Etymology of "apple"

Dhira Simha

Senior Member
UK
Russian
Also, this is exactly what the dictionary of Prof. Babiniotis says.
Note:<<μᾶλ(ον) was also Doric>>.

Just for the record there was also another μῆλον meaning sheep. According to the same dictionary this μῆλον traces its root to the I.E. term *(s)mel- (= browsing/pasturing small animal, mainly for sheep and goats).
Arm. mal (=sheep), Irish mil, Anc. Germ. *smala- (=small) <<Germ. schmal, Engl. small>>.
I would also add Slavonic mal "small", LAT malus "bad, deficient" and, perhaps, Skr. mala "dirt, filth" but I doubt that it may be related here. Can it be connected with "apple" as the symbol of the "forbidden fruit"?
 
  • Dhira Simha

    Senior Member
    UK
    Russian
    Interestingly, all three Western-European words for "apple": apple, malum and pomme also meant initially "any fruit":
    L. malum "apple" from Gk. melon (Doric malon) "apple," probably from a pre-Greek Mediterranean language. The Latin and Greek words also meant "fruit" generally, especially if exotic. In Greek, melon was used in a generic way for all foreign fruits. O.E. æppel "apple; any kind of fruit; fruit in general,"; In Middle English and as late as 17c., it was a generic term for all fruit other than berries but including nuts (e.g. O.E. fingeræppla "dates," lit. "finger-apples;" M.E. appel of paradis "banana," c.1400). Hence its grafting onto the unnamed "fruit of the forbidden tree" in Genesis. Cucumbers, in one Old English work, are eorþæppla, lit. "earth-apples" (cf. Fr. pomme de terre "potato," lit. "earth-apple;"). Fr. pomme is from L. pomum "fruit." (from http://www.etymonline.com). This contrasts with Slavonic where jablo- specifically meant apple and no other fruit.
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    I would also add Slavonic mal "small", LAT malus "bad, deficient" and, perhaps, Skr. mala "dirt, filth" but I doubt that it may be related here. Can it be connected with "apple" as the symbol of the "forbidden fruit"?
    No, μήλον(=sheep) and μήλον(=apple) are not cognates. My point was just to show that from two different I.E. roots were formed two words identical in form. It was off-topic, of course.
     

    CapnPrep

    Senior Member
    AmE
    There are several issues with this word [apple]. It is only attested in the 'Nothern' branch of IE.
    I'm not sure if Celtic counts as a "Northern" branch of IE… Anyway, something that has not been mentioned so far (unless I missed it) is that Latin mālum is probably a Greek loan, according to Ernout & Meillet, which replaced the original Italic root, found supposedly in the place-name Abella (= something like "Appleton").
     

    sotos

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Am I the only one who finds a relatedness between the root ap- and the Gr. apion (pear)? Apples and pears belong to the same botanic family and are first cousins.
     

    Dhira Simha

    Senior Member
    UK
    Russian
    Am I the only one who finds a relatedness between the root ap- and the Gr. apion (pear)? Apples and pears belong to the same botanic family and are first cousins.
    Σας ευχαριστούμε! Good point. Let me think about it. I have never come across this in any of the attempts to etymologize "apple". Can you please look up in a Greek etymological dictionary how they treat apion? Is it a a recent word?
     
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    Perseas

    Senior Member
    Σας ευχαριστούμε! Good point. Let me think about it. I have never come across this in any of the attempts to etymologize "apple". Can you please look up in a Greek etymological dictionary how they treat apion? Is it a a recent word?

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    Prof. Babiniotis' dictionary has: ἀπίδιον (Hellenistic) >πίδι (Medieval Gr.) : diminutive of the ancient ἄπιον.

    According to the same dictionary: ἄπιον, possibly < + *pis- ;it relates to the Latin pirum (> Fr. poire, Span. pera, Engl. pear, Ital. pera).
    ...............................................................................................................................................................................................

    απίδι is a word of the modern language also, a perfect equivalent of αχλάδι, although the latter is used in 9,9 out of 10 cases (maybe more often:))
     
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    eamp

    Senior Member
    German (Austria)
    All dictionaries I checked connect Ancient Greek apion and apios to Latin pirum (pear) and pirus (pear-tree) deriving both from *(a)piso- and say it's generally assumed to be a loan word from a pre-Indo-European Mediterranean language. If from PIE its form would be h2piso-, which looks strange, h2p- + some suffix -is-?
     

