The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Friday, September 19, 2014

Auto - Phoenician loanword?

So I went hunting for Syriac cognates for this and that, and I didn't find any... but I did run across something else interesting by accident.

It's a Hebrew word: otô. Generally the former is used in the sense of French "même" or English "selfsame" or Latin "ipsus" (you know, "ipso"). otô happens to have another use, extending et which means, conveniently, "it".

otô in the sense of both happens to match Greek autos. Especially if you want to go really old-school with your Canaanite dialects and spell it out awtû.

A couple of points here, one from the Indo-European end and the other from the Semites'. I don't find autos in very many Euro languages. I've already noted three languages which use something totally different. The word is definitely Greek as of the Mycenaean era (see, autoio). Still - autos ends in -os. That's the easy way out, when dealing with Eurospeak. The harder declensions - r stems, k stems, let alone the pronouns - are older. So autos smells like a loan.

From the Semites, otô (or awtû) shows signs of undergoing that famed vowel-shift from a to o. (Which Arabic, and most Aramaic dialects, didn't.) If this word made the shift then its base preceded the shift - as in, pre-Biblical.

I'm guessing that the Greeks learnt to be more precise with their lingo when dealing with Canaanite Phoenicians.


posted by Zimri on 19:35 | link | 0 comments

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