All Slavic Languages: BCS (bauk), Rus (бука)

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Slogos

Member
Russian
While working on some unrelated research, I have stumbled upon a word that seems to be represented in a great variety of Indo-European languages:

Serbo-Croatian: bauk/баук
Russian: бука
English: bogey/bogeyman/boogie man
Middle English: bugge
German: bögge/böggel-mann
Greek: Μπαμπούλας
Czech: bubák

These are all references to a mythical creature used to frighten children into good behavior.

I would appreciate it if other Slavic speakers on this forum could comment on any cognates they can think of in their respective languages.
 
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  • Slogos

    Member
    Russian
    We have bavbav in Slovenian (pronounced [ˈbaːu̯ˈbaːu̯]).
    Excellent! In Russian and Ukrainian, there is another version of this word, “бабай”, that is directly related to the Slovenian word you mentioned.
     

    marco_2

    Senior Member
    Polish
    In Polish in the 16th and 17th century literature you can find the words bobo and bobak, which meant a mythical creature used to frighten children. This word could also mean a 'scarecrow'. Now it doesn't exist in our language, as far as I know.
     

    Slogos

    Member
    Russian
    In Polish in the 16th and 17th century literature you can find the words bobo and bobak, which meant a mythical creature used to frighten children. This word could also mean a 'scarecrow'. Now it doesn't exist in our language, as far as I know.
    Very interesting! The Middle English word “bugge” meant “scarecrow” as well. I believe in Slavic languages, we use derivatives of the Proto-Slavic words *straxъ or *pǫditi for “scarecrow”.
     
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    LookSharp

    Member
    Italian
    Interesting one in Italian: babaù - imaginary entity that scares children (Treccani; also as barabàu with the same meaning). An etymological dictionary gives it as originating in onomatopoeia: bau-bau, as the sound of a 'raucous voice'.

    It might be a general intuition among speakers of Indo-European descendants that a scary apparition should sound something like ba/o-.
     

    Allienella

    Member
    Russian
    In Russian, buka is something for scarying children (as a joke,it is not serious). Like:"If you don't wash your legs/eat your dinner/do your hometask/...etc., a buka will come to you".

    Or sometimes,it is believed by children that bukas live under beds and in wardrobes. This is often not a serious belief,also like a joke.
    But what a buka is similar to,personally I don't know,there are hardly any stereotypic images.
    Bukas also exist in our folklore...But you'd better google it.
     
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