Slavic languages: g>h: any language with skirt/shirt, guard/ward type words?

bardistador

Member
English - UK
*bʰerǵʰosSome Slavic languages experienced a transformation of g to h.

In those languages, are there any instances of two words from the same Slavic root, one with g and one with h, meaning two different things?

For example, English has skirt and shirt, guard and ward, from the same root.

So, for the sake of example, imagine grad meaning castle and hrad meaning city. This example is not correct, but illustrates the kind of word I'm looking for.

This could happen through several ways:

1. The transformation is not everywhere. Localisms in g-form enter the national vocabulary, but are "imported" as new words with a different meaning. (For example, jagoda is tranformed to jahoda, let's say to mean generic wild berry. Locals call a specific local berry jagoda. The word enters the national vocabulary in both forms...)

Or the transformation is not total. So words like draga (road) become draha, but dragi (dear) and by extention draga survive.)

Or the transformation is total, but new foreign words are imported and untransformed. A hypothetical language using droha for road (дорога) imports the word "droga" as is for medications or narcotics.

2. A word with g is fossilized in a name or expression and survives the g > h transformation. (Starigrad, Bogomir, etc)

3. Re-importation of foreign words. A g-word that already exists in the language is re-imported, post-transformation with a different meaning. Imagine *bȇrgъ - imported from a Germanic language ( *bʰerǵʰos) into Czech, transformed to břeh to mean shore/coast, but then berg is imported again from German as "berg" to mean mountain or hill.

4. Importation of a g-word from another Slavic language. For instance, a hypothetical g>h language. They transformed the verb gledati to hledati meaning to watch. Later on gledati is imported from a neighbouring Slavic language as "gledati" with a g, to mean "to try." Or hlas means voice, but glasovati is imported later to mean vote, and by extension, glas means vote.

These are just some of the ways where such a thing would be possible. One real example of this is glasnost and hlasnost in Czech, with the former meaning the Soviet reforms. Pogrom/pohroma is another example in Czech.

Are there any examples of this occurring? It doesn't have to be two words that are close in sound or meaning(vote/voice) skirt/shirt.. It could be two different words that ended up being different only through g/h but mean very different things.

For example, imagine dulgaz becoming dlug (debt) and finally dluh. Now imagine dilˀgas becoming dlug (long) but for one reason or another (any of the reasons I listed above) stays as dlug.

So now both debt and long end up being dluh and dlug.

This example is obviously a very different case and is very different from my glas/hlas example, which is the case I'm more interested in.

Are there any instances of such words? I only know of one, glasnost/hlasnost, but I'm interested in everyday words like my hypothetical berg/berh, glas/hlas, draga/draha, droga/droha.

Thank you for your time.
 
  • Azori

    Senior Member
    As far as I know, Czech doesn't have native words with the phoneme "g" and Slovak has preserved only a handful of native words with "g" - with the cluster "zg" - e.g. miazga - 1. sap (fluid in a plant) 2. lymph, Czech has "míza", Slovak: mozog (pl. mozgy) = brain, Czech: mozek. Slovak has also some such words that don't exist in Czech, e.g. brýzgať = to scold, to berate, rázga = a dry branch (of a tree)...
     
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    marco_2

    Senior Member
    Polish
    As far as I know, Czech doesn't have native words with the phoneme "g" and Slovak has preserved only a handful of native words with "g" - with the cluster "zg" - e.g. miazga - 1. sap (fluid in a plant) 2. lymph, Czech has "míza", Slovak: mozog (pl. mozgy) = brain, Czech: mozek. Slovak has also some such words that don't exist in Czech, e.g. brýzgať = to scold, to berate, rázga = a dry branch (of a tree)...

    In Polish we have the opposite situation: we don't have native words with h - such words in Polish come either from other Slavic languages which have them (Ukrainian, Czech) or from non-Slavic languages. For me an interesting case is an old word gańba (shame) which nowadays is used only in Silesian dialects, whereas we introduced to our language a Ukrainian version of the word - hańba - meaning disgrace.
     

