Portugal = orange

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by Outsider, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I once heard that the word "portugal" meant "orange" in several languages around the Mediterranean, and I'd like to see if this is true. My question has three parts:

    1) Does your language have a common noun "portugal", or very similar to it?

    2) If so, does this word mean "orange", or some other fruit?

    3) If the answers to 1) and 2) are "yes", could you tell me the etymology of that noun?

    Thank you very much.
  2. Anna Più

    Anna Più Senior Member

    Catalonia, Catalan
    Hi Outsider,
    I have research about "portugal" in Catalan, and we only use the word to name your country! If you come to Catalonia and you want an orange juice, in Catalan you may ask for a "suc de taronja"!;)

  3. Negg Senior Member

    Hi there!
    Indeed, in persian "porteghâl" means orange (the fruit)
    and the same word is used for the country lol
    I've just noticed it BTW lol And I absolutly don't know why.

    So as I said, orange (fruit) is porteghâl and the orange color is nârenji

    On an other forum I found this :
    The name of fruit "Orange" in Persian derives from the name of the country because it is the Portugueses who brought orange from China to Iran (and other countries) under 15th or 16th century.
    Orange originaly is from China. This is why its name in some languages like German, Dutch and Finish, etc is "Appelsin" (or something like this )which means Chinese Apple.
    (informal source)

    And here is what I found on the internet:
    Language and translation issues also arise. For example, the slight variant "orang" means "person" in the Indonesian and Malay languages. The English word "orange" is derived from the Persian word "narenj" which actually refers to a bitter citrus fruit distinct from the fruit denoted as
    "orange" in English, and yet the Persian term for the fruit orange is "porteghal", derived from the geographical term "Portugal".
    (source : http://www.dfat.gov.au/ip/australia_gi_paper.pdf)

  4. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Indeed! I had never thought about it either, but Arabic seems to meet the criteria!

    The word for "orange" is برتقال (burtuqaal [remember that we do not have a "p" in Arabic, and it usually becomes a "b" when we borrow foreign words]).

    The word for "Portugal" is البرتغال (al-burtughaal).

    The only difference between the two is that Portugal has a definite article and we use a غ [usually transliterated as "gh," this is the French and German "r"] instead of a ق [usually transliterated as "q," this is a guttural "k" sound] for Portugal.

    As for the etymology, I always thought it was Greek (In which I believe the word for "orange" is also similar). Nevertheless, considering the striking similarity between the two words ("orange" and "Portugal"), a link is not entirely unlikely.

    I find the غ/ق difference especially interesting. Could it be that we took "burtuqaal" directly from the Greek (in which I believe the letter is "k") and "al-burtughaal" from "Portugal" (we tend to change "g" [another sound we don't have] to "gh)? I'd also be interested in a possible link between "Portugal" and the Greek word.

    Intriguing thread, Outsider! :thumbsup:
  5. tZeD New Member

    Canada (English)
    In fact, Greek has the same difference (roughly) in the two words:

    orange is πορτοκάλι (portokali)

    Portugal is Πορτογαλλία (portogalia)

    The g here represents a voiced velar fricative to use the technical term, but it's a similar sound to how you describe gh.

    But the source seems to be Italian, or at least my Greek dictionary says that that's the source of πορτοκάλι in Greek, and the ultimate source is in fact Portugal, which the dictionary says was the country where oranges were originally imported from.
  6. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Thanks for the contribution. :)

    It is worth noting that the adjective form of the word ("orange in color") is even more similar to the Greek: برتقالي (burtuqaali)

    برتقال (burtuqaal) is a collective term meaning "oranges" that does not specify how many (you would see this on a sign at the supermarket).
    برتقالة (burtuqaala[t]) is the singular form ("one orange")
    برتقالات (burtuqaalaat) is the plural form used when a specific number of oranges is specified

    I used برتقال (burtuqaal) in my initial translation because it is the "purest" form.
  7. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Very, very interesting!
    Thank you all.
  8. And the Turkish word for orange is... Portakal!
  9. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    The only Slavic language with a Portuguese origin of the word orange seems to be Bulgarian - portokal, портокал.

    More information here (in German, though). Very interesting and well written! The section on etymology is in the last third.

  10. Fernando Senior Member

    Spain, Spanish
    For those who have remarked the k/g difference MAYBE the point is Portugal is from Portocale and maybe the "c" ("K") sound evolved to "g".

    My source is none and I do not really know whether the Portocale spelling stood in 16th century when contacting Persia. So that is only gross speculation.

