Thursday, October 23, 2008

Quince III

Guess I got sick of the cutesy title. It’s amazing how quickly something sweet can become something cloying. Lest this happen to me, I'll try to keep things moving in this wild speculation into etymological hyperspace. Now with purty pictures.

So. Germanic languages: We’ve already seen English quyn/ce and quince. The other Germanic languages end up with /w/ or /v/ in there as well: German Quitte (/kv-), Dutch kwee(peer) (quince-pear, cf. the Walloon), Afrikaans kweper (assumedly a direct descendant of the Dutch) Norwegian kvede and Danish kvæde (note medial consonant voicing) Swedish kvitten. No Icelandic, Faroese, or Frisian data.

Not an Indo-European language is Finnish with kvitteni—a Germanic borrowing, assumedly from Swedish. Not altered by Finnish phonology other than the final vowel—got to keep those syllables open! Also non-Indo-European but merrily borrowed was Japanese marumero, but I should have mentioned that two posts ago.

Oddly, somehow when I started this I had the goal of attempting to get more people to eat quince. I'm not sure what I've just done is the best way, but I'm having fun. Even if it's also more word-comparison than actual lexical analysis. And I didn't even look into a discussion of grammatical gender (the classical languages were neuter, French masculine, German and Czech feminine, I believe) but that's beyond my scope for now.

Next time: Part IV: "Oh right I promised some Slavic data and am totally not going to segue into this great Czech suffix that denotes TREES how cool is that?" And then I'll be done with quinces for a little while. Promise.

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