Re: Fire and the naughty little squirrel

From: Sergejus Tarasovas
Message: 5680
Date: 2001-01-21

--- In, "stefan" <stefan@...> wrote:

> The good news is that you are probably on the right track, because
> Polish "susel" (gopher) is derived from the sound that animal
> makes - from ChurchSl. "sysati" to hiss or squeak. Gopher is also a
> name for ground-squirrel as well as other burrowing rodents. The
> etymology of gopher is derived fron French "gaufre". honeycomb and
> that by a circuitous route was associated with the sucking noise
> those animals make.
> Hence a Polish old expression "he drinks like a gopher" (pije jak
> susel) was derived from the word "suck" (sysac, Russ. suslit') Suck
> and hiss are similar noises.
> Stefan

This scenario seemes very plausible to me. Cf. Russian suso'l-:su'sl- (<*susUl-), one of the meanings - 'suck'. An important (and obvious) reservation would be
1. a Polish word can't be derived from "ChurchSlav". Old Church Slavonic, if that's what you mean, is a normalized Macedono-Thessalonician dialect of Old Bulgarian, which is by no means an ancestor of Polish.
2. Polich susel and his Common Slavic ancestor *susUlU (<k^ouk^-ul-o- or souk^-ul-o-) can't be derived from Common Slavic *sysati (<*su:s-a:- or k^u:s-a:-), they're rather brothers, Pre Slavic *Seu S- being the ancestor.