Etymology of "Balkans"

Something that is not directly related, but may be interesting. In Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, and possibly other Slavic languages, there is a word, gora, which I've always found a bit strange because it can refer to both a mountain and a wooded region, and often refers to a wooded mountain region. There are plenty of such goras at least in the Western Balkans, one of them being Crna Gora, i.e. Montenegro. Some of the others are Skopska Crna Gora, Fruška Gora, Zelengora and several Ravna Goras.
 
  • Sulius

    Member
    English
    You are confusing Ionic and Attic. Ionic indeed lost /h/ earlier. What we learn today as "Classical Greek" in school is Attic pronunciation with Ionic spelling as used in 4th century BC Athens.

    I find aeneas dardanus quotation rather correct. The loss of Heta happened in the proto-ionic-attic split, which can be placed at about 4 BCE conservatively. That was before the dissapearance of the digama, the qoppa and so on. If we are discussing HAEM-us, we must be cognisant of the fact that H was dropped before ae became e: in Attic. Thus, he is not confusing anything because the split of the Proto Greek into Ionic and Attic had not happened YET, all in the while when H was lost.

    Says B. Samuels of UMD:

    The first compensatory lengthening, also a Proto-Attic-Ionic change, involved loss of (derived from Proto-Greek *s and *j) in certain sequences. The [a:] created by the first compensatory lengthening did feed into the [a:] > [æ:] change, so it must have occurred prior to any of the other changes we are discussing.


    BUT: I can't see any convincing argument being put forward so far why the Turkish name has to be a translation of the Greek/Latin name. The etymology presented in dictionaries ("wooded mountains") seems no better, no worse than the idea of a translation of the Greek/Latin name. I'm sitting on the fence and very much like to hear a conclusive argument.

    Let's take a look at the "wooded mountain" argument and analyze its preponderance. According to Tomic:

    1. Balkan Penninsula derives its name from the Slavic Toponym "Stara Planina".
    2. "Stara Planina" in Slavic languages (no specifics as to which particular one) means "OLD Mountain"
    3. Turkish word Balkan means (according to Tomic again) "thickly wooded mountain range" or "high ridge"
    4. A certain ZEUNE (a german historian) used Balkanhalbinsel for the first time around 1808
    5. Some Serbian called Cvijic picked up into that terminology 100 years later (in 1918) out of hate for Turks and their "European Turkey" toponimy.

    - Now, can some slavo-turkish person off the ones mentioned by our friend ankalimon explain to us how the 'OLD Mountain' became the 'Thickly Wooded RANGE'?
    - Have I missed any proofs that TURKS (regardles of being seljucks, or Tatars, or Peching, or Manchurian) TRANSLATED Slavic toponyms into Turkish, but did not translate from the indigenous population?
    - Can anyone ponder on the the evidence why Turks referred to Slavic language for toponimic references?
     
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    ireney

    Modistra
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Side note about the drop of "H"/eta: While it stopped being actually written, in, at least the Attic dialect, it continued being pronounced all the way till Koine when it gradually got dropped all together. It was denoted during Hellenistic times with the rough breathing mark (daseia). Its long life (way past the 5th century) is the reason we ended up with hippopotamus :D
    And the sound does sound to me like a consonant (click the rough breathing mark here for a good approximation)
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I find aeneas dardanus quotation rather correct. The loss of Heta happened in the proto-ionic-attic split, which can be placed at about 4 BCE conservatively. That was before the dissapearance of the digama, the qoppa and so on. If we are discussing HAEM-us, we must be cognisant of the fact that H was dropped before ae became e: in Attic. Thus, he is not confusing anything because the split of the Proto Greek into Ionic and Attic had not happened YET, all in the while when H was lost.

