2010-06-15

A Turkish etymology for both α and σιχτίρ?

Language advisory

In the last obscenity-filled post on this blog, Pierre left a comment on α σιχτίρ "fuck off", which is derived from Turkish:
The Turkish is sıçdırmak ( ﺼﭽﺩﺭﻣﻕ ) with a chim, rather than a kha, and it gets "shit" right back into the context. Actually, it is a causative form and means "to make (someone? / yourself?) shit" and it appears to be imperative. My guess is that "ey sıçdır" is all Turkish and means "Go take a shit."

In fact, there really is a Turkish verb sikmek "to fuck" ("Turkic cognates include Azeri sikmək and Uzbek sikmoq"), and this discussion thread goes through the diffusion of siktir into the Balkans and Armenian.

What I did *not* know from the thread though, is that the interjection siktir in Turkish has a variant hassiktir. And that makes me look at the α in α σιχτίρ, and speculate whether it too is Turkish in origin—and not Ancient Greek, as is normally assumed.

α in α σιχτίρ or ά γαμήσου corresponds to get in get fucked or get lost. It's a hortative particle, and I think what is commonly assumed about its origin is wrong.

Modern Greek has four similar hortative particles.
  • άμε is a verb in origin; it's derived from Classical ἄγωμε "let's go", but in Modern Greek is used as "go!", as an exhortation. We know that because in Early Modern Greek, ἄγωμε was used to mean "go!" instead of "let's go": (ἄγωμε μὲ τὴν κάμηλον τὴν μακροσφονδυλάτην "go with the long-neckled camel!", Entertaining Tale of Quadrupeds 768)
  • άντε has been argued (tortuously) to be a verb in origin as well: ἄγε δή "go indeed!" The etymology makes no sense, and though the Triantaphyllides dictionary vacillates, and the other dictionaries are unrepentant, the obvious derivation is from the Turkish exclamation haydi. (I have 12 pages of an uncompleted paper arguing this; there are straightforward cognates throughout Turkic, and in Russian and Ukrainian via Tatar.) Notwithstanding its origin, άντε does act in some ways as a verb, including picking up a plural ending (άντεστε), and taking subjunctive complements (άντε να δεις "go to see, go and see")
  • The other two particles are άι ~ άει and α. They are assumed to be related; this is the entry from the Triantaphyllides dictionary on the pair:
    α2 & άι interj.: before exclamation (cf. άντε); depending on context and intontation expresses (a) indignation, annoyance, dismissal; "go, get": (with an imperative or να + subjunctive with a comparable meaning) α/άι πνίξου / παράτα μας / χάσου / να χαθείς "go drown! / go leave us alone! / get lost!" / || (with σε "to", article and noun) α/άι στην ευχή / στο διάβολο / στο καλό "to the blessing! / to hell! / to the good!". α/άι στη δουλειά σου "to your business": "mind your own business, continue what you are doing". || friendly reproach: ~ να χαθείς! "get lost!" (b) exhortation: Άι στο καλό, παιδί μου, και πρόσεχε "go to the good (farewell), my child, and be careful": go on, go to the good [= farewell]. || wondering about what will happen: α/άι να δούμε πώς θα τα βγάλουμε πέρα "let's see how we get through this". α/άι να δούμε τι θα γίνει "let's see what will happen". [α: truncation of άι· άι: άε < Ancient ἄγε "onwards!" (imperative of ἄγω "go") deleting intervocalic [ɣ] and diphthongised]

    (It's α2, to distinguish it from the interjection "ah!", α1.)

Now, unlike άμε and άντε, άι and α do not act like independent verbs. They are prefixed to imperatives, which means they are not verbs with a dependent verb: they are acting like interjections—or serial verbs. άμε can't precede an imperative; άντε can, because άμε is not an interjection and άντε is. (άι and α do precede the subjunctive as well, but the subjunctive is also used as a gentler command; so it's consistent with άι and α behaving as interjections.)
  • άμε/άντε/*άι/*α να δεις ποιος είναι "go to see who it is"
  • *άμε/άντε/άι/*α δες ποιος είναι "go, see who it is"

They also cannot appear on their own as verbs (or for that matter as interjections): they must always introduce something.
  • άμε/άντε/*άι/*α "go on!"

