Romanian Words of Slavic Origin

  • danielstan

    Senior Member
    Romanian - Romania
    I confess I never heard the word voame (now I understand perfectly its meaning). I usually use and hear the word vomă for the meaning of voame.
    I agree with the dictionary that this is a regional rare form.
    I live at 100 km of Bucharest and the Romanian spoken in my region is very close to the standard Romanian, while the regionalisms I know are chiefly learnt from books (written by Romanian writers from other regions).

    Out of the scope of this topic I would like to ask you:
    - I saw recently the Russian movie Leviathan and I remarked the boy in that movie said many times:
    Чo делаеш? instead of the standard Что делаеш?

    Because the action in the movie happened in the North of Russia I guess the character used a northern Russian dialect.
    Apart from this deviation of standard I have not remarked others. I learnt Russian in school, but at a poor level (neither the professors nor the students were interested in Russian, sorry).
    If you saw the movie could you tell me if my assumptions are true and what dialect they used?

    Other question:
    - I learnt from Wiki (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Russian_dialects) there is a northern Russian dialect which has the enclitic definite article -to/-ta/-te as suffixes to the nouns in a manner very similar to Bulgarian and Macedonian.
    Is this dialect still spoken today or is it on the verge of extinction?
     
    I confess I never heard the word voame (now I understand perfectly its meaning). I usually use and hear the word vomă for the meaning of voame.
    I agree with the dictionary that this is a regional rare form.
    I live at 100 km of Bucharest and the Romanian spoken in my region is very close to the standard Romanian, while the regionalisms I know are chiefly learnt from books (written by Romanian writers from other regions).

    Out of the scope of this topic I would like to ask you:
    - I saw recently the Russian movie Leviathan and I remarked the boy in that movie said many times:
    Чo делаеш? instead of the standard Что делаеш?
    Because the action in the movie happened in the North of Russia I guess the character used a northern Russian dialect.

    Чё is the standard colloquial variant of что/чего, used by every Russian speaker, even if only in allegro speech. It may be a contracted form of чего or a descendant of the original Slavic *čь (continued in the Chakavian Serbo-Croatian ča and found in Old Church Slavonic and Old East Slavic чьто), which in its turn goes back to PIE *kʷid "what?" (cp. Latin quid) and thus is cognate with the Romanian ce (which, to moderator's pleasure, brings us back to the topic question).

    Apart from this deviation of standard I have not remarked others. I learnt Russian in school, but at a poor level (neither the professors nor the students were interested in Russian, sorry).
    If you saw the movie could you tell me if my assumptions are true and what dialect they used?

    Other question:
    - I learnt from Wiki there is a northern Russian dialect which has the enclitic definite article -to/-ta as suffixes to the nouns in a manner very similar to Bulgarian and Macedonian.
    Is this dialect still spoken today or is it on the verge of extinction?

    I haven't seen this movie, but I am sure they speak the standard language. For my forty years I have never heard anybody speaking a Russian dialect, either in person or in the media. Some other users in the Russian forum at the Wordreference, where I first mentioned this a couple of years ago, were luckier in this respect.

    The Bulgarian-type article is/was indeed attested in northern Russian (человекот/жената/селото/людите). It is unknown how old is this construction in the article meaning: judging from the vocalization of ъ>o, older than the 12–13th centuries. In the surrounding languages, such a postpositive article is attested in some Finnic ones (e. g. Erzyan кудо/kudo "house" — кудось/kudosʲ "the house", кудонь/kudonʲ "of house" — кудонть/kudontʲ "of the house" etc. — https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Эрзян....B8.D1.82.D0.B5.D0.BB.D1.8C.D0.BD.D0.BE.D0.B5).

    Update. This dialectal postpositive article has actually penetrated the standard language in the form of an affirmative invariant particle -то, which can be added to any noun, adjective, pronoun, numeral, verb or adverb in the sentence. E. g.:

    Она любит сиамских кошек — She likes Siamese cats.
    Она-то любит сиамских кошек — As to her, she likes Siamese cats.
    Она любит-то сиамских кошек — These are Siamese cats that she likes.
    Она любит сиамских-то кошек — [the same translation]
    Она любит сиамских кошек-то — [the same translation].

    I guess this article was constantly heard by speakers of other dialects, who misunderstood its role and perceived it as a particle, which then gained popularity nationwide.

    Also, this postpositive article seems to be absent in the Novgorod birch bark manuscripts of the 11–15th centuries, so it must have been originally a north-eastern peculiarity. It is impossible to tell if it is somehow related to the Bulgarian, and further to Romanian and Albanian, phenomena. It may be so that such constructions existed as a non-grammaticalized syntactic option in Common Slavic, and became part of the grammar under the influence of the substrate/adstrate in the Balkans and in some of the former Finnic-speaking lands.

    By the way, this is not the first such a merger in Slavic nominals: let's recall the compound adjectives (новъ/нова/ново ~ новъи/новаꙗ/новоѥ), formed in parallel in Slavic and Baltic from the proper adjective + the postpositive pronoun "which" (Old Church Slavonic новъ, Lithuanian naujas "new" ~ новъи, naujasis "new-which" [which is new, Elizabeth the Second]). This latter pattern is PIE as it is attested in Old Iranic, and not only with adjectives.
     