    Says B. Samuels of UMD:
    The first compensatory lengthening, also a Proto-Attic-Ionic change, involved loss of (derived from Proto-Greek *s and *j) in certain sequences. The [a:] created by the first compensatory lengthening did feed into the [a:] > [æ:] change, so it must have occurred prior to any of the other changes we are discussing.
    The keyword in this quote is in certain sequences. Early loss of intervocalic and final /h/ is undisputed but we are talking about initial /h/ here. If you continue reading you'll find in the same paper (p.14) exactly what I said:
    In 403BCE, the Athenians officially began using the Ionic alphabet, and other groups soon followed suit, abandoning their dialectal variants of the script in favor of the standard version. The Ionic alphabet was primarily characterized by the use of <η>, indicating a long [ę:] sound instead of its former phonetic value of ...

    __________________________________________________________________________
    Let's take a look at the "wooded mountain" argument and analyze its preponderance. According to Tomic:

    1. Balkan Penninsula derives its name from the Slavic Toponym "Stara Planina".
    2. "Stara Planina" in Slavic languages (no specifics as to which particular one) means "OLD Mountain"
    3. Turkish word Balkan means (according to Tomic again) "thickly wooded mountain range" or "high ridge"
    4. A certain ZEUNE (a german historian) used Balkanhalbinsel for the first time around 1808
    5. Some Serbian called Cvijic picked up into that terminology 100 years later (in 1918) out of hate for Turks and their "European Turkey" toponimy.

    - Now, can some slavo-turkish person off the ones mentioned by our friend ankalimon explain to us how the 'OLD Mountain' became the 'Thickly Wooded RANGE'?
    - Have I missed any proofs that TURKS (regardles of being seljucks, or Tatars, or Peching, or Manchurian) TRANSLATED Slavic toponyms into Turkish, but did not translate from the indigenous population?
    - Can anyone ponder on the the evidence why Turks referred to Slavic language for toponimic references?
    You seem to take it for granted that the Turkish name of the mountain has to be a translation of sorts. I can't see any compelling reason for this assumption.
     

    ancalimon

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    I am totally not sure about this but:

    Kan might have meant "mountain" or more probably "high, highness" (maybe related to Khan)

    Bal or Bol might have meant "crowded and/or thick, dense" and also "rich, fertile, abundant"

    There is a mountain which is simply called "Khan Tengri"
     
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    Sulius

    Member
    English
    The keyword in this quote is in certain sequences. Early loss of intervocalic and final /h/ is undisputed but we are talking about initial /h/ here. If you continue reading you'll find in the same paper (p.14) exactly what I said:


    The quote confirms that the H was lost before 4 BCE. The susbtitution was a vowel - the long E.

    You seem to take it for granted that the Turkish name of the mountain has to be a translation of sorts. I can't see any compelling reason for this assumption.

    Not really. This is the only other (and generally accepted!) theory on the Balkan expression I have encountered so far. Perhaps you know of another hypothesis? Let's have it.

    In any case, it is queer for a Turkish expression to became the mainstream logo for the Pennisula when Turks were almost getting out of there, and that because the "European Turkey" was too Turkish.
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    The quote confirms that the H was lost before 4 BCE. The susbtitution was a vowel - the long E.
    How many times do I have to repeat this: In Ionic and not in Attic.
    The Ionic alphabet was primarily characterized by the use of <η>, indicating a long [ę:] sound instead of its former phonetic value of ...
    Ok, again and more explicit: Ionic lost initial /h/ prior to 400BC and consequently lost the need for a consonantal HETA and used the letter only as a vowel sign (long open e). Attic spelling retained the dual use as a consonant and as a vowel sign because the dialect retained phonemic /h/ word-initially. E.g. the name of the goddess Hera was spelled HHPA in Attic, the first "H" representing a consonant and the second a vowel. After 403BC, Attic spelling adapted to Ionic use and dropped the consonantal "H" (though an intermediate stage of the "half-H") without change of pronunciation; hence the spelling of Hera became HPA though it continued to be pronounced HHPA for many centuries to come and hence the Romans continued to transcribe it HERA and not *ERA and in diacritic Greek spelling the spiritus asper was introduced to represent the still phonemic /h/.
    Not really. This is the only other (and generally accepted!) theory on the Balkan expression I have encountered so far. Perhaps you know of another hypothesis? Let's have it.