    Dhira Simha

    Senior Member
    UK
    Russian
    ...............................................................................................................................................................................................
    Prof. Babiniotis' dictionary has: ἀπίδιον (Hellenistic) >πίδι (Medieval Gr.) : diminutive of the ancient ἄπιον.

    According to the same dictionary: ἄπιον, possibly < + *pis- ;it relates to the Latin pirum (> Fr. poire, Span. pera, Engl. pear, Ital. pera).
    ...............................................................................................................................................................................................

    απίδι is a word of the modern language also, a perfect equivalent of αχλάδι, although the latter is used in 9,9 out of 10 cases (maybe more often:))

    Thank you, very helpful. However, I think that it would be problematic to derive it from the hypotheyical *abVl-. Do and *pis have any meaning of their own?
     

    Dhira Simha

    Senior Member
    UK
    Russian
    All dictionaries I checked connect Ancient Greek apion and apios to Latin pirum (pear) and pirus (pear-tree) deriving both from *(a)piso- and say it's generally assumed to be a loan word from a pre-Indo-European Mediterranean language. If from PIE its form would be h2piso-, which looks strange, h2p- + some suffix -is-?

    Do I understan it correctly, that strictly from the mainstream IE reconstruction point of view it would be problematic to connect ἄπιον with *abVl- ?
     

    sotos

    Senior Member
    Greek
    So many learned linguists cannot see the link between apion, apple, Gr. achlas/achras (pear), obst and opium!

    The pear in Greek is also αχράς/αχλάς, mod.Gr. αχλάδι(ον): http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aalphabetic+letter%3D*a%3Aentry+group%3D376%3Aentry%3Da%29xra%2Fs

    Let me transcribe it as achlas. This -ch- is the equivalent of -p- in other european languages (as in Gr. poios - Lat. quis - Eng. who). Usually the -p- is in Greek and the -ch/q/- in western languages (hippos - equus) but this is not compulsory, especially as fruits move around. So, the theoretically expected western equivalent of achlas could be aplas, which does exist.
     

    sotos

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Let's take now the pear/apion. Apart from the ap- which connects it with the ap-ple/ap-fel etc, it is also connected with the meaning of "fruit", as this is "op-ora" on Gr., ob-st in German etc. From opora > opos (juice) > opium (the juice of the poppy). The opium is known as aphion in medieval Gr. and Turkish, showing that op- can become ap-, or possibly had always been ap- in some parts of the Greek speaking world.
    Another interesting phenomenon is the relation of mel- with these fruits (melocoton = sour apple). I suspect that is the same mel- of Gr. meli (honey). The honey-bee is melissa in Gr. but Apis in Latin. Another similar case is the insect Aphis, that tiny green fly that infests plants and produces a sweet sticky material on them. This insect is called meligra in modern Gr. but I don't know how old is this word. What is the etymology of Apis (bee) and Aphis? Why is it so much close to Apion? The apples are not sweet fruits and the ancient pears could not be as sweet as the modern impreved varieties, but possibly the older meaning of apple was "fruit". The "Apples of Esperides" are thought to be oranges which are sweet. Alternatively, this Apis/Aphis comes from the opos (juice).

    The only true in the connection between apples and genitals (see initial post) lies in the deconstruction of the "forbidden fruit" of Paradise as a sexual taboo (Freud), but this is beyond conventional linguistics.
     

    sotos

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Also, this is exactly what the dictionary of Prof. Babiniotis says.
    Note:<<μᾶλ(ον) was also Doric>>.
    Just for the record there was also another μῆλον meaning sheep. According to the same dictionary this μῆλον traces its root to the I.E. term *(s)mel- (= browsing/pasturing small animal, mainly for sheep and goats).
    Arm. mal (=sheep), Irish mil, Anc. Germ. *smala- (=small) <<Germ. schmal, Engl. small>>.

    Is the μήλον (sheep) accidentally homoechus to apple? Probably yes, but the etymology from *(s)melis not convincing. There are some more phytonyms that suspiciously sound like animals or animal materials. For example the root aig- (referring to oak, aigylops) is practically the same with aix (goat), fir and *perkus (pine) are so close to fur and parka. There is also a reference that fruits of the conifers were called "sheeps" or "lammies". Finally, there was that failed thread with assumptions about the connection between tan (tree) and skin, which nobody care to comment.
    The melon (sheep) seems to be the origin (or the other way around) of the mallion (wool).
     

