laugardagur, júlí 22, 2006


How extraordinary that the word care comes from PGerm (*karo) and PIE (*gar), roots meaning to cry out, to scream.

Kær, kærleikur, &c. I have always assumed derive from whatever French gives us modern cher, cheri, &c. The native Norse is presumably ást. But does cher derive also from PIE *gar? I have no idea. Later, I will look up the sound changes in Romance that would make clear whether this derivation is even possible. I'll have to look it up: Romance is not at all my strong suit.

But how touching that those ancient lexical wellsprings of care are gone, gone, lost to us and now existing only behind the * that designates a reconstructed word. What presumption. To think that one could ever truly put such things back together again in their original forms, the way they were when living people held them, gently or angrily, in their mouths.

2 ummæli:

tristan sagði...

thankyou, especially for that last succinct paragraph

isn't it strange how we can love peoples who died a thousand years ago because of these fragments of their cultural legacy ?

sterna sagði...

It is, it is.

I had a dear scholar friend who would point out to me farms at the side of the road and tell me that this or that old friend of his had lived there and a little about that friend's literary activity. All of them had been dead for many centuries, but my friend knew their handwriting so well he could recognize it from a tiny scribble of marginalia. Now he too has passed on.

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