Friday, June 16, 2017

The names of the days of the week, Part 5: Sp. jueves and related words

[This entry comes from a section of Chapter 20 ("The names of the days of the week") of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]

From Latin Iŏvĭs to Spanish jueves


The word jueves ‘Thursday’ comes from Latin Iŏvĭs ‘of Jupiter’, written 〈IOVIS〉 in Latin. More specifically, it comes from the phrase diēs Iŏvĭs ‘day of Jupiter’ from which the word diēs has been removed. The word Iŏvĭs may look rather different from the word jueves, if we look at the spelling, but even more so if we look at the sounds involved. However, the sound changes we find here are all the regular ones we expect to find in a patrimonial Spanish word, one that was transmitted by word of mouth uninterruptedly from Classical Latin, to Vulgar (popular) Latin, to Romance, to Old Spanish (Castilian), and to Modern Spanish. There are no sporadic or analogical sound changes here, as in the case of the word miércoles, only regular ones.

i
ŏ
v
ĭ
s

/ ˈjɔ.wɪs/
j
ue
v
e
s

/ˈxu̯e.bes/

Let us look at each of the letters in turn, starting with the initial i. We find that this is one of the rare cases in which this letter did not represent a full, syllabic vowel, but rather a consonant sound derived from that vowel sound, namely [j], the sound of the letter 〈y〉 in English when it is a consonant, as in you and yell. In some words, this vowel became a (semi-)consonant before another vowel in Latin. This semi-consonantal [j] sound changed to [ʒ] in Romance, and it is the sound it had in Old Spanish (it still has that sound in French, for instance). However, by the 17th century, this sound had mutated to the sound that the letter 〈j〉 currently has in Spanish, represented by the symbol [x] in the International Phonetic Alphabet. (In English, the letter 〈j〉 typically represents the sound [ʤ], as in jar or jello. In some dialects of Spanish, the letter 〈j〉 is pronounced [h] as in English hose. All this is explained in Part I, Chapter 7, in detail.)

The changes in the other vowels are even easier to explain. Latin short ŏ always became ue in Old Spanish patrimonial words if it was stressed, and short ĭ always changed to e, without exception. On the other hand, in non-patrimonial words, that is, words that were borrowed from written Latin at a later date, also known as learned words, Latin short ŏ is always o in Spanish and short ĭ also stays i.[1]

Finally, the letter 〈v〉 might not seem to require an explanation, since it remains unchanged, but we should not forget that its pronunciation in Spanish is very different from the pronunciation it had in Latin. The letter 〈v〉 in this context was pronounced [w] (that is, like the English letter 〈w〉). This sound changed to [β] in Old Spanish, a sound much like the [b] sound but without fully closing the lips. Eventually this sound became a variant of the [b] sound in Spanish. We represent the sound than combines both variants /b/ (cf. Part I, Chapter 7). In Old French, Latin 〈v〉, pronounced [w], came to be pronounced [v] (as in vain) and that is why we write this sound with the letter 〈v〉 in English as well.

The name for Thursday in other Romance languages (other than Portuguese, which is quinta-feira) is also derived from the same Latin phrase diēs Iŏvĭs, as for example in Catalan dijous, where as we can see, the word diēs is not lost and the two words are blended into one. The phrase diēs Iŏvĭs could also be expressed in reverse order in Latin, as Iŏvĭs dies, and this is the source of French jeudi. Other Romance languages follow one of these patterns. Standard Italian has giovedì, which follows the French pattern. Galician has xoves, which shows a loss of the word diēs, just like Spanish. In Sicilian too, we find the same thing, since the word for Thursday in this language is juvi.

Jupiter


You may have been surprised to learn that Lat. Iŏvĭs meant ‘of Jupiter’, for this word does not look very much like the word Jupiter. It turns out the nominative case wordform that meant ‘Jupiter’ in Latin, which was Iŭppĭtĕr, does not look very much like the genitive case wordform Iŏvĭs either. Let us look at this word in some detail, since its story is quite interesting.

Jupiter was the main god of the Romans, their Sky God, the father and ruler of gods and men. The name for Jupiter, the god and, thus, the planet, in Latin was Iŭppĭtĕr in the nominative case or wordform of this word, written 〈IVPPITER〉, pronounced [ˈjʊp.pɪ.tɛr]. (The nominative case of a noun is the form of the noun that is used when it functions as the subject of a sentence, for instance.) Originally, however, the word was Iūpiter, with a long ū and a single p. From this nominative case comes English Jupiter /ˈʤu.pɪ.təɹ/ and Spanish Jupiter /ˈxu.pi.t̪eɾ/, words that are used for both the Roman god and for the planet named after him.

