Studia Turcologica Cr acoviensia
K amil Stachowski
Names of Cereals
in the Turkic Languages
K. Stachowski Names of Cereals in the Turkic Languages
(born 1981) is an assistant lecturer in the Chair of
Languages of Central Asia and Siberia at the Jagiel-
lonian University. His main elds of interest are ety-
mology and historical linguistics. He studied Turkish
philology at the Jagiellonian University. He published
seven articles (one currently in print), took part in
two international conferences and held a lecture at
the Polish Academy of Sciences.
Names of Cereals in the Turkic Languages
e work presents etymologies of the Turkic names
for the seven most important cereals: barley, corn,
millet, oats, rice, rye and wheat. Altogether, 106 names
As yet, this subject has not been dealt with as a whole.
Propositions for etymologies of various names in sin-
gle languages are scattered in dictionaries and arti-
cles, usually only accompanied by a brief explanation.
Here, the author tries to provide a possibly compre-
Each entry presents a list of phonetic variants of the
word, an overview of previous etymologies and the
author’s standpoint expressed as exhaustively as pos-
sible but without loquacity.
e work closes with an enumeration and brief com-
mentary of the most common naming patterns and
semantic types which can be distinguished in the
9 788371 880988
Jagiellonian University · Institute of Oriental Philolology
Jagiellonian University · Institute of Oriental Philolology
Names of Cereals
in the Turkic Languages
prof. dr hab. Henryk Jankowski
© Copyright by
Kamil Stachowski and
Książka doﬁnansowana przez
ul. św. Anny 6, 31–008 Kraków
tel./fax: (012) 431·27·43
tel.: 422·10·33 wew. 11·67
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Barley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Corn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Millet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Oats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Rice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Rye . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Wheat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Final Remarks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Abbreviations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Literature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Index of non-Turkic forms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A S T W
e aim of this work is to work out the etymologies of the names of the seven most im-
portant cereals (barley
Oryza Sativa L., rye Secale Cereale L., and wheat Tr it icum L.) in the Turkic languages.
e current, rather uneven state of comparative dialectology and lexicography of the
Turkic languages does not allow us to perform full comparisons. We have therefore lim-
ited ourselves to literary names, and only included selected dialectal forms. For the same
reason, the names of subspecies and varieties have been excluded.
S A S
Our subject has not as yet been dealt with as a whole. Of the papers in the Turkic languages
that are devoted to the names of plants (not just cereals) the most detailed has been written
L.V. Dmitrieva (). is, however, only contains an extremely limited commentary. Ety-
mological propositions for various names in single languages are scattered in etymological
dictionaries, generally only accompanied by a brief explanation, and in numerous articles
where a more comprehensive commentary is usually provided.
e bulk of the sources used in this paper are dictionaries, mainly Russian post-rev-
olutionary ones (abbreviated RKirgS, TuwRS &c.), also etymological dictionaries (an
especially large amount of data is to be found in ÈSTJa), various articles and publications
devoted to the vocabulary and/or grammar of single languages, and descriptions of dialects
– Alphabetical list of forms ordered by pronunciation
Enables a preliminary investigation of the phonetical diversity of names. All variants
are ordered alphabetically and linked with a system of cross-references.
– Alphabetical list of forms ordered by languages
Presents the diversity of the names in one language. Comparing the stock of names in
languages from one group can help to nd out which forms should be treated as the
– Brief overview of previous etymologies
For lesser investigated words, we have tried to summarise the entire literature available
to us. For those which are better known, we have only selected the most important
works. All papers have been treated equally, including the ones which we cannot be
ready to accept, given the present state of art.
e commentary consists of a discussion with the propositions summarised before and
a presentation of our own views.
We have tried to present all Turkic forms in a unied, phonological transcription. e dis-
tinction between palatal
has only been preserved for OUyg., Uyg. and Uzb.,
as in all the other languages it is unequivocally determined by the position. By the same
token, we have abandoned the marking of labialization of
a in Uzb. (as resulting system-
atically from the orthography) and of spirantization of s and z in Trkm.; however, we
have preserved it in Bšk. where it has a phonological signicance. Apart from this, a dual
transcription has been employed for
e: wide ä vs narrow e for languages where they are
separate phonemes, and neutral
e for the others.
I am grateful to many people for helping me in various ways. Most of all, I would like to
express my special gratitude to (alphabetically):
– Professor Árpád Berta (Szeged, Hungary) for expert advice and access to his working
– László Károly, MA (Szeged, Hungary) for helping me access some of the more inac-
– Doctor Kinga Maciuszak (Cracow, Poland) for professional advice and Iranistic help,
– Professor Andrzej Pisowicz (Cracow, Poland) for professional advice and Iranistic help,
– Professor Marek Stachowski (Cracow, Poland) for a great amount of help and time without
which this work would not be completed,
– Professor Alexander Vovin (Honolulu, USA) for Sinological help.
Barley was one of the rst domesticated cereals in the world. e oldest grains of spelt are
thought to be nine thousand years old, and have been found in Jarmo, Kurdistan from
where it probably originates. Its cultivation had spread westwards from this region around
millennium BC, to Mespotamia, Egypt and elsewhere.
Domesticated barley (
Hordeum vulgare) is believed to have originated from the eastern part
of the Central Asian Centre, from where it spread West and South-West, i.e. to India, Persia,
Mesopotamia, Syria and Egypt, and later to Greece and Italy (
c. BC) and even further.
e area between Siberia and the Pacic is now used for the cultivation of barley, but
the plant was only introduced there in the
Compared to other cereals, especially to wheat which is equally old, or perhaps even
older, barley has very few varieties: species, including stable, but they already existed
in the second half of the
millennium BC. In the ancient world, barley was very popular;
almost every higher culture cultivated it.
Names for ‘barley’ are most uniform in the Turkic languages. Almost all languages have
the word arpa, and all the other names only have a very limited range. Interestingly, barley
is quite oen identied or confused with oats, and while Tel. sula ‘barley’ < ‘oats’, all the
other examples of this confusion display just the opposite direction of development. is
is understandable given the chronology of domestication of these two cereals – cf. com-
julaf (point ), and arpakan and harva ‘oats’, and footnote .
