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Thread: Etymology of TEA in European languages

  1. #21
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    Re: Etymology of TEA in European languages

    Woah. Where did ساخ /sa:x/ come from? Perhaps from an Indian language? Do you know which region he's talking about here?

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    Re: Etymology of TEA in European languages

    Quote Originally Posted by berndf View Post
    Only in the States, not in Britain. It is essentially a 16th century spelling "mistake" which got canonicalized; probably for a similar reason.
    Yes, in the early 17th century "ee" was already raised from /e:/ to /i:/ and "ea" from /ɛ:/ to /e:/. The further raising of "ea" to /i:/ and the merger with "ee" happened a bit later.
    There are a few people with a /æn-tɘ-ɴi/ pronunciation in the States (unfortunately usually Ant-knee) but they write it Antony.

    I suppose "learn", "pear" and "great" went astray and got left behind on that journey from /ɛ:/ to /e:/ to /i:/.

    I remember an urban "etymological" legend that would have it that "tea" came into being because it was transported in big crates from the far east or India to Britain. They were marked "T" meaning ready for transport. Upon arrival the dock workers started saying "give me the T". You'd be surprised how widespread that story is!
    Last edited by merquiades; 27th April 2012 at 6:17 PM. Reason: added legend

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    Re: Etymology of TEA in European languages

    Quote Originally Posted by merquiades View Post
    I suppose "learn", "pear" and "great" went astray and got left behind on that journey from /ɛ:/ to /e:/ to /i:/.
    Yes, the second raising was not universal and those which remained /e:/ were then picked up by the 19th century shift from /e:/ to /eɪ/, like steak or great. Words like learn or pear are different because almost everything is different in front of "r".
    Quote Originally Posted by merquiades View Post
    I remember an urban "etymological" legend that would have it that "tea" came into being because it was transported in big crates from the far east or India to Britain. They were marked "T" meaning ready for transport. Upon arrival the dock workers started saying "give me the T". You'd be surprised how widespread that story is!
    Urban legends can be very persistent.

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    Re: Etymology of TEA in European languages

    Quote Originally Posted by Timesieve View Post
    Interesting since in Arabic it is شاي /ʃai/.
    And also شاهي (shahee) in some dialects.

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    Re: Etymology of TEA in European languages

    Not all European languages use a Chinese-derived word for tea. Polish, for example uses the word herbata instead, which seems to be derived from Latin.
    "Einer für alle, alle für einen.". - (C) 1996, Die Toten Hosen.

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    Re: Etymology of TEA in European languages

    Russians say "Chai", presumably taken along with the "Samovars" from Persia and Turkey; Once I bought "Tchaï" in London. Turnt out to be heavily spiced strong black tea! Here the Heavy Metal Umlaut and the redundant T- were used as augmentatives
    Last edited by gevenamolalandaziseafaine; 6th May 2012 at 1:03 PM.

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    Re: Etymology of TEA in European languages

    Quote Originally Posted by gevenamolalandaziseafaine View Post
    Russians say "Chai", presumably taken along with the "Samovars" from Persia and Turkey; Once I bought "Tchaï" in London. Turnt out to be heavily spiced strong black tea! Here the Heavy Metal Umlaut and the redundant T- were used as augmentatives
    Here we have a brand called צ'אי מסאלה (Chai Masala) which is supposed to be Indian tea.

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    Re: Etymology of TEA in European languages

    Quote Originally Posted by gevenamolalandaziseafaine View Post
    Russians say "Chai", presumably taken along with the "Samovars" from Persia and Turkey; Once I bought "Tchaï" in London. Turnt out to be heavily spiced strong black tea! Here the Heavy Metal Umlaut and the redundant T- were used as augmentatives
    You're right. In recent times the term Chai (Tchaï in French) has come to refer to an extremely spicy and milky tea mix of indian origin known there as Masala Chai. I imagine if you order it expecting regular black tea you'll be unpleasantly surprised.

