Re: [tied] lat. barbatus

From: richardwordingham
Message: 14605
Date: 2002-08-27

--- In cybalist@..., Piotr Gasiorowski <piotr.gasiorowski@...>
> If these "relatives" show anything, it's only the general human
tendency to represent indistinct and/or incomprehensible foreign
speech as "bar-bar", "bal-bal", "bla-bla" or the like. Personally, I
would not reconstruct Nostratic or Proto-World *bar-bar 'foreigner'
on such a basis, though I see no reason why _some_ languages spoken
tens of millennia ago should not have followed the same tendency :).
> Piotr
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Philobiblos 315
> To: cybalist@...
> Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2002 1:14 PM
> Subject: [tied] lat. barbatus
> Frisk, (Griechisches Etymologisches Woerterbuch, Heidelberg: Carl
Winter, 1973) relates all of the info below, and also relates
Sumerian "barbar" =foreigner and Semitic-Babylonian "barbaru" =the

Do you feel that Proto-World *barbar 'foreigner' is less sound than
*kuku 'cuckoo'? No-one challenged that Proto-World reconstruction
when it appeared on the list!

Actually, there are valid objections to this Proto-World
reconstruction. Phonologically CVC may be odd, and the semantic
shift would contradict the idea of monogenesis :)

Seriously, do we know of more isolated examples of 'barbar' meaning
foreigner? Do we not see Latin 'barbarus' as coming from
Greek 'barabaros'? Unless I have missed something, the derivation of
Babylonian 'barbar' from Sumerian 'barbar' is very likely. Speaking
British English, "bar-bar" makes sense to me only as equivalent
to "bah-bah". Sanskrit barbara- 'stammerer' may simply be the
rhoticised version of balbala:-, and all the other examples in have /l/ not /r/.