    In Spanish we simply say "naranja". I assume it comes from the Persian word that produced "orange" in English.
  11. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    "Portucale" is a very archaic Medieval pronunciation. By the 16th century, it was already spelled "Portugal" (well, sometimes "Portugall" ;)).
    I think the opposite transformation is more likely: maybe one of these languages did not have the sound [g], so it replaced it with the next best thing, [k]. Just as Arabic replaced the hard consonant [p] with the soft consonant . Then other languages borrowed the word from that language, and kept the [k].

    Interestingly, the Basque word for orange is spelled just like the Portuguese word.
  12. Fernando Senior Member

    Spain, Spanish
    Just a guess. Thank you, Outsider.
  13. ampurdan

    ampurdan Senior Member

    jiā tàiluó ní yà
    Català & español (Spain)
    Just a little observation: looking up in the Merriam-Webster and in the DRAE, it seems that the original word that accounts for both "orange" in English and "naranja" in Spanish is a Sanskrit word "nāranga", (orange tree according to MW, maybe another similar fruit), from which the Persians took the word.
  14. MarcB Senior Member

    US English
    possibly from Latin portus: port + Arabic cala: castle.
    The name of the country derives from Late Latin Portucale, originally denoting the district around Oporto (Portus Cales, named with Latin portus ‘port’, ‘harbor’ + Cales, the ancient name of the city).
    Portugal's name derives from the Roman name Portus Cale (Latin for Warm Port).
    Some historians believe that the "Cale" part of Portucale derived from the Greek word Kalles ("beautiful"), referring to the beauty of the Douro Valley where ancient Greek pioneers chose to settle. Other historians claim that the earliest settlers in the region were Phoenician and that the name Cale was derived from the Phoenician languages of those who settled along the Portuguese coast in the pre-Roman period. Others say that Cale is derived from the Callaeci people who lived in the region.
    In any case, the Portu part of the name Portucale would become Porto, the modern name for the city located on the site of the ancient city of Cale at the mouth of the Douro River. And port would become the name of the wine from the Douro Valley region around Porto. Today, Cale became Gaia (Vila Nova de Gaia), a city on the other side of the river.
    Modern Greek, and many languages of the Middle East -- from Ethiopia to Azerbaijan to Romania -- use words derived from the country name "Portugal", at one time the major source of imported oranges in the Middle East.

    add html at the end for the link to names of oranges derived from Portugal and Sanscrit/Arabic/Persian w3 at the front
  15. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    The origin of the suffix -cale in the word "Portucale" has been the subject of much discussion. This essay argues that it's derived from the Gallaeci you referred to, the name of a Celtic tribe.
    I'd never heard the suggestion that the origin could be Arabic. It doesn't seem likely, since the term "Portu Cale" predates the arrival of the Arabs in the Iberian Peninsula by at least three centuries:

    Can't get anything from your link...
  16. MarcB Senior Member

    US English
  17. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
  18. nigelofk New Member

    US East Coast
    US English
    Splendid thread.

    I’m a new student of Arabic, and was wondering about the origin of burtuqal.

    I would submit that the use of the term “Portugal” (or burtuqal) to mean “orange” is simply a case of semantic broadening, wherein a once very specific term, is substituted for a more generic term. This is a commonly occurs among and across all languages.

    In modern English I would cite as examples:

    kleenex, xerox, and fridgidaire (the last a dated reference)

    Once these were brand names, but they’ve come to represent the generic category for the product / process.

    Citrus fruits have been cultivated in the Mediterranean basin since at least Roman times. Probably of Chinese origin (whence “Apfelsinen” and similar European names) what we commonly refer to as the orange, arrived in the Iberian Peninsula before the millennium, bearing its Persian moniker, “naranja”.

    Google orange origin 976 citron bitter patio for this reference:

    The origin of the orange, following the work of the foremost botanist on the genus Citrus, Professor Tyozaburo Tanaka, is an area in southeast China around the provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi. The date of domestication of the orange is not known, and its taxonomy is quite confused. It is known that the orange arrived in the Mediterranean with the Arabs, and by A. D. 976 the chamberlain al-Mansur planted the Patio de los Naranjos (courtyard of the oranges) in Córdoba, this being one of the earliest mentions of the orange in Spain. The only citrus fruit cited in the anonymous agricultural treatise the Cordavan Calender written in 961, is the citron, larger than a lemon and used for perfumes, medicines, and liqueurs. By the twelfth century, oranges were being grown in the courtyards of palaces, mosques, and many houses in Spain. This was the sour or bitter orange, the sweet orange came later, although some sour oranges are relatively sweet.

