Научная статья на тему 'Semantic processes in derivatives of the etymological root *ghel- (*ghel-) / *glEnd(h)- ''to shine, to sparkle'''

Semantic processes in derivatives of the etymological root *ghel- (*ghel-) / *glEnd(h)- ''to shine, to sparkle'' Текст научной статьи по специальности «Языкознание и литературоведение»

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Аннотация научной статьи по языкознанию и литературоведению, автор научной работы — Tsaregorodtseva Oksana

The study is devoted to the history of derivatives of Indo-European root *ghel-: zeleniy, zheltiy, goluboy ''green'', ''yellow'', ''blue''. In the article material of the classical languages, Slavic languages, Russian dialect material was used. A hypothesis of the semantic reconstruction of the color terms was proposed. In the article was written about connections of the semantics of the light and color this semantic is the semantic of the root *ghel-. In the article also the assumption was propounded about the semantics of the Indo-European root, parallels was held with other "light" roots: *mer''sparkle'', *sk ,a}/*sk ,3}/*ski''dim lights'', ''shadow'', ''reflection''.

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Текст научной работы на тему «Semantic processes in derivatives of the etymological root *ghel- (*ghel-) / *glEnd(h)- ''to shine, to sparkle''»

UDC 81-112: 81'373: 83'373.6


O.V. Tsaregorodtseva

Tomsk State University (Tomsk, Russian Federation) E-mail: caregrad@yandex.ru

This study was done with support of RFBR-12-06-90716-Mo6_cm in the Laboratory for Cognitive studies of Language (Tomsk State University)

Abstract. The study is devoted to the history of derivatives of Indo-European root *ghel-: zeleniy, zheltiy, goluboy 'green', 'yellow', 'blue'. In the article material of the classical languages, Slavic languages, Russian dialect material was used. A hypothesis of the semantic reconstruction of the color terms was proposed. In the article was written about connections of the semantics of the light and color - this semantic is the semantic of the root *ghel-. In the article also the assumption was propounded about the semantics of the Indo-European root, parallels was held with other "light" roots: *mer- 'sparkle', *sk,aj/*sk,sj/*sk,i- 'dim lights', 'shadow', 'reflection'.

Keywords: etymology; the history of the Russian language; comparative philology.

Researchers paid attention to derivatives of Indo-European root *ghel-not only one time. The reason of attention in the fact, that derivatives of this root have often color semantic, and color categorization is one of the ways of world categorizing. The problem of "color words" was interested by ancient philosophers (Empedocles, Theophrastus, Democritus, Plato); light and color as phenomena in their teachings are closely related. Aristotle wrote, that color concluded two plans: light and dark, closely related, without the existence of light color is inconceivable [1: 690-701]. In this regard, the study of the origin of color terms, their semantic reconstruction becomes the object of study of etymology, semasiology, the history of language. This paper discusses the semantic, connection between semantics of color (green, yellow, blue) and light semantics of derivatives of Indo-European root *ghel-.

Indo-European root *ghel-(*ghel-) has the meaning 1) to shine, to sparkle, 2 ) name of color: yellow , green, blue. This Indo-European root is difficult to determine because it has uncertainty or instability the initial sound [2: 429-433]. Pokorny suggests such words as zeleniy 'green', zheltiy 'yellow', zelje 'potion', zhelch 'bile', zola 'ash', zhelna 'black woodpecker', zlak 'cereal', glyadet' 'to look', gladkiy 'smooth' to be derivatives of the root *ghel-. Chernyh adds the word goluboy 'light blue' to this list [3].

First of all, color words zeleniy, zheltiy, goluboy have been considered. In the color spectrum these colors are associated with each other: when cyan

and yellow are mixed, green color is formed. In the dictionary of modern Russian language , this fact is reflected: in the DRL zeleniy is 'having a color of one of the primary colors of the spectrum - the middle between yellow and blue, the colors of grass', besides, the adjective can have the meaning 'pale, greenish tint' (in the conversational speech) and figuratively 'immature, inexperienced' [4].

