Etymology: six & shesh

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Yaar Hever

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Dec 9, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/9/99
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My question is about the historical relation between the semitic and the IE
words for the numbers 6 and 7. I have heard that there is a connection and I
would like to know the details.
Just to make myself clear I will give the main example: Hebrew: 'shesh',
'sheva' & Latin 'sex', 'septem'. This is one example, but there are many
others.

Thanks in advance,
Yaar Hever

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal

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Dec 9, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/9/99
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The Indo-European word for "7" can be reconstructed as *septm.
(Greek hepta, Latin septem, Skt. sapta, Lith. sept-yně, Arm.
ewt`n, OIrish secht). There are a few irregular forms, however,
which seem to point to the presence of the (voicing) laryngeal
*H3 in the word: Greek <hebdomos> "7th" and Slavic <sedmI>
(originally an ordinal), seem to derive from *septh3m(ós) >
*sebd@3m(ós). The Germanic form (e.g. Gothic <sibun>) also shows
voicing (and loss of the dental), although the result of *bd
should have been Germanic *pt. If we reconstruct the PIE form as
*septh3m, we obtain a form which is remarkably similar to the
Semitic proto-form *sab3at(um) [where <3> denotes `ayn].

The PIE form for the numeral "6" is harder to reconstruct. Some
languages point to *seks (Latin sex, Greek hex, OIr. sé, Goth.
saihs), others show a (labialized) shibilant (Skt. s.as., Avestan
xs^vas^, Welsh chwech, Slavic s^estI, Lith. s^es^ě). There are
also some irregular forms with initial u- (OPruss. uschts /uSts/
"6th", Armenian vec` < *usets[?]), which may derive from
dissimilation of sw- when followed by another s(w) as in
*swek^s(w) > *uk^s(w). The Akkadian form of the numeral is
s^is^s^(et) (PSemitic *s^idT-), with double shibilant, and it's
not unlikely that the word was borrowed into PIE substituting the
shibilant /S/ with the closest thing in the PIE inventory, namely
*sw (which, judging by the Iranian and Brythonic reflexes, must
have been allophonically close to [Sw]). Maybe Armenian reflects
the borrowing in its earliest form (*sweswet-s > *uswets > vec`),
later simplified to *swets, and dissimilated in the ordinal
*swets-tos to *sweks-tos, then also cardinal *sweks.

As to the why and when, I have no suggestions, except to note
that not only Indo-European, but other languages as well seem to
have borrowed these two Semitic numerals (in some cases maybe
through Indo-European?): cf. Berber (sd.is, sa < *sab), Basque
(*s'ei, *sasbi), Etruscan (s'a, semph) and Kartvelian (Svan usgwa
(< Armenian?), is^gwid; Georgian ekvsi, s^vidi (<
Assyro-Babylonian sebet/sewet?)).

==
Miguel Carrasquer Vidal ~ ~
Amsterdam _____________ ~ ~
m...@wxs.nl |_____________|||

========================== Ce .sig n'est pas une .cig

Yusuf B Gursey

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Dec 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/11/99
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berber is afro-asiatic, so correspondence with semitic is not at all
surprising.

Yusuf B Gursey

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Dec 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/11/99
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some point to the semitic origin of these words as evidence that IE
originated in anatolia, as some theories have it.

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal

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Dec 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/11/99
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However, the names of the numerals 1-5 and 10 are not
particularly close to Semitic (in Shilha: 1 yan, 2 sin, 3 krad.,
4 kkuz., 5 semmus, 10 mraw), and the Proto-Berber numbers for 6-9
are given as essentially 5+1, 5+2, 5+3 and 10-1 in Mark R.'s
numbers page (source given: F.A. & B.W.W. Dombrowski 1991).
So the forms 6 sd.is, 7 sa, 8 ttam, 9 ttz.a can be taken as early
borrowings from Semitic (not to be confused with recent
borrowings from Arabic, as in Kabyle etc.).

The situation is similar in Kartvelian, where, as proposed by
Alexis Manaster Ramer, most numerals seem to have been borrowed
from Semitic and Indo-European (4 *os^txw- ~ IE *ok^th3 "8", 5
*xwis^t ~ Ass-Bab. hamist > hawist, 6 *usgw- (?) ~ Arm. *uswec`,
7 *s^wit- ~ Ass-Bab. sebet > sewet, 8 *rwa ~ Ass.-Bab. erba "4",
9 *c^xra ~ Sem. *tis3a-).

Mike Wright

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Dec 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/11/99
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Miguel Carrasquer Vidal wrote:
>
> On Sat, 11 Dec 1999 20:22:58 GMT, y...@world.std.com (Yusuf B
> Gursey) wrote:
>
> >berber is afro-asiatic, so correspondence with semitic is not at all
> >surprising.
>
> However, the names of the numerals 1-5 and 10 are not
> particularly close to Semitic (in Shilha: 1 yan, 2 sin, 3 krad.,
[...]

athnayn -> asneyn -> snin -> sin?

