'Money', 'pecunia', ...

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by ThomasK, May 13, 2008.

  1. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    What does money refer to in your language please, etymologically, I mean ?

    Dutch/G geld gold
    French argent silver
    Lat. pecunia cattle, I believe

    I have also heard of 'shell money' but then we seem to be referring to the pre-money system, the trade/ exchange system (bartering ?). Still, might be an interesting track - on a thin line between linguistics and and sociology/... (is 'thin line' correctly used here ?).
    Last edited: May 13, 2008
  2. Maroseika Moderator

    Modern Russian деньги goes back to the Tatar word, which source is somewhere in the Persian.
    Anyway in all these languages the word meant "coin".

    However before the epoch of close contact between Eastern Slavs and Tatar peoples the word used for money was "куна" (kuna) from куница - marten. Animal fells (not only marten, of course) were widely used as money in Russia at least until 11-12 centuries.
    One куна consisted of 22 гривна < грива (mane), originally meaning also "necklace, ring, weight, coin".
    Original basic rate of 1 куна was 1 dirhem - the coin Arabs used when trading with Ancient Russia.
    Last edited: May 13, 2008
  3. OldAvatar Senior Member

    The origin of the Romanian word bani (money, plural) is officially unknown.
    Though, it is good to know about the existance, in Middle Ages, of some sort of local princes, named with the same word: bani. These guys were the administrators of some pretty large regions and usually people had to pay taxes when they were travelling from one of these regions to another. The origin of ban (as a local landlord) is probably Turkic, however, the word exists in Hungarian and Serbian too, as far as I know.
  4. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Could you transcribe, Maroseika ? (Is it somehting like deivli ? (Just wildy guessing based on Greek))

    But then: is coin the basic meaning of the word ? (Thanks)
  5. OldAvatar Senior Member

    I guess it is denghee.
  6. Maroseika Moderator

    Деньги - [den'gi] (all the consonants are soft).
    According to the etymologists it meant "coin" in all these languages. Maybe somebody will clarify its further etymilofy.
  7. Maroseika Moderator

    I dare to assume it might be connected with Frank. *bannjan "to order or prohibit under penalty" (www.etymonline.com), i.e. orginally meaning a kind of fee.
  8. OldAvatar Senior Member

    I think it is rather connected with this.

    See the second explanation from the above link and also this one:

    ban /bæn, bɑn/ –noun 1.(formerly) the governor of Croatia and Slavonia. 2.History/Historical. a provincial governor of the southern marches of Hungary.
    [Origin: 1605–15; < Serbo-Croatian bân, contracted from *bojan, *bajan, said to be < a Turkic personal name, perh. introduced into the Balkans by the Avars; cf. MGk bo(e)ános
    Last edited: May 13, 2008
  9. Christo Tamarin

    Christo Tamarin Senior Member

    I agree with OldAvatar.

    The Romanian word bani formerly meant governors. Some governors put their images on the coins they minted as it is usual until now. So, people began to call those coins bani. We may imagine changing the word coin to queen in England as the coins have pictures of the queen imprinted on them.
  10. Maroseika Moderator

    Here I failed to see any trace of the idea of "fee", that's why I stopped on another word.
    But anyway, all that is quite hypothetical.

    This means that "banu" might be called such a way due to the protrait of a governor in the coin. Bythe way, Russian ancient narrator's name Боян (Bojan) is also sometimes derive from a Turkic personal name.
  11. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Portuguese dinheiro and Spanish dinero are from Latin denarius, the name of a Roman unit of currency.
  12. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    Last edited: May 13, 2008
  13. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    Italian soldi is derived from the Roman coin solidus.
  14. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    This reminded me of the Arabic term dinar. According to the Merriam-Webster, it is also derived from Latin, via Greek:

    As for denarius:

  15. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    Arabic and English
    Yes, but dinar is just the name of the currency; there is also leira, riyal, juneih, and dirham; all of which are loanwords referring to different currencies.

    Maal مال is the proper name for money and whatever has monetary value (such as gold, land or livestock..etc.) it does not have any further eytmology up to my knowledge. Fuluus فلوس is also used in collequal to refer to money, it differs from maal in that it refers to money only and not anything else such as gold..etc. Fuluus is the plural of fils, which is also the name of a currency; it was originally the name of a coin made of copper and was derived from an old (rarely used nowadays) name for the small thin peices on the skin of fishes (don't know the name in english).
  16. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    As for 'geld' in Dutch/ German: my guess was erroneous, I must conclude ??? INcredible. Yet, in French I am quite certain the link with silver (argent) is correct, I hope.

