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The etymology of to eat and to be in Russian

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by LilianaB, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    What is the etymology of to be and to eat in Russian. They are exactly the same in some conjugation forms. The third person singular of to be is exactly the same as the infinitive to eat. Should we assume that to be meant once to eat.
    There is still another alternative that they are not related at all.
     
  2. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
  3. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    Thank you, Maroseika. I know the military yest, comes from misheard English yes, from whatever I know. What does to eat come from?
     
  4. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    Have you checked my link? vasmer.narod.ru
     
  5. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    Yes, but it is the whole dictionary, not a particular link to a word. I will do it later because I have to enter words there in the cyrillic.
     
  6. Sempra

    Sempra Junior Member

    Ukraine
    Russian
    It is not /to eat/.This word "есть" have two different meanings in Russian that are sounded and written the same. 1)to eat(potato) Есть картошку."2) There is (black rose in the garden).В саду есть чёрная роза.It is a form of verb "to be".
     
  7. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    Yes, the form to be would be most likely related to the latin word est - third person singular. I am really interested in the etymology of the latter.
     
  8. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    No, you don't have to enter anything in Cyrillic there, just choose the page and the word by use of your mouse.
     
  9. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    No, I'm sorry Maroseika, but I have absolutely no idea which page to go to. I tried the letter e, but something totally different appeared on the screen. I am really not sure on which page the word is located.
     
  10. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    You go to page E and then leaf it over clicking 1-20, 50 or 100 pages forward or backward, until getting into the page you need.
     
  11. morzh

    morzh Senior Member

    USA
    Russian
    About "есть" as "eat" I remember something about closeness to Sanskrit "asti", which is, incidentally, also part of the word "swastika", from "su asti" - "to eat well".
     
  12. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    Thank you, Morzh. I think that makes sense. I think it is also a cognate of to eat and essen - German.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
  13. morzh

    morzh Senior Member

    USA
    Russian
    Yes, "eat" words are cognates in German, Russian, Sanskrit, and I am pretty sure in Lithuanian also (this being, according to people I knew who learned Sanskrit, very close to it).

    Also Latin words (I don;t know Latin, but know quite a few words, and so, for example, "king bolete", "бельiй гриб", which is "Boletus Edulis", "Bolete edible") - "edulis", English "edible".
     
  14. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    Yes, there is esti in Lithuanian, but it is more to consume. There is jesc in Polish.
     
  15. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Moved to EHL.
     
  16. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    If you don't know how to use this dictionary, you can try something simpler (like Wiktionary), or you can just take Maroseika's word for it: The two verbs are not related, not even in the 3rd person singular. Here are the two IE roots: *es- and *ed-.
    No. Swastika is from svasti "well-being". It contains "be", not "eat".
     
  17. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    Thank you CapnPrep. I believe Maroseika. Now when I think about the Lithuanian verb and the Polish one which have different forms than to be whatsoever, but still sound similar, I know they are totally unrelated. I did not think about them somehow, and the Russian words are exactly the same.
     
  18. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    Notice that:
    in German "he eats" is "isst" and "he is" is "ist". Pronounciation of both words is identical.
    In Polish dialetcts "he is" is "je", and "je" means also "he eats" in both standard Polish and dialects.
    Maybe the same similarity can be found in other IE languages and dialects.
     
  19. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    The German homophones are certainly purely accidental. We know this for sure because the development chains leading to these homophones are understood quite well:
    The in "isst" is derived through the chain [t]>[ts]>[s:]>
    and the in "ist" from [ʂ]>.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
  20. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish


    I am aware that the homophony of the words meaning “to eat” and “to be” in Russian, Polish and German is purely accidental, but I found it, notwithstanding, amusing to investigate
     
  21. bibax Senior Member

    Czech
    The Latin verb edere (to eat) has some forms identical with the verb esse (to be) as well, e.g. est = he is, he eats, es! = be!, eat!, etc. (however there is a difference in the vowel quantity).
     
  22. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    In German and many other Germanic languages too, but I do not know if this is a coincidence
     
  23. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    Read the last posts on the previous page, this question is dicussed there.
     
  24. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Germany
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    Sorry, you are wrong. There are NO identical forms, although one (3rd person Singular Present tense) is quite similar.
     
  25. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    There are no identical forms in Germanic languages but there are forms similar to such a degree that they could be cognates.
     
  26. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    They are disambiguated in spelling but that is an arbitrary convention. In standard German, "ist" and "isst" are 100% homophone.
     