    Dhira Simha

    Senior Member
    UK
    Russian
    So many learned linguists cannot see the link between apion, apple, Gr. achlas/achras (pear), obst and opium!

    The pear in Greek is also αχράς/αχλάς, mod.Gr. αχλάδι(ον): http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper...betic+letter=*a:entry+group=376:entry=a)xra/s

    Let me transcribe it as achlas. This -ch- is the equivalent of -p- in other european languages (as in Gr. poios - Lat. quis - Eng. who). Usually the -p- is in Greek and the -ch/q/- in western languages (hippos - equus) but this is not compulsory, especially as fruits move around. So, the theoretically expected western equivalent of achlas could be aplas, which does exist.
    Are you certain about the direction of change? As far as I know, according to the traditional paradigm, IE kw appears as p/t/k in Greek while you suggest the transition other way round x > p?
     

    Dhira Simha

    Senior Member
    UK
    Russian
    For example the root aig- (referring to oak, aigylops) is practically the same with aix (goat), fir and *perkus (pine) are so close to fur and parka.
    Sorry, but this becomes too deviated from the main argument. I could comment on each of the above words at length but it is hardly relevant. Thank you for the apion, however. Even if it may not be related it creates a point for a discussion.
     

    kilticwar

    New Member
    English US
    I know this is an older thread. Also I'm far from being even an amateur with words. Yet, I believe that there is some confusion on where the apple originates. The "cultivation" of the apple is thought by most scientists who have studied apples to have originated in the mountains of Central Asia. Wild apples were and are found through out northern Europe, Asia and the America's. In fact seeds have been found in archaeological sites dating back at least 100,000 years. Many of if not most of the most well known apples of the past few hundred years have been crosses of "cultivated" apples coming out of Central Asia and their wild counterparts in Europe,
     

    Dhira Simha

    Senior Member
    UK
    Russian
    The apple tree (Malus domestica) belonging to the rose family (Rosaceae), is believed to have originated from Central Asia (Barrie E. Juniper, "The mysteriuos origin of sweet apple", American Scientist 95 (2007), pp. 45--51.). Its wild ancestors are species of Malus sieversii (Named after a Russian explorer Ivan Sievers who discovered this unusually large wild fruit on the slopes of Tian Shan in 1973) is found in the mountains of Central Asia in southern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Xinjiang, China. Almaty, the ex-capital of Kazakhstan, derives its name from the Kazakh word alma `apple'.

    It is suggested that wild horses originating from the same area may have played an important part in distributing the wild apple tree seeds over vast territories. The Malus sieversii apple could have been spread further into Middle East and Europe with caravans via the Silk Road. It should be noted though that, as it was later discovered, the same species of apple tree managed to make its way to Europe thousands of years before and was named Malus pumila by Philip Miller in 1768. Thus the spread of the ancestor of Malus domestica is somewhat ambiguous.

    Apple cultivation probably started in Ferghana Valley which is considered one of the earliest centres of Neolithic agriculture. The apple tree spread from this area mixing with other wild varieties and became the base stock of modern cultivars. It is quite reasonable to presuppose that the areas of today's Iran, Afghanistan and North-Eastern India - where Indo-Aryans were located - were quite suitable for apple cultivation and that it would be reflected in their language and culture. Also, being a temperate climate tree, apple would not have been very suitable for the hot and arid conditions of the Arab peninsula and Ethiopia. There are modern, specially created varieties of apple which are now cultivated in Africa but in Ethiopia apples are still a luxury imported fruit.

    The oldest evidence of dried and sliced apples comes from the Basra area of today's Iraq, dated between 2200-2100 BC (Jules Janick, "The Origins of Fruit Growing and Fruit Breeding", 2010). It is not known exactly whether they were of the sweet variety or the sourer wild one. Apple gardens were mentioned in a Sumerian cuneiform text dating from 1900 BCE, and at about the same time there were references to apple orchards in Hittite texts. Sweet smelling apples were mentioned in the Biblical Song of Songs (also known as the Song of Solomon, Solomon's Song of Songs, or as Canticles Song of Solomon 2 (New International Version)) which could also date to about 1000 BCE.