    There were many varieties of oranges, including “bitter orange”. The “sweet orange” is also known as the “Portugal orange”. I’m surmising here, but it’s likely that this superior “Portugal” variety came to dominate the marketplace, and became the “standard”. (Like VHS.) Microeconomics explains a lot in language. The Greek and Turkish preference for “portokal/portokalli” is nicely explained by Mediterranean trading routes.

    Search botanical.com "orange" for the "Portugal" reference. (I can's post URL's yet.)

    In a similar manner, the word for “peach” arrived in English. Derived from malus Persica, or “Persian apple”, The ‘r’ was lost – probably by regressive assimilation into Italian (cf. “octo” to “otto”) to likely “pessica”. (Need help from an Italian linguist.) The French adopted as “peche”, whence “peach” en Anglais. Note that the German “Pfirsche” and Serbocroatian “breskva” retain the ‘r’ from <pers/pars>, though affricating and voicing the initial vowels respectively.

    In Spanish, “naranja” means orange, but “jugo de china” means “orange juice”, preserving the China moniker. Germans can buy either “Apfelsinensaft” or “Orangensaft”, it’s the same juice.

    I’m a fan of a branch of linguistics dealing with naming & especially place names:

    The origin of the name “Portugal” is from Porto-Galicia. The <gal> means “Celt”, the previous tenants of the Iberian peninsula. Ditto the old name for France “Gaul”, “Galicia/Halych” in Poland/Ukraine, Galat,a, Romania, and Galatae in Asia Minor. (Letter from Paul to the Galatians).

    In the Gallegos region of Spain, they still wear kilts (there’s Celt again), and play bagpipes at traditional ceremonies. The Greeks called the northern tribes “keltoi”. The Roman alphabet, lacking a ‘k’ spelt it “Celt”.
  19. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Hi, Nigelofk, welcome to the forum. :)

    Your contribution was very interesting, but I must make just one correction. In the 'Gallegos region of Spain' (I assume you mean Galicia) the bagpipe is indeed a traditional musical instrument, but I don't think they wear kilts. :D
    It's also played in some Portuguese traditional music. Pictures here.
  20. win New Member

    I'm from Italy and in Italian there is no common noun similar to "portugal". But in the region I live (near Brescia, in northern Italy) I have heard the word "portugai" referring to some kind of fruits, from people speaking dialect. Unfortunately I don't remember which fruit they were talking about. I can make a supposition: probably not oranges because they do not grow at my latitude. But I am not sure about that, because I don't know another word for "oranges" in my dialect.
  21. Ilmo

    Ilmo Member Emeritus

    1) No 2) No
  22. Drusillo

    Drusillo Senior Member

    Stuttgart- Germany
    I came from Brescia too, but in Cremona(or Mantova) they call the Orange (arancia) = portugal. My granmother uses this word, it is dialect!

    I found on this web site http://www.supergulliver.it/consigli/varie.htm a validation of my theory.

    Luigino Bruni

    Originario della Cina e dell’India, l’arancia si diffonde in Europa a partire dal Portogallo (nel nostro dialetto la chiamiamo infatti portugal).

    Orange Color = Arancione
    Fruit = Arancia
  23. lingon New Member

    Swedish: Apelsin
    Danish: Appelsin
    Norwegian: Appelsin
    Icelandish: Appelsína, glóaldin
    Finnish: Appelsiini
    Dutch: Appelsien, sinaasappel
    Russian: Apelsin
    German: Apfelsine, Orange

    Greek: Portokáli, chrisomilia
    Bulgarian: Portokal
    Iranian (farsi): Porteghal
    Arabian: Burtuqal
    Turkish: Portakal

    Latin: Pomum aurantium (golden apple)
    French: Orange, orange douce, oranger de Portugal
    Italian: Arancio, arancia, portogallo
    Spanish: Naranjo, naranja china, naranja dulce
    Portugese: Laranja, laranjera dôce
    Esperanto: Orangô
    Sanskrit: Nagaaruka, naranga
    Hindi: Narangi
    Tamil: Aranchu, nagarugam, nariyagam
    Japanese: Orenji, orenzi

    Hebrew: Tapuz
    Jiddisch: Marants
    Chinese (Kanton): Chaang
    Chinese (mandarin): Zhi shi
    Thai: Som, som kliang

    Please correct me where I'm wrong.
  24. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Thanks, but someone already posted a link to a site with the word "orange" in many languages, in the previous page.
  25. diegodbs

    diegodbs Senior Member

    In Spanish, the fruit is "naranja".
    "Naranjo" is the tree that produces oranges.
  26. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    "Laranja" is orange. "Laranjeira" is orange tree. I've never heard the phrases "laranjeira doce" or "laranja doce". The spelling "dôce" is old fashioned.
  27. nitad54448 New Member

    In romanian the fruit is named "portocala"; I've heard that in some parts of Italy it is similar,
  28. Bienvenidos

    Bienvenidos Senior Member

    Just a note: In Afghan Farsi (Afghan Persian), portugal does not exist. We say narinj; this is the word for both a regular orange and the citrus-like orange that other foreros have described.

