Etymology of 'daughter' (was: Rg Veda Older than Sanskrit)

From: batinquo
Message: 57804
Date: 2008-04-21

> Richard,
> Do you know any article that discusses the meaning and etymology of
> Duhita- Cf my message that duhita means the girl who milks the cow.
> Kishore patnaik

Hi all,

Since the subject has come up, I'd like to plug a recent article by
Pinault, where he suggests etymologies for all of the main kinship terms.

Briefly, Pinault says that the –ter- of the kinship terms is not
–h2ter-, nor the agent noun –ter-, but is the `contrastive –ter-' seen
in Gk. -teros etc, ultimately coming from adverbs in -ter / -tr., and
that all the –(h2)ter- words form natural pairs with other kinship
terms, hence the contrastive suffix.

Here's the final section of his article. I've omitted the diacritics,
accents etc in case it came out as gobbledygook.

"1) dhh1ugh2-ter- `belonging to the group of *dhh1-u-g- `(female)
children', derivative based on the root *dheh1- `to suckle, feed'(LIV
138, cf. Lat. filius, Lyc. tideimi-, OCS deva), collective *dhh1ug-h2-;

2) *bhreh2-tr- `belonging to the group of (male) children', from
*bhr-eh2-, collective based on the root *bher- `to bear', hence `to
give birth' (LIV 76), referring to the group of males borne by the
same mother;

3) *h1inh2-ter- `belonging to the group of acquired/given women', from
*h1i-en-h2-, collective of a derivative *h1i-en- `acquisition/gift' of
the root *h1ai- `to acquire/give' (LIV 229);

4) *ph1h2-ter- `(man) belonging to the family', as opposed to other
families or clans, from an abstract *ph1-eh2- `field, fold', cognate
to Ved. pa:thas- `fold, herd', and derived from the root *peh1- `to
move' (LIV 459);

5) *mah2-ter- is based on *mah2 `motherhood', hence `mother' (cf. Gk.
ma, maia), parallel to *dhh1ugh2-ter- from *dhh1ugh2- `daughter' and
*h1enh2-ter- remade on the strong stem *h1ienh2- `exchanged woman'.

The new etymology of `father' helps to settle a vexed question: unlike
Ved. duhitar- ... and several other words, Ved. pitar- does not show
the regular aspiration of the first stop (†phitar-). It may be
suspected that the aspiration was blocked by an intervening phoneme.
The vocative sg. pitar...requires the presence of an inherited PIE
anaptyctic vowel in *ph1°h2ter > *p°h2ter, for without a pre-existing
vowel, one cannot explain the retraction of the accent onto the first
syllable. Finally, one may note that the contrastive value is kept in
all these terms, with the exception of *mah2-ter-, which has obviously
been remade after `father'. Each original term with the suffix
*-t(e)r- can be opposed to a term that lacks this suffix:
*dhh1ugh2-ter- vs. `son' (which had several designations), *bhreh2-tr-
vs. *nepot- `nephew, grandson', *h1ienh2-ter- vs. *suesor- `sister' (<
*`own female'), etc."

p276-7 in G.-J. Pinault (2007) `A star is born: a "new" PIE *-ter-
suffix', pp271-9 in A.J.Nussbaum (ed.) Verba Docenti: Fs. Jasanoff.

I'd be interested to hear people's reactions. The footnotes discuss
some potential objections (e.g. why *dhh1ugh2te:r didn't undergo
laryngeal metathesis to give *dhuh1gh2te:r > dhu:gh2te:r), and add Gk.
pe:os 'allied relative', supposedly from *ph1eh2-s-o-, as support for
the 'father' etymology. Any takers? As far as kinship-term etymologies
go, they've got to be better than Szemerenyi's `bring-fire' for bhra:ter!

Best wishes, Oliver Simkin