3

In Latin, Венера is Venus. A similar word "corpus" is translated as "корпус", not as "корпора" (or "корпор" if we take its gender into account). Why is then Venus not Венус?

1
  • 1
    it takes a research into the history of adopting the name into Russian through identification of the language it was borrowed from Jun 15 '18 at 15:41
12

Imparisyllabic Latin words (meaning words having an extra syllable in genitive compared to nominative) are usually cited in their genitive form, as it's usually a more accurate representation of the word's etymology.

Church Slavonic authors chose to use Latin genitive stems for all Church Slavonic forms, including the nominative.

That's why we have Venus (gen. Veneris) > Венера, Cicero (gen. Ciceronis) > Цицерон, cliens (gen. clientis) > клиент etc.

8
  • Why then didn't this happen to "corpus"?
    – Ruslan
    Jun 16 '18 at 5:39
  • not to dispute the reply, but the dictionary of Church Slavonic by Diachenko in particular doesn't list these words (and naturally not Cicero), which could be an indication that they weren't part of its vocabulary... provided the dictionary is an exhaustive and accurate collection of the lexis, what then was their way of introduction into the language, or was it not through Church Slavonic? Jun 16 '18 at 6:48
  • @ruslan: because the person who first introduced this word into Russian (or Church Slavonic) made a decision to borrow it this way.
    – Quassnoi
    Jun 16 '18 at 7:50
  • 2
    @баянкупика: those very words I cited might be borrowed in later times, however Church Slavonic renditions of Cato and Nero (катонъ and неронъ) are attested in Church Slavonic texts. My point is that there is a tradition of using genitive stem for imparisyllabic Latin words, this tradition goes back to Church Slavonic, and it had gained enough traction to be used for most such words borrowed from Latin, at least for personal names.
    – Quassnoi
    Jun 16 '18 at 8:16
  • 3
    @ruslan: it's a speculation, but it seems like корпус might have been first borrowed as a medical term. In medical terminology, Latin nominatives complete with the inflectional suffix are used to name the organ, and the genitives to name its inflammatory process: appendix / appendicitis, duodenum / duodenitis etc.
    – Quassnoi
    Jun 16 '18 at 8:32
5

In modern Italian she is Venere, in Latin one of the forms were Venĕris according to Italian Wikipedia.

In Serbian and Bulgarian she is Венера. Looks like it's nothing very special about Russian. You should search for this fork earlier than Russian loan.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.