  29. Maja

    Maja Senior Member

    Binghamton, NY
    Serbian, Serbia
    In Serbian:

    1) Yes "Portugal"

    2) No, it means the country. Orange is "pomorandža" or "narandža"!

  30. Gandavo New Member

    Portuguese, Portugal
    Just a small note.
    In portuguese, like in many languages, it is common to name products and objects after its place of origin.
    The portuguese word for apricot is "damasco", just like the name of the syrian city. There is also a kind of bitter, smaller orange called "tângera", from the moroccan city of Tanger. "Tangerina" is the portuguese word for "mandarin".
    The name for a kind of curtain is "persiana" or "veneziana". There is also a kind of fabric named "cambraia", after the french region of Cambray, where it was originally made.

    That's it!
  31. vegaII New Member

    Portugal, Português
    Hello, I am new here, and I have just come in to give some help in this thread.

    About Portugal, the word comes from Portus Cale. Cale was the name of a tribe that lived in the North of Portugal and their biggest fortified town (Castro) was where today is the city of Porto (Plínio). The town was up the big rocky hill and the port (portus) was down on the river Douro.

    So, Portu-cale is the port of the Cale and that is what has given the name to the country.

    The funny thing is that the Porto city , the second biggest city of Portugal, means exactly Port. Do you know any port that is simply called port?

    The reason is that that port was Port- Cale, but Portucale was also the name, first of a county, and later of a country, so the port of portu-cale started to be called just Porto.

    By the way, it is also the place that has given the name of Oporto wine, for us simply Porto wine.
    About naranja being called in lot of places by the name of Portucal, it´s really simple and Gandavo has been really close.

    The Arabs new the fruit and the portuguese word Laranja comes from the Persian and Sanskrit (naranga), but the sweet variety was brought to Europe by the Portuguese from China in the XVI century and that variety, that quickly became dominant was called Portucal (because it was associated with the Portuguese and Portugal), the same way we call the Apricots (special small and tasty ones) Damasco, because obviously they came from there.

    "The Persian orange, grown widely in southern Europe after its introduction to Italy in the 11th c., was bitter. Sweet oranges were brought to Europe in the 15th c. from India by Portuguese traders, quickly displaced the bitter, and are now the most common variety of orange cultivated. The sweet orange will grow to different sizes and colors according to local conditions.
    Portuguese...sailors planted citrus trees along trade routes to prevent scurvy"

  32. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    I just thought I'd add that in India there are two words for Oranges, at least in North India there is. naraaNgii and saNtraa...I think they are different types of Oranges...I always say saNtraa.
  33. starsiege New Member

    Tamil, Sinhala

    according to the National Geographic Magazine the fruit orange originated in India, and moved on to europe later on. even the name Orange is a derivative of the tamil word "narang kai" kai=not so ripe fruit(cos of the taste!)

    Orange derives from the Sanskrit nāraga"orange tree", with borrowings through Persian nārang Arabic nāranj, Spanish naranja,Late latin arangia,Italian arancia or arancio, and Old French orenge, in chronological order.The first appearance in English dates from the 14th century.The name of the color is derived from the fruit, first appearing in this sense in the 16th century.
    Multiple sources conjecture that the Sanskrit word itself derives from an unknown Dravidian (Tamil) source, based on the historical spread of oranges through the world (cf. Tamil 'nram', Tulu 'nregi').
  34. blackorpheus New Member

    US, English
    Some comments:

    In the above list of words, Hebrew "tapuz" is short for "tapuach zahav" = "golden apple".

    Italian arancia vs. Latin "aurantium" looks like a folk etymology.

    Egyptian has corrupted the word to "burtu'aan".

    Also, in Moroccan Arabic, they say "ltshin" derived from "al-" + China. (Except that the al- has become part of the word, hence l-ltshin "the orange". I suspect that something similar has happened in naranja -> (u)n aranja -> l'aranja -> laranja. cf. unicorno -> (un) icorno -> l'icorno -> French "(le) licorne" -> Italian "il leocorno" (horned lion?).)
  35. gao_yixing Senior Member

    Orange(fruit) in Mandarin is 桔子 or 橙子. They are different actually, but both of them are called orange in English.

