sarasvatI (etymology)

B. Reusch reusch at UCLINK4.BERKELEY.EDU
Sun May 31 21:19:53 UTC 1998

Dominique.Thillaud wrote:

>        *ser- is known by Latin "serO" (to string) with good cognates in
>Celtic, Germanic, Greek and Tokharian. A very common metaphora shows the
>speech as a string of words (we say today "syntagmatic axis") and Latin
>give us the word "sermO" (coherent speech > sermon) who use it.

Acc. to Pokorny, Latin *sermo* is connected with an IE root *suer* =
speaking, etc., which may be a later form of an older IE root *wer* =

>        *sel- is known by Greek "hals", currently (salt) but earlier (sea)

Pokorny relates *hals* and *sal* to a IE root *sal*

>        Comments are welcomed,

As far as SarasvatI is concerned, *saras-* shows up in Pokorny under IE
*selos* = swamp, sea (with sarasvatI/haraxvati = river name as a
parenthetical remark). Also mentioned under IE *selos* are Gk. *helos* and
Lat. *solum*

Pokorny has another entry for IE *ser* = flowing, running, gushing. Here he
lists Skt. *sisarti* *sarati* *sarayu* etc. and, although with variant
etymologies in a footnote, Gk. *oros* and Lat. *serum*

Beatrice Reusch
University of California, Berkeley

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