So why is the genitive or possessive case wordform, the one meaning ‘of Jupiter’, so different from the nominative? Since Iŭppĭtĕr has more letters, one might think that it is Iŏvĭs that is odd, and that it has been shortened somehow. Actually, it is the other way around. It is not the genitive Iŏvis, but rather the nominative Iŭppĭtĕr, that is strange, since all the other cases for this word besides the nominative singular follow the same pattern as the genitive, with the root iŏv‑. We also know that the original name of this god in the nominative was at one time, early on, Iŏve. The expression ‘By Jove!’, though dated, is still found in most English dictionaries. It first appears in English in the 16th century and it is used ‘used to express surprise or to emphasize a statement’ (OALD).

The reason that Iove become Iuppiter is that the name of the god was so often uttered together with the word for father next to it, as in Iove Pater, meaning ‘Father Jove’ or ‘Sky Father’, that eventually the two words fused and gave us the new wordform Iuppiter as the nominative and vocative cases of this name. (The vocative case is the form of a noun ‘used in addressing or invoking a person or thing’ (COED).

i
ŏ
v
ĕ
p
a
t
e
r
i

v

p
i
t
e
r

As we can see, when these two words blended, two short vowels were lost. The letter 〈v〉, changed from representing the semivowel [w] sound to the vowel [u] sound, but that was to be expected, since in Latin this letter represented both sounds, which one depending on whether there was a vowel following. The other thing that might seem strange is that the vowel a in the word pater changed to i in the compound (Iup)piter. This type of sound change was not uncommon, however, in early Latin, for vowels mutated when they came to be unstressed in compounds (cf. Part I, Chapter 8, §8.3.3).

Interestingly, adding the word for father to the word for God is not limited to Latin among the Indo-European languages, so this is a very old and well-attested tradition. In the Umbrian language, which is a sister language of Latin, we find 𐌉𐌖𐌐𐌀𐌕𐌄𐌓 ‎(iupater); in Sanskrit, another daughter language of Proto-Indo-European, we find द्यौष्पितृ ‎(dyauṣ-pitṛ); and in Ancient Greek, we find Ζεῦ πάτερ ‎(Zeû páter).

Latin Iove, the early equivalent of the word Iuppiter, has given us a curious pair of cognates: English jovial and Spanish jovial, which mean ‘cheerful and friendly’ (COED). They come from Late Lat. ioviālis ‘pertaining or related to Jove/Jupiter’, an adjective derived with the adjectival suffix ‑āl‑ (iov‑i‑āl‑is). It seems that being born under the sign of the planet Jupiter brought upon people positive dispositions and friendly personalities. English jovial /’ʤoʊ̯.vɪə̯l/ came into English in the late 16th century from French, perhaps ultimately from Italian. Sp. jovial /xo.ˈbi̯al/ is first attested in the early 17th century (Lope de Vega).

Eng. Thursday


The name of the day Thursday /ˈθɜɹz.ˌden̯/ is also a calque of the Latin name for this day. It comes from Old English Þunresdæg (among other spellings). The Þunres in Þunresdæg is the genitive case wordform of Þunor, the name of the god of thunder. Since Jupiter was the god of sky and thunder (in addition to being, unlike Þunor, the king of the gods) in Roman mythology, the early Germanic people chose this god for the name of this day when they calqued the Latin names for the days of the week. The word þunor itself meant primarily ‘thunder, thunderclap’, but it was also the name of the deification of this natural phenomenon. The Anglo-Saxon god Þunor is equivalent to Thor in Norse (North Germanic) mythology, cf. Old Norse Þórr (Swedish Tor).

Eng. thunder is primarily a noun, though it is also used as a verb. It is not known how the word thunder, which comes from O.Eng. Þunor, got its intrusive ‑d‑ in later times, but a few other Germanic languages have it too in their cognates of this word. This word has been reconstructed as containing the Proto-Indo-European root *ton (variant of *(s)ten‑), meaning ‘to drone, groan, thunder, etc.’.

The root in the word thunder (thun‑) can also be found in the Latin verb tŏnāre ‘to thunder’ (tŏn‑). The descendant of this verb in Spanish is tronar, with an intrusive ‑r‑, which goes back to Roman times and perhaps comes by the influence of the ‑r‑ in the word tŏnītrus ‘thunderclap’. The Spanish noun meaning ‘thunder’, trueno, also contains this root, as does the word tronido ‘thunderclap’, derived from Lat. tŏnītrus by metathesis of the ‑r‑.