It's speculation, but at least it's pure.

--
Mike Wright
http://www.CoastalFog.net
_____________________________________________________
"China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese."
-- Charles de Gaulle

orel...@my-deja.com

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Dec 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/12/99
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In article <82o0hm$fg8$1...@news.netvision.net.il>,

"Yaar Hever" <ya...@newmail.net> wrote:
> My question is about the historical relation between the semitic and
the IE
> words for the numbers 6 and 7. I have heard that there is a connection
and I
> would like to know the details.
> Just to make myself clear I will give the main example: Hebrew:
'shesh',
> 'sheva' & Latin 'sex', 'septem'. This is one example, but there are
many
> others.
>
> Thanks in advance,
> Yaar Hever
>
>
What about the ontology of these numbers:

Shesh in Hebrew probably (my speculation) derives from the root
sin.yod.sin (joy, wealth). Sheva derives from shin.beit.`ain
(full, satisfied - in the context of satisfying one's hunger).
BTW, similar connections in Arabic and probably other Semitic
languages. It is usually explained in Biblical context: The
sixth day of creation was joyful, the seventh - a day of rest,
satisfaction and thanks.

I don't know about the etymological connection between sheva and
septa (except that it seems likely). I've always wondered though,
how come September is the 9th, rather than 7th month? Any ideas?

In English, Saturday - the seveth day - may be related to
satisfaction. Also, the planet Saturn is related to Saturday, as
in Hebrew, Shabtai, shabat.

What about the next number: shmone (tamane,in Arabic)? There doesn't
seem to be an etymological connection to the IE eight, acht (German),
huit (French) but perhaps the ontology in Semitic and IE languages
is similar: Shmone in Hebrew is probably related to shamen (fat,
adj.), shuman (fat, lipid, noun) and hence shemen (oil)
Coincidentlally, this is a propos the 8-day oil miracle of chanuka,
just celebrated by Jews last week). Is there a similar relation
between `eight' and `oil' in English, and `huit' and `huille' in
French? Context: If 6=joyous, and 7=satisfied, 8=over-satisfied=fat.
Maybe. Maybe not.

Does anybody know if there are good reference books for etymology and
ontology of words in different language families?

Thanks for any comments,
Netta Orel


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

Peter T. Daniels

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Dec 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/12/99
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This isn't etymology, it's Kabbalah -- accepted rabbinic styles of
argumentation, but not connected to the humdrum actualities of descent
of languages from generation to generation.

orel...@my-deja.com wrote:

They are legion. They are not, however, scientific.
--
Peter T. Daniels gram...@worldnet.att.net

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal

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Dec 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/12/99
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On Sat, 11 Dec 1999 23:42:57 -0800, Mike Wright
<dar...@CoastalFog.net> wrote:

>Miguel Carrasquer Vidal wrote:
>>
>> On Sat, 11 Dec 1999 20:22:58 GMT, y...@world.std.com (Yusuf B
>> Gursey) wrote:
>>
>> >berber is afro-asiatic, so correspondence with semitic is not at all
>> >surprising.
>>
>> However, the names of the numerals 1-5 and 10 are not
>> particularly close to Semitic (in Shilha: 1 yan, 2 sin, 3 krad.,
>[...]
>
>athnayn -> asneyn -> snin -> sin?
>
>It's speculation, but at least it's pure.

Berber <sin> is cognate with Semitic *Tin-, Egyptian <sn->, but
probaly not borrowed.

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal

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Dec 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/12/99
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On Sun, 12 Dec 1999 11:29:43 GMT, orel...@my-deja.com wrote:

>What about the ontology of these numbers:

What do you mean "ontology"?

>Shesh in Hebrew probably (my speculation) derives from the root
>sin.yod.sin (joy, wealth).

No, it derives from shin-dalet-"thin" (< *s^-d-T).

>I don't know about the etymological connection between sheva and
>septa (except that it seems likely). I've always wondered though,
>how come September is the 9th, rather than 7th month? Any ideas?

Yes: the Roman republican calendar started with March 1. The
months Januarius and Februarius were added later.

>In English, Saturday - the seveth day - may be related to
>satisfaction. Also, the planet Saturn is related to Saturday, as
>in Hebrew, Shabtai, shabat.

Saturday is named for Saturn, whose name is either Etruscan or
derived from *seh1-/*sh1-to- "seed, sown".

