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buber.net > Basque > Astro > On Basque Astronymy: Ilazki
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On Basque Astronymy: Ilazki

by M. G. Ramos

Tr: Blas Pedro Uberuaga

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28. Ilazki `moon', which as we have already said corresponds to eguzki `sun', seems to us to be a composition of ila-uzki. The reduction of the diphthong au is a current thing as much in Basque as in the Indo-European languages.

Au contracts in o, in a and in u. As an example of the first, we have in Bizkaian the verbal forms dot of daut, nozu of nauzu. Uhlenbeck very prudently says that this contraction is limited to the cases in which the diphthong is followed by a consonant, and as a result there are verbal forms which conserve it, such as dau, dabe (from *daue), nau, nabe ( *naue).

Au reduces to u in very rare cases, e.g. the suletine urthiki, from aurthiki `arrojar'. As Uhlenbeck says, together with basaurde `jabali' we also have in Gipuzkoan basurde, which comes from the first, or in another case, is a composition of bas (= basa) and urde.

On the other hand, the contraction of au to a is frequent in all dialects. (Uhlenbeck, Gavel). There remains in some cases the doubt whether the phonetic process is the reverse, by dipthongation sporadic of a to au before n. This phenomenon is present in the Bizkaian dialect. Uhlenbeck cites, among other various examples, aundi `large', de andi. On the contrary, Gavel believes that andi comes from aundi and that the accumulation of consonants has served to facilitate the elision of the u. This could also be the case for ilauzki.

Certain au diphthongs have become ai in suletino, where, for example, laudatu (from the Latin laudatum) has converted to laidatU. It is also common of the suletino the reduction aun to by interim of ain. (Gavel).

The contraction of au to a in all Basque dialects being very frequent, the examples that we could cite are very numerous. Beside auspo `fuelle', aulki `chair, bench', aurpegi `face', jaube `owner', Jaungoiko `God', aurkitu `to find', laurogei `eighty', laureun `four hundred', and the verbal forms dauku, zauku, etc., exist as many other forms aspo, alki, arpegi, etc.

29. All of this allows one to suppose that ilazki proceeds from *ilauzki. If one wants to object that basaurde conserves the diphthong or reduces to basurde, we can answer that `forest' in Euskara, is not basa but baso. The first of these two forms intervenes in compound words and means `wild'. Baso also enters in some compounds with identical meaning. Basauri `locality of the forest' and noun of place, conserves the diphthong. But in basurde we must see more correctly a compound of baso-urde or bas-urde.

Apart from the fact that the reduction of au to u is very infrequent, in the concrete case of *ilauzki we would have had *iluzki, and so the name of the moon would be confused with that of the sun, since, as we have seen, iluzki is one of the variants of eguzki.

30. Even more than the phonetic demonstrations, it is important to consider the reasons of semantic order. Our opinion is that eguzki is formed once weakened egu `sun', with the end of designating concretely the celestial body of the day. Por aquel entonces, uzki would be current name of `eye'. Eguzki, then, properly means `eye (of the) sun, eye of the day', in the same way that ilazki means `eye (of the) moon, eye of the night'.

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