"Moreover, you scorned our people, and compared the Albanese to sheep, and according to your custom think of us with insults. Nor have you shown yourself to have any knowledge of my race. Our elders were Epirotes, where this Pirro came from, whose force could scarcely support the Romans. This Pirro, who Taranto and many other places of Italy held back with armies. I do not have to speak for the Epiroti. They are very much stronger men than your Tarantini, a species of wet men who are born only to fish. If you want to say that Albania is part of Macedonia I would concede that a lot more of our ancestors were nobles who went as far as India under Alexander the Great and defeated all those peoples with incredible difficulty. From those men come these who you called sheep. But the nature of things is not changed. Why do your men run away in the faces of sheep?"
Letter from Skanderbeg to the Prince of Taranto ▬ Skanderbeg, October 31 1460

Hekur, the Albanian word for Iron

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Hekur, the Albanian word for Iron

#1

Post by jay_albania_fan » Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:37 pm

I have tried in vain to find an etymology for the Albanian word "hekur" meaning 'iron'. I first wanted to compare the words for 'iron' in other Indo-European languages. Well, there is not a Proto-Indo-European word for 'iron' and as well all of the daughter languages have various words from various sources. Proto-Celtic's word for 'iron' was "*īsarno-", the meaning probably akin to meaning 'powerful'. Germanic languages borrowed the Celtic word of 'iron'. Latin "ferrum" is probably a Semitic loan from a source which can be found in many other languages of the Middle East. This was a borrowed cultural word. The Hittite "ḫapalki" is a Hattic loan, with "ḫa-" being a prefix of some kind and "*palki" probably related to that cultural word for 'iron' we find in Akkadian "parzillu" and across the Middle East. Greek "sídēros" seems to be related to Germanic, Baltic, and Slavic words for "silver" such as English "silver". Sanskrit has "ayas" from a PIE root just meaning 'metal'. Tocharian "eñcuwo" is of unknown etymology. Armenian has "erkat'" for 'iron' perhaps is related to 'black'. Baltic languages like Lithuanian have "geležis" and Old Church Slavonic has "želězo". Some of these similar but irregular lookalikes may be due to borrowing from the non-IE languages of Europe.

Going back to Albanian "hekur", if we assume it is an inherited IE word, we could try to reconstruct a root to be something like this (ignoring all of the possible vowel possibilities): *sekWur-, sk'ekWur, or h4ekWur-. If it is not an inherited PIE word, then perhaps the Illyrians borrowed this word from some non-IE people. Often the words of unknown etymology in a living language can prove to be rather interesting in trying to find some words in a long extinct language.
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Re: Hekur, the Albanian word for Iron

#2

Post by Zeus10 » Wed Sep 09, 2009 9:09 pm

"*īsarno-", the meaning probably akin to meaning 'powerful'.
Actually I think hekur is related to """ancient greek"" word solid, secure, strong mighty, powerful:

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which is hekhur-os

We all know the natural charactestics of iron: strength, solidity, secure.
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Re: Hekur, the Albanian word for Iron

#3

Post by Zeus10 » Wed Sep 09, 2009 9:16 pm

I think I know the origin, it might derive from the other Albanian word e gurte=stone, strong where we have a phonetical transformation g---->k:

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e gurte--->(h)ekurte= very strong=solid

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Re: Hekur, the Albanian word for Iron

#4

Post by Zeus10 » Wed Sep 09, 2009 9:27 pm

Also I beleive that the Greek word sidheros has a meaning in Albanian:
solid(strong) like the ground(stone):

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Re: Hekur, the Albanian word for Iron

#5

Post by Zeus10 » Wed Sep 09, 2009 9:47 pm

This is the reason why in Albanian we use sigur-te=secure:

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Re: Hekur, the Albanian word for Iron

#6

Post by jay_albania_fan » Wed Sep 09, 2009 9:51 pm

Zeus10 wrote:
"*īsarno-", the meaning probably akin to meaning 'powerful'.
Actually I think hekur is related to """ancient greek"" word solid, secure, strong mighty, powerful:

Image

which is hekhur-os

We all know the natural charactestics of iron: strength, solidity, secure.
The Greek word ekhuros comes from PIE *seg'h which has cognates in Old Irish seg, Sanskrit sahas, and Hittite sakkuriya, amongst other languages. Albanian hekur probably doesn't come from PIE *seg'h-. PIE *seg'h would yield something like *gjedh or perhaps *hedh in Albanian. Although if it were *seg'h + *kWur, that would be interesting.