CTat .: arpa
Čuv.: orpa, urpa
arpa || BARLEY
apa Uyg.: Raquette , ÈSTJa, Dmi trieva
arba Khak.: Dmitrieva , ÈSTJa, Dmi trieva , Çevilek || Küär.: R I t,
Räsänen : , Joki , Eren || Kyzyl: Joki , || MTkc.MK: Egorov
|| MTkc.Zam: Egorov || Oyr.: R I t, Räsänen : , Joki ,
Egorov , RAltS, VEWT, Dmitrieva , ÈSTJa, Dmitrieva , Eren ,
Çevilek || Sag.: Joki || Tel.: R I t, Räsänen : , Joki ,
Ryumina-Sırkaşeva/Kuçigaşeva , Eren
arbaj Tuv. : RTuwS, Egorov , Tata rincev –, Çevilek
arpa Az.: Räsänen : , Joki , RAzS, Egorov , Dmitrieva ,
ÈSTJa || Blk.: ÈSTJa || Bšk.: RBškS, Egorov , Dmitrieva , ÈSTJa, Eren
|| Crm.: Joki || CTat.: Zaatovъ , ÈSTJa || Čag.: Räsänen : , Joki ,
VEWT || Gag.: ÈSTJa || Kar.: Joki || KarC: KRPS, Levi || KarH: Mard-
kowicz , KRPS || KarT: Kowalski , KRPS || Khal.: Doerfer/Tezcan ,
Doerfer || Kirg.: Mašanovъ , RKirgS-Ju, RKirgS-Ju, Egorov ,
Dmi trie va , ÈSTJa, Eren || Kklp.: RKklpS-BB, RKklpS-ST, Ego rov ,
RKklpS-B, Dmitrieva , ÈSTJa, Eren || Kmk.: Räsänen : , Joki ,
RKmkS, Egorov , Dmitrieva , ÈSTJa || Krč.Blk.: RKrčBlkS, Dmitrieva
|| Kzk.: RKzkS-, Räsänen : , Joki , RKzkS-, Ego rov , Dmitrieva
, ÈSTJa, DFKzk, Eren || MTkc.: Räsänen : || MTkc.H: () Houtsma
|| MTkc.IM: VEWT || MTkc.KD: Golden || MTkc.MK: Joki ,
Danko/Kelly – || MTkc.Zam: Egorov , Dmitrieva || Nog.: RNogS,
Egorov , Dmitrieva , ÈSTJa || Oghuz.Ir.: Doerfer/Hesche || OTkc.: Räsänen
: , Joki , Dmitrieva || Ott.: () Wiesentahl , Räsänen : ,
Joki , VEWT || OUyg.: Çevilek || Tat.: Voskresenskij , Imanaevъ ,
Tanievъ , Räsänen : , Joki , RTatS-D, Egorov , Dmitrieva
K a rT: arpa
Khak.: arba, as, köče
Kirg.: arpa, arpakan
Kzk.: arpa, tak-tak
MTkc.MA: arba, arpa
MTkc.MK: arba, arpa,
OTkc.: arpa, arpagan
Ott.: arpa, ša‘īr
SarUyg.: arva, harva
Tat.: arpa, arpagan
Te l .: arba, sula
Tof . : jačmeń
Trkm.: arpa, arpagan
Tu v. : arbaj, arvaj, köže
Uyg.: apa, arpa, erpe
Yak.: nečimien, nehimien,
BARLEY || arpa
, ÈSTJa, RTatS-G || Tat.Gr.: Podolsky || Tksh.: Egorov , Dmitrieva ,
ÈSTJa, Çevilek || Trkm.: Alijiv/Böörijif , Räsänen : , RTrkmS, Nikitin/
Kerbabaev , Ego rov , Dmitrieva , Eren , Dmitrieva || Uyg.: Raquette
, Räsänen : , Joki , RUjgS, Egorov , VEWT, ÈSTJa, Dmitrieva
, , Jarring : , Çevilek || Uzb.: Nalivkinъ , Lapin , Smo-
lenskij , RUzbS-A, Egorov , RUzbS-Š, Dmitrieva , ÈSTJa
arpä MTkc.MA.B: Borovkov :
arva SarUyg.: Çevilek
arvaj Tuv. : ÈSTJa, Dmitrieva
erpe Uyg.: Çevilek
harva SarUyg.: Çevilek
urpa Čuv.: Nikolьskij , RČuvS-D, RČuvS-E, Egorov , VEWT, RČuvS-A,
Dmitrieva , , Eren
Az.: arpa || Blk.: arpa || Bšk.: arpa || Com.: arpa || Crm.: arpa || CTat.: arpa || Čag.: arpa
|| Čuv.: orpa, urpa || Gag.: arpa || Kar.: arpa || KarC: arpa || KarH: arpa || KarT: arpa ||
Khak.: arba || Khal.: arpa || Kirg.: arpa || Kklp.: arpa || Kmk.: arpa || Krč.Blk.: arpa ||
Küär.: arba || Kyzyl: arba || Kzk.: arpa || MTkc.: arpa || MTkc.H: arpa || MTkc.IM: arpa
|| MTkc.KD: arpa || MTkc.MA: arba, arpa || MTkc.MA.B: arpä || MTkc.MK: arba,
arpa || Nog.: arpa || Oghuz.Ir.: arpa || OTkc.: arpa || Ott.: arpa || OUyg.: arpa || Oyr.:
arba || Sag.: arba || Tat.: arpa || Tat.Gr.: arpa || Tel.: arba || Tksh.: arpa || Trkm.: arpa
|| Tuv.: arbaj, arvaj || Uyg.: apa, arpa, erpe || Uzb.: arpa
: Räsänen: : limits himself to a comparison with Mo. arbaj, Ma. arfa,
Afgh. ōrbūšah, Gr. ὀλφα [sic; cf. KWb and Steblin-Kamenskij ]
: Joki: the Altaic forms belong to the same group as Afgh. and Gr., ‘but not directly’
against uniting PIE *
albhi-, Gr. ἄλφι and Alb. eľp [eľbi]
: TMEN : Tkc. > Mo. (> Sal., Tuv.; Ma.), Hung. et al.
against the possibility of PIE *
albhi- > Ir. *arpa-, but does not exclude the pos-
sibility of IE origin in general
: Egorov: limits himself to enumerating forms from various Tkc. languages
: VEWT: limits himself to providing bibliography and remarking that Hung. árpa
‘barley’ < Čuv. urpa
: Clauson: ? < IE (? Toch.) (referring to TMEN )
: ÈSTJa: limits himself to summarizing previous propositions
: KWb: puts together Tkc.
arpaj and Ma. arfa, Afgh. ōrbūšah, Gr. ἀλφι
: Dmitrieva f.: < OIr. or old IE; or common in Alt. and IE
arbaj, Tuv. arvaj < Mo.
: Steblin-Kamenskij: puts together Afgh.
orbəši, urbeši et al. < ? *arpasyā- (aer
EVP) and maybe Gr.
ἄλφι, ἄλφιτον ‘(pearl) barley (porridge); our’
: Róna-Tas: : quotes the comparison with Gr.
alton, Alb. eľp and Ir. *arb/pa
allowing the possibility of < Ir. *
arb/pa, but remarks that the Ir. form has only
been reconstructed basing on the Tkc. ones; Ma.
arfa, Mo. arbaj < Tkc.
arpa || BARLEY
: EWU: probably from some IE language
árpa ‘barley’ from some Tkc. language, cf. Uyg., Com. arpa, Čuv. urpa,
: Jarring: : probably < IE (? Toch.)
: Eren: limits himself to summarizing previous propositions
: Tatarincev: *
ar- ‘to multiply oneself, to be numerous’ + -p intens. + -a
Joki’s proposition not grounded suciently
: Tietze: limits himself to quoting Doerfer’s : opinion on borrowing from
Mo. to Tkc.