    In any case, it is queer for a Turkish expression to became the mainstream logo for the Pennisula when Turks were almost getting out of there, and that because the "European Turkey" was too Turkish.
    Dictionaries quote "wooded mountain" without stating if it is a translation or a Turkish invention. The remaining question is why the Turks called the mountain range Balkan. That the extension of the name to the entire peninsula is a modern Western (probably German) "invention" has been clarified.
     
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    aeneas dardanus

    Banned
    Dardanian
    I'm sitting on the fence and very much like to hear a conclusive argument.
    So you want a scientific conclusion?

    Here,
    I'll give you one:

    If you are not from Mars, as you obviously aren't -
    you must come from one of us Earthlings.




    Therefore,
    (and since we are not discussing which one)

    if Balkan
    has absolutely no etymological relations with the meaning "wooded mountain chain" ( as it doesn't!) ;

    But contrary to that,
    bal & kan precisely describe the meaning of Hem - than,
    Balkan is a Turkic equivalent of its original name Hem - is invariantly, the only scientific conclusion of the fact.
     

    mataripis

    Senior Member
    I am totally not sure about this but:

    Kan might have meant "mountain" or more probably "high, highness" (maybe related to Khan)

    Bal or Bol might have meant "crowded and/or thick, dense" and also "rich, fertile, abundant"

    There is a mountain which is simply called "Khan Tengri"
    I remember that in old tagalog, anything that is remote and mountenous is called "Bukid" and in Dumaget it is "Bukwad". but when you say flower it is "Bukan" (Dumaget) and the "Bal" in that word has the meaning "Famous for" and if i create a term out of these ,this will sound like " Bangkan" meaning "well known for lush vegetation"
     

    Sulius

    Member
    English
    How many times do I have to repeat this: In Ionic and not in Attic.Ok, again and more explicit: Ionic lost initial /h/ prior to 400BC and consequently lost the need for a consonantal HETA and used the letter only as a vowel sign (long open e). Attic spelling retained the dual use as a consonant and as a vowel sign because the dialect retained phonemic /h/ word-initially. E.g. the name of the goddess Hera was spelled HHPA in Attic, the first "H" representing a consonant and the second a vowel. After 403BC, Attic spelling adapted to Ionic use and dropped the consonantal "H" (though an intermediate stage of the "half-H") without change of pronunciation; hence the spelling of Hera became HPA though it continued to be pronounced HHPA for many centuries to come and hence the Romans continued to transcribe it HERA and not *ERA and in diacritic Greek spelling the spiritus asper was introduced to represent the still phonemic /h/.

    I am not sure what you are trying to prove. Loss of H is documented during the Proto-Greek Language (circa 2 BC) which precedes Koine.
    Thus, the Attic or Ionic split is beyond the point of discussion because:
    1. It happened later.
    1. Either way, it matters less when H was lost, but it matters what circumestances produced that loss (e.g. ovelayering of original substrate with other populations).
    2. Preservation of conversational H in Attic until later is probably attributable to the pockets of indigenous ancient Greeks that inhabited the penninsula, and who were assimilated later than their Ionian counterparties. Haemus region falls primarily under the the Ionic influence.
    3. Unlike the written form which can be attested, the spoken speech omissions are hard to document. The issue remains highly speculative.

    Dictionaries quote "wooded mountain" without stating if it is a translation or a Turkish invention. The remaining question is why the Turks called the mountain range Balkan. That the extension of the name to the entire peninsula is a modern Western (probably German) "invention" has been clarified.

    The dictionaries specify that Turks loaned the expression, without specifying the type of the loan. Let see what one of the first persons documented to use this toponym has to say:

    BalkanHaemus.jpg


    If I am not mistaken Morrit breaks the word into Bal and Kan in 1794. He also mention mount "Haemus" in the next line. Balkan is thought to have been recognized as "Penninsula of Heamus" along the lines of "Penninsula of Appenines".

