Re: [tied] Etymology of "Warsaw"

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 33968
Date: 2004-09-03

On 9/1/04 8:38 PM, Sergejus Tarasovas wrote:

> Interestingly, the traditional Lithuanian name for the city is
> Várs^uva, which is percepted like a typical Baltic toponym made with
> the (collective etc.) suffix -(u)va ~ -ava (for the variance, cf.,
> eg., the vacillation (Lith.) Daugavà ~ (Latv.) Daugava in the name of
> the same river) by a speaker of Lithuanian. Not that *wars'(u)wa: ~
> *wars'awa: would make a helluva good sense in Baltic, but we still do
> have OPuss. <warsus> 'lip' (probably continuing the same *wers-
> 'upper, outstanding' as Slavic *vIrxU and Lith. virs^us/Latv.
> vìrsus, but with the "right" o-grade), so can a West Baltic
> substratal thing be completely excluded?

It's a priori less likely than a straightforward Polish (or, to be
precise, Mazovian) etymology. Warsaw is not a particularly ancient or
historically outstanding place, as Polish towns go: the capital of
Poland was moved there from Kraków in the early 17th century; it became
the capital town of the dukedom of Mazovia about two centuries earlier;
until that time it had been an inconspicuous little town that had
gradually absorbed several older (and not necessarily less important)
settlements -- all with purely Slavic names, such as Jazdów, Kamion and
Bródno. The name Warszowa goes back to the 13th century; the modern form
Warszawa is very young (17th c.)