Thursday, January 18, 2007

Va`era: An Interesting Etymological Connection

An interesting etymological connection just occurred to me, related to this week's parsha.

France: צרפת
French: צרפתי
Frog: צפרדע

Coincidence? I think not.
Balashon, what say you?

P.S.: An oldie:
Q: What do you call a stupid frog?
A: Dumb Tzfardea.

2 comments:

Josh M. said...

You don't suppose it has anything to do with the common sounds of /fr/og and /Fr/ance?

Dave (Balashon) said...

It's a coincidence I've thought of many times.

Steinberg has an interesting theory about Tzarfat that I've discussed here:

http://balashon.blogspot.com/2006/06/saraf.html

Basically, he says that Tzarfat, as we know was a Phoenician city, and the Phoenicians were the inventors of glass. So צרפת was where they were מצרף glass.

Tzfardea is not connected.

As far as France / French / frog, the Online Etymology Dictionary has this to say:

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=frog

As a derogatory term for "Frenchman," 1778 (short for frog-eater), but before that (1652) it meant "Dutch" (from frog-land "marshy land").

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