    I will also leave you with this very curious quote, which rules out exactly the "wooded" and the "mountain range" versions maintained by Italians:
    1621- Luois Deshayes de Cormain "This mountain which separates Bulgaria from Romania...., is called by Italians "Chain of the world" and by Turks "Dervent", the name given to all mountains covered with woods, just as BALKAN is the name for BARE CLIFS, i.e. what the ANCIENT KNEW BY THE NAME OF HAEMUS"
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I am not sure what you are trying to prove. Loss of H is dokumented during the Proto-Greek Language (circa 2 BC) which precedes Koine.
    Thus, the Attic or Ionic split is beyond the point of discussion because:
    1. It happened later.
    1. Either way, it matters less when H was lost, but it matters what circumestances produced that loss (e.g. ovelayering of original substrate with other populations).
    2. Preservation of conversational H in Attic until later is probably attributable to the pockets of indigenous Ancient Greeks that inhabited the penninsula, and who were assimilated latter than their Ionian counterparties. Haemus region falls primarily under the the Ionic influence.
    3. Unlike the written form which can be attested, the spoken speech omissions are hard to document. The issue remains highly speculative.
    What on earth are you taking about?:confused:
    - Proto-Greek is not documented at all and was before about 1700BC.
    - Attic is the only relevant dialect because it is the basis for Latin transcriptions of Greek words and that's why we are discussing all this (Can a Latin word starting with "H" be a transcription of a Geek word?).
    - Continued phonemicity of spiritus asper (=word-inital /h/) is documented in Hellenistic Greek.

    Let see what one of the first persons documented to use this toponym has to say:

    BalkanHaemus.jpg


    If I am not mistaken Morrit breaks the word into Bal and Kan in 1794. He also mention mount "Haemus" in the next line. Balkan is thought to have been recognized as "Penninsula of Heamus" along the lines of "Penninsula of Appenines".

    I will also leave you with this very curious quote, which rules out exactly the "wooded" and the "mountain range" versions maintained by Italians:
    You seem to have read this (Maria Todorova: Imagining the Balkans) book. (Mis-)conceptions of Western travelers are hardly relevant for the Turkish etymology which is discussed on p.26 in that book. "Most Ottoman and Turkish dictionaries describe it as mountain or mountain range, some specify it as wooded mountain, some as pass through thickly wooded and rocky maintains".

    Moreover we read: "The combination Emine-Balkan is actually the literal Ottoman translation of 'Haemus-mountain': from the Byzantine 'Aimis', 'Emmon', and 'Emmona' the Ottomans derived their 'Emine'". This seems to solve the apparent conflict of explanations: Balkan itself is not a translation of Haemus Mons but has been used as part of such translation.
     
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    Sulius

    Member
    English
    << -- Please read EHL rule 15. -- >>

    You seem to have read this (Maria Todorova: Imagining the Balkans) book. (Mis-)conceptions of Western travelers are hardly relevant for the Turkish etymology which is discussed on p.26 in that book. "Most Ottoman and Turkish dictionaries describe it as mountain or mountain range, some specify it as wooded mountain, some as pass through thickly wooded and rocky maintains".

    Moreover we read: "The combination Emine-Balkan is actually the literal Ottoman translation of 'Haemus-mountain': from the Byzantine 'Aimis', 'Emmon', and 'Emmona' the Ottomans derived their 'Emine'". This seems to solve the apparent conflict of explanations: Balkan itself is not a translation of Haemus Mons but has been used as part of such translation.[/

    I assume you to be saying that since Turks used Emine to transliterate Haemus into their colloquial, the Balkan word must indicate either a Mountain or a Range. Todorova is under the same impression, as well. Logically I tend to agree with you, but no further. Back to the discussion on the historical context, one needs to keep in mind that what we call Turkish is not a unique verbal communication between people of the same race, whcih in many cases has produced different words with the same etymological conotation. A few historians and etymologysts attest to an unexplained number of tautological geographical expressions in the area and beyond. Here goes one such observation:

