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buber.net > Basque > Astro > On Basque Astronymy: Returning to Egun and Eguzki
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On Basque Astronymy: Returning to Egun and Eguzki

by M. G. Ramos

Tr: Blas Pedro Uberuaga

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Returning to Egun and Eguzki

35. We must not forget that egun presents the physiognomic characteristics belonging to a passive participle. In Basque, these participles fulfill as well the function of the infinitive of other languages. Izan means at the same time `to be' and `been', `to have' and `had'. The same participle can become a noun, and in the specific case of izan we have the Lapurdine izan(a) which means `(the) ranch', `(the) possession', that is, `that which is had'. The morphology of egun is very similar to that of egon `to be (estar)'. We could decompose egun into e-gu-n, in which case the nucleus or radical element would be -gu- and not eg-, ek-. We have already said that for Uhlenbeck the e of egu(n) is probably a prefix. The theories of Schuchardt are also favorable to this hypothesis. But we do not believe it necessary to appeal to for aid the comparison with the camitica languages. If egun contains a verbal nucleus, it cannot be anything but the idea of `to shine, to sparkle, to gleem'. These ideas are translated today as dirdiratu and its phonetic variants. But dirdiratu more correctly has the meaning of `to reflect, to reverberate', and is properly an onomatopoeia. Thus, as dirdir is the idea of the reflection, of the reverberation, dardar is that of the tremor, of shaking. In Sanskrit we have didi, didi, which means `to shine'.

There does not exist, then, a verb in Basque able to express adequately the ideas related to the brilliance of the sun. This does not fail to call attention, since Basque, as we have seen, is not lacking names of the celestial bodies and to their functions, for being this one of the things that most intensively excited the imagination of primitive man.

Egun very well may have been the verbal form of eg-u, eg-i, which later substantived in egun `day'. In such as case, the e of egun would not be a prenuclear element, as Azkue called it, but rather an integral part of the nucleus, or the result of the fusion of two e's.

36. Now let us suppose that the initial e of eguzki is a prefix, as Uhlenbeck believes. Eguzki would then be decomposed as e-guzki and even in this case we would notice the presence of the element - guzki, from *kuski, *kuzki = `eye'. But if it was a prefix of a verbal character, the relation with ikusi `to see', which probably comes from *ekusi by assimilation, would still be even tighter [+]. This *ekusi, with the suffix -ki, would give us *ekuski, a possible predecessor of eguski, eguzki. We could relate *ekuski with the word ekariu, which appears on an Iberian inscription and which is believed to mean `the two eyes'. (Vinson) [+]. So that by this new hypothesis, eguzki would properly and exclusively mean `eye', which reminds us of the case of the Old Irish suil.

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