Re: Croats and bishops

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 7420
Date: 2001-05-29

Well, "bishop" was taken directly from provincial Latin into continental Germanic (no need to assume a complex trajectory of borrowing), and its early form (*biskop-, with the regular palatalisation of *-sk- in English and German) is not particularly odd. The deletion of an unstressed initial vowel (aphesis) often operates in a somewhat capricious fashion but is common nevertheless and hardly surprising if the borrowing language has initial stress. True, we'd expect **piskop- rather than *biskop-. However, if this single irregularity matters little, it is NOT because we can rutinely ignore such phonological wrinkles in our derivations but because there is plenty of other evidence, linguistic as well as extralinguistic, that allows us to relate OE <bisceop>, OHG <biscof> etc. to Romance *epĂ­scopum very confidently. For one thing, all these forms have precisely the same meaning and clearly represent an easily borrowable word of culture. In a way, the etymology of "bishop" is self-evident.
----- Original Message -----
From: MCLSSAA2@...
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2001 4:51 PM
Subject: [tied] Re: Croatians and the Carpathians

--- In cybalist@......, "Piotr Gasiorowski" <gpiotr@......> wrote:
> The problem is that an etymology based exclusively on
> might-have-beens and an irregular phonetic resemblance ...

One good example of an irregular phonetic resemblance is the way that Latin [episcopus] became Anglo-Saxon [biscep] (English [bishop]). When a word is passed about between several languages in a short time, that sort of thing happens.