Trace the history of this "color word". The adjective was recorded in the Russian language in the XI century. Zelenb, zeleniy [5: 969] in Old Russian language is 'green, dull green, muddy', the adjective could occur in combination of words zelenaya bolezn' 'jaundice, icterus', it is also called zheltaya bolezn' [6. V. 5]. Thus, in the ancient texts zeleniy is not just the color of grass, green, but yellow, muddy color, e. g. in the contexts of the XVII century: kasha zelenaya sb maslomb (green cereal with butter), vino zeleno (green vine), urina zelenostna est' (green urine), also zeleniy in Old Russian means 'pale', denoting a sick person, e.g. in the context zelenb narechenb litsa ego radi ble-da (he is called green because of his pale face) [7].

Traces of semantics 'dark' are traced in the dialects, e.g. zelenaya vo-rona 'green crow', zeleniy 'Devil for some superstitious notions' [8. V. 11: 250], there is sinets with the same meaning, also zelen' 'fumes, smoke, stench' [Ibid: 251], v glazah zeleno 'green is in the eyes', 'dark is in the eyes' [Ibid: 249], in these contexts, obviously, zeleniy is color of dark marking . In the context, where the adjective has meaning 'about lean, sickly child' [Ibid: 251], is illustrated the connection with the old meaning, expressed in the context zelenb narechenb litsa ego radi bleda, where zeleniy is very pale man, with a yellowish tinge of the skin disease.

In the dialects of the Russian language zelen' 'squirrel, which has not lost red color' is met, where connection with the meaning 'bright red' is seen.

In other Slavic languages, the adjective means green color, the color of grass, greenery, e.g., Ukrainian zeleniy, Belorussian zyal'ony, Bulgarian zelen, Serbian, Croatian zeleni, Slovenian zelen, Czech zeleny, Slovak zeleny, Polish zielony, Upper Sorbian zeleny, Lower Sorbian zeleny [3, 9]. In Old Slavonic zelenb, zeleniy [10] were associated primarily with the color of grass, compare the context: na trave zelene (on the green grass) [10]. Proto-Slavic form *zelent, *zeleni>jb is rebounded [3, 9] with the suffix -en-, as in *cbrvenb, palatal variant Indo-European root ghel- is realized in the word.

Cognates, dating back to the Indo-European root *ghel-, are often the color word. In our case these words in other Indo-European languages are related to Russian zeleniy: Lithuanian zeliu, Latvian zel'u, zelt 'green', Lithuanian zalias, Latvian zal's 'green', Lithuanian zole, Latvian zale 'grass, green', Lithuanian zalas 'red', zilas 'gray', Latvian zils 'blue', Lithuanian zelvas 'green', Latvian zelts 'gold' , East Lithuanian zeltas 'gold', Lithuanian zleja 'twilight', Lithuanian zalvas 'green' [2: 429], related to the root formation can be considered and Latin helvus 'amber, dun'.

Obviously, there is spectrum of spread color values in the Baltic languages from green to yellow, blue and gray, which is similar to the history of semantics and Russian zeleniy. In the Russian adjective zeleniy such meanings as 'green', 'yellow', 'pale', 'muddy, dark' are observed.

Etymologically adjective zheltiy is close to the zeleniy, which in the modern Russian language has meaning 'having the color of one of the colors of the spectrum - the average between orange and green, the color of egg yolk, gold' [4]. In this definition is also present connection with the green. This adjective as a nickname is known since the beginning of the XIII century: Dmitry Zheltoy, s pskovitin, 1216 e. (Dmitry Yellow from Pskov region) [5: 887]. Here, obviously, zheltiy refers to the color of a person's hair, as in the XI-XII centuries the adjective with this root was infrequent and was served here for hair color: Elena bo telombpredobra ...dobralika, rusovlasa, nazheltb (Elena had a good body, good face, blonde yellow hair) [Ibid]. In the dialects this semantics is survived, where yellow 'blonde (about hair color)' [8. V. 9: 116]. In folklore this adjective often occurs in the word combination zheltye kudri 'yellow curls'. Thus, in the time of the first fixation of the adjective, it was the symbol of light color hair [7]. In the XVII century using of this adjective becomes wider, it occurs with words, meaning tissue, clothing, rocks, vegetation. Adjective zheltiy, like zeleniy, could mean a yellowish skin tones of sick person, in this case zheltiy means 'is not rosy, not white, pale' [Ibid].

