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Re: A question for zoonomenclaturists



> David, you have to click on the link "Lewis and Short" associated to
> "femina" and "femur" and the link "LSJ" associated to "φύ-ω" for details
> on the etymology, use and means of these words:
>
> - http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=femina&la=la#lexicon
> - 
> http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=femur&la=la&can=femur0#lexicon[http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=femur&la=la&can=femur0#lexicon]
> -
> http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=+%CF%86%CF%8D%CF%89&la=greek#Perseus:text:1999.04.0057:entry=fu/w-contents[http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=+%CF%86%CF%8D%CF%89&la=greek#Perseus:text:1999.04.0057:entry=fu/w-contents]

Oh, yeah -- thanks, I didn't click on those links before because their colors 
are inverted (they're purple when you have _not_ visited them, and become blue 
and underlined when you have!!!). Well. Lewis & Short and LSJ are from the 19th 
century. Whatever source is used on Wiktionary, it has to be much younger, 
because otherwise it wouldn't use "h1" in the reconstruction of the PIE 
ancestor of fēmina. This reconstruction accounts 1 : 1 for every sound, 
including length, of fēmina, while the explanation in Lewis & Short only works 
if -eum- regularly became -ēm- in Latin... I can't quickly find out if that's 
the case.

For femur, however, both the Wiktionary and the LSJ etymologies don't make 
phonetic sense as far as I can tell. And Wiktionary is clearly wrong in 
deriving English _tan_ from the same root; semantically it makes enough sense, 
but phonetically there's no way to make that work. German t (as in _Tanne_, 
"fir", cited there) can be homologous to Latin f, but English t can't; and 
neither can the t of the Celtic examples cited there.

It's hard.