    We may, therefore, conclude that at least by the first millennium BCE apples were already part of agriculture of the Middle-East but it is unlikely that they found their way to Egypt before the Graeco-Roman times (Janick, 2010, 21). Although it is uncertain when Malus domestica appeared in Europe, particularly Western Europe, the wild apple varieties have always been present in this temperate area and were well known by the local inhabitants being part of their diet.
     

    Erkattäññe

    Member
    Spanish - Argentina
    I'm not sure if Celtic counts as a "Northern" branch of IE… Anyway, something that has not been mentioned so far (unless I missed it) is that Latin mālum is probably a Greek loan, according to Ernout & Meillet, which replaced the original Italic root, found supposedly in the place-name Abella (= something like "Appleton").

    More on this one:
    Lat. Abella (osk. Stadt in Campanien) malifera `äpfeltragend', nach Verg. Aen. 7, 740, dürfte ihren Namen nach der Apfelzucht erhalten haben und auf die Grundform *ablonā zurückweisen. Der Apfel ist nicht etwa erst nach der Stadt benannt.
     

    Ljudevit

    New Member
    Croatian - Croatia
    I know that's the commonly accepted theory, but is it possible to look past that? What rules are making the change from a word meaning round (or a ball), to a round fruit, unlikely or silly? Is it a lack of any historical written records? Can somebody also, please, explain to me the change form Latin ovum to egg. I can see it changing from PIE *owyo directly to Germanic. Similarly, couldn't it at least be considered that English eye and egg are distant cousins (was it ever, why not)? I apologize if I'm asking questions with answers obvious to you. I'm interested in etymology, but have a lot to learn.

    apple, jabolka, a ball, oblo (round), oval, owyo - What is wrong with brainstorming this way, considering it for a moment, and proving it wrong or right, and was it done before? Thanks.
     
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    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I know that's the commonly accepted theory, but is it possible to look past that? What rules are making the change from a word meaning round (or a ball), to a round fruit, unlikely or silly? Is it a lack of any historical written records? Can somebody also, please, explain to me the change form Latin ovum to egg. I can see it changing from PIE *owyo directly to Germanic. Similarly, couldn't it at least be considered that English eye and egg are distant cousins (was it ever, why not)? I apologize if I'm asking questions with answers obvious to you. I'm interested in etymology, but have a lot to learn.

    apple, jabolka, a ball, oblo (round), oval, owyo - What is wrong with brainstorming this way, considering it for a moment, and proving it wrong or right, and was it done before? Thanks.

    There is indeed nothing wrong in asking questions or brainstorming: Etymology, however is not based on free associations but on attested phonetic and semantic changes. Latin ovum, Germanic egg, Slavic jajco, are all attested descendants of PIE *owyo, but apple is not.
    By the way, egg does not "come from" ovum,
    br but the two words er related to *owyo.
     

    Ljudevit

    New Member
    Croatian - Croatia
    Thanks for taking time to answer. Can you point me to a good book or a website that would break down how the truth was attested, and how the free association idea was rejected? I can find a plenty of sources of what is considered attested, but I cannot find an explanation "how" exactly. What specifically is wrong with changing it phonetically and semantically in my way? I don't have the knowledge to do it myself. Is the answer too obvious, or complicated to be written here, and I just have to go to a right school, pay my dues, and earn my knowledge the "hard" way?
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Thanks for taking time to answer. Can you point me to a good book or a website that would break down how the truth was attested, and how the free association idea was rejected? I can find a plenty of sources of what is considered attested, but I cannot find an explanation "how" exactly. What specifically is wrong with changing it phonetically and semantically in my way? I don't have the knowledge to do it myself. Is the answer too obvious, or complicated to be written here, and I just have to go to a right school, pay my dues, and earn my knowledge the "hard" way?
    I can recommend you to start with the articles in Wikipedia on "Etymology" and "Proto-Indo-European language". You can also find many interesting explanation in "On line Etymology Dictionary" of the English language. Then you can try to buy or borrow an Etymological Dictionary of your mother tongue.
     