    Edit: I see I had the same thought at the same time as tFighterPilot

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    Re: Etymology of TEA in European languages

    Quote Originally Posted by merquiades View Post
    You're right. In recent times the term Chai (Tchaï in French) has come to refer to an extremely spicy and milky tea mix of indian origin known there as Masala Chai. I imagine if you order it expecting regular black tea you'll be unpleasantly surprised.

    Edit: I see I had the same thought at the same time as tFighterPilot
    You will be surprised: ‘samovar’ is a genuinely Slavic word. It consists of word stems ‘sam’ (-self as in’myself’) and ‘var-’ (to cook, boil). Thence a device that “boils and makes the tea itself”.
    By the way, the two dots over the ‘I’ is not an umlaut, this is a diaeresis (a diacritical mark), marking that the ‘ai’ combination is to be pronounced as a diphthong in French, not as one sound ‘è’. Umlaut (German), called also apophony (from Greek) applies only to German and Scandinavian phonetics, and marks a change from one sound into another inside a word (like mutter>mütter). As the transformed sounds are always ‘ä’, 'ö'and ‘ü’ in German, they began to be called ‘a-umlaut’, 'o-umlaut' and ‘u-umlaut’.
    Last edited by Ben Jamin; 7th May 2012 at 8:04 AM.

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    Re: Etymology of TEA in European languages

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Jamin View Post
    the ‘I’ is not an umlaut, this is a diaeresis (a diacritical mark), marking that the ‘ai’ combination is to be pronounced as a diphthong in French, not as one sound ‘è’. Umlaut (German)..
    Absolutely right. Nor is the "T" redundant. The tchaï transcription is from French approximating Hindi [tʃɑːj]. The transcription chai would yield [ʃɛː] in French.

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    Re: Etymology of TEA in European languages

    Quote Originally Posted by Abu Rashid View Post
    And also شاهي (shahee) in some dialects.
    Yes, indeed. It's also still called "Chai" in the Gulf dialects, as it was first introduced through India I believe.

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    Re: Etymology of TEA in European languages

    In Korean the same letter 茶 has two pronunciations, unlike in Chinese or Japanese:
    cha when referring to tea proper, but
    da in most compound words.
    Example:
    茶道 dado : the way of tea, i.e. the manners and customs of drinking tea.
    茶客dagaek: a tea guest, somebody invited to have a cup of tea.
    But:
    紅茶hongcha: red tea, i.e. black tea.
    Last edited by terredepomme; 7th May 2012 at 3:09 AM.

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    Re: Etymology of TEA in European languages

    Quote Originally Posted by Abu Rashid View Post
    And also شاهي (shahee) in some dialects.
    Which dialects?

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    Re: Etymology of TEA in European languages

    Quote Originally Posted by Timesieve View Post
    Which dialects?
    We call it شاهي (shahi) in Najdi/Guisseemi Arabic.

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    Re: Etymology of TEA in European languages

    I think the forms chai, tchaï, shahee, shehi, etc. are already explained by this sentence from the Wikipedia article:
    The widespread form chai comes from Persian چای chay. This derives from Mandarin chá,[42] which passed overland to Central Asia and Persia, where it picked up the Persian grammatical suffix -yi before passing on to Russian, Arabic, Urdu, Turkish, etc.
    Korean has the double form ta and cha, the first form should come from Middle Chinese /ɖja/ (retroflex /d/), while the latter from modern Mandarin cha.
    Japanese also has two forms: da (also pronounced ta) and cha.
    The Koreans and the Japanese like to import words from Chinese in different history times, even when they have already imported the word earlier.

    @Ghabi:
    Do you know how was it pronounced in Middle Chinese? I consulted the 廣韻 but I'm not sure if I can use it correctly. Apparently the pronounciation in Middle Chinese should be /ɖja/.

    I guess the Middle Chinese voiced consonant /ɖ/ cannot become an aspirated /tʰ/ in neither of the modern Chinese dialects.
    And in Minnan (Xiamen dialect) should be unaspirated /te/, and in Mindong (Fuzhou dialect) should be unaspirated /tja/ or /dja/ (not sure which one). Right? Any speaker of Min here?
    So the aspiration is not the reason why it's spelled with Th- in Dutch (Thee) and French (Thé).