: NEVP: unclear expression: ‘if Pashto
orbəša et al. < *arpasyā, then cf. Tkc. arpa’
: Çevilek: accepts Clauson’s proposition
is word is unusually common in the Tkc. languages, and, at rst glance, the phonetic
diversity of all its forms is surprisingly small.
is commonality might be understood
as a sign that the Tkc. people became acquainted with barley very early on, perhaps as
one of the rst cereals. e uniformity of the sounding should probably be attributed
to the phonetically very simple structure of the word, which does not provoke any seri-
ous changes by itself.
e meaning of the word is the same everywhere, too, except for
. SarUyg. harva which means both ‘barley’ and ‘oats’ (cf.), . for an obvious inuence
of Russ. in Bšk., Tat. and Tksh. meanings of ‘stye’ (aer ÈSTJa; see also VEWT), and
. for a simple semantic shi in Az.dial. ‘ladies’ barley grain shaped decoration’ &c.
e name is also present in the Mo. and Ma. languages, where it is probably a loan-
word from Tkc. cf. ÈSTJa for further bibliography.
Almost all the etymologists dealing with this word limit themselves to quoting previ-
ous works (oen quite inaccurately) about the possible Ir. origin.
Only some of them
add their own commentary, which is usually not particularly innovative.
Perhaps Sal. arfa and Tuv. arva deserve a bit more interest, as the spirantization of p could be
regarded as a trace that these forms are not a continuation of OTkc. *arpa, but rather borrowings
from one of the Mo. languages (cf. Klmk.dial. arva – however, meaning ‘oats’), or alternately,
though this does not seem very probable due to cultural-historical reasons, from Ma.
‘oats’). However, it might be equally probable that the spirantization is a trivial
innovation in these languages, cf. SarUyg. harva ‘oats’.
Also Sal. ahrun ‘barley our’ < arfa un (Kakuk : ) has a strange sounding which does
not seem to be explicable by any regular phonetic law.
However, beyond the Tkc. languages the situation is not so simple any more. A Ma. form
quoted by Räsänen and Ramstedt is not entirely clear phonetically. Cincius : f. gives
two examples of such a correspondence: Ma.
- ‘shoot a bow’ = Even, Evk., Nan., Sol.,
Ulč. -rp-, Mo. -rv- and Ma. arfuku ‘мухогонка’ = Even, Evk., Ulč. -rp-, both qoted by Benzing
: ; but the derivation, and additionally the word gabta- are marked with a question mark
(although the entire expression is unclear).
It seems to us that this proposition is relatively improbable. e word is not found beyond
eastern Ir. languages, has no etymology there, and apparently no cognates, either. See below.
BARLEY || arpagan
To our knowledge, the only exception here has been made by Tatarincev – who
submitted his own – and more importantly a very probable – proposition: *ar- ‘multiply
oneself, be numerous’ + -p intensication + -a, cf. OTkc. arka ‘multitude; collection;
crowd; group’, Mo.
arbin ‘plentiful’ et al.
Possibly, an interesting addition to this hypotheses might be made of OJap. *
‘millet’ (Martin : , Omodaka )
which, it seems, may be genetically related
to the Tkc. form – and then to the Mo. and Ma. ones, too. If this was indeed true, it
would give added weight to Tatarincev’s proposition.
It remains to be determined whether Pashto
orbəša &c. are borrowings from Tkc. (not
very plausible for cultural-historical reasons but denitely not impossible
realization of a much older cultural wanderwort of unknown origin (which seems to be
quite probable but is absolutely impossible to determine, at least for now)
, or whether
the similarity of these words is a pure coincidence. e current state of art does not
allow for a nal answer.
AR PAGA N
arpagan OTkc.: Dmitrieva ‘wild barley’ || Tat.: ÈSTJa ‘wild barley; a plant similar to
barley’, Dmitrieva || Trkm.: Dmitrieva ‘agropyron’
arpagān MTkc.MK: Danko/Kelly – ‘a plant similar to barley’
arpakan Kirg.: ÈSTJa ‘wild barley; common wild oat (Avena fatua)’
Kirg.: arpakan || MTkc.MK: arpagān || OTkc.: arpagan || Tat.: arpagan || Trkm.:
: ÈSTJa: < arpa ‘barley’ + -gan
is form has a very clear structure. -gan is quite a popular sux for plant names, here
with a distinct meaning of ‘similar to, such as’. Cf.
e MTkc.MK long -
ā in the sux is supposedly a transcription of alef, and not
an actual length of the vowel, otherwise completely incomprehensible.
is word is attested as early as the oldest Jap. monument, Man’yōshū (
enough, it is written with the 粟 sign, nowadays used for Mand. sù < MChin. sjowk > OTkc.
and others sök ‘millet’ (cf.).
If so, then probably from a PxSg form (in a compound?).
Such a solution should also be considered for Hung.
árpa, whose origin from Čuv. is not likely
for phonetic reasons (Čuv. o/u- vs Hung. á-). From among the possible sources quoted in EWU,
Com. arpa seems to be most probable phonetically and cultural-historically but perhaps other
sources with non-Čuv. sounding can not be entirely excluded, too.
as || BARLEY
as Khak.: Dmitrieva
aš Brb.: R I b || Šr. R I b
Brb.: aš || Khak.: as || Šr.: aš
: ÈSTJA: < Ir. āš ‘soup’
Corresponds with Tkc. aš ‘food’ et al., including Khak., Kmk. ‘cereal’; Oyr., Tat.dial.
‘cereal in ears and the like’; Khak., Oyr. ‘grain’, presumably < Ir. (ÈSTJa). e word appears
in many Tkc. languages in dierent meanings (ÈSTJa) which can be reduced to three
groups: . ‘soup’, ‘pila’; . ‘food, nourishment’, and . ‘cereal’, ‘grain’. ÈSTJa believes the
rst group to be a Čag. innovation (even though such a meaning is attested in MIr. where
the word originates from), the second group represents the original meaning (this is the
only meaning attested in older Tkc. monuments), and the third one to be a later concre-
tization of meaning . (it only appears in Brb., Khak., Kmk., Oyr., Tat.dial. and Šr.).
In the oldest monuments, the word is only attested in the meaning of ‘food, nour-
ishment’ (ÈSTJa). However, it does not seem to be very probable that such a meaning
would evolve into ‘cereal’, ‘grain’ and so on in Khak., Kmk., Oyr., Tat.dial. &c. We
would rather believe that it is these languages that preserved the original meaning
from before the OTkc. period. is hint, together with the commonness of the word
in Tkc. could suggest that its relationship to Ir.
aš ‘kind of soup’ has just the opposite
direction than the one suggested by ÈSTJa. However, the Ir. word has an established
āš < Skr. āśa ‘food, nourishment’ (Turner –: ), Skr. aca- in
prataraca- ‘breakfast’, Av. kahrkasa- ‘Hühnerfresser’ (Horn : ). us, we should
probably accept the slightly strange evolution from ‘food’ to . ‘soup’, . ‘cereal’, where
. must have come into existence still in the OTkc. period.
Whether Khak. has evolved the meaning of ‘barley’ from ‘cereal; grain’, or independ-
ently (i.e. from the original ‘food, nourishment’), cannot be determined with certainty.
e latter seems, however, to be more plausible because: . it has almost always been
wheat and not barley, that was the most important cereal for the Tkc. peoples, and
so we would rather expect ‘cereal; grain’ to evolve into ‘wheat’, rather than ‘barley’;
. barley was an important part of nourishment in the form of a gruel or a pulp; also,
beer was made from it (Tryjarski : , ) which seems to point to the evolution
from the meaning of ‘soup’ rather than ‘cereal; grain’.
