Saturday, February 2, 2013

not clear as crystal

After pointless hours of research, I would do anything to know how Persian ‏شيشه šiše “glass”, from Middle Persian <šyšk> “flask, bottle” (cf. Armenian շիշ šiš "bottle”) might be related to Mishnaic Hebrew אֶשֶׁשׁ “crystal ball, light reflector” and Jewish Babylonian Aramaic  אֲשׁׅישָׁא “jug”. Someone somewhere has suggested such a relationship. Someone somewhere has also suggested a relationship of all these to Middle Egyptian šs “alabaster”.  Did the Iranian word originally designate a flask of semiprecious material for holding perfumes? Sorani has شووشه  šûšand Kurmanji şûşe, and this vocalism is also found in Georgian შუშა šuši. (In this semantic sphere, later Assyrian has a luliu “slag of glass” and later Babylonian lulimtu “a jewel(?)”. That there are exchanges between š [sometimes reflecting Proto-Semitic lateral *] and lateral l in the languages of the region is well known.)

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