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Cral, kral
Posted: 22 April 2017 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]
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In Chapter LXIII of Decline and Fall in writing of the 14th century Byzantine Emperor John Cantacuzene Gibbon tells us that Cantacuzene, after being bested by his Paleologus rival for empire, took refuge in the mountains of Serbia. The Serbs of the region were ruled by their king, or cral/kral. Gibbon’s footnote reads thus:

The princes of Servia (Ducange, Famil. Dalmaticae, &c., c. 2, 3, 4, 9) were styled Despots in Greek, and Cral in their native idiom, (Ducange, Gloss. Graec. p. 751.) That title, the equivalent of king, appears to be of Sclavonic origin, from whence it has been borrowed by the Hungarians, the modern Greeks, and even by the Turks, (Leunclavius, Pandect. Turc. p. 422,) who reserve the name of Padishah for the emperor. To obtain the latter instead of the former is the ambition of the French at Constantinople, (Aversissement a l’Histoire de Timur Bec, p. 39.)

His annotator adds: “The word Kral (king) was derived from Karl the Great, as Kaiser is derived from Caesar.” Karl the Great is Charlemagne as this wiki confirms.

From Ottoman Turkish قرال (kral), from a South Slavic language; compare Proto-Slavic *korljь (“king”) (Serbo-Croatian krȃlj/кра̑љ, Bulgarian крал (kral), Slovene králj). Ultimately from Old High German Karl, name of the Frankish ruler Charlemagne.

Gibbon had his etymology awry but it made me wonder whether any other forename or family names had come to mean king or emperor.

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Posted: 22 April 2017 09:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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There is, of course, roi, from King Roy II of Andorra.

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Posted: 22 April 2017 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Not to mention king itself, which is of course from B.B. King.

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Posted: 22 April 2017 12:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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How could I forget those! As also earl from Erle Stanley Gardner, although there’s a persistent folk etymology deriving it from a corruption of Errol Flynn’s first name.

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Posted: 22 April 2017 12:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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languagehat - 22 April 2017 10:26 AM

Not to mention king itself, which is of course from B.B. King.

Indeed, and Duke, derived from the Ellington, and Count, of the Basie clan.

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Posted: 22 April 2017 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I think we all know “Duke” derives ultimately from John Wayne’s sobriquet, “Dook”.

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Posted: 22 April 2017 04:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I thought that Shah (from xšāyaþiya) might descend from Xerxes (xšyarša) but it turns out both of those derive from the root xšaya- meaning “ruling”.

Khan seems a mixed case: it seems that it might already have been a title before Genghis adopted it. On the other hand, khan would not have descendants in so many languages today were it not for the, um, popularizing influence of Genghis, Kublai etc.

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Posted: 23 April 2017 05:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Obligatory.

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Posted: 23 April 2017 09:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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languagehat - 23 April 2017 05:14 AM

Obligatory.

A line from Star Trek Into Darkness really bugged me.

SPOCK (addressing real Spock): I will be brief. In your travels, did you ever encounter a man named Khan?

Vague enough? Khan’s one of thr commonest names on Earth.

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Posted: 23 April 2017 02:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Perhaps Khan will be a rare name in the twenty-third century, kind of like Adolf is today.

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Posted: 23 April 2017 11:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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The fact of kral being a generic name for “ruler” in a number of Eastern European languages was completely new to me; thanks, aldi (I may have read Chapter LXIII with less attention than you ;-).  “Paladin” is another term, originally applied in legend specifically to the “twelve peers” of Karl, which has acquired generic meaning, as “a heroic warrior on behalf of a just cause”

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Posted: 24 April 2017 04:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I apologize if I’m providing information which is already known to participants:
The Franks were, of course, originally a Germanic people: “Karl the Great” or “Karl der Grosse” is, culturally, a much more appropriate title for that ruler than “Charlemagne”. Karl’s kingdom, or empire, was called Franconia. Its language was a Germanic language.  The Jews who left Franconia en masse, during the early Middle Ages, in search of greater religious tolerance, took this language with them, to lands further East. In the East, they continued, as a community, to speak the Franconian language, which they called (to distinguish it from the local languages) the “Jewish” (Jüdisch) language. This “Yiddish” language continued to be spoken (with various dialectical variations) by Eastern European Jews, into modern times. Students of early Germanic languages today, find it useful to learn Yiddish, in which many features of ancient Germanic speech have survived.

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Posted: 24 April 2017 04:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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The Franks were, of course, originally a Germanic people: “Karl the Great” or “Karl der Grosse” is, culturally, a much more appropriate title for that ruler than “Charlemagne”.

But the Franks also gave their name to France, which is every bit as much an heir of the Carolingian empire as Germany, so I take exception to your “much more appropriate.”

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Posted: 24 April 2017 07:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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sorry to have earned your disapproval. Clearly, my choice of words was infelicitous. All I meant was that the Emperor himself would have found the name “Karl” more familiar than the other.

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Posted: 24 April 2017 11:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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aldiboronti - 22 April 2017 08:14 AM

...it made me wonder whether any other forename or family names had come to mean king or emperor.

Amidst all the joking, I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned Caesar, which gives us tsar and Kaiser. Perhaps this is because it’s only a cognomen.

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Posted: 25 April 2017 04:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Aldi refers to Caesar in his original post.

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