: jačmeń To f. : RTofS
: as yet not discussed
: < Russ. jačmenь id.
BARLEY || köče
köče Khak.: RChakS, ÈSTJa, Tata rin cev
köže Tu v. : RTuwS, Tatarincev
Khak.: köče || Tuv.: köže
: ÈSTJa s.v. köǯe: < Pers. gouǯe ‘Prunus divaricata Ledeb. [species of plum]’
: Tatarincev: < *
köč- ‘to reduce (oneself)’
is word is quite common in the Tkc. languages in dierent meanings. Almost all
of them are names of various dishes or their components (most oen, our) made of
cereals (barley, corn, millet and wheat, very occasionally rice and sorghum as well), and
only in a few cases of cereals or grains. In dialects other meanings sporadically appear,
too (see below). A comprehensive list can be found in ÈSTJa.
e geographical distribution of the meanings does not seem to contribute much to
our understanding. Only Tksh. dialects have all four meanings of the most important
cereals at once, and only in eastern Siberia is there no other meaning present but ‘barley’.
Apart from Tksh. dialects, ‘barley’ appears in the North and East, ‘corn’ in the South,
and ‘millet’ and ‘wheat’ in the centre, which corresponds quite precisely to the ranges
of cultivation of these cereals. When taking all of this into account, one could try to
suppose that all these meanings are relatively young, but it must not be forgotten that
the word is attested in the Tkc. languages from the
c., and the choice of cereals
for cultivation is mainly inuenced by climate, which has not changed signicantly
in the last few centuries.
e etymology proposed by ÈSTJa does not seem to be grounded very well from the
semantic point of view, as it assumes the following evolution: Pers. ‘species of plum’ [> (a)
Tkc. ‘mulberry fruits our’ > (b) ‘our made of roasted barley or wheat’] > (c) ‘our
of various cereals’ > (d) ‘various dishes of cereals’ &c., which is only supported by the
following facts: . [in the Pamir. languages] ‘mulberry fruits our’ and ‘our made of
roasted barley or wheat’ was designated by one word; . Uzb.dial., Tksh.dial.
‘species of mulberry’; . Uzb.dial. gȫǯә ‘species of plum’. While (c) > (d) is trivial, (a) is
not very likely, and it must be remembered that (b) refers to the Pamir. languages, not
Tkc. Whether the information that mulberry fruits our became so popular in Pamir
that it ousted our made of cereals, also refers to Tkc. is unclear (cf. Steblin-Kamenskij
: , quoted by ÈSTJa). We believe that these diculties provide sucient reason
to discard the etymology. e still unclear forms . and . may be understood as a quite
strange evolution, probably under Pers. inuence, especially in the case of .
Tatarincev is against this etymology, too.
Tatarincev’s proposition seems to be much more likely. He derives
köče < *köč-, and
supports this reconstruction with words like Tkc. g/küčük ‘puppy; young of an animal’,
sula || BARLEY
also ‘bud’, köš/ček ‘young of a camel’, also ‘young of an animal’, and Tksh. güǯük ‘short;
without tail’, göč(k)en ‘(one year old) hare’ and so on.
As to the derivation, it might be regarded as being problematic, that the word has a
long vowel in Trkm. (kȫǯe). But a secondary evolution in Trkm. is possible, too – under
the inuence of Pers. gouǯe?
e reconstruction of *
köč- is very interesting but it seems to us that the examples
listed by Tatarincev point quite clearly to the original meaning of ‘to be small’ rather
than ‘to reduce (oneself)’. Actually, this seems to t
köǯe even better (barley grains are
: sula Te l .: Ryumina-Sırkaşeva/Kuçigaşeva
: see süle ‘oats’
is word is one of the examples of the quite common identifying/confusing of ‘barley’
and ‘oats’: cf. commentary on julaf (point ) and arpakan, harva and taγ arpasy ‘oats’.
Only the direction is unclear here: this is the only word where ‘barley’ < ‘oats’.
: ša‘īr Ott.: () Wiesentahl , ša‘īr Redhouse
: as yet not discussed
: < Arab.
: tak-tak Kzk.: ‘wild barley’ DFKzk
: as yet not discussed
is name is completely obscure. Presumably, Kzk. tak ‘. throne; . odd number’ cor-
responds to Uyg.
‘. mountain; . odd number’, but the semantic relationship is
utterly unclear. Also, the word has a strange structure which we cannot explain.
: ǯeh Tksh.dial.: Pisowicz :
: : Pisowicz: : < Kurd. ǯeh ‘barley’
: We can see no aw in the etymology presented by Pisowicz : .
BARLEY || ǯehimien
nečimien Ya k.: Pekarskij –, Ani kin
nehimien Ya k.: Anikin
ńečimien Yak.: Pekarskij –, Slepcov : , , Anikin
ńesemen [ɔ: -h-] Yak.: Pekarskij –, Anikin
žesemen [ɔ: ǯehemen] Yak.: (
ǯehimien Yak.: RJakS, Anikin
ǯesemen [ɔ: -h-] Yak.: Pekarskij –, Anikin
: Slepcov: < Russ. jačmeń ‘barley’
: Dmitrieva: < Russ.
: Anikin: Russ.
jačméń (alternately. Sib. *jašméń) > Yak. ǯesemen > other forms,
cf. Ubrjatova : for
ǯ- ~ n- / ń- , and indicates Russ. člen > Yak. čilien,
silien for -s- ~ -č- and refers to Slepcov :
e etymology presented by Slepcov and more comprehensively by Anikin
is undoubtedly true in general. However, it is unclear to us why Anikin believes
ǯesemen is the oldest form, from which ńesemen and ńečimien evolved by means
It seems that his reasoning is based solely on the sounding of these forms, but it is
impossible to unambiguously settle the chronology of their borrowing, as assimilation
depends not so much on the time of borrowing, as on how well the borrower knew
Russian, and therefore it can only help to establish a chronology expressed in genera-
tions, not in absolute years; cf. Stachowski, M. b: . e dierences between the
forms are: . anlaut (
ǯ-, n-, ń-), . adaptation of Russ. -s- (-h-, -č-), . epentetic vowel
e-, -i-) and . yielding or not of the Russ. accent (-ie-, -e-). From among these features
only . lets us draw some conclusions regarding chronology: in the Tkc. languages
epentetic vowels are high
, and so -e- should be understood as a result of assimilation.
We believe therefore that
> Yak. *
phonetics, cf. ebies ‘oats’.
is is a constant feature of the Tkc. languages; cf. e.g. the necessity of Tkc. mediation in Hung.
király ‘king’ << Southern Slav.dial. *kral’ь or similar (Helimskij : ). Cf. also aryš ‘rye’.
Tu v .
zea mays .
Corn originates from the Mesoamerican centre. e rst traces of cultivation of corn were
found in the Tehuacán valley, Mexico. ey are dated around
millennium BC, while
the domestication probably happened between
millennium BC. e oldest
remains of cobs of a cultivated form are dated – years BC and were found in the
ies in Bat Cave, Mexico (cobs from these period are just mm long). e oldest pollen
of a wild form was discovered in the city of Mexico and is about thousand years old. All
presently known forms of corn are domesticated; wild forms have not survived at all.
