sarasvatI (etymology)

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal mcv at WXS.NL
Sat May 30 23:08:05 UTC 1998

"Dominique.Thillaud" <thillaud at UNICE.FR> wrote:

>        *sel- is known by Greek "hals", currently (salt) but earlier (sea)
>and homeric and ritual uses show that the word designates properly the
>water-part of a beach, where the boats can land and the bath can occur. The
>"bath" sense is very clear in an old formula such that "halade mustai!"
>used in Eleusinian initiation. Hence, "saras" could be simply a bathing
>place, able to give a common name for a river (the Greek hydronymy shows
>many hal- for sweet waters).

*Sal- is also one of Krahe's "Alteuropaeische" hydronyms, giving
river names from Scandinavia (Sala) to Spain (Jalón) and from Wales
(Hail) to the Ukraine (Solja), passing through the Saumur, the Saale
and the Szala.

Are you suggesting that the original sense of the IE root was "water,
bathing place" rather than "salt"?   Or were you referring only to

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
mcv at

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