    Lubella

    Senior Member
    Ukrainian
    the only one that comes to my mind is
    голод hunger and холод cold

    but I strongly doubt whether they are related
     
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    iezik

    Senior Member
    Slovenian
    Answering such questions requires access to a etymological dictionary that I don't have nearby. So, here are some possible pairs for Slovenian. Maybe somebody can check their origins.

    hrbet (back), grba (hump); the next pair might be related
    hrib (hill), greben (ridge) (elevated part of area)
    grenek (bitter), hren (horseradish) (horseradish is bitter)
    gozd (forest), hosta (forest, scrub) (a variant word, slightly different meaning)
    hlastati (to gasp), glas (a voice) (produced by the same part of body)
    gib (a move, movement), hip (moment, instant) (it takes just a moment to do a small movement)

    And some less likely
    vigred (old name for spring season), vihar (storm)
    hrast (oak), krasta (scrab)
     
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    bardistador

    Member
    English - UK
    I'll post my findings as I get them for anyone who is interested.

    From what I read: Slovene hrbet from Czech and is linked etymologically to хрьбьтъ, xribitŭ and is linked to the Russian "хребет" (spine, backbone).

    The link with Czech hrb "is possible but poses phonetic problems."

    Czech hrb (hump) does come from gъrbъ as does Slovene grba (hump).

    I'll post the rest if/when I find them.

    Thanks to everyone for contributing.
     

    werrr

    Senior Member
    Some Czech examples:

    1. The transformation is not everywhere. Localisms in g-form enter the national vocabulary, but are "imported" as new words with a different meaning.
    Czech example:
    1. Goral (ethnicity) - inhabitant of Beskydy (montainous Czech-Polish-Slovak border territory) / from Goral dialect itself
    2. horal - generic term for inhabitant of any montainous territory
    2. A word with g is fossilized in a name or expression and survives the g > h transformation. (Starigrad, Bogomir, etc)
    1. Gránice - a location nearby Znojmo
    2. hranice - border, frontier, bound, limit
    1. Torgava - German town Torgau, originally a Slavic settlement which preserved its Slavic name meaning "market place"
    2. trh - market; trhová (adjectival to market)
    3. Re-importation of foreign words. A g-word that already exists in the language is re-imported, post-transformation with a different meaning.
    1. Havel - first name / ancient import from St. Gallus
    2. Gal - inhabitant of Galia / later import from Gallus
    1. varhany (music instrument) - pipe organ / ancient import from Greek ὄργανον (via various languages)
    2. orgán - organ, body, authority / modern import from Greek ὄργανον(via various languages)
    4. Importation of a g-word from another Slavic language. For instance, a hypothetical g>h language.
    1. Hospodin - God / native Czech
    2. hospodář - owner, proprietor, londholder, steward, controller... / native Czech
    3. gazda - the same as hospodář in Moravian context / reimport via Hungarian
    4. gospodin - mister in Russian context / import from Russian
    5. gosudar - Russian ruler, tzar / import from Russian
    1. housle - violin / native Czech
    2. gusle - a South Slavic music instrument not identical with violin / from South Slavic languages
    1. hra - game, play / native Czech
    2. igráček (toy) - a popular Czech plastic figure / based on Russian igra with the same meaning as hra
    1. háce - work pants, work trousers / old Czech, now obsolete / from old Slavic root meaning "to walk", i.e. pants for walking
    2. gatě - work pants, work trousers / Moravism (reimport via Hungarian) which entered modern Czech
    3. hať - corduroy road, strengthened route in swamps / native Czech / from old Slavic root meaning "to walk", i.e. walkable road

    As far as I know, Czech doesn't have native words with the phoneme "g"...
    Be carefull with the terminology. Czech phoneme "g" could be spelled "k", e.g. "kdy" (= when) is pronounced as [gdy].
     

    iezik

    Senior Member
    Slovenian
    Answering such questions requires access to a etymological dictionary that I don't have nearby. So, here are some possible pairs for Slovenian. Maybe somebody can check their origins.

    hrbet (back), grba (hump); the next pair might be related
    hrib (hill), greben (ridge) (elevated part of area)
    grenek (bitter), hren (horseradish) (horseradish is bitter)
    gozd (forest), hosta (forest, scrub) (a variant word, slightly different meaning)
    hlastati (to gasp), glas (a voice) (produced by the same part of body)
    gib (a move, movement), hip (moment, instant) (it takes just a moment to do a small movement)

    And some less likely
    vigred (old name for spring season), vihar (storm)
    hrast (oak), krasta (scrab)

    I found the etymological dictionary on the web at fran.si, together with other Slovenian dictionaries. Not a single one of these pairs have a common etymology. Sorry.
     

    korisnik

    Member
    Croatian
    Skok mentions the possibility of a connection between BCS hrbat and grba (and by extension hrib as that's the same root except without the suffix -at/-et) but says he doesn't find it particularly plausible.
     
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