Corn was extremely important for all the cultures of Central and South America, and
was also known in North America. It appeared very oen, and it still does, as a motif in
art, and it played a role in mythology and religious rituals. Columbus mentioned it as early
as November , and brought it to Europe a year later when he came back from his
rst voyage. From Spain (cultivations in Andalusia since ), it spread to Southern and
Central Europe (Fr.
blé d’Espagne, G. Welschkorn), and to Middle East and Anatolia from
where it diused further. Eastern and Central Europe (for the second time) learned about
it later, from the Turks (cf. e.g. Slvn. turščica; Cz. turkyně; Pol. pszenica turecka and Fr. blé de
Turquie, G. türkischer Weizen and türkisch Korn, It. granturco et al.). e Portuguese played
a great role in its circulation by delivering it to Java as early as , to Angola about ,
to China in and to the Philippines in (Nowiński : –.)
e Latin name is a compound of Lat.
zēa ‘type of grain’ + mays < Sp. maís, máis <
mahíz < Taino maisí, majisí ‘corn’. Fr. maïs and Eng. maize are borrowings from Spanish
In the Tkc. languages there are altogether dierent names for ‘corn’. Nine of them are
compounds built of an attribute + name of another plant, or are an abbreviation of this
model. In three (four?) of them the attribute is a place name, always referring to an Arabic
country (Mäkke, Mısır, Şam, ? käbä bödoj).
ažy bijdaj aži bijdaj
käbä bodaj käbä bödoj
köma qonaq (kömme) qonaq
kömbö konok (kömme)
kömek (kömme) qonaq
köme qonaq (kömme) qonaq
kömür qonaq (kömme)
konag (kömme) qonaq
makkažavari meke žügörü
makkažŭxori meke žügörü
makka(-)ǯuari meke žügörü
aži bijdaj || CORN
mäkke žueri meke žügörü
mekke ǯeven mekgeǯöven
mysir bogdaj mysyr
mysyr bogdaj mysyr (bugdajy)
mysyr bugdaj mysyr
qonaq (kömme) qonaq
Bšk.: kukuruz || kukuruza
CTat .: mysir bogdaj
Čuv.: kukkurus || kukurusь
KarC: kokoroz ||
KarH: basadohan || sary
Kirg.: meke žügörü || žügöri
|| žügörü || ǯügeri
Kirg.dial.: kömbö konok
Kklp.: mäkke || mäkke žueri
Krč.Blk.: nartux || nartüx ||
Nog.: aži bijdaj || ažy bijdaj
Ott.: kokoroz || ? mysyr bogdaj
|| ? mysyr bugdaj || šam
Tat.: käbä bodaj || käbä bödoj
|| kargi-dali || kukurus ||
kukuruz || kukuruza
Tksh.: mysyr (bugdajy)
Tksh.dial.: dary || kokoroz ||
Trkm.: mekgeǯöven || mekke
Tu v. : kukuruza
Uyg.: bordoq || čüžgün qonaq
|| köma qonaq || kömek
|| köme qonaq || kömme
qonaq || kömür qonaq ||
Uzb.: makkažavari ||
makkažŭhori || makka(-)
ǯuari || mokka-ǯavari ||
Yak.: kukurūsa || kukuruza
: aži bijdaj Nog.: RNogS || ažy bijdaj Dmitrieva :
: : Dmitrieva: < ažy ‘bitter’ + bijdaj ‘wheat’
While it is not easy to present a convincing counterargument for the etymology pro-
posed in Dmitrieva , neither can one accept it without reservations. Semantics is
denitely its weak point. Grains of wheat might indeed have a sweetish taste when
compared to other cereals, but they certainly can not be regarded as sweeter than corn,
which has a very distinct sweet avour. Certainly it is not sweet enough to make it a
ough we are not able to present a counterproposition, we do not want to accept
Dmitrieva’s solution, either. Not at least, in so brief a form. Perhaps she knows of
more ethnographic data which could provide a more convincing argument in favour
of her proposition.
CORN || dary
: basadohan KarH: KRPS , Mardkowicz ‘. corn; . corn gruel, polenta’
: as yet not discussed
We believe that this word is a compound of basa ‘pasha’ + dohan < Hebr. ןחודּ dochan
. Millet is quite oen unied or confused with corn (cf. žasymyk). Such a com-
pound has a nice semantic parallel in Bulg.
: bordoq Uyg.: ‘roasted corn’
: ÈSTJa: Tkc. bürtük ~ bürčük ‘. grain; . bread; . little bite; . et al.’ < PTkc. *bürt-
‘come o, fall o’. e Uyg. form is not quoted here; all quoted forms (except
for Čuv.) have vowels
e, i, ö and ü
Despite phonetic diculties (front vs back vowels), we are convinced that this word
belongs to the family of
bürtük. A semantic shi from ‘grain’ to ‘species of cereal’ is
absolutely natural; cf. e.g. Witczak : –. Cf. also Trkm.
: čüžgün qonaq [sic] Uyg.: Jarring : ‘species of corn’
: : Jarring: : ž indicates a non-Tkc. origin; the word is enigmatic
Jarring : only remarks that ž indicates a non-Tkc. origin, and that the word is
enigmatic. He also mentions
čüzgün ‘green bristlegrass (Setaria viridis)’ (aer Schwarz
: ) which is yet another example of calling ‘corn’ and ‘millet’ with one word
dary, mysyr bugdajy, žasmyk and žügörü). It is not out of the question, that the word
is etymologically identical with
čigin, cf. čüzgün ‘green bristlegrass (Setaria viridis)’ in
: dary Tksh.dial.: Tietze –
: see dary ‘millet’
: See šam darysy ‘corn’.
Although it could alternately be Hebr. ןגדּ dagan ‘cereal’.
gargydaly || CORN
gargydaly Az.: RAzS, Dmitrieva :
kargi-dali Tat.: Tanievъ
Az.: gargydaly || Tat.: kargi-dali
: : Dmitrieva: < gargy ‘reed’ + daly ‘its branch’
e structure of this word is so clear, and the similarity of corn to reed so obvious that
we can see no reason to question the etymology presented by Dmitrieva .
: habiž(d)aj Kmk.: Dmitrieva : , RKmkS
: as yet not discussed
is word is unclear morphologically. It is possible that -biž(d)aj corresponds to Tkc.
‘wheat’ (with a simplication of the consonant cluster). e
- in anlaut remains
however, utterly incomprehensible.
: käbä bödoj Tat.: R IV t || käbä bodaj Voskresenskij
: as yet not discussed
is name is not entirely clear. Its second element,
raises no doubts about its Tkc.
origin (Tkc. bugdaj ‘wheat’), even though its vocalism is not quite so comprehensible.
käbä, it seems most likely to us that it is in fact a place name, Kaaba. A very
nice semantic parallel for such a naming is provided by Trkm.
mekgeǯöven and similar
names in Kirg., Kklp. and Uyg., Tksh.
mysyr bugdajy and Ott. šam darysy. However,
front vowels in this form remain a mystery to us.
Possibly, although this does not seem very likely, this word is identical with Tksh.
kaba ‘simple, coarse’?
