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Re: Rebbetzin Zamenhof?

From:Raymond A. Brown <raybrown@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 12, 1999, 18:45
At 10:10 am -0600 11/1/99, Tom Wier wrote:
>Christophe Grandsire wrote: > >> The suffix -in- comes from German, as I said, and I don't know >>where the >> root edz- comes from. But Hebrew etymology is rare in Esperanto, so I think >> the one you got is a pure invention. > >But how common is pure invention for Zamenhof?
Some people find (pure) invention in the -(i)el, -(i)al etc. of the correlatives and some of the affixes (PLEASE - I do _not_ wish to start a futile argument as to whether, e.g. 'tiel' is one, two or three morphemes). But I agree with what, I think, Tom is implying namely that Zamenhof does not seem to me ever to use _pure_ inventions. His forms have some basis in natlang(s) even though he sometimes uses them in very inventive ways - and I have no problems with that. 'Edz-' has often (too often IMHO) figured in the Esperantine flame-wars on that other list: being variously ridiculed as the must stupid thing a conIAList could come up with or defended as tho it were the holy grail itself. A plague on both houses, I say. If Zamenhof thought no root for 'husband' was widely enough used and wanted to coin this unusual one, what's the problem? It hardly taxes the memory! The story I've come across more than once is that Z claimed he had coined it from German 'Prinzessin' (one version gave 'Kronprinzessin', but that hardly matters) where -essin was freely _re-interpreted_ (of course Zamenhof was aware of the actual derivation of the German) as *Prinz-essin" (Prince's wife) and thus -ess-in (female spouse), hence *ess (husband) which is then arbitrarily voiced and affricated to 'edz-'. That Zamenhof would freely voice a consonant even if no natlang warranted it is seen in 'pord-o' (door). The change to affricate is a little odder. And the -etzin of 'rebbetzin' has certainly been suggested, more than once IIRC, on that other list and I find it difficult to discount it.
>Why should that >be more likely than borrowing? Zamenhof was not only well educated >in Hebrew (among the many languages he knew well), but IIRC he was >also part of the Zionist movement and would have been likely to want to >assert the national identity of Jews everywhere as a people with a common >heritage and culture just as legitimate as any other group -- which could >easily have manifested itself as just such an inclusion.
You may well be right, and that he chose to explain it to a gentile with the example of German '(Kron)Prinzessin', if true, suggests to me that he wasn't without a sense of humor. Ray.