Gaulish cara vs. Latin cara: towards the problem of archaic semantic syncretism.

2015. №5, 120-135

Tatyana A. Mikhailova
Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, 119991, Russia;
Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 125009, Russia


The departing point of the article is the Gaulish inscription from Trier No. 3909 (CIL) in which the Latin word cara ‘nice, dear’ is used in the meaning ‘loving’. The author finds many errors of the same type in late Latin funerary inscriptions from Gallia and gives a suggestion, that this error was influenced by the labile meaning of the Gaulish caros, cara, having both meanings: ‘dear’ and ‘loving’. The problem of semantic shift ‘dear’ — ‘to love’ and the idea of archaic polysemantic is also discussed.