    BalkanTautology-1.jpg
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    << -- Response to deleted comment -- >>

    I assume you to be saying that since Turks used Emine to transliterate Haemus into their colloquial, the Balkan word must indicate either a Mountain or a Range. Todorova is under the same impression, as well.
    Todorova is not under any "impression" here but reports explanations found in Ottoman dictionaries ("Most Ottoman and Turkish dictionaries describe it as mountain or mountain range, some specify it as wooded mountain, some as pass through thickly wooded and rocky maintains").
     
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    Sulius

    Member
    English
    <...>Todorova is not under any "impression" here but reports explanations found in Ottoman dictionaries.
    [/LEFT]

    I do not find it useful to reply to a post that claims the truth equates with what came to stay andwas never questioned regardless of conflicting evidence. Personally, i find the explanation of aeneas dardanus entincing. Especially if we consider that etymologically "h/ae" is commonly found in the region to denote "RED", "Iron Ore - Stone" and possibly (and erroneusly "crimson") in the regional ancient language from time immemorable.
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I do not find it useful to reply to a post that claims the truth equates with what came to stay andwas never questioned regardless of conflicting evidence. Personally, i find the explanation of aeneas dardanus entincing. Especially if we consider that etymologically "h/ae" is commonly found in the region to denote "RED", "Iron Ore - Stone" and possibly (and erroneusly "crimson") in the regional ancient language from time immemorable.
    What do you suggest? Ignoring Turkish sources when exploring the etymology of a Turkish word.

    So far we have to possible explanation:

    1. Balkan as a translation of Haemus because kan means blood in Turkish and Haemus is reminiscent of the Greek word for blood.
    2. Balkan as part of "[t]he combination Emine-Balkan" the first part of which would be a transliteration of Byzantine name of the mountain range and the second would be a Turkish word meaning mountain, mountain range, (thickly) wooded mountain or rocky maintains.
    Explanation 1. has some intuitive plausibility but no Turkish sources to back it up while 2. is backed up by Turkish sources but relies on meaning not present in modern Turkish any more. I know too little about Turkic language to decide between the two.
     

    Sulius

    Member
    English
    What do you suggest? Ignoring Turkish sources when exploring the etymology of a Turkish word.

    So far we have to possible explanation:
    1. Balkan as a translation of Haemus because kan means blood in Turkish and Haemus is reminiscent of the Greek word for blood.
    2. Balkan as part of "[t]he combination Emine-Balkan" the first part of which would be a transliteration of Byzantine name of the mountain range and the second would be a Turkish word meaning mountain, mountain range, (thickly) wooded mountain or rocky maintains.
    Explanation 1. has some intuitive plausibility but no Turkish sources to back it up while 2. is backed up by Turkish sources but relies on meaning not present in modern Turkish any more. I know too little about Turkic language to decide between the two.

    Someone is missing something here because the opening post read:
    Recently when I was on trip to Bulgaria and Serbia the guide told us that the word Balkan comes from Turkish "bal" = honey + "kan" = blood (as in: "here you will obtain honey but this will require blood from you") (and he insisted on it, as having based himself on the book that is not accessible to me, a collection of scholarly papers which he called "Thirteen hundred years of history of Bulgaria" or something similar; I cannot find it in the university library catalogue).

    In addition, a five minute search on the internet will give you numerous of leads from turkish scholars who maintain that bal+kan it is indeed blood and honey. I am posting here a german quote for illustration just because it covers both points in your reply:

    Apart from "mountains", "BLOOD& HONEY" is one possible translation of the term BAL-KAN. Blut and Honig;Zukunft ist am Balkan, Szeemann, p15


    It is my undestanding that the discussion was not centered around "Bal" and "Kan" being Turkish compounds and their meaning, but in what way, shape or form the Turkish menaing of these compaunds ('blood' and 'honey') ever related to the Penninsula, prior explanations being rendered ridiculous by folk stories of sweet regional honey honey and bloody wars. To that, aeneas dardanus responded that both words connect etymologically to Haemus etc.,

    I was hoping to see a bit more on the interesting expanation, when some people jumped the gun and flared for reasons I do not follow. This is a discussion board. An issue can be discussed thorougly until sattisfactory, unless someone has pressing issues and want to conclude by closing the thread.
     
