Proto-Romance *pī̆k(k)- ‘small, little’ and Proto-Indo-European *peiḱ- ‘cut (off), carve, fashion’: on the origin of Italian piccolo, Spanish pequeño, Sicilian picca, Latin *pīcus ‘small’ and pīcus ‘divine fashioner, woodpecker’

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Italian piccolo, pìcciolo, and piccino, all meaning ‘small, little’, are currently traced back to Proto-Romance *pī̆k(k) ‘small, little’, a root which also underlies several further Romance formations, such as Spanish pequeño ‘small, little’; Portuguese peco ‘stunted, dumb, imbecile’ and pequeno ‘small, little’; Sicilian picciottu ‘kid’, picciriddu ‘child’, and picca ‘small quantity, a little’; Old Logudorese Sardinian pikinnu ‘small, little’; Romanian pic ‘drop, small quantity’ and Megleno-Romanian pică ‘small quantity, a little’. This lexical family is of unclear etymology, as it appears to have no evident parallels in Latin; on the assumption that the analysis of Romance formations may benefit from the insights of IE historical linguistics when more straightforward Latin comparanda appear to be absent, the present contribution argues for a possible etymology of Italian piccolo and its Romance cognates as reflexes of a Proto-Indo-European formation *pei̯ḱ ó ‘who/that is cut (passive meaning); who/that cuts (agentive meaning)’, a reconstruction that finds support in both semantic and formal parallels in Romance, Latin, and other Indo-European languages.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationParola. Una nozione unica per una ricerca multidisciplinare
EditorsValentina Carbonara, Giuseppe Caruso, Matteo La Grassa, Cèlia Nadal, Eugenio Salvatore Benedetta Aldinucci
Pages343-352
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Linguistics, historical, comparative, Germanic, Indo-European, Old Norse, Icelandic, Sanskrit, Vedic, Greek, Homeric, Poetics, Mythology.

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Proto-Romance *pī̆k(k)- ‘small, little’ and Proto-Indo-European *peiḱ- ‘cut (off), carve, fashion’: on the origin of Italian piccolo, Spanish pequeño, Sicilian picca, Latin *pīcus ‘small’ and pīcus ‘divine fashioner, woodpecker’'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this