>What about the next number: shmone (tamane,in Arabic)? There doesn't
>seem to be an etymological connection to the IE eight, acht (German),
>huit (French) but perhaps the ontology in Semitic and IE languages
>is similar: Shmone in Hebrew is probably related to shamen (fat,
>adj.), shuman (fat, lipid, noun) and hence shemen (oil)

Arabic s-m-n "fat", so that doesn't work.

>Coincidentlally, this is a propos the 8-day oil miracle of chanuka,
>just celebrated by Jews last week). Is there a similar relation
>between `eight' and `oil' in English, and `huit' and `huille' in
>French?

No. Latin oleum "oil" is from Greek elaiwon "olive oil". PIE
*ok^teh3 "8" seems to be a dual form of *ok^t-, as in Avestan
as^ti- "four fingers", possibly from *ok^- "sharp, pointed,
Fingerspitzen" (cf. maybe Basque zorrotz "sharp", zortzi "8").

Einde O'Callaghan

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Dec 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/12/99
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orel...@my-deja.com schrieb:
>
<snip>

> I don't know about the etymological connection between sheva and
> septa (except that it seems likely). I've always wondered though,
> how come September is the 9th, rather than 7th month? Any ideas?
>

According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary (7th ed.) September was
originally the seventh month or the Roman year.

--
eo'c

Nahali

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Dec 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/13/99
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Does anyone have reconstructions of the numerals for East Numidian(Old
Libyan) or Eblaic? Is there any connection between Basque's word for 5,
"bost/bortz" and Proto-Berber's "fuss"?

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal

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Dec 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/13/99
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On 13 Dec 1999 04:43:19 GMT, nah...@aol.com (Nahali) wrote:

> Does anyone have reconstructions of the numerals for East Numidian(Old
>Libyan) or Eblaic?

I don't think so.

>Is there any connection between Basque's word for 5,
>"bost/bortz" and Proto-Berber's "fuss"?

Who knows? It would probably require the Berber word to come
from something like PAA *p.-r-s (PAA *p. and *p > Berber f; *b >
b or zero), given that the Basque word very likely goes back to
*bors- [or maybe *wors- or *mors-] (certainly not *pors-).

The Berber word means "hand", or is at least connected with that
word (<afus> in modern Kabyle and Tamasheq). Afroasiatic
connections?

There is no evidence linking Basque <bortz> to "hand" (<esku> in
Basque). A remarkable thing about <bortz> is that it begins with
bo- (*bo- usually develops to o-), presumably to avoid falling
together with <ortz->, <ost-> "sky, thunder".

orel...@my-deja.com

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Dec 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/13/99
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In article <3869cca6....@news.wxs.nl>,

m...@wxs.nl wrote:
> On Sun, 12 Dec 1999 11:29:43 GMT, orel...@my-deja.com wrote:
>
> >What about the ontology of these numbers:
>
> What do you mean "ontology"?


Ontology may not be the appropriate term here. I was referring to
logical connection between words (primarily of the same root in the same
language, or parallel logical connections in different languages).

>
> >Shesh in Hebrew probably (my speculation) derives from the root
> >sin.yod.sin (joy, wealth).
>
> No, it derives from shin-dalet-"thin" (< *s^-d-T).

Is this Hebrew (shesh) or Arabic (sita)? The letters switch, but
the words are the same.

>
> >I don't know about the etymological connection between sheva and
> >septa (except that it seems likely). I've always wondered though,
> >how come September is the 9th, rather than 7th month? Any ideas?
>

> Yes: the Roman republican calendar started with March 1. The
> months Januarius and Februarius were added later.

Thanks! Makes perfect sense.


>
> >In English, Saturday - the seveth day - may be related to
> >satisfaction. Also, the planet Saturn is related to Saturday, as
> >in Hebrew, Shabtai, shabat.
>
> Saturday is named for Saturn, whose name is either Etruscan or
> derived from *seh1-/*sh1-to- "seed, sown".
>
> >What about the next number: shmone (tamane,in Arabic)? There doesn't
> >seem to be an etymological connection to the IE eight, acht (German),
> >huit (French) but perhaps the ontology in Semitic and IE languages
> >is similar: Shmone in Hebrew is probably related to shamen (fat,
> >adj.), shuman (fat, lipid, noun) and hence shemen (oil)
>
> Arabic s-m-n "fat", so that doesn't work.

It works exactly! s.m.n for fat, and tamane for eight, t and s switch,
right?

>
> >Coincidentally, this is a propos the 8-day oil miracle of chanuka,


> >just celebrated by Jews last week). Is there a similar relation
> >between `eight' and `oil' in English, and `huit' and `huille' in
> >French?
>
> No. Latin oleum "oil" is from Greek elaiwon "olive oil". PIE
> *ok^teh3 "8" seems to be a dual form of *ok^t-, as in Avestan
> as^ti- "four fingers", possibly from *ok^- "sharp, pointed,
> Fingerspitzen" (cf. maybe Basque zorrotz "sharp", zortzi "8").