I also don't think it is a Greek loan as the "h" in Albanian would have to be explained as well as the semantic shift of the Greek meaning to the Albanian one.
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Re: Hekur, the Albanian word for Iron

#7

Post by Zeus10 » Wed Sep 09, 2009 10:02 pm

jay_albania_fan wrote:
The Greek word ekhuros comes from PIE *seg'h which has cognates in Old Irish seg, Sanskrit sahas, and Hittite sakkuriya, amongst other languages. Albanian hekur probably doesn't come from PIE *seg'h-. PIE *seg'h would yield something like *gjedh or perhaps *hedh in Albanian. Although if it were *seg'h + *kWur, that would be interesting.

I also don't think it is a Greek loan as the "h" in Albanian would have to be explained as well as the semantic shift of the Greek meaning to the Albanian one.

Jay let's forget for few moment the PIE language. Let's be focused only on Albanian.
The Iron Age's Albanian named this metal comparing it with a natural very strong object:
GURI=stone, EGURTE=stony(strong)=solid

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then a phonetical shift occured g--->k(from a voiced homologue to an unvoiced one)

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so the result is ekurte very similar to Albanian word HEKURTE=strong=solid

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Re: Hekur, the Albanian word for Iron

#8

Post by jay_albania_fan » Wed Sep 09, 2009 10:30 pm

Zeus10 wrote:
jay_albania_fan wrote:
The Greek word ekhuros comes from PIE *seg'h which has cognates in Old Irish seg, Sanskrit sahas, and Hittite sakkuriya, amongst other languages. Albanian hekur probably doesn't come from PIE *seg'h-. PIE *seg'h would yield something like *gjedh or perhaps *hedh in Albanian. Although if it were *seg'h + *kWur, that would be interesting.

I also don't think it is a Greek loan as the "h" in Albanian would have to be explained as well as the semantic shift of the Greek meaning to the Albanian one.

Jay let's forget for few moment the PIE language. Let's be focused only on Albanian.
The Iron Age's Albanian named this metal comparing it with a natural very strong object:
GURI=stone, EGURTE=stony(strong)=solid

Image

then a phonetical shift occured g--->k(from a voiced homologue to an unvoiced one)

Image

so the result is ekurte very similar to Albanian word HEKURTE=strong=solid

Image
Although /k/ and /g/ are nearly identical in pronunciation except for the voicing, in a language like Albanian (or Proto-Albanian) which distinguishes /k/ and /g/, they just don't change into each other in initial position. Random voicing/devoicing does not occur without a reason. There must be a regular sound change to explain it, such as surrounding consonants or positioning. All things being equal, if it changes, it does so in cases. If your language does not distinguish /k/ and /g/ then they can occur in free variation. An initial /g/ becoming /k/ does not happen in Albanian. Final devoicing does happen at the end of words in Albanian, but not initially.

As well Albanian "gur" has a known etymology, *gWrh-i. Albanian hekur can not come from gur.
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Re: Hekur, the Albanian word for Iron

#9

Post by Zeus10 » Wed Sep 09, 2009 10:57 pm

The reason why /g/ switches to /k/ is that its positioning is no longer initial because of the article /e/ which during the process of transfering the meaning solid(e gurte) becomes morphological part of the word (egurte). So the consonant /g/ is not any longer initial, and it switches to a very similar sound like /k/ just loosing the voice.
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Re: Hekur, the Albanian word for Iron

#10

Post by Zeus10 » Wed Sep 09, 2009 11:08 pm

And also we do have the confirmation that this change does occur from one language to another:
secure(eng)= siguri(alb)

g(alb)--->c(k)[eng]
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Re: Hekur, the Albanian word for Iron