And άι/α has no flexibility with what prepositions it can take: it cannot take από "from", meaning "go past":
  • άμε/άντε/*άι/*α από την αγορά "go past the market"

The only prepositional phrase άι/α can take is σε "to" with a definite article:
  • άμε/άντε/άει/α στο διάολο "go to the devil" (to hell)

Surely that means άι/α is behaving like a verb here? Well, no. If it is a verb, why the constraint on having a definite article?
  • άμε/άντε/*άι/*α σε κανένα μπουντρούμι "go to a dungeon"

Now, it turns out that you can use σε phrases with a definite article on their own, as an oath, a blessing or curse, hoping that someone ends up there. You can't leave the article out if you do that: it won't be the same oath:
  • στο καλό!/στο διάολο! "to the good" (farewell), "to the devil"
  • *σε καλό!/*σε διάολο! "to good" (farewell), "to a devil"

These expressions of course imply "go!", but they have still settled into a template of requiring a definite article, and expressing wishes. άι/α is being prefixed to those established expressions: that does not mean it is acting as a real verb. You can't use άι/α before στο if an oath is *not* involved:
  • άμε/άντε/άι/α στο διάολο "go to the devil"
  • άμε/άντε/??άι/*α στο γιατρό "go to the doctor"

Which suggests that, whatever άντε was originally, it is now (also) a verb; and whatever άι used to be, it is now not behaving as a verb, but just an exclamation, a particle introducing verbs and oaths.

In fact, that's reason enough to suspect άι did not start out as a verb at all, but as an interjection—such as, say, I dunno, the Turkish interjection hay. The thing is though, there are several instances from the Historical Dictionary of Modern Greek (Modern dialect dictionary) of "missing link" particles in dialect, between the verb ἄγε and άι:
  • Leucas: άγε, Lesbos: άγι, Sikinos: έγε
  • Cyprus: άγι̮α
  • Thessaly, Cephallenia, Cyme, Leucas, Siphnos etc. άε
  • Maina: χάε

Still, multiple causation does happen, and the very similar exclamation hay! may have encouraged άγε > άι to be restricted to exclamation-like use.

But there's something interesting about the Triantaphyllidis definition. In all its examples but one, it uses άι and α interchangeably. All the examples I've given have been interchangeable as well, although I hesitated over ??άι/*α στο γιατρό "go to the doctor". The one time Triantaphyllidis does not use α but only άι, is in the following pair:
  • *άμε/*άντε/άι/α στο καλό "oh, to the good" (euphemism for "oh, to the devil" = "well I'll be! what the deuce!")
  • άμε/άντε/άι/*α στο καλό "go to the good" (= "farewell")

στο καλό is ambiguous between a literal blessing, and a euphemistic curse. άι can be used both the bless and to curse. α is not used to bless: only to curse. Curses such as can be found at slang.gr:
  • α σιχτίρ "get fucked!"
  • α γαμήσου "get fucked!"
  • α να χαθείς "get lost!"
  • α στο διάολο "go to hell!" > ασταδγιάλα ~ ασταδιάλα
  • α να σε γαμήσω "I'm gonna fuck you!" (not as foreplay, but as one man threatening another—hence the joke reply given there by Vrastaman, "I'd rather we just stay friends".)
    There's a further complication that the phrase is actually used as a deferred threat: "A peculiar expression said (usually twice) instead of 'I will fuck you' during stand-offs, but usually with a desire to avoid trouble with someone who is trouble anyway. Like 'count yourself lucky', but leaving everything open, especially if the other talks back." (Halikoutis) (Pritsapirdulas adds in comments: "We also say it (1) when something is broken and we can't fix it; (2) when we react to something startling us.") But a curse it still is.

