Re: [tied] Let dogs have their day too

From: george knysh
Message: 16000
Date: 2002-10-07

--- Piotr Gasiorowski <piotr.gasiorowski@...>
> In some branches we have suffixations based on the
> weak form *k^wn-: Iranian *cva-k-a- > *spaka- (cf.
> Skt. s'vaka- 'wolf' < 'dog-like') and Germanic
> *hun-d-a-. Russ. sobaka (not a pan-Slavic word) is
> generally assumed to be a loan from Iranian, but it
> appears to be relatively modern (_not_ from Scythian
> or Sarmatian) and perhaps not _directly_ from
> Iranian.

*****GK: It is attested for the 15th century in
Ukrainian and Belarusian (from Vilna)language
documents (along with the diminutive "sobachka", and
the form "soubaka" [oy in Sl.]). Probably in Russian
also, though I don't have the source at hand.*****

And Piotr subsequently added this:

The only solution that saves the Iranian etymology is,
it seems, the assumption of a loan from Median or from
an early Persian dialect (Herodotus reports Median
spaka 'dog'), filtered through a language that did not
permit initial /sp-/ and broke the cluster up with an
epenthetic vowel (*s&baka). It would have reached East
Slavic (but not the rest of Slavic) in the Middle
Ages. I don't know what concrete intermediary could be
proposed, but I wonder if Turkish k�pek and related
Turkic words (such as <k�b�k>, cited by Sergei after
Trubachev) didn't somehow branch off the same
borrowing route (the inherited Turkic word for 'dog'
is <it ~ yt>); unfortunately, I'm out of my depth in
the field of Turkic etymology.

******GK: I have some additional questions. (1) What
does the "'" mean in the Sanskrit form "s'vaka"? Could
it stand for some very weak "a" which would be
rendered by Slavic "o"? If so could we look at Pontic
Indic as a possible source? The problem is that we
know so little about it...But at least it's in the
right place geographically.
(2) I take it that the East Slavic "sobaka", in the
view taken above, does NOT derive from the Turkic, but
that BOTH the Turkic and East Slavic might stem from
some unknown intermediary language which passed on a
filtered Median or Old Persian "spaka" (as attested by
It would be nice if we could attack Old Herodotus
again for garbling "sopaka" into "spaka" but that's
hardly likely.

I have some follow ups.

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