Re: Pliny's "Guthalus"

From: x99lynx@...
Message: 15932
Date: 2002-10-05

Piotr Gasiorowski <piotr.gasiorowski@...> Fri Oct 4, 2002  8:42 pm wrote:
<<Names of major rivers are often etymologically equivalent to "the River",
"the Water", "the Stream", etc. Simple epithets like "Mighty", "Running",
"Winding", "White" or "Black" are also popular.>>

Which make suggest that these did not originate as "names", but rather mere
descriptions interpreted as a name. There is no permanent, proper name
contemplated in the answer "mountain" in response to the question "what is
the name of that mountain?"
The very idea that a river might have a permanent, proper name,
distinguishing it from other rivers with different permanent, proper names,
may be a product of writing.

<<It was only when I became interested in etymology that I discovered that
Mrówka was a folk-etymological distortion of Nrówka (initial <nr-> does not
occur in any modern Polish morpheme): it flows into a larger river once
called the Nrowa (now Utrata, of purely Polish origin) < *norwa, an ancient
name without a Slavic etymology (but with Baltic connections).>>

Again, I'd suggest that we would not know the Nrowa unless it had occurred in
writing. And that that written form might be ultimate source of the derived

Steve Long