Re: [tied] Venice Beach

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 4422
Date: 2000-10-17

It's a typical folk etymology. The meaning 'fur coat' or 'fur hat' for *volxU is unattested, as far as I know; it has been "deduced" from the superficial similarity of the reflexes of *volxU and *volsU. By contrast, the evidence for a borrowing from Germanic is unassailable. German has the (now politically incorrect) adjective welsch 'Romance, Italian, French' (as in Welschkraut or die welsche Schweiz) < *walx-isk-a-, etymologically identical with English Welsh. The Germanic word walx-a- 'Celtic or [after the Romanisation of Gaul] Romance foreigner' (OE wealh, MHG walch) gives Slavic *volxU (> vlox-, vlax- or volox- depending on the local results of liquid metathesis) straightforwardly, without the slightest formal difficulty and without any unwarranted assumptions.
----- Original Message -----
From: Michal Milewski
Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 5:45 PM
Subject: Re: [tied] Venice Beach

Piotr Gasiorowski wrote:

> I suppose you are familiar with the Volcae story (the reason why Italy is called Wl/ochy in Polish and
> Cymru is called Wales in English). It's strikingly analogous to this Venedic confusion.
Yes, I found the earlier posts on this subject. I also
remeber an alternative explanation I learned many years ago
in my Polish elementary school (good reference, isn't it?).
The name Wol/osi (and Walachia) was supposed to be related
to the Slavish word vol/osy (wl/osy in Polish, hair in
English) used to describe clothes made from fur (especially:
the big caps that are still used in this area), commonly
used by shepherds in Walachia. In Poland this name was later
transmitted to other travelers coming from south, and this
is the reason, why Italians are still called Wl/osi (Wl/ochy
for Italia) in Poland. You probably know this whole story,
but I wonder whether it could get some credibility from the
linguistic point of view.