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Linguistic-Historical Implications of an Old Germanic Loan – Romanian gard ‘fence, enclosure, weir, garden’

Adrian Poruciuc


Published: 2009/12/01


The author of this article aims to clarify the etymology of the much discussed Romanian term gard. Three main etymological explanations have so far been proposed for that term: (1) earliest of all, Diez considered that Gothic gards (‘house, homestead, household enclosure, court, courtyard, praetorium, household, family’) could account for both Romanian gard and Albanian gardh (‘fence, hedge, palisade, dam’); about one century later Gamillscheg also sustained the Old Germanic origin of Romanian gard; (2) most other scholars joined Miklosich’s authoritative opinion according to which Romanian gard simply derived from Old Slavic grad? (‘city’); (3) in more recent times, several specialists considered Romanian gard to be a substratal (Thraco-Dacian) term closely related to Albanian gardh. The present author puts forward his own arguments (linguistic, as well as historical, archaeological and ethnological) in favor of the Old Germanic origin of Romanian gard.

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