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Etymology of "petir"/"pert

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zimanzan's picture
Joined: 16 Sep 2008

There are some Kurdish words which resemble their Iranian counterparts but unexpectedly show sound divergences. One of these is "pel". It conveys several meanings: "wing; crumb, mouthful; paper". Amazingly it exists in all speeches (by various degrees). At the first sight it would swiftly remind Persian "per". But the questionable matter is what for the final "-r" has changed into "-l" in such a large extent. I had a little idea about it, until I face a Central Kirmanjí word: "perd". Evidently it's a counterpart for "pel", and explains why we are encountering a final "-l": the frequent change of "rd" > "l". However it explained that the earlier form is "perd" but meantime mystified its origin because "perd" is not gonna be speculated as a derivation from Old Iranian "perre-*" ~ "feather" anyways!

The second clue to its original form revealed for me when I noticed that in the Northern Kirmanjí dialect they use "petrok" instead of Central "pel" for "crumb, mouthful". Therefore the original form is doubtlessly "petir" which later becomes "pert"/"perd" and then "pel". And this "petir" interestingly matches with its Hittite counterpart: "pitter". Although I cannot still affirm it's Hittite origin because Sanskrit "petrem" ~ "wing, feather, leaf" made me suspicious whether the Old Iranian form is really "perre"* or "petrre"* (*I havenot checked the correct form).

Anyways this Kurdish word is a cognate of "-pter" in the famous word "helicopter" ~ "spiral wings".

Also if I am not wrong, the very renowned Kurdish word for "book", "pertok"/"pertúk"/"pirtúk", is made of "pert" ~ "paper" + "-ok".

Here are the existing varieties:

pil: crumb, mouthful; wing; arm

pel: wing; arm; mouthful; paper

pelewer: bird (Hewramí)

perd: wing; arm; crumb

pertok: book

petrok: crumb

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