  • α πάγαινε ~ α πάαινε ~ ρε α πάαινε "get lost", where Standard Greek has retained this dialectal imperative "be going" only in the context of this curse:
    ρε α πάαινε: an abbreviated form of the expression "pardon me sir/madam, could you possibly relocate yourselves a smidgeon in the opposite direction from me? I thank you in advance for your understanding." It is used to show beyond doubt that the speaker is not disposed to be serviceable towards his interlocutor, and that the discussion is probably coming to its definitive conclusion right about now:
    —Pardon me sir, could you please park a bit further on, so my car can fit in too?
    —Ρε α πάαινε, wanting to park, no less! As if you had a car back in your village, you FUCKING HILLBILLY! (acg)

So α is used consistently in contexts reminiscent of α σιχτίρ "get fucked!" I suspect now that Greeks heard both hassiktir and siktir, reanalysed the former as a sixtir, and related the a back to άι—but only in contexts to do with cursing, like the original hassiktir. This would have been helped along by the existence in Greek of α1, the interjection "ah!"
  • In the expression α γεια σου "ah your health!" ~ α μπράβο "ah bravo" = "that's more like it!", it's not immediately obvious which of the two α is involved; it could be either the pure exclamation α1 ("aha! that's more like it!"), or the hortative α2 (ά μπράβο = άντε μπράβο: "go on! that's more like it!") The restriction of α otherwise to curses makes me suspect the former, but I'm being schematic there.

6 comments:

  1. As an aside "sik" is related to the word "sidik" (urine). The root for both is "si" meaning to urinate. This root is no longer in Istanbul Turkish. However, a slightly changed version of this root in Uyghur and Uzbek ("sigh") means to urinate.

    In modern Istanbul Turkish "sik" is also a noun meaning penis, i.e. "something to urinate with". The verb "sik" is an unusual derivation...

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  2. I vote for hassiktir. It's ασσιχτίρ with geminate s in Cyprus and Greeks tend to use άι were cypriot/medieval greek has α e.g. γάδαρος.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The root sik- exist in all Turkic languages and has good explanation in them, it cannot be Ancient Greek or indo-european.

    http://tinyurl.com/bkk88hn

    The european etymologic dictionaries keep silence about existence of some "european" roots with unknown etymology in all Turkic languages. For example, the etymologic explanation of the root eu- (good) makes me doubt very much its indo-european origin. Whereas, there is no mention about the existence of Ancient Turkic eyi/iyi (good)...

    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=eu-&allowed_in_frame=0

    Or the origin of the root oikos- in Greek. Here again no mention about existence of Ancient Turkic öy/oy/ev (house), which is phonetically near to Greek oikos than Latin villa.

    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=villa&allowed_in_frame=0

    etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Opoudjjis, I'm not sure you found an explanation about α/αει σιχτιρ

      Not sure at all!

      Finally does turcik root "-sik" seems to mean to pee, not to fuck or to get a shit :)

      But the most important point is that even if we consider that "sik" is turkish, nothing explains the "a/ai".

      what is strange about your explanation is that you say you didn't know that "hassiktir" exists and then you learnt it, so you consider that a σιχτιρ comes from hassiktir. But the existence of hassiktir does not prove anything. You should prove that the "ha" means something, and that it existed before Greek " a σιχτιρ ". It's not proven. I suspect Turks (who are partly of Greek origin for various reasons) learnt "α σιχτιρ΄΄ and made it "hassiktir"

      You did soome work to try to prove that "a" could not be "aei" in Greek but nobody did the word to prove that "has" (in "hassiktir") in Turkish has an explanation.

      "αεί σε οικτίρω" could be an eplanation because grammar is never perfet in popular language


      Delete
    2. Opoudjjis, I'm not sure you found an explanation about α/αει σιχτιρ

      Not sure at all!