    Ljudevit

    New Member
    Croatian - Croatia
    Thanks for the suggestions. I am looking for something more specific than a dictionary, I own quite a few of them (Buck, Barnhart, Ayto, Bodmer, Gluhak...). Dictionaries I own, just give me a "fact", and I am supposed to believe in it, or have to learn a college worth amount of information.
    I'm hoping to find an etymologist on this forum, willing and capable of demonstrating (using a scientific method) how it is impossible to connect one, or both, of following:
    a.apple and oval,
    b.eye and egg

    Thank you.
     

    Borin3

    Senior Member
    Serbian
    Moderator note: Start of merged thread.


    Apple | Origin and meaning of Apple by Online Etymology Dictionary
    As we can see, word apple exists in various Germanic languages just as Slavic. It mentions old Church Slavonic example "Jabloko" which developed differently in different Slavic languages. Serbian lost L, and vowels changed so in turn we got "jabuka". It also mentions PIE root *ab(e)l. And at last it mentions the relation and original sense is uncertain.

    Let's hold on to older shape of Slavic word "Jobloko"(Yobloko) which still exists in the same form in Russian. "oblok" construction in Jobloko makes me recall word oblik-shape. Noun oblik-shape is tightly connected to adjective oblo-spherical? (round not as a line, or a ball, but sphere..spherical is a right word? Sphereical and smooth). Last word comes in three genders as obal(m.), obla(f.) and oblo (n.) so obviously obl is the root. This same root gives noun like oblik-shape, oblak-cloud (since cloud has that shape which is spherical, round, smooth), oblina- curve etc. etc.

    Reconstructed Proto-German *ap(a)laz leads to all similar words in different Germanic languages and stages which all have obl counstruction in them concerning apple. In English itself b changed to p. Now, it's quite obvious that jabloko comes from the same root obl, where J(Y) was added later. Apple also seems to come from the same root..Does that make sense?
     
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    Saley

    Senior Member
    Russian, Ukrainian
    Slavic word "Jobloko"(Yobloko) which still exists in the same form in Russian
    Apple is я́блоко in Russian, я́блуко in Ukrainian (я = /ja/); it never had /o/ in the first syllable.
    This same root gives noun like oblik-shape, oblak-cloud
    In о́блик and о́блако об- is a prefix, so these words are not related to я́блоко.
     

    Borin3

    Senior Member
    Serbian
    In о́блик and о́блако об- is a prefix, so these words are not related to я́блоко.
    Sorry how can OB be a prefix?
    /p/ is the regular outcome predicted by Grimm's law for pre-Germanic /b/.
    How does that change the picture?
    Reconstruction:proto-Indo-European/h₂ébōl - Wiktionary: There are several indications that the word for "apple" did not belong to the oldest layer of the Indo-European protolanguage (the word is limited to the West Indo-European languages) ... most likely as a borrowing from Semitic.
    I can't find the original sense except for fruits. Fig is not apple. Ubullat means fruits, so it also denotes brandy made of fruits? All the brandies are mostly made of fruits. The only thing that falls into the eye is that Ubullat means fruit.
     

    Saley

    Senior Member
    Russian, Ukrainian
    Sorry how can OB be a prefix?
    Just like in all other words with this prefix.

    Облик is obviously related to лик: both words share the same meaning even in Serbian.

    Облако is reconstructed as Proto-Slavic *obolkъ < *ob- + *volkъ; the root’s meaning is ‘to draw, pull, shamble’. The disappearance of root-initial в is common after the prefix об- (cf., for example, враћати vs. обраћати in Serbian).
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I can't find the original sense except for fruits
    The connection with the Arabic word is a bit of a long shot and shouldn't be taken too seriously. But the a narrowing of the meaning in the loaning process wouldn't be really a problem. That happens often, e.g., English panini has a much narrower meaning then Italian panino, which simply means small bread.

    What remains is that it is unlikely that there is a common root that goes all the way back to PIE. It is missing in main branches of IE completely and the Germanic and Celtic attestations on the one hand and the Baltic and Slavic attestations on the other hand do not allow a consistent reconstruction all the way back to PIE. From DWDS, lemma Apfel: Grundform läßt sich nicht erschließen. Die germ. und kelt. Formen führen im wesentlichen auf ie. *ab(a)l-, *ablu-, während die balt. und slaw. Formen Länge des Anlauts, zum Teil auch des zweiten Vokals zeigen, also auf ie. *ābō̌l-, *ābel-, *āblu- weisen.
     