The Latin verb dētŏnāre was derived from tŏnāre was. It meant ‘to release thunder, to roar out’. This verb was borrowed in the 18th century by English as detonate. Actually, the noun detonation was borrowed first, in the 17th century. Spanish borrowed it too, as detonar, with the same meaning. It is likely that the word was borrowed from Latin first by French and then calqued into English and Spanish.

Excursus: the Proto-Indo-European root dyew‑


The Sky God of the Indo-Europeans

Just like Jupiter was the Sky God of the Romans, Zeus was the equivalent Sky God of the Helenes (Greeks). It turns out that Lat. Iŏve (Jupiter) and Gk. Ζεύς (Zeús) are cognate words and that the word for the Sky God goes all the way to their ancestor language Proto-Indo-European Sky God, which has been reconstructed as *dyḗws (gen. *diwés). This word has also given us the names of deities in other daughter languages, such as Sanskrit द्यु (dyú), Hittite 𒅆𒍑 (sius), and Old English Tīw (as in Tuesday which originally meant ‘Tiw’s day’). This word has an interesting story which well deserves an aside here.

The word for the Sky God in many Indo-European languages goes back to the PIE root *dyew- found in a noun meaning ‘sky, heavens’ and in a verb meaning ‘to shine’. Derived from this root is the word reconstructed as *dyḗws that has given the names of the Indo-European Sky God in many ancient languages.

Sp. día (and the unrelated Eng. day)

Another word that is derived from the same Proto-Indo-European root *dyew- and from the same Proto-Indo-European word *dyḗws is Lat. diēs ‘day’, which as we have seen was part of the name of the days of the week in Latin. The Latin reflex of this PIE word should have been *diūs, and indeed we find this word in two fossilized Latin phrases. But *diūs changed to diēs presumably by analogy with the accusative wordform for this word, diem, which had an e instead of a u. This fifth declension noun could be declined as a feminine noun when the day is personified as a goddess instead of a god, from which comes the version dia of this word in Latin. Because the plural of dies was also dies, the feminine form dia came to be used as the singular form of the word in Vulgar Latin and it is from this version of the noun that Spanish gets its word día ‘day’, which ends in ‑a but, curiously, is masculine.

Even more curiously, the English word day, though it looks similar to Sp. día, is not a cognate, for it does not descend from the same PIE root, but rather from *dʰegʷʰ-, meaning ‘to burn’ (cf. Old English dæġ and Proto-Germanic *dagaz). In other words, Eng. day and Sp. día are false cognates, to the extent that they look alike, since although they are not real cognates, since they do not have the same source. On the other hand, they are cognates in the sense used in the language classroom, since the two words do look alike and do have the same meaning (cf. Part I, Chapter 1, §1.3).

Sp. dios and diosa and Eng. diva ~ Sp. diva

The Spanish word dios ‘god’ (feminine diosa ‘goddess’) is related to PIE *dyḗws as well, since they share the same root. Sp. dios comes from Latin dĕus /’de.ʊs/ (dĕ-us), meaning ‘god, deity’, which comes from an earlier (Old Latin) deivos, which comes from PIE *deywós ‘sky-dweller, celestial one, god’, which also comes from the PIE root *dyew- ‘sky’ by the addition of a suffix (it is what is called an o-stem derivate from that root). English god is not related to this word, since it comes from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰutós ‘invoked (one)’, but English does have some words derived from this Latin root, as we shall see.

Actually, Classical Latin had two variants for the root meaning ‘god’, dĕ‑ and dīv‑, which were originally one. We may be dealing with two dialectal variants. As we saw, the Old Latin word was deivos ‘god’ in the nominative, singular, masculine wordform, with deiva ‘goddess’ being the feminine. The regular root was deiv‑. In Late Old Latin, this wordform changed to dēvos (root: dēv‑). But then the root dēv‑ changed in two different ways in circumstances that are not clear. In some contexts, perhaps before back vowels, dēv‑ changed to dē‑, losing the v, which resulted in the word dĕus ‘god’ we just saw, with a feminine dĕa. In a different context, dēv‑ changed to dīv‑, resulting in a word like dīva ‘goddess’, as well as other derived words.

Proto-Indo-European
deyw
os

Old Latin
deiv
os

Late Old Latin
dēv
os

Pre-Classical Latin
os


dīv
a


There was also an adjective derived from the root dīv‑ without a derivational suffix, which meant ‘of or belonging to a deity; divine, godlike’. Its masculine form was dīvus and its feminine one, diva, just like the noun that meant ‘goddess’ (the alternate forms dīus and dīa, without a v, are also attested). It seems that from that masculine dīvus a noun was eventually derived also meaning ‘god’ and which is thus a synonym of Lat. dēus.

