THE ETYMOLOGY OF''SLAVE".WHY IS THIS NAME WRONG?
By Ion Carstoiu
Engl. slave is explained by O.French sclave , from Latin sclavus, from Greek sklabos, sklabenos=sthlabenos from Proto-Slavic*slovenin, Slav''because Slavs were often forced into slavery in the Middle Ages''. Search slave Wiktionary, translation. In Romance languages the word is: Sp. sclave, Romanian sclav, Fr.esclave, from sclave (Lat.sclavus), Port. escravo. In Germanic languages we find: German Sklave, Swedish slav=Slav, Norw.slave, Engl. slave. Only German has word with k. But I believe the word is not in relation to Slav. Another old people was Scythian , with k '': The name of Scythians was''saka'' (Osnovy iranskogo iazykoznaniia, Moskva, 1979, p.318). In association with Scythian were skul, skol''term of pre-Iranian population of South Russia''(p.364). Therefore, the Greeks referred to Scythians, (Skolotoi was a plural of skol with -t). Scythians spoke an Iranian language. Correct name of ''slave''is, in my opinion, sclave.
Slavic word for ''sclave''is rab or rob. It's obvious relation with rabota, robota''work'' and rabi, robi''sun'' in Bengali+-ota. Officially scientists explain rab-, rob- from P.Slavic *orbu, PIE *orbh-''orphan'' instead of ''work,sun''. In Arabic a sclave is abd, which is correctly explained by bd''work'', I add badi''sun'' in Cashinahua(Peru), bda''idem'' in je(Brazil). In Greek ''sclavus''is doulos, from Mycaenean and Canaanite do'elo, but I add douleia''work'' in the same language , dule''sun'' in Fur(Sudan), Gypsy dul, Japanese dorei in both ''sclavus''. In Jap.l>r. Hebrew ama is ''sclavus'', amal''work'', Arabic 'amal, kam''work'' in Hindi, Assam., from kham''sun'' in Gypsy and other Indian languages. From Turkish is Romanian hamal''stevedore, porter''. Add hamba''''sclavus'' in Indon., Malay(sense 6 ''to work'' in Zulu). Mona is ''sclavus'' in Georgian, unkn. origin, I explain it by moni, muni''sun'' in Bangala(Congo). and *monka in P.Slavic which gave muka ''pain'' in Russian etc., but in Romanian munca,,Hungarian munka''work''. Pain in Romanian is chin[kin]=kin ''sun'' in Turkic.
Shamash, Babylonian sun god, means ''servitor''. Hungarian rabszolga(=Latin sclavus) is from rab(see above)+szolga[solga] explained by Slavic sluga. This solga(sluga) officially from sluti''to be called'', from PIE *klew-''to listen''. I give another explanation: from Latin sol''sun'', may be sili-''to force''(forced work). Vergas in Lithuanian''sclavus''from PIE*werg''to make, to work'', I add barga''sun'' in Lak(Daghestan), berhi in Akusha(Caucasus), war''sun'' in Gurani(Iran) and so on.
In Latin servus=sclavus, explained by PIE*serwo''guardian'', from *ser-''watch over, protect'' In my opinion cf. sera''sun'' in Siagha Yen+Latin sero''I sow, I “plant”(a kind of work). Turkish word for sclavus is kole, kul, unkn. origin, I explain them by kol''sun'' in Scythian and Watubela, Slavic kolo''wheel'', Latin colo''I cultivate earth''(a kind of work). Sumerian arad=''sclavus'' was deduced from *wrd''to be lead, to descent'', but I associate it with aro''I plough'' in Latin(a kind of work), ar''sun'' in Old Armenian. See Finnic ''sclavus'' ori in Estonian, orja in Finn. with a>o.Add banda''sclavus'',of uncert.origin, in Tajik,Uzbek=banda''sun'' in Walgi(Australia), norye in Korean~nar''sun'' in Mongolian, nuli in Chinese ~null''sun'' in Tongan etc.
PS. From Scythian skol is Russian skolot'''to break, to split''? Turkish kole, kul, unkn. or., is comparable with Germanic ''coal'': O.E.col, Norw.kol, Dutch kool, Dan.kul and Scythian skul, skol? See Russian ugol''coal'' too.
Two cruces: “slave” and “slur”
• BY ANATOLY LIBERMAN JUNE 12TH 2019
The word slave would have attracted much less attention if it did not sound like Slav. Modern people should get rid of ancient sensibilities. Slave and Slav are probably not related, but, even if they were, why should the events of a thousand or so years ago be regarded as a slur on the modern descendants of the Slavs? National pride is a dangerous tool in etymology.
