Archive | 2019

“Frog” in Persian and *-š- > -l- Change in Western New Iranian



Frogs (toads)1 and amphibians in general, as well as insects, reptiles, etc. were considered in ancient Iran noxious animals, khrafstars, creatures belonging to the Lower World. This led to the euphemistic replacement of the original name(s) of frog in Iranian with new terms, mostly imitative, descriptive, or sometimes adaptations of other zoonyms having similar perception in folk imagination. The same situation is observed among the Indo-European languages as a whole: there are no common Indo-European terms for frog or toad, most of the reconstructed protoforms being characteristic of separate families only – Germanic, Slavonic, etc. The earliest name of “frog (toad)” in Iranian is attested in Avesta as vazaγa/ā-, likely to have come from OIran. *wazaga-, a formation with the suffix -(a) ga-2 and probably the onomatopoeic root *waz“(to make) noise, buzz, whiz” (hardly *waz“to move, etc.”).3 This old lexeme has survived in MPers. (Pahlavi)

Volume None
Pages 33-37
DOI 10.4467/20843933st.19.020.10963
Language English
Journal None

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