re. Soap

Michael Witzel witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Fri Apr 13 13:58:04 UTC 2001

The Venerable Tantra writes about "A fascinating subject!"

Fascinating, perhaps, but mostly wrong:

>Indo-Germanic...  many
>amazing connections, esp. betweeen Sanskrit - German/English - Latin -
>Thai, et al.

It is news to linguists that Thai is an Indo-European language. They know,
however,  that it has many Skt.,/Pkt. loanwords. Such as the nicely chopped
(monosyllabized)  ratha, yantra:

>Sanskrit ratha (chariot)... Thai rot (vehicle). A rot-yon in Thai
>is nothing but a ratha-yantra, a maschine-vehicle, i.e. a ìmotor carî.

> The
>English word wife, or German Weib (derogatory for woman), is directly
>related to Urdu/Persian tawaif, which is like a concubine....

directly? I do not find any IE etymology for the Persian word which looks
Arabic to me (no guarantees).
wife/weib is probably from IE *weip and a derivative originally  indicating
the veil of brides (Pokorny, p. 1132). Anyhow, it would have yielded *vaip-
in Avestan and Old Persian, and  *vev- in Modern Persian....  not ta-waif.
And what is ta-??

> English and Persian are especially cloesly
>related in the family tree of Indo-Germanic languages.

The briefest check of  any linguistic handbook will indicate that  Persian
is closest related to the Indian branch of IE (Sanskrit, Prakrit and the
NIA languages), not to English and the other Germanic languages.

>Someone here says
>that the name of the South Indian tribe Toda (originally probably from
>Persia) is related to the word Deutsch (originally Teutsch) and means just
>the same "the people." A fascinating subject!

deutsch is of course an adjective derived from Germanic *thiuda 'people'
(O.Engl. dheod; all connected with O. Irish tuath, Lithuanian tauta
'people', thus IE *teuta), -- whence Old High German diutisc, Dutch
duits(ch)   [--> Engl. Dutch], etc. etc. Cf. also the Latin adaptation
theodiscus  'belonging the people, the people's [language, not Latin]'.

Many tribes call themselves after their own words for 'man, human, people'.

Toda has nothing to do with deutsch/*teuta, etc.; see Burrow-Emeneau, DEDR
An IE tribe migrating, sorry invading, to Toda-land?
(pace Parpola).

Michael Witzel
Department of Sanskrit & Indian Studies, Harvard University
2 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge MA 02138, USA

ph. 1- 617-496 2990 (also messages)
home page:

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