Of octopuses etc. (was: Adopting a plural)
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, October 7, 2004, 18:24|
On Wednesday, October 6, 2004, at 08:32 , Philippe Caquant wrote:
Yes, I discovered "poulpe" (which looks as tho it ought to be feminine,
but ain't) after I sent my mail. It must be a semi-learned form as also, I
think, Spanish 'pulpo' must be. One would have expected the Spanish to be
*puelbo. the Portuguese & Italian forms are normal developments from a VL
*pOlpo- or *pOlpU-. "pourpe" is strange & looks like a dialect vriant of
'poulpe' as also is 'poupe'.
> --- John Cowan <jcowan@...> skrev:
>> Ray Brown scripsit:
>>> It ought to have given French *pouf, but it
>> didn't. The French has
>>> changed gender and is _la pieuvre_ and I don't
>> know the etymology.
>> The online Tresor de la langue francaise at
lists both _pieuvre_
>> (f.) and _poulpe_
>> (m.); though the latter is labeled "syn. cour.
>> pieuvre', it is cited as
>> recently as 1929. 16th-century forms _poupe_ and
>> _pourpe_ are cited,
>> so this may be a semi-learned form.
> My etymological dictionnary says for "pieuvre": 1866,
> Hugo, dialectal form from the Channel Islands; from
> Latin polypus, through stages 'pueuve', 'pieuve' (like
> 'yeux'), et with 'r' due to a false regression.
Interesting. It still doesn't explain the final -ve. We would expect -f.
Also the word is feminine. Also - 'ueu' would derive from VL /O/ in an
_unblocked syllable_. It suggests that in north Gaul, at least, the form
was *pOlUpa (I'm guessing the [Y] was treated as [U] in popular speech and
that we have *['pwEl@v@] --> [pwElv@]. Now early French [we] became [w9]
without need of following -l- becoming [w]; so I wonder if -lv- become
-vl- --> -vr- by metathesis.
> So it seems that Victor Hugo introduced the word in
> French (in his book Les Travailleurs de la Mer, I
> guess, where he describes an horrible and gigantic
> octopus that probably never existed anywhere).
> 'Poulpe' is used too.
So I discover. Anyway, it looks as tho 'pieuvre' is dialect.
> is or are hoodla, but I recall that for a long time, I
> used to say "une agenda", until some charitable soul
> told me that I should say "un agenda" (and why should
> I say so, if it is a neutral plural ? It should be
> "des agenda", or "des agendas" ?) Anyway, it just
> sounds rather weird to have to say "un" with an ending
> in -a, whatever the etymology.
> Just as it sounds weird
> to have to tell a brave, strong and fierce young man
> in uniform: "C'est vous la sentinelle ?" (are you the
> sentry? fem.)
> The word "pouf" exists in French, but it has nothing
> to do with octopuses. It's a kind of soft seat and the
> names seems to come from the noise you make when you
> let your backside fall onto it.
We English have borrowed both soft seat and the word from you :)
Anything is possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight,
which is not so much a twilight of the gods
as of the reason." [JRRT, "English and Welsh" ]