Spot The Difference

March 1, 2014

HARPER DOPE

[Based on an idea floating around FB these days]

 

Advertisements

A Question For Etymologists

March 1, 2014

I am looking to find the ultimate origin of the English word SKULK which, in the southern England that I grew up in, means to hang around, in a semi-concealed fashion, for some underhanded purpose.  “That burglar is skulking around the neighbourhood.”

In all the etymological dictionaries that I have examined, the word origin is given as Scandinavian from the 12th or 13th century.  For example: Danish “skulke“, Swedish “skolka“, and Icelandic “skolla.”  Those derivations are from Walter Skeat’s Dictionary, and similar derivations can be found at various online dictionaries such here, here, and here.  Normally that would be that; all the sources agree.

However, today I have been reading a 1985 PhD dissertation on the settlement of 6th and 7th century northern Italy by the Langobards who came from Pannonia which is roughly Croatia, and northern parts of Serbia and Bosnia-Herzeogivana.  In a discussion of military organization, the author mentions: “the sculca, denoting a spying or reconnaissance group or look-out … it was of Germanic origin which passed into Byzantine usage.”

Sculca as spies or look outs and skulking seem awfully close in both meaning and sound.  Could the Scandinavians have picked up the earlier word via the Germanic tribes between Lombardy and the Baltic?  Or perhaps both words derive from a proto-Germanic or even PIE original. Is there any debate on this anywhere?


GWAC’s 50th Birthday

March 1, 2014

On 1st March 1964, United Community Services set up the Woodland Park Area Resources Council which soon became the Grandview Woodland Area Council.  I have written some of the history on the Grandview Heritage Group blog.


Happy St. David’s Day!

March 1, 2014

urban daffodils

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and

the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light,and

winter in the shade.

— Charles Dickens