14 April 2012

Just sharin'

Today at the service garage, waiting for the mechanic’s verdict, I noticed an ad declaring “original parts” in numerous languages. The German version is Originalteile. "Part" in German is Teil.

I saw one I didn't recognize: Originální díly. Looks related to German Teil, but it doesn't look at all like a Germanic language. So I started to think about the connections...

Then it hit me: German Teil comes from the verb teilen, which means “to divide or share”. In at least some Slavic languages, the same concept is expressed by the root del- (e.g., delit' in Russian). So I'm homing in on a Slavic language for díly.

Further musing turns up these words in English and Italian, conceptually similar to sharing, as in "sharing something out", "dividing something up" (by cutting/slicing):
  • English tailor
  • Italian taglio (noun "a cut")
If we continue along this line, we'll probably start finding scads of relatives in this family, because what we've got here is an Indo-European root. All these words are cognates

  • Stumble upon another IE root? Check.
  • Discovered connections I hadn't thought of before? Check.
  • Originální díly? Czech.

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