#11

Post by jay_albania_fan » Wed Sep 09, 2009 11:20 pm

Zeus10 wrote:The reason why /g/ switches to /k/ is that its positioning is no longer initial because of the article /e/ which during the process of transfering the meaning solid(e gurte) becomes morphological part of the word (egurte). So the consonant /g/ is not any longer initial, and it switches to a very similar sound like /k/ just loosing the voice.
Medial g in Albanian does not yield k though. The sound change which usually occurs is medial voiceless stops between vowels become voiced due to the continuous voicing of the vowels. Spanish shows this from Latin words hence you get Spanish lago from Latin lacus.
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Re: Hekur, the Albanian word for Iron

#12

Post by jay_albania_fan » Wed Sep 09, 2009 11:23 pm

Zeus10 wrote:And also we do have the confirmation that this change does occur from one language to another:
secure(eng)= siguri(alb)

g(alb)--->c(k)[eng]
English "secure" is from Latin, but yes that sound change can occur, but it occurs in a regular manner. For example, PIE *g yields English k in most environments.
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Re: Hekur, the Albanian word for Iron

#13

Post by Zeus10 » Thu Sep 10, 2009 12:33 am

jay_albania_fan wrote:
Zeus10 wrote:The reason why /g/ switches to /k/ is that its positioning is no longer initial because of the article /e/ which during the process of transfering the meaning solid(e gurte) becomes morphological part of the word (egurte). So the consonant /g/ is not any longer initial, and it switches to a very similar sound like /k/ just loosing the voice.
Medial g in Albanian does not yield k though. The sound change which usually occurs is medial voiceless stops between vowels become voiced due to the continuous voicing of the vowels. Spanish shows this from Latin words hence you get Spanish lago from Latin lacus.
Actually Albanian with few exceptions, balances the voice, selfcorrecting excessive spent of voice, avoiding three voiced sounds(v-c-v) in a row, especially after an ""anormal"" fricative like h. So if we don't have the softening of the changement g--->k, the result would have been :
h ^e ^ g ^ u ^ r \ which is very unusual for Albanian. None of the Albanian words doesn't ask for such excessive amount of breath. This is the reason why Albanian makes an automatic selfcorrection softening from a voiced like g to voiceless like k but completely similar in sounding.
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Re: Hekur, the Albanian word for Iron

#14

Post by jay_albania_fan » Thu Sep 10, 2009 1:28 am

Zeus10 wrote:
jay_albania_fan wrote:
Zeus10 wrote:The reason why /g/ switches to /k/ is that its positioning is no longer initial because of the article /e/ which during the process of transfering the meaning solid(e gurte) becomes morphological part of the word (egurte). So the consonant /g/ is not any longer initial, and it switches to a very similar sound like /k/ just loosing the voice.
Medial g in Albanian does not yield k though. The sound change which usually occurs is medial voiceless stops between vowels become voiced due to the continuous voicing of the vowels. Spanish shows this from Latin words hence you get Spanish lago from Latin lacus.
Actually Albanian with few exceptions, balances the voice, selfcorrecting excessive spent of voice, avoiding three voiced sounds(v-c-v) in a row, especially after an ""anormal"" fricative like h. So if we don't have the softening of the changement g--->k, the result would have been :
h ^e ^ g ^ u ^ r \ which is very unusual for Albanian. None of the Albanian words doesn't ask for such excessive amount of breath. This is the reason why Albanian makes an automatic selfcorrection softening from a voiced like g to voiceless like k but completely similar in sounding.
If hekur and gur would be related, the difference in the /k/ and /g/ would have to explained by interdialect borrowing. Interdialect borrowing would also explain how Albanian "ka" meaning 'cow' could come from PIE *gWou-. Inderdialect borrowing in Proto-Albanian (Illyrian) dialects could explain some irregular sound correspondences in Albanian.

Interdialect borrowing in English, explains why we get "vixen" and not "*fixen" in English, compare to the male version "fox".
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Re: Hekur, the Albanian word for Iron

#15

Post by Orakulli » Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:45 am

I think *hekur is related to the albanian verb;Hek(geg)=pull out.I think that /ur/ is a suffix in this case.The common “ur” suffix for many adjectives in albanian language is indicated by /ur/,i hek-ur(hequr).
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