Yes, I forgot to mention the connection to olives. Curiously (and
unrelated, the words oil and olive are also related in Arabic, zeit
zeitun = olive oil (but not to fat), as opposed to Hebrew, where
oil is related to fat (but not olives). I follow your argument on the
Latin. Does anybody know about the Hebrew derivation of shmone and
possible connections to s.m.n?

Netta Orel

>
> ==
> Miguel Carrasquer Vidal ~ ~
> Amsterdam _____________ ~ ~
> m...@wxs.nl |_____________|||
>
> ========================== Ce .sig n'est pas une .cig
>

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal

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Dec 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/13/99
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On Mon, 13 Dec 1999 07:01:15 GMT, orel...@my-deja.com wrote:

>In article <3869cca6....@news.wxs.nl>,
> m...@wxs.nl wrote:

>> No, it derives from shin-dalet-"thin" (< *s^-d-T).
>
>Is this Hebrew (shesh) or Arabic (sita)?

Hebrew shin, Arabic tha:'.

>> >What about the next number: shmone (tamane,in Arabic)? There doesn't
>> >seem to be an etymological connection to the IE eight, acht (German),
>> >huit (French) but perhaps the ontology in Semitic and IE languages
>> >is similar: Shmone in Hebrew is probably related to shamen (fat,
>> >adj.), shuman (fat, lipid, noun) and hence shemen (oil)
>>
>> Arabic s-m-n "fat", so that doesn't work.
>
>It works exactly! s.m.n for fat, and tamane for eight, t and s switch,
>right?

No. Arabic t_-m-n "8" does not equal s-m-n "fat" (the two sounds
have merged in Hebrew, but not in Arabic).

ruffnready

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Dec 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/13/99
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Miguel Carrasquer Vidal wrote:

[...]

> As to the why and when, I have no suggestions, except to note
> that not only Indo-European, but other languages as well seem to
> have borrowed these two Semitic numerals (in some cases maybe
> through Indo-European?): cf. Berber (sd.is, sa < *sab), Basque
> (*s'ei, *sasbi), Etruscan (s'a, semph) and Kartvelian (Svan usgwa
> (< Armenian?), is^gwid; Georgian ekvsi, s^vidi (<
> Assyro-Babylonian sebet/sewet?)).

Black Sea drowned coasts ?
See W.Ryan & W.Pitman, Noah's Flood.

BW to you & Mr.P.
RR


Miguel Carrasquer Vidal

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Dec 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/13/99
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Haven't read it, but I'm sceptical about its (the flood's)
significance.

More likely trade, if you ask me. Also, it's possible that
Semitic/Egyptian just happened to be the only languages in the
neighbourhood that had non-compound words for 6 to 9
(Proto-Berber and Sumerian numerals were certainly 5-based, i.e.
6=5+1, etc., and maybe so were the original Indo-European, Basque
etc. systems at one stage), and that all of a sudden everybody
agreed this was a neat idea.

Carmen L. Abruzzi

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Dec 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/13/99
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----------
In article <8349n1$g...@darkstar.ucsc.edu>, scr...@cats.ucsc.edu
(Daniel D Scripture) wrote:


>In article <38541761...@planet-interkom.de>,
>Einde O'Callaghan <einde.oc...@planet-interkom.de> wrote:
>>orel...@my-deja.com schrieb:
>>>
>><snip>


>>
>>> I don't know about the etymological connection between sheva and
>>> septa (except that it seems likely). I've always wondered though,
>>> how come September is the 9th, rather than 7th month? Any ideas?
>>>

>>According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary (7th ed.) September was
>>originally the seventh month or the Roman year.
>>
>>--
>>eo'c
>>
>>
>

>There's a bit more to it than has shown up in the thread so far. The
>original Roman year began with March (which was supposed to be the
>beginning of spring) and ended with February. Hence, September,
>October, November, December, were originally the seventh, eight,
>ninth, and tenth months.
-snip-
>the Roman calendar was usually sadly out
>of whack in respect to the seasons, with winter beginning just when
>the calendar said that it was spring, etc. Under these circumstances,
>deciding that January began the year, not March, was pretty small
>change.
>
So how did January get named for the two-faced god of beginnings
and endings? If it wasn't originally the beginning of the year?
Did it have another name?