Naming one species of cereal with the name of another one, and an attribute raises
no doubts (corn was brought to the Tkc. peoples relatively late).
kokoroz KarC: ‘roasted corn grains’ Levi || Ott.: R II b, MiklTürkEl
, Redhouse , || Tksh.: Eren
kukkurus Čuv.: RČuvS-A
kukurus Tat.: Dmitrieva :
CORN || kokoroz
kukurūsa Yak.: Slepcov (from )
kukurusь Čuv.: Nikolьskij
kukuruz Bosn.Tksh.: R II m || Bšk.: Dmitrieva : || Tat.: RTa tS -D, RTatS -G
|| Tksh.: Eren
kukuruza Bšk.: RBškS, Dmitrieva || Čuv.: Dmitrieva : , RČuvS-A,
RČuvS-D, RČuvS-E || Khak.: RChakS, Dmitrieva : || Oyr.: RAltS ||
Tat.: Dmi trieva : || Tu v.: Dmitrieva : || Yak.: RJakS, Dmitrieva
: , Slepcov (since )
Bosn.Tksh.: kukuruz || Bšk.: kukuruz, kukuruza || Čuv.: kukkurus, kukurusь, kukuruza
|| KarC.: kokoroz || Khak.: kukuruza || Ott.: kokoroz || Oyr.: kukuruza || Tat.: kukurus,
kukuruz, kukuruza || Tksh.: kokoroz, kukuruz || Tuv.: kukuruza || Yak.: kukurūsa, kukuruza
: Tkc. [? ɔ: Tksh.] koku (or mum for the form mumuruz) ‘stink’ + uruz
‘rice’ > ‘rice of poor species’
is proposition is thoroughly false for the following reasons: . there is no such word
in the Tkc. languages as mum ‘st in k’; . there is no such word in the Tkc. languages
uruz ‘r ic e’; . a compound of two nouns in Nom. which would have this kind of
a meaning is impossible in the Tkc. languages; . to the best of our knowledge, the
Tkc. peoples never considered corn to be a worse kind of cereal (and neither did
the Slavic peoples, cf. e.g. Bulg.
carevica ‘corn’), in fact, the exact opposite was true;
. it is very hard to nd a major similarity between corn and rice, and we know of
no parallel for unifying these two meaning in the Tkc. languages.
: Dmitrieva: Tat.
; Bšk., Khak., Čuv., Yak., Oyr., Tat., Tuv.
kukuruza < Russ.
: Eren: Tkc. kokoroz from the Balkan languages; cf. Bulg. kukuruz, Serb. kukùruz,
Rom. cucurúz; ultimate source unclear
We believe that this word was borrowed to the Tkc. languages from Slav., as Dmi trieva
and Eren proposed it. In particular, the fact that the word has a very rich family in the
Slav. languages and absolutely no relatives in the Tkc., speaks in favour of this proposition.
e sounding does not allow for a precise determination of the Slav. source. We can only
make a guess based on historical and cultural-historical premises. In the case of Asian Tkc.
languages it was most probably Russ.; in the case of Bosn.Tksh. we may suspect a borrowing
from one of the Slav. languages of the Balkans or, less likely, from Tksh. (Ott.); and nally in
the case of Tksh. (Ott.) – history seems to support the idea of a borrowing from the Balkans
(as proposed by Eren ) rather than from Russ. (as Dmitrieva wants it).
All this might seem somewhat strange given the fact that Europe (except for Spain
) has learned about corn from the Ottomans (see above). However, the
Nikolić, Agronomski glasnik and ; quoted aer Skok – s.v. kukuruz.
From Spain corn spread to France among other regions, and from there to Germany, but it
only gained popularity later, probably under Turkish or Hungarian inuence.
kokoroz || CORN
linguistic data does not allow for any other solution. Most probably, the whole thing
might be explained by the following facts:
. in Ott. (and later in Tksh.) the forms
kukuruz ~ kokoroz are dialectal; corn was more
popular among the Slavic people than it was among the Turks; in a limited area, a Slav.
word could oust its Tkc. equivalent, and then nd its way to the literary language
. a) all the other Tkc. languages where this word is present, have been under a strong
b) it is possible, that these Tkc. nations only learned about corn from Russians
e dierences in auslaut among the Tkc. forms (-
uz vs -uza) should probably be ex-
plained by variations in Russ. dialects (although Filin – only attests
by a borrowing from Tksh. (Ott.) rather than from Russ.
e only thing that might still be regarded as being problematic is that our word
has no established etymology in the Slav. languages. An overview of previous solutions
(chronologically) and our proposition is presented below.
kukurúza || Bulg.: kukurùz || Cz.: kukuřice, kukuruc (
c.; Jungmann –
c.), kukurudza, kokoryca (
c.), kukuryza, kukuruca, kukuryca, kuku-
c.) (SEJP) || SC: kukùruz, kukùruza, kùkurica, kukuriza, kokuruz (Skok –)
kukurica, kukuruc || Slvn.: koruza || Ukr.: kukurúdza || USorb.: kukurica
. < Tkc. kokoroz, kukuruz ‘corn’
; MiklTEl, Karłowicz –
; Lokotsch ; Wei-
; Holub/Lyer; Skok –; Witczak :
contra: MiklTElN; SEJP; Bańkowski
e word is incomprehensible on the Tkc. ground. Vast family in the Slav. languages.
No related words in the Tkc. languages.
. native word; cf. Slav.S.
kukurjav ‘. curly; . splayed out’ (from ‘hairs’ protruding
pro: Berneker –
, Brückner ; Holub/Kopečný ; SEJP; Machek ;
; Schuster-Šewc –; ESUM; Černych
contra: Vasmer –
. < Rom.
cucuruz ‘. cone; . corn’
pro: ? MiklFremdSlav, BER; Marynaŭ –; ? Bańkowski
kukuru used when luring birds with corn grains
pro: Vasmer –
Jungmann –; quoted aer Machek .
Muchliński : ; quoted aer SEJP s.v.
Karłowicz –: ; quoted aer SEJP. s.v.
Jahresbericht des Instituts für rumänische Sprache XVII-XVIII: f.; quoted aer SEJP.
Berneker –: –; quoted aer SEJP s.v.
Zaimov : –: –; quoted aer SEJP s.v.
CORN || kokoroz
Very unlikely. Would require an assumption that the name for ‘corn’ only came
into existence aer its grain had been acquired in some way, and used to lure
birds while shouting (why?) kukuru. Apart from the above, it is not known which
language the proposition refers to.
. = ? Alb.
kúqur ‘baked; roasted’ or = ? Alb. kókërr ‘. grain of pea; . berry’
Kókërr (< kokë ‘head; bulb; berry; grain’; Orel ) seems to be more probable,
but as a source of borrowing, rather than an equivalent. It also has, however,
a very likely Slav. proposition (see below), this coincidence should probably
be regarded as accidental. What is important, though, is the idea proposed
by Bańkowski that the word might have been borrowed via two routes
SEJP suggests that the word should be derived from PSlav. *
kokor-, a reduplicated form
kor- (> *korenь), such as bóbr, gogołka or popiół; cf. also kąkol ‘corncockle (Agrostemma
’ and kuklik ‘Geum urbanum L.’
. In the Slav. languages there are very many
names of plants with a very similar sounding, cf. e.g. Bulg.
kukurják || Cz. kokořík ||
LSorb. kokrik || Pol. kokornak, kokorycz || Slvk. kokorík, kukurík || Ukr. kokorička || USorb.
kokorac (more examples e.g. in SEJP s.v. kokornak). e semantic basis were most probably
curly (crooked?) leaves or tendrils, or some kind of curls or ‘locks’ characteristic of the
given plant (cf. Machek ; SEJP). Cf. Slav.S.