    The interesting fact is that Portugal is called 葡萄牙(pu tao ya) in Chinese, which is roughly from the pronunciation of Portugal in Portuguese(I guess).
    But 葡萄 means grape, 牙 means teeth, but 芽 means bud, which is a character that has the same sound.
    In China, when you say about Portugal, everyone will link it with grape or even it's bud.

  36. Etcetera

    Etcetera Senior Member

    St Petersburg, Russia
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    Hi Outsider.
    1) No. Португалия is the Russian name for Portugal (country), and португалец is a person who lives there.
    2) The Russian for "orange" is апельсин (fruit) or оранжевый (colour).
  37. 0stsee Banned

    In Indonesian:

    the country = Portugal

    the fruit = jeruk

    the color = oranye

  38. Cleo-Mi New Member

    In Romanian:
    1. Portugal - the country = Portugalia
    2. orange - the fruit = portocala
    3. orange - the colour = portocaliu; latelly it is also used "oranj"
  39. Chazzwozzer

    Chazzwozzer Senior Member

    Turkish portakal comes from French Portugal and Turkish word for Portugal is Portekiz.
  40. tikwa New Member

    Bulgaria - Bulgarian
    As it was already pointed out correctly by Jana337 in Bulgarian the fruit orange is portokal, портокал
    Obviously the word was imported from Greek or Turkish. There are quite a few words imported from Greek or Turkish in the Bulgarian language, specially about food.

    In Bulgarian:
    the fruit - портокал (portokal)
    the orange tree - портокалово дърво (portokalovo durvo)
    the country Portugal - Португалия (Portugalia)
    a native/citizen of Portugal - португалец (portugalec)
    something made in Portugal (male form) - португалски (portugalski)
  41. sapphira Member

    Shanghai, China
    China, Chinese
    To add some flavorings, Portugal is translated as 葡萄牙 in Chinese, which, don't ask me why, literally means 葡萄(grapes)+牙(teeth).
  42. daoxunchang Senior Member

    Chinese China
    It's most probably just a transliteration. Chinese is so different for European languages. I often wonder how our ancestors managed to fix the "Chinese names" for so many transliteration:) .
  43. Etcetera

    Etcetera Senior Member

    St Petersburg, Russia
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    Just discovered that the Piedmontese for orange is also portugal (Pl. portugaj).:)
  44. jugen

    jugen Senior Member

    English USA
    Fascinating discussion, which I'm just entering!
    In the Judeo-Spanish spoken in the Eastern Mediterranean, I've heard pertukal for "orange," obviously from Turkish, in a well-known cumulative wedding song, "El novio le diz' a la novia."
    Any Djudezmo/Haketia speakers out there?
    Greetings to all,
  45. Abbassupreme

    Abbassupreme Senior Member

    California, U.S.
    United States, English, Persian
    Porteghaal= Portugal, with "gh" representing the Arabic letter "gheyn"

    Porteqaal= Orange (fruit). I'm pretty sure that we write it the same way in Iranian Persian as the Arabs do.

    Narengi (the "g" being hard, as in gift)= Tangerine

    Aaranj (I'm just adding it because it sounds similar)= Elbow
  46. Bienvenidos

    Bienvenidos Senior Member

    Tangerine in Afghanistan is Kinó with the stress on the O, pronounced kind of like the Keno lottery but with the stress on the last syllable

    nârengí is "orange," probably due to the fact that in Afghanistan there aren't many oranges (Just blood oranges) so this term just became the word for foreign "oranges"
  47. doman

    doman Member

    Vietnam, Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    :) One flavour more from Vietnam:
    Portugal in Vietnamese is Bồ Đào Nha.
    Bồ đào: Butternut
    Nha : Teeth

    Portugal # Orange = Butternut teeth:D

    Why? I don't know too.
  48. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Very interesting, clearly a Chinese influence. :cool:
  49. doman

    doman Member

    Vietnam, Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    Agreed ! Vietnamese is a language under the influence of many languages, Chinese inclued. In my opinion, should take Vietnamese as New Esperanto ! :D
  50. Alijsh Senior Member

    Persian - Iran
    Let me remind that in Iranian Persian, words for Portugal and orange are identical in pronunciation (homophone) although they usually differ in writing (they are sometimes written identically): orange (پرتقال), Portugal (پرتغال). Both are pronounced porteqâl. nârenj is sour orange for us but in Eastern Persian it means orange.

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