Daniel D Scripture

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Dec 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/14/99
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In article <38541761...@planet-interkom.de>,
Einde O'Callaghan <einde.oc...@planet-interkom.de> wrote:
>orel...@my-deja.com schrieb:
>>
><snip>
>
>> I don't know about the etymological connection between sheva and
>> septa (except that it seems likely). I've always wondered though,
>> how come September is the 9th, rather than 7th month? Any ideas?
>>
>According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary (7th ed.) September was
>originally the seventh month or the Roman year.
>
>--
>eo'c
>
>

There's a bit more to it than has shown up in the thread so far. The
original Roman year began with March (which was supposed to be the
beginning of spring) and ended with February. Hence, September,
October, November, December, were originally the seventh, eight,

ninth, and tenth months. However, Roman magistrates were elected to
serve one year terms, and they all took over from their predecessors
on the same day--March first. This apparantly worked okay, at least
by Roman standards for "worked," while Rome was not much more than one
town among others. But sometime during the middle Republic, it became the
practice that the newly elected magistrates for the next year would
start serving as something like understudies alongside their
predecessors two months before they themselves took office, in order
to create a little administrative continuity. Over time, this
innovation had the effect of making January 1st the first day of the
administrative year, and eventually of the popular notion of the year's
beginning as well.

Since Romans, like most people, didn't much care about
calendars as such, as long as they knew the date, this wasn't a
big deal, but a gradual change. Romans were used to the calendar
being rather arbitrary, anyway, because until Julius Caesar, it was a
12-month, 30-day-per-month calendar--that is, 360 days, and thus
always almost five days wrong by the solar year. The Censors, among
a great many other duties, were supposed to intercalate enough days to
get the calendar right with the solar year now and then, but that only
happened when at least one of the two censors was interested in the
calendar being right--as opposed to deciding who was really rich
enough to be in the Senate, and other more engaging political
projects. As a consequence, the Roman calendar was usually sadly out


of whack in respect to the seasons, with winter beginning just when
the calendar said that it was spring, etc. Under these circumstances,
deciding that January began the year, not March, was pretty small
change.

Dan Scripture
UC Santa Cruz


Miguel Carrasquer Vidal

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Dec 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/14/99
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On 14 Dec 1999 02:23:29 GMT, scr...@cats.ucsc.edu (Daniel D
Scripture) wrote:

>There's a bit more to it than has shown up in the thread so far. The
>original Roman year began with March (which was supposed to be the
>beginning of spring) and ended with February.

December. This is what the EB says about it:

The early Roman calendar.

This originated as a local calendar in the city of Rome,
supposedly drawn up by Romulus some seven or eight
centuries before the Christian Era. The year began in March and
consisted of 10 months, six of 30 days and four of 31 days,
making a total of 304 days: it ended in December, to be followed
by what seems to have been an uncounted winter gap.
Numa Pompilius, according to tradition the second king of Rome
(715?-673? BC), is supposed to have added two extra
months, January and February, to fill the gap and to have
increased the total number of days by 50, making 354. To
obtain sufficient days for his new months, he is then said to
have deducted one day from the 30-day months, thus having 56
days to divide between January and February. But since the Romans
had, or had developed, a superstitious dread of even
numbers, January was given an extra day; February was still left
with an even number of days, but as that month was given over
to the infernal gods, this was considered appropriate. The system
allowed the year of 12 months to have 355 days, an uneven
number.

The so-called Roman republican calendar was supposedly introduced
by the Etruscan Tarquinius Priscus (616-579 BC),
according to tradition the fifth king of Rome. He wanted the year
to begin in January since it contained the festival of the god of
gates (later the god of all beginnings), but expulsion of the
Etruscan dynasty in 510 BC led to this particular reform's being
dropped. The Roman republican calendar still contained only 355
days, with February having 28 days; March, May, July, and
October 31 days each; January, April, June, August, September,
November, and December 29 days. It was basically a lunar
calendar and short by 10 1/4 days of a 365 1/4-day tropical year.
In order to prevent it from becoming too far out of step with
the seasons, an intercalary month, Intercalans, or Mercedonius
(from merces, meaning wages, since workers were paid at
this time of year), was inserted between February 23 and 24. It
consisted of 27 or 28 days, added once every two years, and
in historical times at least, the remaining five days of February
were omitted. The intercalation was therefore equivalent to an
additional 22 or 23 days, so that in a four-year period the total
days in the calendar amounted to (4 355) + 22 + 23, or 1,465:
this gave an average of 366.25 days per year.

Intercalation was the duty of the Pontifices, a board that
assisted the chief magistrate in his sacrificial functions. The
reasons for their decisions were kept secret, but, because of
some negligence and a measure of ignorance and corruption, the
intercalations were irregular, and seasonal chaos resulted. In
spite of this and the fact that it was over a day too long
compared with the tropical year, much of the modified Roman
republican calendar was carried over into the Gregorian calendar
now in general use. (C.A.R.)

Daniel D Scripture

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Dec 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/14/99
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In article <834gbs$cj4$1...@mark.ucdavis.edu>,

Carmen L. Abruzzi <Abr...@some.else> wrote:

>So how did January get named for the two-faced god of beginnings
>and endings? If it wasn't originally the beginning of the year?
>Did it have another name?