      Finally turcik root "-sik" seems to mean to pee, not to fuck or to get a shit :)

      But the most important point is that even if we consider that "sik" is turkish, nothing explains the "a/ai".

      what is strange about your explanation is that you say you didn't know that "hassiktir" existed and then you learnt it, so you considered that a σιχτιρ came from hassiktir. But the existence of hassiktir does not prove anything. You should prove that the "ha" means something, and that it existed before Greek " a σιχτιρ ". It's not proven. I suspect Turks (who are partly of Greek origin for various reasons) learnt "α σιχτιρ΄΄ and made it "hassiktir"

      You did some work to try to prove that "a" could not be "aei" in Greek but nobody did the work to prove that "has" (in "hassiktir") in Turkish has an explanation.

      "αεί σε οικτίρω" could be an explanation because grammar is never perfect in popular language

      (sorry for mistakes mainly in first post)

      Delete
  4. In response to Pierre:
    "Ey sıçdır (sıçtır" )is not a possible version at all, for two reasons: First, "ey" has nothing to do with "hay", which is the original particle in now-merged "hassiktir". "Ey" acts like a vocative like "o ye" as in "ey iman edenler" ((o) ye faithful). A synonymous but originally Arabic particle is "ya" ("Ya Rab(bi)!", i.e. Oh (my) Lord/God!, is now written as Yarab(bim)). In some contexts, such as "ey ahmak" (oh you fool) it can be replaced by "hey ahmak" even "be hey ahmak". I guess we can translate this as "(β)ρε χαζέ/κουτέ" κτλ. But normally both "ey" and "ya" are very formal and poetic/oratory. More importantly, "ey" needs to precede a noun phrase not a verb phrase .

    So the particle in question is "ha(y)" as in "hay ağzına sıçayım!" "hay kafanı sikeyim!" (roughly, "I shit in your mouth" and "I fuck your head") ... It can occur in phrases like "hay Allah!" (in the case of an unpleasant surprise, "now what!" situation)."Ha" can act differently, as in "vur ha!" (close to "vur hadi" with a meaning "hit it NOW, or AGAİN," etc.). Also "ha gayret" is a fixed phrase in which "ha" is definitely for encouragement.

    Second, "sıçtırmak" and "siktirmek" are different in their theta-roles: "sıçtırmak" assigns only two, the person who causes the action of shitting, and the agent who performs this intransitive act. Unless we say "kendi üstüne sıçtırdı" (s/he made him/her to shit on him/herself) we cannot assume an involvement of the "self". In the case of "siktirmek", the verb assigns three theta-roles: the causer, the agent and the patient, but the preferred interpretation of the phrase "(ha)siktir (git)" (go get yourself fucked) is one that assumes the addressee/causer is the patient of the action at the same time. In other cases, like "git de ananı/kendi götünü siktir" (go and get your mother/your own ass fucked) the involvement of these three different roles are clear.

    Interestingly, the true passive form of "sikmek", that is "sikilmek" is not used in the same way. I think they have different telicity requirements, as we cannot say "sikil!" or "o şimdi sikiliyor" (s/he is now being fucked)(with the exception of "his mother is being fucked" to mean that he is going through some big ordeal, heavy work, a beating etc.). So unlike the Greek "γαμιέμαι" there are a variety of forms with different shades of meaning, including the reciprocal "sikişmek" (to fuck each other, or together, when there may be in fact only one "fuckee"- as in a more traditional (!) meaning of "η γκόμενά μου κι εγώ γαμηθήκαμε σαν τρελοί").

    Before concluding this fucking (LOL) entry, let me provide two other related words: as a form of address like " ε γαμημένε!" Turkish has "sikik" or "sikişik" (someone who has been fucked) instead of the "sikilmiş", which is rarely used in isolation. Much in the same way that the Turkish equivalent of the adjective "αγάμητη" (sikilmemiş) is never used alone (e.g. as an epithet).


    Sorry for hijacking your post but I hope my contributions clarified some points.

    MC

    ReplyDelete

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