    Borin3

    Senior Member
    Serbian
    Just like in all other words with this prefix.

    Облик is obviously related to лик: both words share the same meaning even in Serbian.

    Облако is reconstructed as Proto-Slavic *obolkъ < *ob- + *volkъ; the root’s meaning is ‘to draw, pull, shamble’. The disappearance of root-initial в is common after the prefix об- (cf., for example, враћати vs. обраћати in Serbian).
    I didn't consider oblak to have such a route, neither that oblik would be rather related to lik. ak and ik are also suffixes in number of cases.
    Anyway don't be selective with words when giving out examples for ob as a prefix. Obletati, obgrliti, obloga (obloziti), opkoliti (b>p), obraditi.. are all circular actions and so obletati can be only translated as fly around, obgrliti- to hug the whole of something or someone (obgrliti-to put hands all around something) opkoliti-to surround (kolo is already a circle where ob stresses it's meaning even more), obraditi-to process (raditi-to work, with ob it's a complete one action and it can be translated to work (something) all around...There are plenty of cases. OB in most of them as a prefix denotes a whole one process completed, and mostly carries a meaning of a circle.

    If what you said is correct, it doesn't change the fact that obl is a root for spherical, and that it exists in word for apple. At the end oblutak is exclusively a spherical, smoothed out stone.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    If what you said is correct, it doesn't change the fact that obl is a root for spherical, and that it exists in word for apple.
    It changes everything. I means that the word for apple does not contain that "root" but incidentally contains this same short sequence of phonemes.
     

    OBrasilo

    Senior Member
    Brazil, Brazilian Portuguese
    Borin3 said:
    opkoliti (b>p)
    That (b>p) is only true in Serbian, Slovenian, for example, maintains the b: obkoliti. Also, I agree that most if not all ob- have some sort of "round" meaning but I think that stems from the fact that the prefix ob- has the meaning of "around".
    And I really don't think it has anything to do with the word for apple, which by the way, in Slovenian, is jabolko. The -ko is clearly a suffix here, with jab-l- being the root, as indicated by the Slovenian word for apple tree, which is jablana, having the same jab-l- root but suffix -na.
    In Russian, the words are yabloko (apple the fruit) and yablonya (apple tree), stressed on the first syllable just like the Slovenian words. So both words are clearly common Slavic.
    And to me, the relation of Slavic yabl- to Germanic apl- is clear, some Slavic languages adding a y- to vowel-initial word is a know thing, for example, PIE hégom (I) yieleded Germanic ik and Old Slavic azŭ, and the latter also gained a y- in most Slavic languages (Slovenian jaz, Russian ya, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian ja, Czech/Slovak , etc.). So an Old Slavic ablŭ- replated to Germanic apl- that gained an initial y- in most Slavic languages, would not be unprecedented.
     
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    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    That (b>p) is only true in Serbian, Slovenian, for example, maintains the b: obkoliti.
    It's just an orthographic convention. Stops are allophonically devoiced before other voiceless stops in every Slavic language, but as far as I know this is only orthographically represented in BCS with its extremely phonetic orthography (possibly also Macedonian).
     

    James in London

    New Member
    British English
    The connection with the Arabic word is a bit of a long shot and shouldn't be taken too seriously.

    What about this, for instance? English apple, from Anglo-Saxon aeppel, also meaning fruit in general, similar to forms in Celtic and Slavic. Could these not be related to Latin malus, as in the term malic acid, and Greek melon or malon, again both meaning apple or fruit?

    Turkish is thought to be utterly unrelated. However, borrowings are still possible. The Turkish for apple is elma. The capital of Kazakhstan used to be Alma Ata or Almaty, meaning apple something; there’s a forest of wild apple trees near there. Kazakh is a Turkic language, thus related to Turkish. Recent analysis of the genome of the domestic apple, Malus pumila, has shown that it is descended from a wild apple called Malus sieversii. This is found in the mountains of Central Asia in southern Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Xinjiang, China. Cultivation of the species probably began in the forests on the lower slopes of the Tian Shan mountains, and it went on over a long period of time. The word could have been borrowed from Turkic into Indo European in prehistoric times, from IE into Turkic, or from a member of a now lost third language family into both IE and Turkic, or even from a common ancestor of both proto-IE and proto-Turkic. I doubt that the word originated in Turkic as the Turks had not yet left Mongolia: the IE Scythians or the Tocharians would have been there.