    And how is it pronounced in Cantonese? I suppose /tsʰa/. Right?

    In my native language, Southern Wu (Wenzhou dialect and Qingtian dialect), it's pronounced /dzu/.
    It makes sense that in Souther Wu language the Middle Chinese /ɖ/ became /dz/ retaining the voicing, while it de-voiced in other Chinese dialects, such as /t/ in Minnan, /tsʰ/ in Cantonese, and /tʂʰ/ in Mandarin.
    While only Mandarin has retained the retroflex consonant.

    In Standard Italian we already have the word te /te/ that means "you" (object).
    In order to distinguish from /te/, tea is pronunced with an "open e" /tɛ/. While in order to distinguish it from the spelling te, tea has two spelling: the "authentic Italian" one and the French-derived the.
    I prefer much more , since this spelling is "more Italian", as in Italian we don't have words spelled with th-, and moreover the could be confused with the English article.
    Furthermore, the doesn't give a hint about the pronounciation as according to Italian spelling rules, monosillabic e's are always pronounced with closed e /e/.
    Last edited by Youngfun; 9th May 2012 at 2:16 PM.
    "Ĉokolado". Do you know how to say "chócoleit" in "Espanis"?

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    Re: Etymology of TEA in European languages

    Quote Originally Posted by Timesieve View Post
    Woah. Where did ساخ /sa:x/ come from? Perhaps from an Indian language? Do you know which region he's talking about here?
    He's talking about how the Chinese emperor draws his income, and how a major part of it comes from salt tax and this "saakh" tax. Thus "saakh" is supposed to be a Chinese word. So what is it? Have no idea. In the famous eighth-century The Classic of Tea 茶經, five names of tea are mentioned: 其名一曰茶二曰檟三曰蔎四曰茗五曰荈. Well, none of these really sounds close to "saakh". Perhaps there was another unrecorded word for "tea"? Or he just misheard the word? Erm ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Youngfun View Post
    Do you know how was it pronounced in Middle Chinese? I consulted the 廣韻 but I'm not sure if I can use it correctly. Apparently the pronounciation in Middle Chinese should be /ɖja/.
    Ancient "rime dictionaries" like Guangyun 廣韻 can't tell us how a word was pronounced. It tells us about a word's phonological properties, not its actual phonetic value. To reconstruct the value we need more than rime dictionaries, and different scholars propose different reconstructions. [ɖa] is a possible one (I don't know why you add the glide [j]), and you may be interested to know that द्रविड़ "draviḍa" was transliterated as 達羅毗 by the legendary Xuanzang 玄奘 in his famous travelogue. So yes, the initial may be a voiced retroflex.
    I guess the Middle Chinese voiced consonant /ɖ/ cannot become an aspirated /tʰ/ in neither of the modern Chinese dialects.
    I think you're right, but I really don't know.
    And in Minnan (Xiamen dialect) should be unaspirated /te/, and in Mindong (Fuzhou dialect) should be unaspirated /tja/ or /dja/ (not sure which one). Right? Any speaker of Min here?
    For what it's worth, the Teochew cognate has entered Cantonese as [tɛ] (in some idioms, usually written as 嗲).
    And how is it pronounced in Cantonese? I suppose /tsʰa/. Right?
    Exactly. So there's actually a pair of "doublets" ([tsʰa] and [tɛ]) for "tea" in Cantonese.
    Last edited by Ghabi; 10th May 2012 at 5:23 PM.