Essays and notes on the origin of the word slave appeared in many languages. My bibliography of English etymology was published in 2010, and by that time, I had read only a fraction of the relevant literature, but I was aware of the two especially important articles on the subject, and, although today I know much more about the debate than I knew ten years ago, below I’ll refer only to those two publications, because between them they summarize the earlier sources in a satisfactory way. However, their conclusions differ.
One of the opening statements in the 1962 article by Henry and Reneé Kahane sounds so: “There is no argument about the identity of the morpheme: sklav ‘slave’ continues slav ‘Slav’.” Yet this is exactly what the entire argument is about. One can hardly adduce a similar example of the word for “slave” coinciding with a so-called ethnonym. The ever-repeated case of Welsh in English (see my post “A Linguistic League of Nations” for May 15, 2019) is different: Old Engl. welisc meant “foreign,” not “enslaved,” and the Germanic invaders found themselves in permanent contact with the Celts. Some old sources also cite Serb, allegedly from serve. This is nonsense.
Why should Slavs have been singled out for supplying the source for the word meaning “slave”? This is the only question that should be answered. Instead of that, the Kahanes offered an exhaustive survey of the spread of the word in Eurasia and its use in Byzantium, Romance- and Germanic-speaking countries, and by the Arabs. It is instructive to quote The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology:“Medieval Latin sclavus… identical with the ethnic name Sclavus SLAV, the Slavonic races having been reduced to a servile state by conquest.” All the Slavonic races? By what conquest? The above formulation was borrowed from the original edition of the OED and reflected the scholarly consensus of the time.
Elsewhere, we read that in the early stages of their recorded history, the Slavs were prone to subjugation by foreign military powers. They allegedly had a very loose social and political structure. Their military organization was poorly developed. These facts, together, with the primitive Slavs’ predilection for cattle grazing and agriculture, are said to explain why nomadic invaders in the form of a seasoned body of well-armed cavalry gained control of the Slavic tribes. Such is the opinion of a Czech historian, whom no one would try to accuse of an anti-Slavic bias. But we again notice the absence of concrete facts in the argument. The entire passage seems to have been written to justify the equation Slav= slave, rather than to investigate the situation in detail.
Among the independent English lexicographers (that is, such as dared to express non-traditional opinions), only Henry Cecil Wyld wrote about slave: “Of unknown origin.” The discussion I found on the Internet is uninspiring. All the sources rehash the OED; sometimes Ernest Klein is referred to (the word slave allegedly goes back to the time of Otto the Great’s putting down the Slavic rebellion). Few people realize that Klein’s English etymological dictionary is the last source they should consult. Non-specialists exchange their opinions about the origin of the word slave (as though in such cases opinions, rather than facts, matter) and discuss the previously unnoticed problem: Is it OK to use the word slave if it sounds like an insult to the Slavs? Fortunately, most discussants agreed that nowadays no one associates Slavs with slaves and that no renaming is needed. By the way, only English has lost k in the group skl– (compare French esclave, German Sklave, and so forth). Slave came to English from French, and in English, the group scl– was regularly simplified. The same change occurred in slander, muscle(in which the spelling and the adjective muscularremind us of the oldest form), and a few others.
In 1970, Georg Korth brought out an article on the subject that interests us. It appeared in a German philological journal (Glotta), and in German. The story (as had always been known) began with the Greek word Sklabēnoi; this is what the southern Slavs were called in Byzantium. In the eighth century, the word reached Italy. Later, it became widely known. Neither the Greeks not the descendants of the Roman Empire needed a new word for “slave; servitor; prisoner,” but the ethnonym Slav did coincide with one of the already existent words for “an unfree person”; hence the illusion that we are dealing with the same word—a typical example of folk etymology.
As early as 1882, slave was derived from the root of the Greek verb eskleío “I include,” with the idea that those “included” were kept in their new habitat against their will. Even more convincing is the derivation of our word from Greek skūlon or skúlon“spoils of war” (y instead of u would be a better transliteration). Korth’s article convinced Elmar Seebold, the editor of Kluge’s German etymological dictionary, who used its conclusion in the entry Sklave. Unfortunately, he said nothing about the history of the question, which is a pity, because in etymological dictionaries, dogmatic statements defeat their purpose. Of course, Seebold referred to Korth (among other sources), but who, except for a few professionals, follows the references in small print? It seems that the latest version of the etymology of slave is indeed preferable to the traditional one. The Internet shows that a handful of discussants from Russia noticed it (they have read Seebold, not Korth) and approved, but only because the hateful association slave = Slav has been debunked. We, however, will leave politics to politicians.
The etymology of the ethnonym Slav is also highly controversial, but it needn’t bother us here.