    I checked Gold, found the idg. root, but not the idg. root of Geld.
  17. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Yes, from argentium, Latin for "silver". The chemical symbol for silver is "Arg". :)
  18. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    You are referring to fish scales, I guess, Mahaodeh. That reminds me of my shell money... But shells seem more precious (= worth more money...) than scales. That seems strange though...
  19. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    The currency of Macau is called the pataca, a Portuguese word from Arabic abu taka, according to this dictionary. (The Wikipedia page says it's the equivalent of Spanish peso, but that sounds dubious to me.)

    In Portugal, however, pataca is a slightly old-fashioned informal word for "money".

    By the way, there was an earlier thread about informal terms for money.
  20. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Thanks for the hint, but then it was fun, now it is serious ! ;-)

    I just mean: I am more interested in the origin of the money words, because it might reveal certain associations that are interesting in a larger-than-linguistic (is there a precise word for that in Engels ? Para-linguistic (next-to-linguistic ???)) sense...I am hoping for... revelations.
  21. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Well, I'm sure you can get the same kind of revelations from colloquial words.
  22. DrWatson

    DrWatson Senior Member

    It's Ag, actually. ;)

    The Finnish word for money is raha which has its origin in a Germanic language. It used to mean squirrel fur, the main commodity widely used as currency before metallic money was introduced. Nowadays the word's prior meaning is virtually unknown among people.
  23. Maroseika Moderator

    Do you know its German etymology?
  24. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    You are obviously right for all countries where 'dinar' (or a related word) refers to the currency and not 'money' as such.

    But sometimes 'dinar' (or whatever variety of Latin 'denarius') is used definitely in the sense of 'money' - this even was the case in old Yougoslavia, in the YR of Slovenia, when the currency was called (in Slovenian) 'dinar' - while money as such was called 'denar': same Latin route, different phonetics (with 'dinar' being, if you like, a Serbocroatian 'loan'). The 'dinar' exists no more (except in Serbia; Slovenia now has the euro while short-lived tolar too is history already), 'denar' still is used (meaning 'money').

    (In Serbian/Croatian money is called 'novac', or at least to my knowledge 'dinar' is/was only used for the currency, but probably someone with better knowledge of S/C/B/M than I have can clarify this.)
  25. DrWatson

    DrWatson Senior Member

    I found something here: http://www.tanssi.net/keskustelu/192/197012.html

    Apparently raha can be traced back to Proto-Germanic *skraha or *skraho which carried the meaning "dry animal skin". There are cognates in Norwegian (skraa, "a piece of skin") and Icelandic (skrá, "list" or (archaic) "dried skin, parchment")
    Last edited: May 13, 2008
  26. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I agree, but not all words open up that easily. Like money...

    [Not that important but I would not be amazed if raha/skraa and scratch ('scharten' in my Flemish dialect) were related. This may be wishful thinking on my behalf but it takes some scratching to get skraa, doesn't it ?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2008
  27. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    The greek word (χρήμα most often used in the plural, χρήματα) means "that which is used".
  28. scythosarmatian Member

    Russian Federation, Russian
    *skraho is a cognate of Russian "shkura" (pelt), "skornyak" (skinner).

    BTW, how do traditional linguists explain the similarity between English "coin" and Russian "kuna"?
  29. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Just a kind of summary in-between : let's focus on money/ gold/ argent (although he we cannot avoid a link with coins, I suppose, as money refers to 'monnaie', which refers to coins, now, I think) seemed to refer to
    - service, duty, debt

    - silver (gold ? Copper ?)
    - (denarius > ...) ???
    - cattle (pecunia), if I am not mistaken
    - scales
    - ruler (bani)
    - necklaces, rings, ...
    - skins

    [Additions or corrections welcome !]
    Last edited: May 17, 2008
  30. avok

    avok Banned

    In Turkish, "money" is "para". According to the online dictionary it comes from the Persian word "para" which means bit/part

    In colloquial Turkish, "money" is "papel" and according to the same dictionary, it comes from the Spanish / Ladino word "papel" which means "paper".