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    Re: Etymology of TEA in European languages

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghabi View Post
    [ɖa] is a possible one (I don't know why you add the glide [j]), and you may be interested to know that द्रविड़ "draviḍa" was transliterated as 達羅毗 by the legendary Xuanzang 玄奘 in his famous travelogue. So yes, the initial may be a voiced retroflex.
    Sorry, I got confused with 福州话 and added the [j]... my mistake...
    According other scholars, the reconstructed sound could be also [ȡa] with a 舌面前塞音 (coronal stop?).
    Wasn't 玄奘 a historical person?
    I also heard that he used the Wu language 吴语 of that time to transcribe names from Sanscrit, but it seems that nobody knows about the differences between dialects in Middle Chinese...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghabi View Post
    For what it's worth, the Teochew cognate has entered Cantonese as [tɛ] (in some idioms, usually written as 嗲).
    I think in Mandarin it's only used for 肉骨爹,an alternative for 肉骨茶。

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghabi View Post
    Exactly. So there's actually a pair of "doublets" ([tsʰa] and [tɛ]) for "tea" in Cantonese.
    Interesting. Are these 2 interchangeable, or do you use [tsʰa] in some cases, and [tɛ] in other cases?

    Then Chinese people in Italy also have a pair of doublets.
    We use [tsʰa] (in Mandarin) and [dzu] (in Wenzhou dialect 温州话 or Qingtian dialect 青田话) to call the Chinese tea (made with imported Chinese tea leaves).
    And [tɛ] or [te] for the Italian tea (made with tea bags with sugar and lemon added) and for bottled/canned ice tea.
    Well... I guess immigrants from Fujian don't make such difference, as for them the pronounciation would be the same.
    Last edited by Youngfun; 10th June 2012 at 4:01 PM.
    "Ĉokolado". Do you know how to say "chócoleit" in "Espanis"?

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    Re: Etymology of TEA in European languages

    Quote Originally Posted by merquiades View Post
    You're right. In recent times the term Chai (Tchaï in French) has come to refer to an extremely spicy and milky tea mix of indian origin known there as Masala Chai. I imagine if you order it expecting regular black tea you'll be unpleasantly surprised.

    Edit: I see I had the same thought at the same time as tFighterPilot
    Hello, Merquiades. Doesn't the word Chai come from China, as samovars do. In fact samovars were invented in China and they were designed to cook food as well: they had three different compartments: for rice, vegetables and water. The word itself is definitely Slavic, though.

    Tea in Lithuanian is called arba - most likely from herbal and herbata in Polish. They are of Latin origin, no doubt.

    I have been always intrigued by the drink mate, which is called chimarrao in Portuguese and chano in Bolivian (whatever they meant by it -- either the Spanish from Bolivia or some indigenous languages). Are these nouns somehow related to chai? I drank it once. A friend of mine who had lived in Cuba for 10 years as a child prepared it, but it was really a shocking experience, not being able to describe it any better, unless she did not know how to prepare it. The powder, or leaves from which it is made, is called mate yerba, just like arba or herbata.
    Last edited by LilianaB; 10th June 2012 at 4:28 PM.

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    Re: Etymology of TEA in European languages

    Quote Originally Posted by apmoy70 View Post
    In Greek its older name was «τέϊον» /'te.i.on/ (neut.) a Chinese loan word via French: Fr. thé > Greek τέϊον (τέ + -ιον, suffix for neuter nouns). Nowadays «τέϊον» is used as its formal/scientific name.
    Its current name in vernacular is «τσάϊ» /'tsa.i/ (neut.) a Chinese (Cantonese) loan word via Russian: Rs. чай > τσάϊ.
    Modern Greek τσάϊ surely comes not from Russian, but from Turkish çai (like most Greek words for foods and drinks). Arabic šāy also comes from Turkish or Persian, which in turn have it from Chinese cha.

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    Re: Etymology of TEA in European languages

    Quote Originally Posted by fdb View Post
    Modern Greek τσάϊ surely comes not from Russian, but from Turkish çai (like most Greek words for foods and drinks). Arabic šāy also comes from Turkish or Persian, which in turn have it from Chinese cha.
    I'm sorry but no, prof. Babiniotis clearly states that the word is a late loan (1895) and taken straight from the Russian чай, while the earlier «τέϊον» comes from the French thé
    Les Grecs sont étonnants dans l'adversité - François Pouqueville

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