|From:||Jan van Steenbergen <ijzeren_jan@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, November 4, 2004, 18:23|
--- Charlie skrzypszy:
> Thanks! That's been plaguing me for years. My next (rhetorical)
> question is: Why would anyone want to make a diminutive
> of "sun"? "What a cute little sun!" "Ear" I can understand!
Well, in fact the expression "zonnetje" (dim. of sun) is very common
in Dutch. In this particular case it means not "little sun", but
rather something like "pleasant sun", as in "Ik ga vandaag eens
lekker de hele dag in het zonnetje zitten".
Furthermore, I doubt very much of soleil/SOLICULUM ever had a really
dimunitive meaning in Early French. As John said, the diminutive
forms were adopted merely in order to avoid confusion between many
forms that became too similar as a result of the dropping of medial
consonants and similar developments. I doubt very much if the
dimunitive meaning was adopted along with the form. Note also that
French later developed other dimunitive forms.
> Which prompts the question: if it's a regular development, why
> does "oreille" have -lle, while "soleil" only has "-l"?
That's because of final -a in Latin. In French, all final consonants
collapsed, except -a, which became -e. Hence, "oreille" (f) is from
AURICULA, while "soleil" (m) is from SOLICULU(M).
"If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a closed
room with a mosquito."
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