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    ancalimon

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    What do you suggest? Ignoring Turkish sources when exploring the etymology of a Turkish word.

    So far we have to possible explanation:

    1. Balkan as a translation of Haemus because kan means blood in Turkish and Haemus is reminiscent of the Greek word for blood.
    2. Balkan as part of "[t]he combination Emine-Balkan" the first part of which would be a transliteration of Byzantine name of the mountain range and the second would be a Turkish word meaning mountain, mountain range, (thickly) wooded mountain or rocky maintains.
    Explanation 1. has some intuitive plausibility but no Turkish sources to back it up while 2. is backed up by Turkish sources but relies on meaning not present in modern Turkish any more. I know too little about Turkic language to decide between the two.

    I'd like to add that there is a drink called KIMIZ which was made with horse blood and horse milk or simply horse milk. Today only milk is used (at least that's what I hope :) ). Might be related with HAEMUS.

    But even with a few drops of blood added to the drink I don't think the drink would have become red. It would at most become pink. I also don't think they added too much blood to the drink in the past. Still, today we call the color red "KIRMIZI" in Turkish. I think that sounds Arabic.


    I'd like to add this information from Turkish Etymology Dictionary by Tuncer Gülensoy

    balkan.jpg


    It says:

    BALKAN: Sarp ve ormanlık dağ
    <ET *bal(ı)k 'çamur'+an 'bataklık'
    Krş. ET. balık ~ balk 'çamur'; balık 'şehir' (DLT)
    An.ağl.: balkan, balgam, bal-gamlık, balğan 'Sazlık, bataklık' (DS.II, 507)

    ~~

    Sarp ve ormanlık dağ: Mountain that's steep-rugged and that have forests on it.

    Çamur: mud Şehir: city Sazlık: morass Bataklık: bog,swamp Balgam: phlegm

    ~~

    Also BALTA (axe) might be related with BALKAN as well. (the word is same among Turkish, Mongolian and Tungusic.)

    Thus I have another theory: Since the etymology dictionary I have says that BALKAN is related with BALIK (which means city) and I suspect that BALTA could also be related with BALKAN, maybe the BAL part meant something like equal parts (as in LABYRS) (BÖL means divide,split,parcel out) or stable-balanced ground (and stabilizing-balancing-erecting materials,ingredients). (since cities are also usually found on stable ground). Also BAL (honey) could have been seen as some kind of stable city for bees....
    BALBAL: human statue erected from stone. (which is of course balanced, bolt upright)


    An example supporting this theory: There is a city in Turkey named BALIKESIR and it has three possible meanings:

    BALIK ESİR: city - hostage

    BALI KESİR: honey is bitter

    most probably this: BALI(K) HİSAR: (if my theory is correct) stable-sturdy-rugged castle

    You can actually say that balık most probably have most of the meanings of sağlam (sturdy) http://translate.google.com/#auto|en|sağlam

    All of this wouldn't explain the bog-swamp part though.



    ~~
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I'd like to add this information from Turkish Etymology Dictionary by Tuncer Gülensoy

    balkan.jpg


    It says:

    BALKAN: Sarp ve ormanlık dağ
    <ET *bal(ı)k 'çamur'+an 'bataklık'
    Krş. ET. balık ~ balk 'çamur'; balık 'şehir' (DLT)
    An.ağl.: balkan, balgam, bal-gamlık, balğan 'Sazlık, bataklık' (DS.II, 507)

    ~~

    Sarp ve ormanlık dağ: Mountain that's steep-rugged and that have forests on it.

