pig
Posted: 13 April 2007 10:30 PM   [ Ignore ]
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From The Big List:

The common Germanic root for the animal is swin, or swine as we use it today. This word is common in Old English, while *picga is vanishingly rare. There are also no cognates in other Germanic languages, unless one counts the Dutch big, which also means pig.

The Afrikaans word for pig is vark - is this from the same root as pig?  And maybe while he’s at it, could Dutchtoo also tell me whether the word vark exists in modern Dutch?

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Posted: 13 April 2007 11:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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From the Online Etymology Dictionary:

aardvark:
1833, from Afrikaans Du., lit. “earth-pig” (the animal burrows), from aard “earth” (see earth) + vark “pig,” cognate with O.H.G. farah (cf. Ger. Ferkel “young pig, sucking pig,” a dim. form), O.E. fearh (see farrow).

It also has listed under the entry for “pig”:
“Another O.E. word for “pig” was fearh, related to furh “furrow,” from PIE *perk- “dig, furrow” (cf. L. porc-us “pig,” see pork).”

So if maybe PIE’s “perk” shifted to OHG’s “pferk,” “vark” is not really all that far removed? Just a guess.

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Posted: 14 April 2007 01:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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There was I thinking “pig” was peculiarly English, like “dog”, when all the time it was rooted in Latin.

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Posted: 14 April 2007 05:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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There was I thinking “pig” was peculiarly English, like “dog”, when all the time it was rooted in Latin.

I think you misunderstood the cited etymology; it’s fearh that’s related to Latin porcusPig is of unknown origin; the OED (draft revision Mar. 2006) has this to say:

There are strikingly similar forms in Dutch, and it seems unlikely that the resemblance is purely coincidental, but no satisfactory explanation of the variation in form has been found. Cf. Middle Dutch (western Holland) bagge (15th cent.), Middle Dutch (eastern) pogge, Middle Dutch pegsken, puggen ..., Middle Dutch, Dutch regional (Flanders) vigghe, early modern Dutch bigge (1569), pigge (1599), Dutch regional (northern) pogge, Dutch big… in sense ‘young pig’; also Middle Low German bachelken, baggelken, German regional (Low German) Pogge, Bigg. The Middle Dutch surname Bicghe (1266) may also be related. Further connections have been suggested for a number of these words, but these encounter the fundamental difficulty that it is impossible to know which of the forms is primary (if indeed they are directly related). One possibility is that they might all ultimately show borrowing from a common (perhaps substratal) source. Another possibility is that a pattern of very localized transmission occurred, with widespread variation in form arising as a word which probably had a very familiar, affective character spread from one locality to another as a familiar, household term.
A connection has also been suggested with Old Swedish pigger (Swedish pigg) spike, point, but this seems very remote semantically.

So it may not be peculiarly English, but it’s not traceable beyond West Germanic, if that.

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Posted: 14 April 2007 05:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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The on-line Dutch dictionary

http://wnt.inl.nl/

shows under “varken”:

// Mnl. verken, varken naast ouder verkin (reeds 1208 als bijnaam, zie H. Top. Dial. 20, 54), varkin; mnd. verken, varken, nnd. ferken, farken, varken; nhd. ferken (< nd.). Verken is de uit germ. *farχîna- ontstane umlautsvorm (zie V. WIJK [1912]) met depalatalisatie tot varken en overgang χ > k in de inlaut (verg. hd. ferkel < ohd. farhilî(n)). Eig., evenals veulen en kuiken, het ter aanduiding van het jonge dier gebruikte gesubstantiveerde neutrum van een met -în-suffix gevormd bnw. (verg. lat. taurînus, suînus) — met een diminutieve bet., die in het mnl. soms nog merkbaar is — bij germ. *farχaz: oeng. fearh, neng. (veroud.) farrow (verg. to farrow); ohd. farh, farah, mhd. varch, nhd. (dial.) farch, fark ”big, varken”; verg. zwe. fargalt ”ever”; buiten het germ. lat. porcus; iersch orc (< *pork); lit. paszas ”gecastreerd varken”; ksl. prasę ”big”. Zie verder Ts. 67, Afl. 2. //

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Posted: 14 April 2007 06:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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D Wilson - 14 April 2007 05:10 AM

The on-line Dutch dictionary

http://wnt.inl.nl/

shows under “varken”:

// Mnl. verken, varken naast ouder verkin (reeds 1208 als bijnaam, zie H. Top. Dial. 20, 54), varkin; mnd. verken, varken, nnd. ferken, farken, varken; nhd. ferken (< nd.). Verken is de uit germ. *farχîna- ontstane umlautsvorm (zie V. WIJK [1912]) met depalatalisatie tot varken en overgang χ > k in de inlaut (verg. hd. ferkel < ohd. farhilî(n)). Eig., evenals veulen en kuiken, het ter aanduiding van het jonge dier gebruikte gesubstantiveerde neutrum van een met -în-suffix gevormd bnw. (verg. lat. taurînus, suînus) — met een diminutieve bet., die in het mnl. soms nog merkbaar is — bij germ. *farχaz: oeng. fearh, neng. (veroud.) farrow (verg. to farrow); ohd. farh, farah, mhd. varch, nhd. (dial.) farch, fark ”big, varken”; verg. zwe. fargalt ”ever”; buiten het germ. lat. porcus; iersch orc (< *pork); lit. paszas ”gecastreerd varken”; ksl. prasę ”big”. Zie verder Ts. 67, Afl. 2. //

