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Christophe Grandsire scripsit:

> But the explanation is much more boring:

Nothing in language is truly boring.

> "window" is "raam" in Dutch, plural "ramen" (pronounced,
> at least by the civilised part of the Netherlands ;))) [ram@(n)]).

In particular, it's interesting how diverse this word is in different
languages.  In English, "window" is a borrowing from Old Norse "vindauga",
the wind's eye; the native word, had it survived, would have been
something like "eyethirl", eye-hole, where the suffix is the same as the
"-tril" in "nostril", nose-hole, a morpheme otherwise quite extinct.

German "fenster" is a borrowing from some kind of Romance, probably
Italian "finestra" (whose French reflex is "fenetre") or Latin "fenestra"
itself; I don't know the etymology of this, but its more fundamental
meaning is certainly "opening", in which sense it is used in anatomy.
English has the lovely word "defenestrate", meaning "to execute by
throwing someone out a window", or more recently "to remove Windows from
a computer and replace it with something useful". :-)

In Spanish it's "ventana", clearly back to the wind again, and in
Portuguese "janela" is beyond me.

--
John Cowan           http://www.ccil.org/~cowan              [log in to unmask]
To say that Bilbo's breath was taken away is no description at all.  There
are no words left to express his staggerment, since Men changed the language
that they learned of elves in the days when all the world was wonderful.
        --_The Hobbit_