    Çamur: mud Şehir: city Sazlık: morass Bataklık: bog,swamp Balgam: phlegm

    ~~
    Interesting. When I understand the entry correctly, the interpretation honey-blood would then be due to a misanalysis of the word as Bal-kan while the correct analysis would be Balk-an, and Balk- a contraction of balık. Is that understanding correct?

    Does the meaning balık or balk = mud rather than fish resonate with you as a modern Turkish speaker?
     

    ancalimon

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    The word balık=şehir is outdated and I'm positively sure that there are almost nobody in Turkey who knows that balık meant city in the past. Also there's that information which Mahmud of Kashgar says that only polytheist Turks called cities as balık and he also wrote that those Turks (probably some people living among Russians, Slavs, Chinese, Greeks) stopped being Turks in the past. (for God knows what reason (maybe because they became polytheist)... Probably things were different in the past)

    There are many possibilities to what the word originally could have been due to changes that happen in Turkish. For example It could have been Bağlık (connection or somewhere which ties two places together like a threshold or place with many yards or a place that looks like a yard or well-kept place) (Ğ actually is a letter which conglutinates the letter before it and the letter after it together). I think it meant protected place like a castle in which people hoarded wealth.

    when I say "balkan", it sounds to me like "something consisting of mud" but I can't know how people perceived it in the past.

    I guess that the trick is to see the connection between bal (honey) and balk (mud). The structure of both materials is similar. They are thick and they are used for building homes. One used for human homes, the other used for bee homes. :)

    So BAL (and maybe some other forms of the word) in my opinion meant something which was related and close to city, things used to build a city, city founder, city dweller, abundance, place where wealth is collected (related to BOL:abundant).

    This is from another Turkic etymology dictionary; this time from Azerbaijan.

    http://www.turuz.com/sozluk.aspx?dict=arin&q=balqan
    balqan:
    balğan.
    ◊ (< bal). iti. kəsərli.
    ◊ qızqın.
    ◊ iyit. pəkləvan. pəhləvan.
    ◊ məncənaq.
    ◊ balığ xan. balığ, şəhər xaqanı.
    ◊ sarp, uzanan hündür dağ.
    ◊ tuğay. çəkələk. cəngəl. urman. ğaba. meşə. biqşə. bükşə {bişə (fars) < bük).

    balkan. sıx ormanlı, sarp sıradağlar.

    balğan. balkan. qalğan. uca. yüksək. -balqan dağlar.

    qızqın (kızgın in Turkish): angry
    iyit (yiğit in Turkish): brave, honorable, valiant, daredevil, red-blooded
    məncənaq: (mancınık in Turkish): catapult
    şəhər xaqanı (şehir hakanı in Turkish): controller, regulator of a city
    cəngəl (çengel): fork, hook
    urman (orman):forest
    ğaba: (kaba) rugged, rough, vulgar, brute, rude, barbarous, uncivilized, ...
    meşə (meşe): oak
    bük: twist, bend, curve, hook, ...

    and also the same rugged-steep mountains with forests.

    Here is a verb: balqanlaşma (laş: like- to become like. ma: to)
    http://www.turuz.com/sozluk.aspx?dict=arin&q=balqanlaşma

    balqanlaşma:
    balkanlaşma. ( < balmaq: bölmək). ayrışma. parçalanma. təcziyələnmə. bir topraqda çeşitli neçə devlətə bölünmə.

    bölmek (to divide, to break down, to split, to parcel out...) http://translate.google.com/#auto|en|bölmek

    ayrışma: to dissolve (and connect together stronger in smaller quantities "for example like cement"). decomposition, dissociation,
    parçalanma: to break down into smaller components
    PS: I guess that balgam (mucus, spit) is related to this as well because in the past people divided lands by spitting on the ground. People might have thought that just like mucus breaks the food we eat into smaller components for our body, it also divided lands among different people... Found this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vistula_Spit

    it says to become divided into many different countries on the same land.

    təcziyələnmə: to become a lesser political entity. (for example from empire to country to state to city to district to village...)

