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  • Author or Editor: Krzysztof Witczak x
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The present paper examines the origin of two Tocharian animal names, assuming that they were borrowed from an oriental source. The Common Tocharian term for ‘poisonous snake, viper’ (Toch. A ārṣal, B arṣāklo) reproduces exactly the Turkic name *arsala:n ‘lion’, whereas the Tocharian B partākto ‘camel’ seems to represent a loanword from East Iranian *pardāk(u)-tā (pl.) ‘leopards’ (perhaps created by a contamination with Altaic *aktan- ‘a castrated animal’). The phonetic aspects of both derivations are unquestionable. The semantic differences may be explained by the fact that Proto-Tocharians borrowed names of two unknown exotic animals and later they wrongly identified the word with different animals, transferring the Turkish name for ‘lion’ into ‘poisonous snake, viper’ and the Iranian name for ‘leopard’ into ‘camel’. The same process is perfectly attested in Slavonic (e.g. Polish słoń ‘elephant’ < Turkish (dial.) aslan ‘lion’; Pol. wielbłąd ‘camel’ < Greek elephas, -antos ‘elephant’) and many other languages.

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The paper examines the mysterious term al-wark, which–according to Maḥmūd of Kāşğarī (11th century AD)–denotes a small animal similar to a badger (Turk. borsmuk) in the Xakani language. This animal was treated as a symbol of fatness. It is suggested that the term in question was borrowed from a Tocharian source. The Indo-European term *wṛḱos (m.) ‘badger’ (originally ‘fat animal’, cf. Hittite warkant- adj. ‘fat’) is reconstructed on the basis of Indic, Greek and Anatolian lexical data.

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In this article the origin of Hittite šuppiwašhar 'onion' (liter. 'pure garlic') is carefully discussed. The author suggests that there were two different terms for 'garlic' in the Indo-European languages: the Indo-Hittite appellative *wósH x r (gen. sg. *usH x n-ós) belonged to the unproductive r/n-heteroclitic nouns and represented probably an archaic formation older chronologically than IE. *kermuso- / *kremuso- (o-stem) 'garlic, onion'. The Indo-Hittite term in question is reconstructed here for the first time.

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