We believe that PSlav. *
kor- ‘bent’ can with quite a high degree of probability be
accepted as the root of our word: cf. also Russ.dial.
kokóra ‘trunk […] together with a
crooked root […]’, Hung.dial.
kukora ‘crooked; bent; […]’
, and Pol. and others krzywy
‘crooked’, maybe also Lat.
Many Slavists point out phonetical diculties. Two routes of borrowing, proposed
by Bańkowski , seem to oer the best explanation. Only instead of the Alb. ety-
mons, we would rather assume native Slav. names either shied from another similar
plant, or neologisms created in the same way as the already existing names. Presumably,
some of the forms may be explained by a contamination of two (or more?) forms (for
Pol., cf. Bańkowski ).
NB: Probably also Hung. kankalék ‘primrose’ (in the same way as konkoly ‘corncockle’) is a bor-
rowing from the Slav. languages – against EWU, where it is regarded as an ‘Abl[eitung] aus
einem ktiven Stamm, Entstehungsweise aber unbest[immt]’. Cf. also Lith. kãnkalas ‘(little)
bell, something clanging’ (Spólnik : ).
From Cz., where it meant among others ‘monk’s hood’; cf. Spólnik : , though an
kökürü ‘curly(-headed)’, which probably from the Slav. languages, too – against
EWU, where it is derived from kukora ‘crooked, bent, […]’, which is an ‘Abl[eitung] aus einem
relativen ktiven Stamm’.
See footnotes –. Cf. Pol.
kąkol ‘corncockle (Agrostemma githago)’ of a very similar structure.
(kömme) qonaq || CORN
Finally, we should also consider whether it would be desirable to assume a Paleo-
Europ. source, which could be connected with OBask. and Pre-Romance *
‘Kamm; Spitze’ (more: Hubschmid : ), and the Rom. form (originally ‘cone’),
instead of deriving it directly from Bulg. (cf. Cihac : II vs. Cioranescu ).
An Ott. meaning attested by Redhouse : ‘any tall, ill-shaped thing’, might also be
used to support this idea. We suppose that Arm.
gogaṙ and the like. ‘hooks with two
points used for hanging pots over a re’ (Bläsing : ) could also belong to the same
family, such as nally. Tksh. kokoreç ‘meat dish roasted on spit’.
köma qonaq Uyg.: (Turfan) Jarring :
kömbö konok Kirg.dial.: ÈSTJa ‘corn’
kömek Uyg.: Jarring : ‘special species of corn’
köme qonaq Uyg.: Jarring : ‘special species of corn’
kömme qonaq Uyg.: RUjgS, Jarring : ‘special species of corn’
kömür qonaq Uyg.: Jarring :
konag Sal.: ÈSTJa
qonaq Uyg.: Raquette , ÈSTJa
Kirg.dial.: kömbö konok || Sal.: konag || Uyg.: köma qonaq, kömek, köme qonaq, kömme qonaq,
kömür qonaq, qonaq
: Jarring: : ? kömme < köme ~ kömer ‘coal’ (cf. kömür qonaq), or ? kömme < kömek ‘?’
Jarring’s : proposition which is based on the form
, and derives
from kömür (~ Uyg. köme(r) ) ‘coal’ is interesting but, semantically, rather enigmatic.
It seems more plausible to us that kömme is a deverbal noun from the verb köm- ‘to bury,
dig in the ground’. Such an attribute may result from the way corn is planted: rather than
simply sowing seeds onto ploughed ground, its seeds are thrown into specially prepared
pits, and then covered with soil. For semantics, cf. also the somewhat enigmatic in this
. Although this proposition does not explain forms with -
in auslaut, which
still remain incomprehensible to us, it still, nonetheless, seems be more plausible.
It is probable that the same root that can be found in Tkc.
kömeč ‘. bread; . pie;
: See konak ‘millet’.
: mäkke (plant and dish) Kklp.: RKklpS-B, RKklpS-BB, RKklpS-ST
: see meke žügörü and mekgeǯöven
CORN || mekgeǯöven
as a name for ‘corn’ is certainly an abbreviation of
, created by the same
token as mysyr buğdajy > mysyr in Tksh. According to Dmitrieva’s explanation,
it means ‘Mecca’ – cf. Kirg.
meke among others ‘Mecca’, and comes from Arab. makka
(quoted by Dmitrieva as
Meke s.v. meke žügörü, and as Mekke s.v. mekgeǯöven).
meke žügörü and mekgeǯöven, and mysyr buğdajy and šam darysy.
makkažavari Uzb.: Naliv kinъ
makkažŭxori Uzb.: RUzbS-A, RUzbS-Š
makka(-)ǯuari Uzb.: Lapin , Smo lenskij
mäkke žueri Kklp.: RKklpS-BB
meke žügörü Kirg.: Dmitrieva : , RKirgS-Ju, RKirgS-Ju
mokka-ǯavari Uzb.: Smolenskij
Kirg.: meke žügörü || Kklp.: mäkke žueri || Uzb.: makkažavari, makkažŭhori, makka(-)ǯuari,
: : Dmitrieva: < Arab. Meke ‘Mecca’ + žügörü ‘corn’
: See žügörü.
mäkke, mekgeǯöven, and mysyr buğdajy and šam darysy.
mekgeǯöven Trkm.: Dmitrieva : , Nikitin/Kerbabaev , RTrkmS
mekke ǯeven Trkm.: Alijiv/Böörijif
: : Dmitrieva: < mekge < Arab. Mekke ‘Mecca’ + ǯöven
See mäkke and mäkke žügörü.
is word is etymologically unclear. ough not listed among equivalents by Eren ,
it is presumably the same word as Tksh.: çöven ‘kökü ve dalları sabun gibi köpürten
bir bitki’ <
çöğen Eren , dial. çoğan, çoğen, çovan, cöiven, çuvan DS || Az. çoğan ||
çoğan || Trkm. çoğan (kökü) ‘çöven’.
We believe that it might be closely related to
čigin ‘millet’, which unfortunately is
unclear, too. We should not completely discount the notion that its ultimate source
ǯou- ‘barley’ (see julaf ‘oats’), or alternately, that čigin < čüžgün – which would
probably rule out such a connection.
mäkke, mekgeǯöven, and mysyr buğdajy and šam darysy.
mysyr (bugdajy) || CORN
mysir bogdaj CTat.: Zaatovъ
mysyr bogdaj ? Ott.: Wiesentahl
mysyr-bogdaj KarC: Levi :
mysyr bugdaj ? Ott.: Wiesentahl
mysyr (bugdajy) Tksh.: Dmitrieva :
CTat.: mysir bogdaj || KarC.: mysyr-bogdaj || Ott.: ? mysyr bogdaj, ? mysyr bugdaj ||
Tksh.: mysyr (bugdajy)
: Dmitrieva: < Arab. Misr ‘Egypt’
: Eren: does not explain the word – presumably, because he assumes it is obvi-
ous – that this name is a compound of a place name + a name of another plant
mysyr bugdajy liter. ‘Egyptian wheat’
: Bańkowski s.v. kukurydza: Tksh. mysyr < common Europ. mais (Sp. maís,
Fr. maïs et al.)