Proto- Slavic form *zbltt, *zbltbjb is rebounded with velar version of Indo-European root, with z-of g-, cf. Lithuanian geltas 'daffodil'. In Slavic languages the form zheltiy correspond to forms: Ukrainian zhovtiy, Belarus-ian zhouty, Bulgarian zhblt, Serbian, Croatian zhuti, Slovenian old zolt, Czech zluty, Slovak zlty, Polish zoity, Upper Sorbian, Lower Sorbian zoity, in Old Slavonic zhlbtb, zhlbtyi are recorded [3. V. 1; 9].

In the dialects of the Russian language besides the meaning associated with hair color, zheltiy means 'a product of the yellow metal', 'often in the names of plants: herbs, mushrooms' [8. V. 9: 116], also it is found in the combination zheltaya pshenica (yellow wheat) 'mottled brown, with a larger grain and thicker rind than white wheat' [11]. Thus, in the old time adjectives zeleniy and zheltiy could interfere with color naming in disease passing meaning of very pale skin with a yellowish-green tint, that's why there are two names of jaundice, icterus - zelenaya bolezn' u zheltaya bolezn'. In ancient Russian texts zeleniy was closer to the designation of dark colors; zheltiy was closer to the designation of light tone, but not white. In the semantic structure of the adjective zheltiy may be present meanings 'yellow', 'green', 'light', 'mottled'.

It should be mention words like ancient Greek yokoc, 'bile, anger', Latin fel 'bile', Lithuanian geltas 'yellow', Latin galbus 'yellow Bird', galbinus 'green-yellow', Old Irish gel 'bright, white', Cymric gell 'yellow', Breton

gell 'brown', continuing to consider vocabulary of Indo-European languages, which is a continuation of Indo-European root *ghel-.

In this list color words are found with meanings 'brown', 'green-yellow', 'bright, white'. From the same root in the ancient Indian language there are hari 'light (about hair)', 'yellow', 'green-yellow', 'pale', harit-'pale, whitish', hiranya- 'gold money' in Avestan zari- 'yellow, yellow , gold color ', zara 'bile'. Sunlight could be associated with the color of gold, yellow, so the root of the primary meaning of 'light' could appear color word zheltiy and word meaning 'gold', which, as you know, has a yellow color, it can be compared zheltiye kudri 'yellow curls', zolotye kudri 'golden curls'.

In connection with the Russian adjectives it's interesting to pay attention to semantic of Greek x^ropog, which also dates back to the Indo-European root *ghel-. The dictionary gives such spectrum of meanings: 'green', 'yellow-green', 'yellow', 'pale greenish or yellowish-pale', 'suggestive pallor', 'bright, shining', 'fresh'.

This spectrum contains meanings close to the Russian zheltiy, zeleniy, while in the semantic structure of the adjective x^ropog the meaning 'light' is found, which is explained by the actualization of the ancient Indo-European root meaning *ghel-, the meaning 'light' occurred in such contexts: ajkbq (Hesiod) 'darkness', aSa^ag (Hesiod) 'steel diamond', SaKpu (Euripides) 'tear','u5©p (Palatine Anthology) 'water' [12]. The bright darkness may be is not strong dark. In other meanings -'green', 'yellow-green' - lexeme was combined with the lexemes that refer to different phenomena and objects of reality: 'branch', 'forest', 'grass', 'bread' etc. In the ancient Greek word, as in the Russian zheltiy, goluboy, is observed in the presence of chromatic color words achromatic color meaning.

Another color word in this world series is adjective goluboy 'light blue, clear color of the daytime sky , azure' [4]. The adjective goluboy is unknown for all Slavic languages, in the most Slavic languages to express the concept of 'light blue' there are other lexemes: Bulgarian svietlosin, Serbian, Croatian plav, Czech lazurovy, Polish blqkitny, modry [3]. In old Russian adjective golubyi is recorded [5: 546] .