Don't know the answer to that one. Anyone?

Daniel D Scripture

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Dec 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/14/99
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In article <3897f114....@news.wxs.nl>,
As usual, Miguel knows more than me.

Colin Fine

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Dec 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/14/99
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In article <8300v6$7f9$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, orel...@my-deja.com writes

>>
>What about the ontology of these numbers:

Peter has been characteristically acerbic in replying to you, but I
thought I'd try and give you an indication of why he gives you such
short shrift.


>
>I don't know about the etymological connection between sheva and
>septa (except that it seems likely). I've always wondered though,
>how come September is the 9th, rather than 7th month? Any ideas?

If you looked at the remaning three months of the year, you would see
that they follow the like pattern, and the conclusion is inescapable
that September must indeed have been the seventh month.

I had always assumed that this was because the year started on March
25th (which it did until the adoption of the Gregorian calendar (1582 in
Catholic Europe; 1752 in England)) But according to David Ewing Duncan
("The Calendar", 4th Estate, 1998, ISBN 1 85702 721 3), "Romulus [the
mythical founder of Rome] for some unknown reason concocted a year
composed of only 10 months, not 12, for a year that totalled 304 days".
Apparently his successor Numa added two more months to the beginning.

>
>In English, Saturday - the seveth day - may be related to
>satisfaction. Also, the planet Saturn is related to Saturday, as
>in Hebrew, Shabtai, shabat.

In English, Saturday, alone among the days, is borrowed from the late
Roman Dies Saturnalis (all the remaining days are translated, with the
Roman god replaced by the 'corresponding' Teutonic god). There is no
reason to connect the name Saturn with 'satis' (enough).
I don't know where the Hebrew name for the planet comes from, but I
observe that the Japanese names for Saturday and Saturn share the same
root (true also for the rest of the days of the week). In the case of
Japanese it is a pretty good guess that when the European week was
introduced (probably by the Portuguese, or the Dutch), they named the
days by adopting their astrological associations. It is not impossible
that a similar process occurred when the week was introduced to the West
(from Jewish and Christian practice) - the association of planets with
days (and hours) was already ancient. Is the name Shabtai ancient? Segal
and Dagut's dictionary lists the following names for that planets

Mercury kochav ('star')
Venus venus (not listed in the Eng-Heb section!)
Mars kochav ham'adim ('red star')
Jupiter yupiter
Saturn shabtai

so Saturn is the only one with an unborrowed name - and Shabat is the
only day of the week with a name.

>
>What about the next number: shmone (tamane,in Arabic)? There doesn't
>seem to be an etymological connection to the IE eight, acht (German),
>huit (French) but perhaps the ontology in Semitic and IE languages
>is similar: Shmone in Hebrew is probably related to shamen (fat,
>adj.), shuman (fat, lipid, noun) and hence shemen (oil)

>Coincidentlally, this is a propos the 8-day oil miracle of chanuka,


>just celebrated by Jews last week). Is there a similar relation
>between `eight' and `oil' in English, and `huit' and `huille' in

>French? Context: If 6=joyous, and 7=satisfied, 8=over-satisfied=fat.
>Maybe. Maybe not.
>

Latin 'octo' and 'oleum'. Wow, they start with the same letter!

>Does anybody know if there are good reference books for etymology and
>ontology of words in different language families?

It is far from clear what you mean by ontology, but judging from what
you've written above it seems to mean 'fanciful hypothesising'.

--
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Colin Fine 66 High Ash, Shipley, W Yorks. BD18 1NE, UK |
| Tel: 01274 592696/0976 635354 e-mail: co...@kindness.demon.co.uk |
| "Don't just do something! Stand there!" |
| - from 'Behold the Spirit' (workshop) |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Peter T. Daniels

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Dec 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/14/99
to
Colin Fine wrote:
>
> In article <8300v6$7f9$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, orel...@my-deja.com writes
> >>
> >What about the ontology of these numbers:
>
> Peter has been characteristically acerbic in replying to you, but I
> thought I'd try and give you an indication of why he gives you such
> short shrift.

Twaren't me; I didn't say anything about the data or speculations at
all, only that it was legitimate rabbinics, but not linguistics.

Yusuf B Gursey

unread,
Dec 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/15/99
to
england had a new years in march, but I think that january was made the
beginning of tthe year by julius caesar when he devised his well known
calendar. in ottoman times, what was known in turkish as the "roman"
(greek) calendar, the solar ottoman fiscal calendar, had a new years on
march 1, until 1917 when a gregorian system was introduced (with jan 1 as
new years day).

