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Etymology of the French "les yeux"

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Etymology of the French "les yeux"

Postby Jacobus » Sat Mar 14, 2009 8:22 pm

Salvete, omnes/hello everyone.

I assume that the French word "un oeil" vaguely derives from the Latin oculus. However, in Latin, oculus is a regular noun as far as I'm aware, whereas in French, the plural of the equivalent noun "oeil" is completely irregular and is "les yeux". Can anyone shed some light as to why that may be? Perhaps it's something to do with Vulgar Latin, I don't know. I know of a site which gives the etymology of English words, and in addition to that I would be very grateful if anyone could point me in the direction of one for French, as well, if any such thing exists.

Multas gratias ob responda; gratiam habeo ob auxillium.

Jack
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Re: Etymology of the French "les yeux"

Postby modus.irrealis » Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:33 pm

I'm not sure how much French you know, but the dictionary at http://www.cnrtl.fr/definition/ almost always has some etymological information and you can look just at the etymological information by going to http://www.cnrtl.fr/etymologie/

As for yeux, it might be surprising, but like http://www.cnrtl.fr/etymologie/oeil says, the word derives regularly from Latin, with oeil < oculum and yeux < oculos. I don't know all the details -- it involves palatalization which had complicated effects -- but I can see that the development of the end of the word is regular -- it's similar to words like cheval < caballum, plural chevaux < caballos. But to get at the details, you need to also know the Old French forms.
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Re: Etymology of the French "les yeux"

Postby Jacobus » Sun Mar 15, 2009 12:20 pm

Thank you for the links, modus.irrealis. My French, although by no means where I want it to be, is more than good enough to benefit from the links you provided.

Multas gratias ob respondum et auxillium. Explicatio tua quoque tres utilis est.

Gratias maximas

Jacobus
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Re: Etymology of the French "les yeux"

Postby Essorant » Wed Mar 18, 2009 4:12 am

The word is related to our English eye
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