The semantic derivation from hanc hodie "this here day" to "also", "even" etc. does make no sense to me. The editor who added the etymology to wiki/anca and a many other languages, that share this idiom, wasn't very careful at least when formatting the entry (Edit: so that I totally missed the supposed connection to hanc hodie, but this does not change the question).

The reason I'm asking is, actually, Turkish ancak "only, best; but", which as a conjunction reminds more of anca; or Persian inja, anja "here, there". I sceptically doubt the Latin etymology, because what's broadly labled as Persian, that came to be identified with e.g. Ossetian, had been active west of the Black See. It would be nice to have that ruled out. But of course that has little to do with Latin or Greek, probably.

Since the sound change--which might be regular, that is the lack of h--is presented, one has to wonder two questions: First, whether vulgar Latin had this; Second; if it was ever there in the first place. It would be easier to follow the root in an-ja.

It's understandable that a word meaning here, there, then, etc could come to be used as conjunction, but that's a bit slim. Is it etymologically sound, as far as Latin or vulgar Latin is concerned?

  • 4
    You should check the etymology info of the most obvious cognate, that being the Italian anche. Commented Oct 26, 2019 at 18:09
  • Well that doesn't explain much. How could hanc hodie - that is this here today if I understand correctly - or the alternative with ora come to mean also, even? I understand that some female noun is needed for the inflection to make sense (die "m or f" is another can of worms).
    – vectory
    Commented Oct 26, 2019 at 18:31
  • 1
    Check etimo.it/?term=anche (I do not understand Italian). Commented Oct 27, 2019 at 19:14
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    What do you think of ancora?
    – Draconis
    Commented Oct 27, 2019 at 23:14
  • @draconis, since I had checked a bunch of different spellings when I couldn't find Turkish ancas (because it actually is amcas "cops"), I have to say, my thought is anchored in the east, so to speak. Now, I wouldn't mention Parthian ʾnjʾr‎ "(anjār), “behaviour”" if it doesn't readily give "vice squad", though it derives Persian هنجار "(hanjār) way, rule, law; habit, custom; norm", and it is akin to Sanskr. sam-cara "path" (? cp sam-sara?); But I find even and the like related to straight eveness in similiar idioms (Ger glatt, gerade, eben, just …), as for roads, anyway.
    – vectory
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 5:54

2 Answers 2


Hanc hodie, literally "this today", is already attested in Plautus's time: the ho- element in hodie (originally a form of hic "this") had gotten semantically bleached until it was no longer emphatic, so an extra form of hic was added to get proper emphasis ("on this day!").

Loss of /h/, similarly, happened very early on: by the first century BCE we have poets mocking hypercorrect pronunciations that add [h] in the wrong places, which we wouldn't expect to see if it were still pronounced.

For the semantic development, I'd compare Italian ancora and its relatives, originally from Latin hanc hōram "this hour" but eventually coming to mean "still, yet, again, more, even". It has various cognates across the Romance languages, including English "encore" (borrowed from French), implying that the shift had already happened in Vulgar Latin. Italian anco (later anche) and Dalmatian anca might come from clippings of this, or from a parallel development in hanc hodie; the results are the same either way.

I don't find the proposed Turkish connection nearly as convincing. For one, the Turkish word is pronounced broadly [and͡ʒak], while the Dalmatian was broadly [aŋka]; the Turkish also emphasizes one thing happening in spite of another, while the Romance emphasizes one thing happening along with another. I don't speak Farsi, nor have I been able to find any information on a Farsi word "anja", so I can't comment on that one.

  • The French also emphasizes one thing happening again after it stopped, while the romance emphasizes one thing happening along with another. I'm updating the question with a link to anja.
    – vectory
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 20:18

I will try to translate the reference, and hope for downvotes and corrections if I had anything wrong

Original from 2004-2008 Francesco Bonomi - Vocabolario Etimologico della Lingua Italiana

anche, anco sembra ad alcuni troncato

dal prov. ANCUI (a.fr encui, dial.lomb.

encoi) che significo quest'oggi, dal lat.

HANC-HODIE; altri lo tratto dal lat.

(AD)HANC sottinteso HORAM, d'onde la voce

ancora, sebbene faccia difficolta il tronca-

mento specialmente della partic. AD, della

quale non sembra possa farsi a meno, come

nol si potrebbe dell' IN nella espressione IN

QUESTA per in questa contingenza; e final-

mente, come inclinerebbe a ritenere il

Diez, riprovato dal Körting, vuolsi deri-

vato dal lat. ADHUC ancora, inoltre med-

iante le forme AUC, AUNC, ANC, da cui

pure il rtr. AUNC. -- Particella che ora e

copulativa, corrrispondante ad Ancora,

Exiandio; talora e avverbio e vale Molto,

Benissimo, Certamente ecc.

My translation does make and less sense towarda the end. From the second sentence on I am way uncertain.

anche, anco resembles a short truncation

of prov. [provoncial] ANCUI (a.fr. [ancient French] encui, dial.lomb. [dialectal Lombardic / Lombardic dialect]

ancoi) which means quest'oggi ["today", Det.+"today"?], from Latin

HANC-HODIE; Others want to treat it as from Latin

(AD)HANC with HORAM implied, giving the word

ancora, although not without problems,

especially from the riddance of the partic. [particle] AD,

which in no other instance comes to mind, just

as much as the particle IN is not omitted in IN

QUESTA for example in questa condizione "under what condition"; And final-

ly, as inclined as is Diez, following Körting, to think of deriving from ADHUC: ancora, inoltre via

the forms AUC, AUNC, ANC, whence

also rtr. [Retoromanic=Aromanian] AUNC. -- Particles of

time being copula, corresponding to Ancora,

do exist; Sometimes they are adverbs and expressing variously agreement or certainty.


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