Hungarian / Czech: tábor (camp)

AndrasBP

Senior Member
Hungarian
Hello,

The word "tábor" means "camp" in both Czech and Hungarian.
There is a town called Tábor in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Wikipedia article about Tábor says that 1) according to most Czech linguists, the town was named after Biblical Mount Tabor by the Hussites in the 15th century, and the name came to mean any military camp, this meaning later spreading to Hungarian and Polish as well.
The article mentions that 2) according to "other linguists", the word "tábor" is actually a loanword from Hungarian, where it is considered to be of Old Turkic origin.

Unsurprisingly, my Hungarian etymology dictionary agrees with the second version, saying that the Hungarian word "tábor" is probably of Turkic origin, and it was first attested in writing in 1383.

If that date is correct, it means that the Hungarian word pre-dates the Czech Hussite movement, so Hungarian "tábor" cannot originate from the Czech place name.

Would you say that the date is enough to disprove the first theory?
Is a double "parallel" etymology plausible?
 
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  • Mori.cze

    Senior Member
    Czech
    My Czech etymological dictionary mentions both theories (loose quotation "Czech linguists generally believe the word originates from the place name Tábor, and indeed the word doea not appear before 15th century. Then the word is supposed to spread to other languages (such as Hungarian). Foreign linguists on the other hand tend to claim that the word has Turkish origin, in which case it would come to Czech through Hungarian")

    My very humble opinion would be that the city name Tábor (which I believe can be trusted to be of biblical origin) strenghtened the usage of a Hungarian loanword in Czech, but did not influence Hungarian language much.
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    I don't know if it'll be any useful, but in Spanish, there's the word tabor, although it has a different meaning, and the etimology is said to be from (Old) Turkish tabur.

    Romanian word tabără means "camp" and is a (Old) Slavic loanword according to:
    dexonline - tabără

    Note also Russian табор with the same meaning and etymology, according to:
    Табор — Википедия

    But this article provides other possible etymologies:
    tabor - Wiktionary
    Note that your last link quotes Hungarian tábor as the etymology of Serbo-Croatian tâbor.
     

    Torontal

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Interestingly according to an online Turkish etymological dictionary tabur - Nişanyan Sözlük the word tabur could be a loanword from Hungarian to Turkish, though ultimately it proposes that the Hungarian word then came from Kipchak dapkur/tapkur "row/line of soldiers", that from Mongol dabkur "line, row, fold", and that from the Mongol verb dabta- "to fold". (The first Ottoman Turkish example the link cites is from 1600, but i remember i have encountered the word already in 16th century Ottoman text.)
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    If the word "tabor" were of Protoslavic origin, then it would be a very lonely word, at least in Polish. I don't know any other Polish word that ends in "-or" in a word consisting only of a naked word stem. All endings "-or" or "-ór" are either suffixes, or in the case of "-ór" come from transformed verbs or apophony like večer -> wieczór. How is it in other Slavic languages? Are there many similar words?
     

    AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Thank you for your replies. It seems that the word exists in all almost all languages of Eastern Europe.:)

    But this article provides other possible etymologies:
    tabor - Wiktionary
    This is mainly about the "drum" meaning, which I don't think is relevant here.

    My very humble opinion would be that the city name Tábor (which I believe can be trusted to be of biblical origin) strenghtened the usage of a Hungarian loanword in Czech, but did not influence Hungarian language much.
    It looks plausible to me.

    But of course tábor is not a word of a Slavic origin.
    Do you mean that it's definitely not Slavic, but you don't think its origin can be determined with certainty?
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Topór from the Polish perspective looks non-derived. But of course tábor is not a word of a Slavic origin.
    Wikipedia gives 'topór' Iranian etymology. Polish has also 'wór/worek' (sack) and Russian 'vor' (thief). We could maybe find more such words in the Slavic languages, but they are indeed not common.
     

    ahvalj

    Senior Member
    Technically, Slavic has the suffix -or- at least in the word stoborъ "pillar" that has an exact counterpart in the Lithuanian stabaras "dry stem", both coming from the root *stebʰ- (thus *stobʰ-or-o-s). One of the theories, likewise, derives toporъ from teti "to beat" (as *taparas<*toporos), in which case it might be a parallel formation in Iranic and Slavic (or, taking into consideration the absence of the deriving root outside Balto-Slavic, a loan from Slavic or one of the ancient non-Iranic languages to Iranic). In case of tábor the problem is first of all in the lack of a suitable Slavic root.
     
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