Yusuf B Gursey

unread,
Dec 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/15/99
to
Colin Fine (co...@kindness.demon.co.uk) wrote:
: In article <8300v6$7f9$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, orel...@my-deja.com writes
: >>
: >What about the ontology of these numbers:

: Peter has been characteristically acerbic in replying to you, but I
: thought I'd try and give you an indication of why he gives you such
: short shrift.

: >
: >I don't know about the etymological connection between sheva and


I do imagine that the ancient hebrews had more original names for the
planets, perhaps based on canaaanite gods - and perhaps that's why they
are now forgotten.


: >
: >What about the next number: shmone (tamane,in Arabic)? There doesn't

Netta Orel

unread,
Dec 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/15/99
to
In article <3856DA...@worldnet.att.net>,
"Peter T. Daniels" <gram...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

> Colin Fine wrote:
> >
> > In article <8300v6$7f9$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, orel...@my-deja.com
writes
> > >>
> > >What about the ontology of these numbers:
> >
> > Peter has been characteristically acerbic in replying to you, but I
> > thought I'd try and give you an indication of why he gives you such
> > short shrift.
>
> Twaren't me; I didn't say anything about the data or speculations at
> all, only that it was legitimate rabbinics, but not linguistics.
> --
> Peter T. Daniels gram...@worldnet.att.net
>

Thanks for all the info everyone! As I see it, the difference between
science and kaballah (NOT rabbinics, which is legal) is that in the
former, hypotheses or conjectures made should be testable. Since I
don't have the answers, and since I regarded my conjectures to be
testable ones, and this newsgroup to be the place to get answers, I
posted! Taking apart conjectures is what science (and learning) is all
about. I believe it was the physicist John A Wheeler who described his
scientific method as coming up with ideas and speculations the first
half of the week, and filtering good from bad ones, the rest of the
time. If it works for physics, I don't see why it shouldn't for
language.

Respectfully,
--
Netta Orel

Netta Orel

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Dec 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/15/99
to

Dave Timpe

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Dec 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/16/99
to

Daniel D Scripture <scr...@cats.ucsc.edu> wrote in message
news:83607c$v...@darkstar.ucsc.edu...

As a pure guess, maybe it was because the end of the year was approaching,
thus time to look backward at the old year and ahead to the new. Then
February, the month of purification, got one ready to face another year.
AFAIK it was always called January. Hmm, what were July and August called
before the Caesars got involved?

--
Dave Timpe

davetimpe at cybrzn dot com


Miguel Carrasquer Vidal

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Dec 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/16/99
to
On Thu, 16 Dec 1999 10:27:28 -0600, "Dave Timpe"
<dave...@NOSPAMcybrzn.com> wrote:

>Hmm, what were July and August called
>before the Caesars got involved?

Quintilis and sextilis.

Dave Timpe

unread,
Dec 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/16/99
to

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal <m...@wxs.nl> wrote in message
news:389f6840....@news.wxs.nl...

| On Thu, 16 Dec 1999 10:27:28 -0600, "Dave Timpe"
| <dave...@NOSPAMcybrzn.com> wrote:
|
| >Hmm, what were July and August called
| >before the Caesars got involved?
|
| Quintilis and sextilis.

Very inventive, those Romans!

S. Jerchower

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Dec 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/21/99
to
Greetings to all,

I've read through the threads, but it seems that no one has yet pointed to a
possible connection through the importation of the hexesimal system, likely
devised by the Sumerians and adopted by the Semitic Assyro-Babylonians. The
base six system was created based on astronomical observation (solar year),
and became applicable to any cyclical analysis (the 360 degrees of the
circle).

6 in hexesimal is understandably parallel to 10 in decimal. It appears that
to the Sumerians, the following number, 7 represented the perfection of the
cycle (therefore the 7 days of the week), and a special cuneiform figure was
created to represent this.

Base 10 is less problematic in its "universality", since it is likely taken
from the 10 digits of the hands.

If there is more to the similarities than coincidence, it may be due to
early neolithic or copper age intercultural exchanges, parallel to that of
WYN, yayin, oinos, uinos, etc., TWR, sor, taurus (from the worship of
Marduk).

