Monday, December 18, 2006

The Daily Hump: From Norwegian Fjords to Portuguese Ports

Fjords are found in Norway, Iceland, the Faroes, New Zealand, British Columbia, Alaska and Chile. Not surprisingly the word is of Old Norse origin, making its way to English via Norwegian. However, if we trace the word beyond Old Norse, past its Germanic origins, we come to the Proto-Indo-European *prtus, which comes from *por-, meaning "going, passage."

*por- is the original root of our Modern English words port (harbor, haven) and portal (opening). Port, like the wine, is a shortened form of Oporto, which is a city in northwestern Portugal from where the wine was originally shipped, and whose name comes from O Porto, "the port." The Roman name for Oporto, Portus Cale (the port of Gaia), is the source of the name Portugal itself.

fjord [Online Etymology Dictionary]
port [Online Etymology Dictionary]
Portugal [Online Etymology Dictionary]

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:: posted by David, 7:55 AM


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