Re: [tied] Re: Ground squirrels suck

From: stefan
Message: 5684
Date: 2001-01-21

From: "Piotr Gasiorowski" <gpiotr@...>

Teachin' an ol' trapper to track squirrels, eh? :).

Dear Piotr,

I wouldn't dream of teaching you anything, let alone how to tell a
squirrel from a pouched rat or from a Minnesotian.:-)

[PG]. The susl- : sys-/sUs- < *suk^- 'suck' looks to me like a
folk-etymology (your derivation of "gopher" is probably another),

No, no. Bruckner derives "susel" from OChSlav (as Sergei corrected)
"sysati" "to hiss" (pol.syczec, syk- not sus). Hence another name
for "susel" was/is "krzeczek" (squeaker). In the XVI c. "sys" was
another name for an eagle (they hiss too). Brueckner also mentions
German sausen (older su_so_n) to sough, swish, rush.

You have just undermined my faith in Brueckner, OED and all the
other etymological sources I cling to. Where, oh, where can I turn
now for advice to avoid folk etymologies? :-(

[PG]The name "gopher" is erroneously applied to various ground
squirrels (such as Spermophilus) and prairie dogs, but real gophers
make up the exclusively North and Central American family
Geomyidae -- they are not sciurids.

Yes, it is applied indiscriminately to various small animals as well
as used as a nickname for the inhabitants of Arkansas or Minnesota.
Curiously enough, acc. to Brueckner, some small Slavonic tribes have
also been nicknamed "gophers" (Susly)
But how does this affect their etymology? I have my doubts too but
OED gives the colonial French "gaufre"( with a question mark.) North
Amer. "gofer" (go for it) to describe someone who runs errands, a
dogsbody could be another folk etymology.