As we said, Sp. dios is said to come from Lat. dĕus, not from Lat. dī(v)us. Presumably after having first been dieos, for remember Latin stressed ĕ always became ie in Old Spanish. This word is also unusual in that it comes from the nominative/vocative case of the Latin word, not the accusative, which was dĕum. The accusative and would have produced Sp. dio, which is attested in Old Spanish, but which was much less common and was eventually replaced with dios. This was, no doubt, because this word was used more frequently as a subject (nominative) and in exclamations (vocative).[2] In Old Spanish, the stress was on the i and the word had two syllables /ˈdi.os/. Eventually, the two vowels joined into a diphthong: /ˈdi̯os/.

As we saw, the feminine word for ‘goddess’ in Latin was dīva. Because in the Christian religion, which took over the Roman Empire in the fourth century, there were no goddesses, for the only god was conceived of as being masculine, this word was lost.  In the 19th century, this Latin word was borrowed by both English and Spanish, through Italian, to refer to ‘a famous female singer of operatic or popular music’ (COED). Another word for an operatic diva, especially in Spanish, is prima dona, an Italian phrase meaning literally ‘first lady’.

Other Latin words derived from the roots dĕ‑ and dīv

There are a few pairs of English-Spanish cognates that are derived from the Latin word for god. English deity and its Spanish cognate deidad are learned words that come from Latin deitātem (accusative form of deitās), a word derived from this same root and meaning originally ‘divine nature’. A closely related pair of words are Eng. divinity ~ Sp. divinidad. This noun was derived from the adjective divīnus ‘divine’ which has given us Eng. divine ~ Sp. divino/a.

div
īn
us

div
īn
itāt
em
de
itāt
em


Let us start by looking at the Latin adjective dīvīnus ‘divine, of a god’, feminine dīvīna, from which come the English adjective divine /dɪ.ˈvaɪ̯n/ and its Spanish cognate divino /d̪i.ˈbi.no/, fem. divina. These words have now acquired a second and more common sense as ‘excellent’ or ‘delightful’, but the original meaning of the word had more to do with god than goodness. Latin dīvīnus ‘divine; foreseeing’, is the Latin adjective derived from the root dīv‑ of dīvus, itself an adjective meaning ‘divine, of god’, and the derivational suffix ‑īn‑ used to form first and second declension adjectives (dīv‑īn‑us, dīv‑īn‑a).

Besides the adjective divine, English also has a (fancy) verb to divine, which means to ‘discover by guesswork or intuition’ or to ‘have supernatural or magical insight into (the future)’ (COED), and which is related to the second sense of Latin dīvīnus, namely ‘foreseeing’. From this adjective, a few other words were derived. First of all is the noun dīvīnus (no change), which meant ‘prophet, diviner, someone who can see the future’. From this word comes Sp. adivino ‘fortune-teller, seer, diviner’, which was earlier divino. From the adjective dīvīnus also comes the Latin verb dīvīnāre ‘to foresee, foretell, prophesy, guess’. From this verb comes the English verb to divine, from Middle French deviner, as well as the Spanish verb adivinar ‘to guess; to forecast, foretell; to divine’ (with the semantically vacuous prefix a- of Spanish parasynthetic verbs). Among the most common related collocations for this verb are adivinar el futuro ‘fortune telling’ and adivinar el pensamiento ‘mind reading’. A word derived from this verb in Spanish is and adivinanza ‘riddle, puzzle’.

The cognate nouns Eng. divinity ~ Sp. divinidad come from Lat. dīvīnĭtas (accusative: dīvīnĭtātem) is derived from the adjective dīvīnus (dīv‑īn‑ĭ‑tāt‑em). Lat. dīvīnĭtas meant ‘divine quality, divine nature, godhood’, but also ‘the power of divining, divination’ (see above). Eng. divinity entered the language in the early 14th century with the meaning ‘study of divine matters’, equivalent to theology.[3] That meaning translates into Spanish as teología only, not divinidad. Eng. divinity was a loanword from Old French, where divinité is already attested in the 12th century. By the end of the century, it could also mean ‘quality of being divine’ (e.g. the divinity of Jesus) as well as ‘divine being, god’. Sp. divinidad is already attested in the 13th century (Berceo) and it has the last two meanings we just saw for the Eng. divinity.