Seth Jerchower

"Miguel Carrasquer Vidal" <m...@wxs.nl> wrote in message

news:3855043b....@news.wxs.nl...
> On Thu, 9 Dec 1999 12:37:58 +0200, "Yaar Hever"


> <ya...@newmail.net> wrote:
>
> >My question is about the historical relation between the semitic and the
IE
> >words for the numbers 6 and 7. I have heard that there is a connection
and I
> >would like to know the details.
> >Just to make myself clear I will give the main example: Hebrew: 'shesh',
> >'sheva' & Latin 'sex', 'septem'. This is one example, but there are many
> >others.
>

> The Indo-European word for "7" can be reconstructed as *septm.
> (Greek hepta, Latin septem, Skt. sapta, Lith. sept-yně, Arm.
> ewt`n, OIrish secht). There are a few irregular forms, however,
> which seem to point to the presence of the (voicing) laryngeal
> *H3 in the word: Greek <hebdomos> "7th" and Slavic <sedmI>
> (originally an ordinal), seem to derive from *septh3m(ós) >
> *sebd@3m(ós). The Germanic form (e.g. Gothic <sibun>) also shows
> voicing (and loss of the dental), although the result of *bd
> should have been Germanic *pt. If we reconstruct the PIE form as
> *septh3m, we obtain a form which is remarkably similar to the
> Semitic proto-form *sab3at(um) [where <3> denotes `ayn].
>
> The PIE form for the numeral "6" is harder to reconstruct. Some
> languages point to *seks (Latin sex, Greek hex, OIr. sé, Goth.
> saihs), others show a (labialized) shibilant (Skt. s.as., Avestan
> xs^vas^, Welsh chwech, Slavic s^estI, Lith. s^es^ě). There are
> also some irregular forms with initial u- (OPruss. uschts /uSts/
> "6th", Armenian vec` < *usets[?]), which may derive from
> dissimilation of sw- when followed by another s(w) as in
> *swek^s(w) > *uk^s(w). The Akkadian form of the numeral is
> s^is^s^(et) (PSemitic *s^idT-), with double shibilant, and it's
> not unlikely that the word was borrowed into PIE substituting the
> shibilant /S/ with the closest thing in the PIE inventory, namely
> *sw (which, judging by the Iranian and Brythonic reflexes, must
> have been allophonically close to [Sw]). Maybe Armenian reflects
> the borrowing in its earliest form (*sweswet-s > *uswets > vec`),
> later simplified to *swets, and dissimilated in the ordinal
> *swets-tos to *sweks-tos, then also cardinal *sweks.


>
> As to the why and when, I have no suggestions, except to note
> that not only Indo-European, but other languages as well seem to
> have borrowed these two Semitic numerals (in some cases maybe
> through Indo-European?): cf. Berber (sd.is, sa < *sab), Basque
> (*s'ei, *sasbi), Etruscan (s'a, semph) and Kartvelian (Svan usgwa
> (< Armenian?), is^gwid; Georgian ekvsi, s^vidi (<
> Assyro-Babylonian sebet/sewet?)).
>

> ==
> Miguel Carrasquer Vidal ~ ~
> Amsterdam _____________ ~ ~
> m...@wxs.nl |_____________|||
>
> ========================== Ce .sig n'est pas une .cig


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John Chalmers

unread,
Dec 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/28/99
to
The Babylonian hexagesimal system is base-60, not 6. We still use it to
measure time and to navigate.

--John

Dylan W.H. Sung

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Dec 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/28/99
to
S. Jerchower wrote in message <38602...@127.0.0.1>...
:Greetings to all,

:
:I've read through the threads, but it seems that no one has yet pointed to
a
:possible connection through the importation of the hexesimal system, likely
:devised by the Sumerians and adopted by the Semitic Assyro-Babylonians.
The
:base six system was created based on astronomical observation (solar year),
:and became applicable to any cyclical analysis (the 360 degrees of the
:circle).
:
:6 in hexesimal is understandably parallel to 10 in decimal. It appears
that
:to the Sumerians, the following number, 7 represented the perfection of the
:cycle (therefore the 7 days of the week), and a special cuneiform figure
was
:created to represent this.
:
:Base 10 is less problematic in its "universality", since it is likely taken
:from the 10 digits of the hands.
:
:If there is more to the similarities than coincidence, it may be due to
:early neolithic or copper age intercultural exchanges, parallel to that of
:WYN, yayin, oinos, uinos, etc., TWR, sor, taurus (from the worship of
:Marduk).
:
:Seth Jerchower


Sexagesmimal (base 60) (not base 6 as someone else has pointed out) for
Babylonian arithmetic. It was used because so many numbers, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
6, 10, 12, 15, 20, 30 and 60 could divide into it neatly. However,
'sexagesimal' isn't the right term really, when you find out they used place
values 1, 10, 60, 600, 3600.... A nice introduction to non-European
mathematics can be found in George Gheverghese Joseph's "The Crest of the
Peacock".

Dylan.


John Chalmers

unread,
Dec 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/28/99
to
Babylonian sexagesimal arithmetic is perhaps better characterised as
decimally-coded sexagesimal as Dylan pointed out. Interestingly, it was
used by the Greeks, with their own alphabetic symbols, for astronomical
and musical computations while everyday arithmetic was done decimally.
The Babylonians system was nearly a place notation, though zero was not
marked with a symbol, but a space.

--John

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