Bańkowski’s proposition seems to be deeply problematic for serious phonetical
and historical reasons. We think that a much better solution has been presented by
Dmitrieva, and we believe, that also Eren implied that he had the same solution.
Currently, an abbreviation of
mysyr bugdajy to mysyr caught on in Tksh., just as
mäkke žueri > mäkke. Cf. šam darysy, and mäkke, meke žügörü and mekgeǯöven.
An exact semantic parallel (a calque from Ott.?) is oered by Arm.
‘corn’, liter. ‘Egyptian wheat’.
It remains somehwat enigmatic to us why this name has been formed with the help
of a word for ‘wheat’ if in all the other compounds of this kind, a word for ‘barley’ has
been used. Interestingly enough, in dialects mysyr bugdajy might actually mean ‘barley’,
too: cf. mysyr ‘barley’ and dary, jasymuk and jügür id.
nartük Nog.: Dmitrieva : , RNogS
nartux Krč.Blk.: Dmitrieva :
nartüx Krč.Blk.: RKrčBlkS
Krč.Blk.: nartux, nartüx || Nog.: nartük
: as yet not discussed
is word is etymologically incomprehensible. We can see two ways of trying to explain
it, but neither of them is anything more than a conjecture, and none of them is fully
clear. However, the rst seems to be more probable:
CORN || šam darysy
. Osset. nartxor ‘corn’, liter. ‘food of the Narts’
Semantically, such a connection raises no doubts. It is, however, quite inexplicable
phonetically. One might believe that it is a Tkc. derivative from *
nart ‘Nart’ with
a meaning calqued from Osset.
, but a non-harmonic vocalization undermines
. common Europ.
e word nard is present in many European languages (Lat. nardus, Eng., Fr., Pol.,
Russ. et al.
nard) but to the best of our knowledge, it has no etymology. e plant
originates from the region of India and Tibet, and has been known to Europeans
since antiquity as a material for perfume production. It does not look similar to corn,
but it should be remembered that ‘corn’ happens to be the same word for ‘millet’
(see čüzgün qonaq, mysyr bugdajy, žasymyk and žügörü), and that the popular terms for
‘millet’ might in fact mean various, not necessarily closely, related species (see com-
mentary on ‘millet’). A distant analogy is that
čikin ‘millet’ may also mean ‘French
, and the word nard is not always entirely monosemantic as well, e.g. Gr.
, except for
might in various compounds also mean
‘Valeriana Celtica’, ‘Cymbopogon Iwaraneusa’, or ‘nard oil’ (Lidell
) and others.
: sary KarH: KRPS
: as yet not discussed
: From corn’s extremely distinct colour.
: šam darysy Ott.: Eren s.v. mysyr
: as yet not discussed
Cf. mysyr buğdajy, and mäkke, meke žügörü and mekgeǯöven.
For a comparison to millet, cf.
dary and mysyr bugdajy, and čüzgün qonaq, žasymyk
e Narts were a race of giants described in the mythology of the peoples of Caucasus, including
the Ossetians. According to the legends, a long time ago, out of pride they rose against God.
God punished them by sending upon them a terrible famine. At night, they would shoot with
their bows grains glittering in the sky and eat them but there were not enough, and eventually
the entire race starved to death. Aer that, the grains fell to the ground and corn sprouted
from them. (Dumézil : )
Other languages of Caucasus might also be taken into consideration, see Dumézil : :
‘Peut-être qu’on songe que dans une bonne partie du Caucase du nord […] le maïs, n’a d’autre
nom que « l’aliment des Nartes »’.
e expression in Clauson is not entirely clear to us: ‘
çiki:n […] () the name of a plant
called usṭūxūdūs ‘French lavender’ […]; çekin same translation; [….]’.
žasymyk || CORN
: žasymyk Kzk.dial.: ÈSTJa
: see jasymuk ‘millet’
For naming ‘corn’ and ‘millet’ with one word, cf.
žügeri Krč.Blk.: Dmitrieva : || Kzk.: Dmitrieva : , DFKzk, DKzkF,
žügöri Kirg.: Mašanovъ
žügörü Kirg.: Dmitrieva : , RKirgS-Ju, RKirgS-Ju
žŭxori Uzb.: Dmitrieva :
ǯügeri Krč.Blk.: RKrčBlkS
Kirg.: žügöri, žügörü, ǯügeri || Krč.Blk.: žügeri || Kzk.: žügeri || Uzb.: žŭxori
: Dmitrieva: only points to a connection with OTkc. jügür, jür, ügür, üjür and Čuv. vir
‘millet’, and with Oyr. üre ‘кашица из толчeной крупы’, Tat. öjrä, üre ‘кашица;
крупяной суп’, Mo.
ür ‘grain; seeds’, OTkc. jügürgün ‘plant similar to millet’
Žügörü as a name for ‘corn’ is presumably an abbreviation of meke žügörü (cf. also mekge-
ǯöven). Similarly mäkke.
However, the word is not entirely clear from the etymological point of view. e -
in auslaut is probably a possessive sux which originally created the so-called second
izafet in compounds such as Kirg.
meke žügörü – cf. Tksh.dial. cögür ‘species of grass’
DS, and Tksh.
mysyr bugdajy ‘corn’ and Ott. šam darysy id. Eren , Tksh.dial. dary
TS. We believe that Dmitrieva’s proposition to connect the word with OTkc.
ügür &c. has much to commend it (see ügür ‘millet’).
Tu v .
Ya k .
mäkke, meke žügörü and mekgeǯöven ‘corn’
Millet is one of the rst plants ever to be cultivated by mankind. It is understandable then,
that the name for ‘millet’ encompasses in colloquial use many dierent, and not necessarily
closely related species (see below). India, Central Asia, China and Africa’s tropical savan-
nahs are considered to be the homeland of millet. An exact dating of the beginnings of
cultivation is very dicult, as distinguishing separate species in the archeological materials
raises serious problems. In Europe, which is not the homeland of this cereal (or rather,
cereals), it has been discovered in neolithic nds, and in China it had already been one of
the ve most important cereals sown by the emperor himself during the vernal equinox as
early as in the
Proso millet has been traditionally cultivated in China, Central
Asia, Turkestan and Transcaucasus.
e two most important species are colloquially both called millet: proso millet (Panicum
miliaceum L.) and setarias, especially foxtail millet (Setaria italica P.B. = Panicum italicum L.
and others). Also, some species of sorghum are sometimes called millet, too. Both the col-
loquial and even the botanical terminology is somewhat in confusion (see table in Nowiński
: ), mainly because of numerous synonyms and polysemantic names. ere is no reason
to believe that the situation is any clearer in the Tkc. languages.
We believe that some of
the names we list with the meaning of ‘millet’ refer in fact to some other species than proso
millet, or that they refer to many species at once. Unfortunately, the lexical data we have had
access to usually does not allow us to make these kinds of distinctions.
e lexical data itself does not let us determine whether it was millet or wheat that was the
rst cereal the Tkc. peoples became acquainted with. e fact that we know of no examples of
a semantic shi ‘millet’ > ‘wheat’, and that we know o