Re: That old Odin scenario ...

From: tgpedersen
Message: 58354
Date: 2008-05-04

--- In, Piotr Gasiorowski <gpiotr@...> wrote:
> On 2008-05-04 01:19, tgpedersen wrote:
> > Actually, I've thought of this explanation:
> > It is not the Germans that are called mute,
> > but the mutes are called Germans.
> > Or rather Nemeti, since that was the closest non-Slavic speaking
> > tribe to the Slavs at the time.
> > I was going to check first whether the "mute" word has a proper
> > etymology in Slavic, since I suspected it didn't. I haven't yet.
> Sorry, Torsten, if I burst your balloon, but the Slavic 'mute' word
> is *ne^mU, and the 'German(ic)' derivative is *ne^mIcI, not *nemetU
> (or the like). The suffix just can't be earlier (or even borrowed)
> *-eto-; apart from problems with the vowel, *t is never palatalised
> to *c except dialectally (West Slavic) in combination with *-tj-,
> but that would have given Russian c^, OCS *s^t, etc.

But -t before plural -i beconmes -ci, right? And from from there, the
word could be back-formed with sg. -c.

> It must be just what it seems to be, *-IcI < *-iko- (affected by the
> progressive palatalisation of *k).
> Deadjectival nouns in *-iko- are highly producttive in Slavic, cf.
> *starIcI 'old man' from *starU, etc.

So much more pressure to regularize by back-forming.
Cf. Veleti
I know Gol/a,b mentions them somewhere, I can't find it again at the
moment, so I can't put a date on a mention in Latin, but it must be
either a case of suffix substitution (-c > -t) in Latin (in which case
we would be entitled to propose a reverse one in Slavic (Venetic -t >
Slavic -c, cf. all the Venetic -iþi names), cf the substitution Slavic
-sk > German -ig > -ig, eg. Lipsk > Leipzig, Gdan´sk > Danzig, or a
direct mention of a Venetic name in a classical source.

> As for *ne^mU, there are two
> etymologies around: from BSl. *me:mas 'mute, stammering' (Latv.
> me:ms 'mute') with dissimilation, of *ne- + some form of *h1em-
> 'take' in the sense 'comprehend' (frequent in Slavic), which would
> make 'incomprehensible' rather than 'mute' the original meaning of
> *ne^mU -- which makes sense, given that the Germanic neighbours of
> the Slavs probably talked a lot if the number of loans is anything
> to go by.

Well compare DEO
'nem [easy] adj, MDa, No. id., OSw. næmber, ON næmr "leaning easily",
-næmr "what can be taken or learned" in cmpds. like fastnæmr
"steadfast", netnæmr "which can be taken with a net", uppnæmr "which
can be defeated", tornæmr "difficult to learn", corrsp. to 2nd elmt.
of Gothic andane:ms, Germ. angenehm "pleasant"; from Germ. *ne:mia-,
varbal adj. of II nemme ["take, grasp,; get an impression or
understanding of"]. - Cf. fingernem ["good with one's hands"], ...
lærenem ["eager to learn"]... tungnem ["slow in understanding"]
and I nemme "capacity for understanding" (< *na:mia).

It seems 'nem' is short for some sort of compound (*let-nem?); Slavic
*nemU could be too (cf. 'tungnem'), cf. also today 'nem' "easy" being
used of people who are fooled easily. What to do with the n- is of
course an old problem, namely how to draw a borderline between PIE
*em- and *nem-.

Note 'let' "light, easy", 'tung' "heavy"