  31. Gwan Senior Member

    Indre et Loire, France
    New Zealand, English
    I have no idea for the English word 'money' but 'salary' apparently comes from the Latin for salt, which is what Roman soldiers used to be paid in. By the way, I have no source for that other than my memory, but pretty sure it's accurate.
    Regarding den'gi - I learnt in Russian class that it's one of the very few words to have entered Russian from Mongolian - an unusual occurrence considering the long period of Mongolian dominion over Russia, and apparently reflective of the lack of cultural integration of the Mongols - they were primarily interested in getting as much den'gi as possible out of Russia and that's about it! (Right?)
  32. Maroseika Moderator

    Actually a lot of Russian words have Turkic and Mongolian origin due to 200 years of such a tight and close connection. As for Mongolian it's not so easy to distinguish between proper Mongolian and Turkic because Mongolians themselves borrowed a lot from the Turkic, who, for their turn, borrowed from the neighbours. In particular, den'gi Turks borrowed from the Persians (according to some etymologists). Mongolian teŋge and Kalmyk tēŋgn are Turkic loans as well.
  33. avok

    avok Banned

    What does "dengi" mean originally?
  34. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    You're quite right about salary.

    Iis the conclusion that anything valuable mainly led to the name of money (even services, as in geld) ? And that coins were called after their origin (silver, imprint of a leader, ...) ? This is just some kind of preposterous (...) attempt at some kind of conclusion...

    Still interested in the den'gi !
  35. Gwan Senior Member

    Indre et Loire, France
    New Zealand, English
    Wrong again! I'll have to tell my Russian teacher that! Thanks.
  36. Maroseika Moderator

    A coin, most likely. This was discussed already a week ago. Please look my message of 13 May.
  37. HUMBERT0

    HUMBERT0 Senior Member

    Very interesting in Spanish, along with "billete", we use the word "papel moneda" (paper coin) for bills/notes.
  38. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Anyone disagreeing with the conclusion (for the time being) that the name of money refers to
    - an aspect of its exterior/ appearance or
    - a valuable ?
  39. Aoyama Senior Member

    川崎市、巴里 (黎)
    français Clodoaldien
    In Japanese it would be 金 read "kané" meaning "metal", but it can also be read "kin" meaning "gold".
    In Chinese it would be 銭 , read "qian" (this ideogram is the old form), meaning "money", originally a "monetary unit" (also an agricultural tool and a weight unit). The same ideogram can be read "sen" in Japanese and is the hundredth part of a YEN.

    In Hebrew it is "keceph" (sorry, no Hebrew letters here).
  40. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    So this is a reference to valuables, I guess. Very interesting.
  41. avok

    avok Banned

    Yes indeed !
  42. Aoyama Senior Member

    川崎市、巴里 (黎)
    français Clodoaldien
    Which is the same as French "papier monnaie" from where it may come (or the other way around).
  43. Aoyama Senior Member

    川崎市、巴里 (黎)
    français Clodoaldien
    If "money" is related to the French "monnaie" (coming from Latin "moneta"), "coin" comes from the French "coin" (a wedge to mint ... coins), cf. Fleur de Coin.
    If originally "monnaie" meant "coin" in French, it's more common meaning is now "change" (de la monnaie).
    "Coin" will be "pièce"[de monnaie]. Pièce has given piécette (small coin), which is the origin of "peseta" in Spanish.
    Last edited: May 25, 2008
  44. Tararam Senior Member

    Kesef (כסף) in hebrew... means silver in modern hebrew though in the bible it is pronounced Kasef sometimes.
  45. Toma Member

    Just a small additional note.
    The name Boyan/Bayan is not from altaic origin for sure.
    Both forms can be deirved from old verbal roots like baya-ti or boya-ti, therefore you can exclude that part from your theory.
  46. stichy Senior Member

    Matamoros, Mexico
  47. Aoyama Senior Member

    川崎市、巴里 (黎)
    français Clodoaldien
    (see also my post #39, sorry to quote myself), which makes it similar as French "argent"/ "de l'argent" = money but also silver.
  48. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    In Chinese, 金 (modern standard Mandarin ponunciation has shifted from kin1 to jin1) can also be used to to mean money, like in Japanese.
  49. cajzl Senior Member

    Proto-Slavic pěnęzь is a loanword from Germanic pfenning (penning, pending, panding), which is related to Latin pendere, pondus (to weight, balance).

    (ě = yat, ę = nasal e, ь = soft yer)

    Czech: peníze
    Slovak: peniaze
    Polish: peniądze
  50. Slavista New Member

    Brooklyn, NY
    American English
    In Spanish, dinero means "money", the word plata (lit. 'silver' cf. platinum) is also used in Argentina, some parts of Mexico, and very informally and colloquially in Caribbean speech.

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