Goluboy in the dictionary of XI-XVII centuries means 'light blue', 'ash, light gray (about animal suit)': kobylka goluba 'blue mare' [6. V. 4], zemlya aki goluba 'land like blue' [5: 546]. This adjective occurs as a symbol of color in relation to the suit of animals, e.g. in the context of zemlya aki goluba, where it can mean 'gray', as part of the phrase-toponym goluboy les 'light blue forest' [7].

In Slavic languages, this root is documented in the following languages: Serbian, Croatian golubijy 'pigeon, light bluish-gray, dove color'; Old Polish golqby 'on horse color'; 'grayish , ashen, blue-gray or dove-colored'; Ukrainian golubiy 'light-blue / goluboy, ox color (dark gray)' [13:

217]. Taking into these constructions, it can be concluded that the original words with this root designated gray with a light bluish hue animal color. Comparing contexts in Russian dialects, it is found that goluboy sometimes is equal to gray, for example, horse color (raven-black); goluboy kon' 'ashen horse color'; goluboy lis 'black-silver fox'; golubaya kurica 'gray smoky whitish' [8. V. 6: 340]. In addition, in some dialects goluboy means 'yellow' (zhelty) when talking on bird color, e.g., "In Nizhny Novgorod and other (provinces) goluboy sometimes people name yellow color; it is remarkable that these colors are opposite to each other" [Ibid]. This observation strengthens relationship between goluboy and zhelty. Crossing the semantics of goluboy and zhelty can be traced also in the Serbo-Croation word plav (that can designate both goluboy and zhelty).

Nechipurenko notes that peculiarity of color naming / labeling that is a derivative from Indo-European *ghel is a syncretic concept of green and yellow in one color term [14]. This can be seen on meaning of adjectives zhelty / yellow and zeleny / green. As it was shown, meaning of zhelty / yellow coincide with meaning of goluboy combining these color terms.

In semantic structure of color naming / labeling zheltiy, zeleniy, goluboy that in modern Russian refer to chromatic colors a presence of achromatic color semantics: dark, light, gray is noticed. Presence of these meanings strengthens ties meaning of light / svetlyy, which has an Indo-European root *ghel-. As for the meaning dark/temnyy, in etymological nests of other «light» roots are found meanings of darkness, dark. For example, for derivatives of *mer-(sparkle) we have twinkle, fade; for derivatives of *sk,äj / *sk,aj / *sk,i- (dim light, shadow, reflection) we have shine, blue. Semantic shift from shine to dark is implemented within Indo-European root meanings of irregular, intermittent light. It seems that we are dealing with the development of semantics of irregular lighting and shining ^ blink ^ dark. In this semantic scale is reflected gradual decay of light (more on this in [15]). In Indo-European roots derivatives with meaning of irregular lighting and shining can also be transferred into bright shining as in the case of the verb to shine [Ibid].

Etymological nest *ghel- also has meanings that are associated with semantics of dark, for example, Lithuanian zleja 'twilight', from the other stages of the root *ghel- is in Old English glöm 'twilight', in the words zeleniy, goluboy there are semantics of dark too.

Thus, we can assume that the light expressed derived from *ghel-in Indo-European languages was increasing or decreasing as in derivatives of the root *skäi / *sk,ai / *ski-. For derivatives of the root *ghel- such models are the usual: 'to shine with uneven light' ^ 'to lose light' ^ 'to go dark' (e.g. zeleniy, zleja 'Twilight', glöm 'Twilight'), 'to shine with uneven light' ^ 'shine brightly' (e.g. Icelandic glan 'gloss', 'shine', Norwegian dialectal glana 'bright, shining', German glühen 'brilliant', gluot 'heat', Old Norse glöra 'sparkle', also German Glanz 'shine').

Light passed by derivatives *ghel-, probably also was uneven, faltering, so such meanings as 'Twilight', 'dark' are possible. It is difficult to define the mechanisms of connection of meanings 'dark', 'light' and 'yellow', 'blue', 'green', but it may be the perspective of this study.


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