  27. itreius Senior Member

    Assembly
    In written Kajkavian Croatian both the 3rd person singular of he eats and of he is are je, but the vowels are different. The first one is /e/, the latter one /æ/.
     
  28. OBrasilo

    OBrasilo Senior Member

    Koper, Slovenia, Central Europe
    Brazil, Brazilian Portuguese
    Slovenian: je means both he eats and he is.
    Latin: est means he eats if the e is long (though there's an alternate edit too), and he is if it's short.
     
  29. POLSKAdoBOJU Senior Member

    Hamilton, Canada
    Canadian English, Polish
    Liliana, one Russian есть(= to eat) is related to Polish jeść, which evolved from Old Church Slavonic ꙗсти (yasti) and Proto-Slavic *jěsti.
    The second Russian есть (= he/she is) is related to Polish jest, which evolved from Old Church Slavonic єстъ (estŭ) and Proto-Slavic *jestъ.

    They are not cognates of the same root word and do not have a common etymological origin.
     
  30. LilianaB Senior Member

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    Lithuanian esti means to eat, although it is not the first word that would be used for eating. It is more similar to the Old Church Slavonic estu than to jasti, I think, so we would really have to go to the PIE to know what their origin is.
     
  31. Igrok New Member

    Serbo-Croatian - Serbia
    This is the correct answer. The verb есть "to eat" comes from the root *h1ed-, and that root is still visible in some forms, for example едим, едите, едят; еда.

    Proto-Slavic *edti > *jesti > Rus. есть, SC. jesti; *jedm, *jedši, *jedt > ем, ешь, ест; *jedl > ел.

    The form есть of the verb быть, on the other hand, comes from the root *h1es-.
     
  32. Gale_

    Gale_ Junior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    Liliana, it's an old thread but it's very interesting, and do you know what has come to my head?
    They say that these two roots a different and that one has no relation to another, but it has reminded me of another Russian word "живот". In Old Russian this word has two meanings: жизнь (life) and живот proper (belly). Now "живот" is used mostly in the second meaning as a part of the body, but still we say "не щадя живота своего", and it means "не щадя своей жизни".
    So I hint at that these two different things, material and ideal, were very close to each other in some sacral meaning, and maybe to be and to eat were close too, that's why they sound very alike, could it be so? Apart of grammar eating is very important for survival and so for existence as well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  33. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Since this oldish thread has been revived, we might as well set this right: Skt. svastika- means “good existence”, not “to eat well”.

    The fact that many IE languages use identical or similar words for “is” and “eats” is striking, but it has a simple explanation. For IE we can reconstruct *ed- “to eat” and *es- “to be” (feel free to throw in a couple of laryngeals if you really want to). In many languages both verbs are conjugated athematically (that means: the personal endings are attached directly to the root without any intervening vowel). Also: many IE languages have a rule that changes –dt- to –st-. So, the outcome of *ed-ti > *esti “eats” will often resemble that of *es-ti “is”.
     
  34. swintok Senior Member

    English - Canada
    In Ukrainian there are no homophonic connections between the verbs "to be" and "to eat." The only similarity is that the archaic conjugation of the verb "to be" is of the same rare conjugation type as the verb "to eat."

    To be: бути (infinitive); є (modern Ukrainian, present imperfect, undeclined in all persons); єсм, єси, єсть, ємо (єсмо), єсте, суть (archaic conjugated form, present imperfect)
    To eat: їсти (infinitive); їм, їси, їсть, їмо, їсте, їдять (present imperfect)
     
  35. apmoy70 Senior Member

    Greek
    Classical Greek too, shared this resemblance between the two verbs «εἰμὶ» (to be) and «ἔσθω» (to eat):

    «Ἐστὶ» ĕstì --> s/he/it is
    «Ἔσθει» éstʰei --> s/he/it eats
    (third person singular, present tense, indicative)

    They're not completely identical of course, but if one looks at the latter verb's archaic & athematic form «ἔδμι» édmĭ, the homophonic similarities between the two are striking: «εἰμὶ» (first person sing., present tense, indicative of v. to be) vs. «ἔδμι» (first person sing., present tense, indicative of v. to eat).
    The two verbs are unrelated of course.
     
  36. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    An other verb, for illustration: вести < *ведти. The conjugated forms in present indicative maintain the original "d": веду, ведёшь ... etc.
     
  37. Gale_

    Gale_ Junior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    ... or блюсти - блюду, блюдёшь, блюдёт - i.e. соблюдать
    However "вести" (apart of stress) resembles ести" (news), but блюсти resembles nothing (((

    So we may create a new thread about the resemblance of the verbs ведёт (lead) и ведает (know). :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013

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