Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Yes we can!

I'm happy to announce that an academic article I wrote some time ago has finally been published.

As a Latinist and the husband of a Romanian, I have enjoyed exploring the evolution of Rome's farthest Eastern linguistic outpost. My newest article is a wild assertion, but one which, I believe, is backed up with good evidence.

The Romanian word DA (yes) is assumed to be a borrowing from the common Slavic word of the same meaning and pronunciation. In my article, I put forth evidence that a Latin origin of Romanian DA is more than plausible, especially owing to a newly argued and probable derivation of Romanian dacă (if) from the Latin itaquod (Medieval 'if').

The article appears in the current issue of Ianua: Revista Philologica Romanica Vol. 8 (2008).

Now, mind you, I am not denying that Romanian has been heavily inundated with Slavic borrowings. But in this particular case, I suspect that the word for 'yes' is a preservation from a time when our beloved Vergil, if affirming something, said 'ita' (thus). A simple voicing of 't' and the (regularly attested) dropping of an initial vowel turns the common Latin affirmative ITA into, well, DA. I didn't say it in my article, but maybe the Slavs even borrowed it from the Romanians.