Re: searching for common words for all today's languages

From: tgpedersen
Message: 43362
Date: 2006-02-11

--- In, "pielewe" <wrvermeer@...> wrote:
> --- In, "mkelkar2003" <smykelkar@> wrote:
> > It is unlikely that a language would borrow a word for "water"
> > another language.
> I completely agree with the spirit of this, yet an Uralicist I
> to meet in Leiden would object that, you know, in Helsinki slang
> Russian "voda" is the word meaning 'water'. Which forcefully
> me of the fact that in the Amsterdam dialect, water you can fall
> (canals etc.) is called (or used to be called) "majem", which is
> apparently Hebrew. (And a broadening of the meaning from 'water
> fall into' to include any kind of water can't be excluded once
> reached that stage.) And in Squamish, 'water' is a derivation
> from 'drink' in the same way that 'work' is a derivation
from 'work'.
> So you can't even count on 'water'.
> Yet I completely agree with the spirit of the remark: we can't
> ourselves to assume people are borrowing words meaning 'water' all
> over the place, just to extract ourselves from difficulties we
> not have gotten into if we had gone about things differently.

In case that was one for me: if the ur-ancestor of the 'aqua'-words
meant not "water" but "watering channel", then a loan scenario
suddenly makes sense. It's not until you need to manipulate it that
a word for water becomes essential in your language. And that need
came with the agricultural revolution.