I’m sure it’s all very interesting. Anyone feel generous enough to translate it for someone who, while genuinely interested in and fascinated by etymology, lacks the background and resources to delve these Netherlandish depths? I’m serving pork chops for dinner tonight, you see, and one can never have too many fascinating tidbits to toss about in praise of porcine pulchritude.

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Posted: 16 April 2007 11:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Phew. For a moment I was afraid you could do without me… (although I’m sure Foolscap would’nt mind having a stab at it).

I’m sure you can figure out the various forms of the word. So I’ll do it in “telegramme style”.

From MDu. ... found next to older verkin (already 1280 as a nickname...) Middle Low German (mnd) verken ...
New Low German (nnd) ferken ... NHG (nhd) ferken (< Low German). Verken is the umlauted form developped from Germanic *farχîna- ... with depalatization to varken with transition of χ > k in the inlaut (cf. HG ferkel < OHG farhilî(n)). In fact the gesubstantiveerde* neutre from an adjective formed with -în suffix, used
to designate the young animal (like Du. veulen (cf. NE foal) and kuiken (cf. NE chicken)) (cf. Lat. taurînus, suînus) with a diminutive meaning, still felt at times in MDu.
Belongs to Germanic *farχaz: OE ... NE (obsolete) ... (cf. NE to farrow); OHG ... MHG ... ; cf. Sw. fargalt “wild boar”.
Outside Germ. Lat. porcus; Irish orc (< *pork); Lit. paszas ”castrated pig”; ksl.** prasę ”piglet”.

* you got to help out with this one: “gesubstantiveerd” means “made into a noun”.
** can’t find what ‘ksl’ stands for, but I guess it could mean ‘Church Slavic’
And I’m not sure about that “inlaut”.

Now actually, we did this before. When the first series of Balderdash was aired they dicussed ‘pig’. I mentioned at that time that I was surprised they did not bring up Ducth “big”. In the Etymologisch Woordenboek van het Nederlands (EWN) which represents the latest in studies on Dutch Etymology, it is suggested that the word is from a substrate language.

And in case your question wasn’t really answered yet, Eliza, the normal word for pig is ‘varken’ indee. A ‘zwijn’ is a wild boar.

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Posted: 16 April 2007 11:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Thank you! Your generosity is exceeded only by your graciousness.

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Posted: 16 April 2007 11:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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*you got to help out with this one: “gesubstantiveerd” means “made into a noun”.

The nearest English equivalent is probably “substantivized”.  (Well, the OED lists it.)

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Posted: 16 April 2007 12:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Thanks Doc!

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Posted: 16 April 2007 11:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Dutchtoo- Perhaps, but only for limited periods of time...;-) But now that you’re here, I’m put in mind of a line from a nursery rhyme I read somewhere, Dikke Boems de biggenknijper kan niet door de puntenslijper. Fat Boems the pig pincher can’t get through the pencil sharpener. Sounds better in Dutch.

Given this:

A connection has also been suggested with Old Swedish pigger (Swedish pigg) spike, point, but this seems very remote semantically.

A pike or spike is not so far removed from a pig’s snout, especially a tusked boar’s. I’ll always remember somebody saying , such and such is tougher than a root hog’s snout.

Anyway, If Dutch kids giggle at pronouncing “pig” as “piek” I wonder how Pike’s Peak gets explained in geography class over there.

[ Edited: 16 April 2007 11:17 PM by foolscap ]
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Posted: 17 April 2007 02:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Dutchtoo - 16 April 2007 11:30 AM

Phew. For a moment I was afraid you could do without me…

We could never do without you, Dutchtoo! :)

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Posted: 18 April 2007 06:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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*you got to help out with this one: “gesubstantiveerd” means “made into a noun”.

I think “nominalized” (or “nominalised” if you prefer) would be the preferred term, at least among linguists.

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Posted: 19 April 2007 03:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Thanks Nomis. Looks like we have a choice now. I’ve looked up ‘substantiveren’ in (Dutch) Wikipedia, hoping they would give a Latin alternative (they usually do), but the article simply says: “Substantivering of (= or DT) nominalisatie is ...”. Apparently also in Dutch there are two alternatives.

And Foolscap, teachers bring up such names with the same apprehension they explain about ‘Strontium’.
I haven’t heard that nursery rhyme you mention, but it sounds like a finger counting rhyme to me where “Dikke Boems” could be the thumb (cf. ‘This little piggy goes to market,...)

And Aldi, thanks for the comfort.

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