must be remembered that PIE is a reconstructed language - the roots of more or less any European word will be found there because it is extrapolated backwards from more recent European language change.

powiedzieć is a derivative of wiedzieć

I would hazard a guess that it repsonds to the cognitive metaphor of giving knowledge to someone or, rather, placing the knowledge in the person? po - wiedzieć

welcome among etymology freaks osiol ;)

OP osiol 55 | 3921  
23 Mar 2009 /  #6
Etymology of apple / jabłko

A direct descendant of Indo-European. Originally may have simply meant fruit rather than specifically the apple. Similarly, the Latin word pomum, meaning apple, originally meant fruit, yet it's meaning was said to have changed with the arrival of Christianity and the story of Adam and Eve which is nearly always associated with the apple rather than any other kind of fruit. This process has been documented (as things like this often are with Latin) and a similar change may have occurred with "apple" words across the rest of Europe.

Apple trees (Malus domestica) actually originated in the Altai mountains (over there in Central Asia). Native European apples (Malus sylvestris) are those little crab apples that look more like wild cherries than eating or cooking apples. They have certainly been present in Europe since the years BC, and were probably the first domesticated fruit tree.

Celtic - Proto-Celtic: *aballo / Welsh: afal / Irish Gaelic: ubhall
Germanic - Old English: æppel / German: Apfel / Dutch: appel / Swedish: äpple / Icelandic: epli
Baltic - Lithuanian: óbuolas
Slavic - Russian: яблоко (jabloko) / Polish: jabłko

It looks as though the Polish word is actually some sort of diminutive, rather like the word jajko which is a standardised diminutive of jaje.

The names of the days of the week are all of Slavic origin, except Saturday.

niedziela - no work
poniedziałek - after Sunday
wtorek - second day
środa - middle day
czwartek - fourth day
piątek - fifth day
sobota - Hebrew: shabbāth (meaning "day of rest") > Greek: sábbaton > Latin: sabbatum

Likewise, the English names are all of Germanic origin, with the exception of Saturday, which comes from Latin and is named after Saturnus, the Roman god of harvest.

I want to know why two months have names of Latin origin (marzec and maj), whereas the rest are all Slavic. If you want to know a little bit more about this, you could submit yourself to
gumishu 14 | 6223  
22 May 2009 /  #7
well osiol they were once thought of as having Polish etymologies (the two months) or some Polish, Slavic etymologies have been attributed to them - it is easy to understand when you notice that they look much luck Polish/Slavic words (in Polish spelling)

on the other hand Polish literate spheres where much influenced by Latin during 17th and say first half of the 18th centuries (because the sort of education they received)
z_darius 14 | 3960  
22 May 2009 /  #8
such as Welsh derwen

Polish "drewno" - wood

"watra" (Podhale region word for bonefire) - nearly unchanged from "atra", proto-IndoEuropen for fire.

Parasol - from French but used mostly to protect one from rain rather than the sun (-sol)

I always thought Polish names of some months were beautiful and original among the IE languages.

In order from January:

Styczen - connecting the old and the new year.
Luty - freezing, cruel
Marzec (ambiguous origin) either from Latin Mars, or from Slavonic "to be/get cold"
Kwiecien - the (blooming of) flowers month
Maj - Roman origin
Czerwiec - comes from the name of a small insect (czewiec polski) used to manufacture red dye. Possibly from "czerwie", i.e. bee larvae.

Lipiec - the time when linden trees (lipy) blosom
Sierpien - from "sierp" (sickle) used at harvest time
Wrzesien - from "wrzos" (heather)
Pazdziernik - from "pzadzierz", side product in the manufacture of linen.
Listopad - from leaves falling of the trees
Grudzien - from frozen lumps of ground

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