    I guess all of the above shows us that Balkan - Balıq (city) and Polis are related words. This would make Balkan both a Turkish word and also a Greek word in its essence. (since poly : bol, ~böl and polis : balıq). For an empire to become divided into many city states, it has to "balkanlaşmak".

    All the problem lies within finding the true etymology of the word balıq:city. I have been trying to figure it out for a long time. Maybe the people who built balıqs were tyrans who hoarded the wealth of people who lived around the balıq inside the balıq and that's why balqan also means catapult (catapults were used against the castles) ? And the people who built balıqs were also law makers as a result balqan was also called city regulator? :confused:

    Ordu Balıq : The fortress of the army-horde?
    Beş Balıq: Five castles?
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I guess all of the above shows us that Balkan - Balıq (city) and Polis are related words.
    No it does not. Not even if the two word meant 100% the same thing it wouldn't mean the two words are related. It might mean that the concepts were related but not the words.
     

    ancalimon

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    Just learned this information:

    In the "Chulman Tolgau" epic Balkan is the name of the sacred mountain - abode of the gods, which in that poem seems to be identified with Kuenlun. Also Balkan is a by-name (which was "Alp Et-Barak Kebek" before) of the guardian of that place - the Dog-spirit (patron of the 11th year of the animal cycle).

    http://s155239215.onlinehome.us/turkic/10_History/KubanChulmanTolgauEn.htm

    We see the name Balkan in the parts:
    2. How appeared the Earth, the sea and the land
    4. As people became beautiful and offended Chulman.
    6. How years have received names.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kunlun_Mountains

    PS: Alp today means hero - very high status. (it's a common given name usually together with er> Alper; Hero Ascended-Saint) But in the mythological epic, I think it is used in a sense of "not yet fully evolved human being living on trees jumping from branch to branch".

    ET is "dog". It's İT in Turkish today

    I'm not sure about "Barak". I guess it could be related with soul, ascension and horse (horse in Proto-Turkic is related with soul&death&journey) as well making "Et-Barak" some kind of "Ascended Dog" maybe.

    "Kebek" should be "dog". It's "köpek" in Turkish today.
     
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    Yasie

    New Member
    Polish
    1. Maybe that is one of the stories - chicken and the egg. it is hard to believe in the turkish translation version. More realistic is using the same logic by multiple nations. If the mountain really looked reddish , there is no reason why multiple nations wouldnt use the same descriptive method to create the name. Mount Hemmis and mount balkan simply being the description of the same view , not translation.
    2. Is there any consideration of the similarity of the the part BAL to BALY , BILY , BIALY in multiple slavic languages.
    the same logic of etymology as in baltic see or alp mountains. That one would lead to white mountains which is clearly not the same as red or honey/red. But would be quite typical for description of snowy mountains. Also most of the balkan mountains really look white thanks to limestone.
    So the chance that this description was used by local tribes sounds quite realistic.

    all above is speculative but after reading that thread - why not.
     

    Christo Tamarin

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    The etymology of Balkan.

    In Turkish (or Oghuz Turkic), Balkan means either mountain chain, or woody mountain, whatever, no matter; I bet on the 2nd.

    Especially, the mountain chain, which crosses Bulgaria to Northern and Southern parts and which was used by the Western scholars to give the name to the peninsula, was called Koca Balkan in Turkish, and this name - Koca Balkan - was used in Bulgarian, too. Practically, in Bulgarian, every mountain could be called Balkan as there are "woody" mountains only on that territory and not "rocky" mountains. Though, the other mountains in Bulgaria can be called Balkans, but not Koca Balkan - Koca Balkan is a specific mountain which is also a Balkan.

    In modern Bulgarian, the name Koca Balkan is replaced by its calque, СТАРА ПЛАНИНА. This calque is not applicable to the other mountains.
     
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