Wednesday, June 22, 2011

About blacksmiths, swords and iron (Part II)

The English word sword with its skeleton of consonants swr-d can be compared with some ancient Anatolian words : Hurrian sawri, Urartean sure, which was borrowed into Armenian sour, sor. This is the second word of Hurro-Urartean origin, after dabiri, dabrinni 'blacksmith', in relationship with metallurgy.

The next point which will require more developments is the case of Latin ferrum 'iron' when compared to English brass. Both words are coherent with a pseudo-root *bhers-. This root can then be compared with Near-Eastern words like Hebrew barzil 'iron'. It can be noted that this is one more word where *b becomes a pseudo-aspirate *bh.

Interestingly, Latin and English can then be compared according to these three words:

- dabiri, attested in Latin faber, not in English,
- sawri, not in Latin, attested in English sword,
- barz, attested in Latin ferrum and English brass.

It is quite obvious that these three words have travelled around the Mediterranean together as a semantic group of loanwords.

Best. A.

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