Perhaps because Lat. dīvīnitās had a secondary pagan sense related to fortune-telling, in the 5th century, Augustine of Hippo (Saint Augustine) coined the Latin deitas from the root dĕ‑ of dĕus ‘god’ (dĕ-ĭ-tat-em) as a calque of dīvīnitās which only had the sense ‘divine quality, divine nature’. This word has given us Eng. deity and Sp. deidad. Eng. deity /ˈdi.ɪ.ti/ or /ˈdeɪ̯.ɪ.ti/ can mean ‘divine status, quality, or nature’ (COED), but it can also be used to refer to particular divine beings (‘god or goddess (especially in a polytheistic religion’, COED). English borrowed this word in the early 14th century from Old French deité (Mod.Fr. déité) with the meaning ‘divine nature’ and by the end of the century it could also mean ‘a god’. Sp. deidad /d̪ei̯ˈd̪ad̪/ first appeared in writing in the late 15th century and it has the same two senses. Since Fr. déité is attested already in the 12th century, it is quite possible that Spanish got it through French as well.

Sp. adiós

The Spanish word adiós ‘goodbye’ is another word derived from the same Proto-Indo-European root, since it is derived from the word dios. In remains the primary formal word for leave-taking in Spanish, equivalent to Eng. goodbye, though in some countries it is now perhaps less common than chao, from Italian ciao ‘bye’. As we said, this word is related to the word dios ‘god’. The same is true of its cognates French adieu, Italian addio, Portuguese adeus, and Catalan adéu. The story of this word is also quite interesting.

The word adiós is a shortened version of the Old Spanish phrase a Dios seas or, in the plural, a Dios seades (should this expression still exist in modern Spanish, the plural would have become a Dios seáis). These phrases do not make much sense in modern Spanish. In the modern language, they would mean literally something like ‘may you be to God’. However, that is because seas and seades, which are now forms of the present subjunctive of ser ‘to be’, originally were forms of the Latin verb sedēre ‘to sit, settle, remain, stay, hang fast, hold on’ (from the Proto-Indo-European root *sed- and a historical cognate of English sit).

Early Romance had three copula verbs: sedēre ‘to sit, remain, stay, etc.’, esse ‘to be’, and stāre ‘to stand’. (A copula is ‘a type of verb, of which the most common is be, which joins the subject of the verb with a complement, [that is, a] word that describes the subject)’, CALD.) From stāre we get Spanish estar ‘to be (located or in a state)’, which has become more and more common in the last 1,000 years. The other two, esse and sedēre, merged into Spanish ser, which explains in part why this verb’s forms are so irregular, since some come from Latin esse and some from Latin sedēre.[4] Thus, the Old Spanish phrase a dios seas is equivalent to the Latin phrase ad deum sedeas, which meant ‘Stay next to God’.

By the way, just like etymologically the Spanish word adiós contains the root for the word for god in this language, dios, so too the English word goodbye contains the word god in English. The word goodbye is a contraction of a larger phrase God be with you, a phrase that got progressively shorter though time. The progression went something like this: God be wi’ you > God bwy yee > Godbwye > Godby. The god‑ part in the resulting word godby was changed at a later time to good‑ by analogy with other greetings which start with the morpheme good, such as good morning, good day, and good night.




[1] This is one sure sign to distinguish patrimonial and learned words. Thus, for example, Lat. signa (plural of signum) has given us patrimonial Sp. seña, whereas Lat. signum (sing. of signa) has given us Sp. signo. Notice that the Latin short ĭ became e in the patrimonial word, but not in the learned one. We can also see a change in the consonants, since Lat. gn changed to Sp. ñ in patrimonial words, but not in learned ones.

[2] It seems that Old Spanish dios could also be used as a plural in addition to singular, as in los dios ‘the gods’, a form commonly attested in the 13th century. For this reason, Jews in Hispania called their god (Jehova) Dio, to emphasize that there was only one. Actually, this word was typically preceded by the article: el Dio. The analogical plural dioses ‘gods’ was created later, around the 15th century. The feminine diosa ‘goddess’ was also created in the 15th century by adding the feminine ending ‑a to dios (earlier forms deessa and diosesa are also attested).

[3] The word theology is of Greek origin. It contains the root the‑ (of θεός theos) ‘god’ which is not related to Lat. dĕ‑ (of dĕus ‘god’). Other words derived from this Greek root are Eng. atheist ≈ Sp ateo, Eng. polytheism ~ Sp. politeísmo.

[4] Sp. estar has expanded its range of uses in the last millennium and it is used in modern Spanish in contexts in which even a thousand years ago ser would have been used.

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