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Verba dicendi a cuvânta, a grăi and a vorbi. Etymological aspects

Publication: Analele Universității din București. Limba și literatura română, LXIII, p. 51-59
Publisher:Editura Universității din Bucureşti
Abstract:This paper analyses the etymology of the Romanian verbs with the meaning ‘to speak’: a cuvânta, a grăi and a vorbi. We discuss the origin of a cuvânta, a Balkan Romance word derived from cuvânt ‘word’, with parallels in other Balkan languages, especially in Albanian, Macedonian and Serbian, and of the Slavic borrowing a grăi, which changed its meaning from ‘croaking’ to ‘speaking’. However, we focus on the origin of the verb a vorbi, which has not been satisfactorily and fully explained until now. We reject the older hypothesis that sustains it was formed on the basis of the noun vorbă, a variant of the Slavonic borrowing dvorbă. We try to demonstrate that it should be regarded as a phonetic variant of the older form a vorovi, which meant intially ‘to make noise’, but is attested with the meaning ‘to speak’ since the 16th century. Most probably, the verb a vorovi represents a contamination between two verbs that reproduce the Balkan Slavic verbs govoriti and vreviti, both of them meaning ‘to make noise’.
Key words:verba dicendi, a vorbi, Romanian, etymology, Slavic
Language: English

Citations to this publication: 0

References in this publication: 5

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