Kartoffel (German) / Kartofi (Pontic Greek)

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Perseas

Senior Member
Hello,
I 've learned that "potato" is called "kartofi" (καρτόφι) in Pontic Greek, which sounds very similar to the German "Kartoffel". Are these words related etymologically? I've read that the German word is of Italian origin and the Pontic of Slavic origin. Thanks in advance.
 
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  • fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    The German "Kartoffel" has been borrowed into several languages spoken near the Pontic region, including Russian, Ukrainian and Armenian. Presumably Pontic Greek borrowed it from one of these.
     

    danielstan

    Senior Member
    Romanian - Romania
    Romanian cartof is definitely a German loanword (Kartoffel).

    From Romanian articles found on internet I learnt the potato was introduced in Transylvania (as province of Habsburg Empire) around 1814-1815 because of the famine of those years and next years it was introduced in Moldova and Wallachia from Transylvanian Saxons. The first names of the plant were all German loanwords and one of them (Kartoffel) was generalized.
     
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    Terio

    Senior Member
    Français (Québec)
    In French, cartoufle was used in the XVI th century. From Geman Kartoffel.
     

    Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    In colloquial Hebrew we have both kartoflach (from Yiddish, thus German) and kartoshkes (from Russian), both usually in this plural form, both tend to phase out. The words immigrated along with their speakers.
     

    Swatters

    Senior Member
    French - Belgium, some Wallo-Picard
    A map of the words for potato in Gallo-Romance, from this blog post by linguist Mathieu Avanzi:



    Loans from German include the type crompîre /krõpiːr ~ krõbiːr/ in Belgium (from Grundbirne, ground pear), and "cartoffel" mostly in the West of the Franco-Provencal area. The ALF data that was using to produce this map reveals the forms labeled "cartoffel" are actually /katruʎə ~katruçʎə ~ katryçʲ ~katrɔflə/ in Franco-Provençal and /kartuʃ/ in the one Walloon data point (the fl > ʎ shift in FP is reminiscent of the one that produced French nouille (a suspected loan from an Eastern Gallo-Romance language) -now /nuj/, older /nuʎə/- from German Nudel)

    (Other variants are loans from Spanish patata, loans and calques from Italian tartufflo, native forms meaning earth apple (this includes kmotierre from a pomo > pmo > kmo shift) and earth pear, diminutive forms of apple and pear (poiratte, pomatte), and canada, from a truncation of Canadian truffle (wal. truke do Canada))
     
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    Swatters

    Senior Member
    French - Belgium, some Wallo-Picard
    You're right, I just unthinkingly copied what was on the map, the etymon was probably tartufolo.

    The TLFi has "cartoufle (Olivier de Serres, loc. cit. [Vivarais]; Lyonnais, Franche-Comté, Bourgogne), adapt. du suisse aléman. cartoffel (1639, Berne d'apr. FEW, loc. cit., p. 388a), lui-même prob. adapté de l'ital. tartuffoli « pomme de terre » (relevé par le botaniste bâlois Gaspard Bohin en 1596, FEW., ibid.), issu du lat. terrae tuber [*terri tufer] « truffe » (Mart., 13, 50; Juv., 14, 7, v. André Bot., p. 322). De l'ital., véhiculé par la Suisse, l'all. Tartuffel (1651), Cartoffel (1758), Kartoffel, Kluge 20; de même orig., le type dial. gallo-rom. tartoufle, dont l'aire géogr. recouvre à peu près celle du type cartoufle (FEW, op. cit., p. 386 b)."
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Our standrad word for truffel is 'tartufo'. Tartufolo/tartuffolo sounds like a dialectal or regional diminutive - probably as spoken in some border region, and from there passing into Switzerland.
    Thanks for your interesting etymological information.
    Kartoffel is indeed from Italian tartuffolo, which means little truffle. What I learned many years ago (if I remember correctly) was that a 16th century cardinal called the potato so because of its shape when he first saw a potato. It entered German as Tartuffel and later changed to Kartoffel.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    @berndf I have heard on a very few occasions poire de terre but people say much more frequently patate which is supposed to be used on the west coast according to that map. I always thought poire de terre was an attempt to be funny, if you can have earth apples why not earth pears, or maybe there was a particular type of potato called that. There are cads of potato strains nowadays. Then I saw a folk group perform whose name was Les Grombirs, from Lëtzebergesch for potato. I finally made the association with German Grund and Birne and poire de terre and thought the word was German in origin, probably Grundbirne. But then I learned Kartoffel.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Grombirs, from Lëtzebergesch for potato. I finally made the association with German Grund and Birne and poire de terre and thought the word was German in origin, probably Grundbirne.
    A would guess a dialectal form of Grumbinne, a formerly widespread variant of Grundbirne. But as Grumbinne was most popular in the East, the word, together with all its variants, has become rare after the loss of the areas east of the rivers Oder and Neiße.
     

    OBrasilo

    Senior Member
    Brazil, Brazilian Portuguese
    For what it's worth, Grundbirne / Grumbier survives in Slovenian krompir which is the standard word for potato. It also exists in Croatian/Serbian/Bosnian as krumpir and Macedonian as kompir.

    As for Kartoffel, yes, that was borrowed into Russian as kartofel' (diminutive kartoshka), and likely from there to Pontic Greek.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    @berndf It's now obvious where the origins of Tartiflette come from.

    So interesting how these earth apples, pears and truffles have spread around Europe from place to place.
    Potato itself stems from patata which also meant another fruit/vegetable, the sweet potato in Taino (batata).
     

    Frank78

    Senior Member
    German
    A would guess a dialectal form of Grumbinne, a formerly widespread variant of Grundbirne. But as Grumbinne was most popular in the East, the word, together with all its variants, has become rare after the loss of the areas east of the rivers Oder and Neiße.
    I've never heard this word despite my grandma was from Silesia. Wikipedia says it south-western German.
     

    Swatters

    Senior Member
    French - Belgium, some Wallo-Picard
    According to that map there should be a big chunk of France saying Tarfufflo for Potato.
    It's a map of the various local Romance languages of France, Switzerland and Belgium, not of current French vernacular usage. It does show rather well how the German and Italian terms spread well beyond their borders. For patata, I assume Atlantic trade with Spain and Portugal helped it spread to the West coast of France (and in Belgium potentially political links?)

    But for what it's worth, alongside French patate (which yes, is the dominant term) and pomme de terre, I've heard wal. pètote and canada used as well. The vitality of those terms is going to dependant on how well each of those languages has survived locally.
     
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