hamsa, goose and swan

Jan E.M. Houben j_e_m_houben at YAHOO.COM
Sun Feb 10 16:06:56 UTC 2002

It does not help me much in my search for the
link between praa.na and the sun, but: Yes,
etymologically hamsa is indeed ghansa (cf.
Mayrhofer) whereas swan, the singing bird (?),
has perhaps something to do with sv�nati and
latin sonare (at least acc. to Duden
Herkunfstwoerterbuch s.v. Schwan; unfortunately
the online indo-european dictionary is still only
starting up and I could not find a suitable lemma
for swan/zwaan/Schwan at
Please, Dominik, request Julia to enlighten us on
the overlap between hamsa and swan.
Best, Jan

--- Dominik Wujastyk <ucgadkw at UCL.AC.UK> wrote:
> On Fri, 8 Feb 2002, Frits Staal wrote:
> > I have not followed this discussion but only
> a detail re. #6: hamsa does
> > not mean swan but goose - obvious also for
> semantic reasons unlike swan
> > which is a typically European-Romantic
> (Wordsworth?) bird.
> Ahh, Frits.  According to received Indological
> opinion, you would be
> absolutely right, but Julia has been
> re-examining the identity of the
> hamsa, and would not agree with what you say, I
> think.  I'll leave it to
> her to state her view on this, if she wishes.
> She has gone into a lot of
> detail, and has sophisticated ornithological
> knowledge as well as the
> Indological background.  As far as I can
> gather, "swan" is correct *in
> some circumstances*.  But I must leave it to
> Julia to say any more.
> Best,
> Dominik

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