sieve : sipiti

Mate Kapović jozo.kapovic at
Sat Mar 3 20:31:52 UTC 2001

----Original Message-----
From: Hans-Werner Hatting <hwhatting at>
Date: 2001. ožujak 03 11:15

>On Fri, 23 Feb 2001 02:20:20 +0100 Miguel Carrasquer Vidal wrote:

>>Pokorny gives mainly Germanic and Tocharian forms (but also Serbian
>>sipiti "drizzle"

>I do not think, pace Pokorny, that _sipiti_ belongs here. I would put it with
>the Slavic family _sypiti/sypati "pour", which must go back to a PIE *suHp-
>(Don't have any etymological dictionary here to check on the exact root form
>reconstructed). A parallel use is Russian _dozhd sypitsya_ „rain is
>pouring down“. There are no phonological problems, as Common Slavic /i/ and
>/y/ have been merged in Southern Slavic.

>Best regards,
>Hans-Werner Hatting

I think you're wrong here. Although Middle South Slavic (i.e.
Croatian/Bosnian/Serbian...) sipiti would fit fonologically (except -i-/-a-
difference) at the first glance with Russian sypat' it doesn't really
beacause the form that Pokorny is quoting has an accent on -i- which
couldn't have come from all-Slavic *y (more on that later).

Firstly, in MSS there are two verbs of sometimes similar meaning: sipati "to
pour smth (like flour) > metaphorically: to snow heavily (rare usage)" and
sipiti "to fall slightly and quietly (e. g. rain)". The first verb means
"heavily falling" (in the rare, metaphorical sense), the second is oposit.

1) Sipati ~ OCS sypati, Mac. sipa, Slovene sípati (the first syllable has a
long rising accent ´), Czech sypati, Russ. sýpat' etc.
The verb in MSS has a short falling accent which has to come from old Slavic
primary acute which was regularly shortened. This agrees with Slovene long
rising accent, because there ProtoSlavic acute remained long. There should
be a long syllable in Czech too, I'm not sure what to make of the Czech form
I quoted.

So, the all-Slavic form was *sýpati (y with acute). This could have come
from PIE *suHp- (as was said). The larynegeal would have regularly inflicted
the BaltoSlavic acute.

2) Sípiti (´ on the first syllable - long rising accent, different from
ProtoSlavic and Slovene acute). As far as I'm aware this verb is attested only
in MSS. The difference in accent says it's not the same word as sipati <
*sýpati. The protoform of this verb (if there was one) would be *sipáti or
*sipě´ti (acute on second syll., the second V in 2. reconstruction is jat).
The long rising accent in MSS comes from retraction of the shortened acute
which was on second syll. Because of retraction the accent becomes rising, and
it's long because -i- in the first syll. is originally long.

This is either of onomatopoeic origin or from PIE *seip-.

Therefore, we're drawn to the conclusion that Middle South Slavic sipiti has
no connection with the Slavic sypati - forms.

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