    What we have is a group of words with a similar meaning of apple or fruit and a core of –bl- or –ml- or –lm-. Of interest too are lemon and lime, which are thought to be from Arabic laymūn or līmūn, and from Persian limūn, a generic term for citrus fruit, which is a cognate of Sanskrit (nimbū, lime), so –nm- is also possible as a variant. Let us call these the core words. The core words are in various seemingly unrelated language families and would have come from an earlier word for fruit in general. This would have arisen in a fruit-growing area where different peoples encountered one another in prehistoric times. If the fruit is an apple, then Central Asia fits the bill. Here perhaps not only the Indo-Europeans and the Turks met but also the Uralic peoples, the ancestors of the Hungarians , the Finns and others: the Hungarian for apple is elma, the same as the word in Turkish.
     
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    Oranje

    Member
    English - England
    I went to verify what James was saying about Kazakstan and discovered that central Asia is apparently where wild malus sieversii, the progenitor of the domesticated apple, shows the most genetic diversity. The place of domestication is thought to be Tian Shan forest in Kazakhstan. It is dated to the cross breeding of M. domestica and M. orientalis over 4,500 thousand years ago. Per glottochronology, this would make the apple younger than Indo-European but older (or as old) as common Turkic. If the date is correct, the place in which the apple was domesticated in central Asia will have fallen within the limits of the Afanasevo culture. This means the root of apple is within the usual timelimit for linguistic reconstruction consistent with neogrammatrian methods.

    These are facts which would be of interest to archeologists-cum-linguists similar to Matthew Spriggs and Roger Blench (SE Asia specialists) if such scholars existed for Eurasian prehistory.

    But these facts are non-linguistic.

    I think more careful comparative work needs to be done before non-linguistic circumstantial evidence can be integrated into an argument. For example:

    - are mal- (Baltic, Latin) and apVl (Indo-European) all meaning apple the same root? [probably not, the former has good alternative etymologies as in Blažek (1995) in the OP]
    - what is the position of Oghuz almā in areal context? What are the phonotactic constraints of Turkic, IE, Uralic and Mongolic? Are there any known sound law tests for detecting deep borrowing within and between these groups operant on our root? [Mong. alim, Kalm. al'mn, yet unattested in Siberian Turkic; (root initial?) pre-Turkic p/b > Turkic h; Chuvash n is a regular correspondence of Oghuz m after r (possibly l?)]
    - why Sankrit numbū for lime? Are there any other borrowed roots in complementary distribution? Can we date this?

    As you might expect, this requires a deep familiarity with more than a few rogue words that resemble one another superficially.

    Alma-Mati is almost certainty a folk etymology. Ml/bl/lm as a routinely metathesised root for generic Eurasian fruit is not tenable.

    EDIT: It so happens that Middle Chinese 頻婆 /biĕn buɑ/ > Mandarin 蘋果 píngguǒ, both "apple", is borrowed from Sanskrit बिम्ब bímba "Momordica gourd". The gourd in question is red and fleshy. From the shape, the root isn't likely to be IE.
     
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    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    EDIT: It so happens that Middle Chinese 頻婆 /biĕn buɑ/ > Mandarin 蘋果 píngguǒ, both "apple", is borrowed from Sanskrit बिम्ब bímba "Momordica gourd". The gourd in question is red and fleshy. From the shape, the root isn't likely to be IE.

    There is bimba- (m.) “disk of the sun or moon”, and bimbā- (f.) “the gourd Momordica monadelpha”. Presumably you mean the latter.
     

    Oranje

    Member
    English - England
    You probably know that this is part of a broader scheme. Vennemann tries to prove that there has been important Semitic on languages in the North Sea area about 300 BC as a consequence of alleged Punic colonization. E.g. he also regards Germanic strong verbs as a consequence of Semitic influence. The general reception by his peers has been "sympathetically dismissive": While most of his claims are regarded as insufficiently founded, his attempt to re-evalute the history of European civilization beyond traditional beliefs should be applauded (Source, p.35).
    Strange how scientific sabotage or, assuming the best, sloppy clumping is considered something that we should applaud if the motivation was to disrupt the past. I understand you are just quoting their opinions but this is a really harmful attitude.
     
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