Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fuel – Latin or Teutonish?

Today’s word of murky upspring is fuel.

The Oxford Dictionary Online (ODO) has:
fuel, from Old French fouaille, based on Latin focus ‘hearth’ (in late Latin‘fire’)

Online Etymology has:
fuel, early 14c., from Old French foaile "bundle of firewood", from Vulgar Latin legal term *focalia "right to demand material for making fire", neuter plural of Latin focalis "pertaining to a hearth", from focus "hearth" 

Wiktionary gets a little nearer with:
fuel, Old French fouaille, from feu (“fire”) … but then goes down the same path with feu from Latin focus (“hearth”), replacing Latin ignis (“fire”)

Rooted on focus? I think not. On the Teutonish word for fire? Much more likely! 

Let’s see what Kluge has to say about the root of fire
MidHG. viur, OHG. and OLG. fiur, older fuir, n.; comp. Du. vuur, AS. fyr (from *fuir), n., E. fire; a word common to West Teut. for ‘fire’: … comp. OIc. … furr, m., and fyre, n., ‘fire’. The r in all the words is a suffix, and fu … the root … p86, Feuer

We know that the French -aille is in English -al or -el. We also know that the French ou is a ū sound as in vous. The Teut. root is fu. Thus the French spelling of a Frankish/Teutonish root for fire would be *fou or *feu (See German Feuer). Now add the ending -aille and voilà: fouaille.

There was no need to twist and bend Latin focus into feu when there was already a Frankish/Teutionish root fu.

Mail – Latin or Teutionish?

Today’s word of murky upspring is mail.

The Oxford Dictionary Online (ODO): 

mail, (also denoting the individual metal elements composing mail armor): from Old French maille, from Latin macula ‘spot or mesh’

Online Etymology pretty much has the same thing:
mail, "metal ring armor," c.1300, from Old French maille "link of mail, mesh of net," from Latin macula "mesh in a net," originally "spot, blemish," on notion that the gaps in a net or mesh looked like spots.

The word mail has two meanings in English from two otherly roots. Both come thru French. One, the mail we send each other, is said to hav West Germanic roots. Okeh.

The other “armor made of metal rings or plates, joined together flexibly” is given as: from Old French maille, from Latin macula ‘spot or mesh’.

A spot? Well, now. Is there a Teutonic root meaning spot that is nearer to maile than the Latin macula? Let’s look at the root of German Mal. From Kluge (Mal, p224) we get: 

Mal (1.), n., ‘mark, spot’, from MidHG. mal, n., ‘spot’, OHG. *mal in the compound anamali, ‘spot, scar’; identical with MidHG. and OHG. mal, ‘period, point’ … Its primit. kinship with Goth, mail, n., ‘spot’, is uncertain, yet Mal has at all events assumed the meaning of Goth, mail, which is normally represented by OHG. and MidHG. meil, n.; to this corresponds AS māl, whence E. mole.

Bosworth-Toller links AS māl ‘spot, mark, mole’ (also ‘an action, suit, cause’) to Goth. mail ‘spot, blemish’ and OHG meil. There is also OE mæle ‘spotted, markt’.

So we can eathly see that there is a Teutonish root much near in sound and spelling to OF maille than the Latin macula.

Trouble – Latin or Teutonish?

Today’s word of murky upspring is trouble.

Trouble, the Oxford Dictionary Online (ODO) has: 

trouble, Middle English: from Old French truble (noun), trubler (verb), based on Latin turbidus

Online Etymology has:
trouble, early 13c., from Old French trubler (11c.), metathesis of turbler, from Vulgar Latin *turbulare, from Late Latin turbidare "to trouble, make turbid", from Latin turbidus

Is it truly rooted on Latin turbid? True enuff that the staf r often moovs about in a word (that’s the metathesis). Take thru from Old English þurh (thurh). The r and the u hav swappt spots. However, might there be a Frankish/Teutonic root?

Let's look at the German Trübal, n., ‘affliction,distress’, from MidHG. trüebesal, OHG. truobisal; an abstract of trüben. — Kluge, p369.

Going further:
trübe, adj., ‘turbid, gloomy, dull, dim’, from MidHG. truebe, adj. (truobe, adv.), OHG. truobi, adj., ‘obscure, gloomy, dull’ allied to trüben, ‘to darken, tarnish, cast a gloom over’, MidHG. trueben, OHG. truoben, ‘to darken, sadden’. Comp. AS. drōf, ‘dirty, troubled’, Du. droef, ‘dull, sad’, Goth, drōbjan, ‘to confuse, lead astray, excite commotion’, AS. drēfan, ‘to disturb, agitate, trouble’. In the non-Teut. languages there are no certain cognates of the Teut. root drōb, ‘to confuse’. 
Trübsal, n., ‘affliction,distress’, from MidHG. trüebesal, OHG. truobisal; an abstract of trüben. — Kluge, p369

Then there is Trübel, m., ‘confusion, trouble’, Mod HG. only, from Fr. trouble

I don't know the root of the Norwegian and Swedish words (trøbbel and trubbel). They may also be from the French … or they may not. 

The meanings of English trouble and German Trübal are more aline'd with each other than with Latin turbid. Isn't it more likely that the French trouble is from a Frankish root or other Teutonic root like OHG truobi? Thus, I don’t think there was any "metathesis" needed, the word likely alreddy stood in Frankish.