    Last edited:
    An evidence of the old Slavic speech in the south-western corner of Central Europe from the book Lencek RL · 1982 · The structure and history of the Slovene language (https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B_7IkEzr9hyJdGxvLWh3Wmp6a3M): Old German sources contain such toponyms as Rubinicha (980 A.D. — p. 93) resembling the reconstructed Common Slavic *Rūbinīkā vs. the much evolved modern Ribnica (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ribnica,_Ribnica). We see here the same preservation of *ū (>y) and *i (>ь), as in the Slavic loanwords in Balkanic languages and Finnish.
     
    Concerning the suffix -esc-: curiously, it is attested in Latin in connection with Dacian and Thracian, e. g. the search for dacisc at Epigraphik Datenbank returns 12 results, including e. g.:
    mil(iti) coh(ortis) VI pr(aetoriae) nati/one Dacisca regione / Serdic(a) n(ato) vixit an(nos) XXX
    Serdica is modern-day Sophia (Serdica - Wikipedia).

    Rosetti A · 1986 · Istoria limbii române. I. De la origini pînă la începutul secolului al XVII-lea: 209–210 mentions several Latin words (mostly names) attested with this suffix from Rome, Moesia, Thracia, Dacia and Dalmatia, as well as the above inscription and two other with dacisca and dacisco. Rosetti also mentions the word thraciscus attested in Julius Capitolinus (Historia Augusta: text - IntraText CT):

    Quid vis Thracisce?
     

    Dymn

    Senior Member
    During my Romanian learning last month I collected 1000 words and this list is the words which have Slavic origin, presumably all of them of daily use:

    boală “illness”, bogat “rich”, ceas “clock, watch”, ceașcă “cup”, citi “to read”, da “yes”, dragoste “love”, dovedi “to prove”, glumă “joke”, gol “empty”, graniță “border”, grijă “worry”, învârti “to turn”, iubi “to love”, lipi “to paste”, minge “ball”, munci “to work”, neamț “German”, nevoie “need”, nisip “sand”, obicei “habit”, omorî “to kill”, opri “to stop”, plăti “to pay”, pod “bridge”, porni “to turn on”, prieten “friend”, primi “to receive”, prost “dumb”, rai “heaven”, răni “to hurt”, război “war”, sărac “poor”, scump “expensive”, scund “short (of people)”, sfert “quarter”, se grăbi “to hurry”, sljubă “job”, tocmai “just”, trăi “to live”, treabă “work”, trebui “to be necessary”, vârf “summit, peak”, vârstă “age”, vină “blame”, vopsi “to paint”, zgomot “noise”

    Natives or people familiar with the language will correct :)
     

    danielstan

    Senior Member
    Romanian - Romania
    I agree these words have Slavic origins and are of daily use, if the topic of the discussion relates to them.
    One mistake: slujbă (not sljubă)
    In Romanian the verbs are mentioned usually in infinitive with a "a" particule before them:
    a citi, a dovedi, a învârti, a iubi, a lipi, a munci, a omorî, a opri, a plăti, a porni, a primi, a răni, a se grăbi (reflexive), a trăi, a trebui, a vopsi.

    The Latin ending -re in infinitive has disappeared in Romanian (cântare > a cânta) and the verbs in infinitive with a final -re have got the function of nouns.
    For example iubire means "love".
    A hypothesis I read about this disparition of -re:
    under South Slavic influence which has a short form of infinitive without -ti ending.
     

    ilocas2

    Banned
    Czech
    In a Czech textbook of geography published in 1926, there is written that 40 % of words in Romanian have Slavic origin.

    I think it's very exaggerated and it was mentioned from nationalistic reasons.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    is
    I think it's very exaggerated and it was mentioned from nationalistic reasons.
    Not necessary. It's all about the methods of calculation, however, which may be chosen arbitrarily. Since the number of words in any language is potentially unlimited, the calculation must be based on some cetain list of words. Analyzing a 100-word Swadesh list, 1000 most frequent words of the language, 5000 most frequent words and a dictionary may provide remarkably different results in each case.
     

    danielstan

    Senior Member
    Romanian - Romania
    That percentage of 40% was first mentioned by a Romanian linguist: Alexandru Cihac:
    Alexandru Cihac - Wikipedia
    His most important work was: Dictionnaire d'etymologie daco-romane : Alexandru Cihac : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive

    His method for this assertion was to count all words of Slavic etymology from Romanian dictionary and compute the percentage.
    The reply to this method came in an interesting intellectual debate from Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu: Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu - Wikipedia
    Hasdeu developed a theory of "circulation of words" in a language, with the observation that some words are used on daily basis, some other are rarely used: Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu - Wikipedia dexonline
    Then he recomputed the ratio of Slavisms/Latinisms from the "core vocabulary" of Romanian and came to other results than Cihac's overall computation.

    Some of his conclusions:
    „Dicţionarele, aşa cum s-au făcut până astăzi, nu ne dau circulaţiunea limbii; şi tocmai acesta este punctul cel esenţial. Această eroare a comis-o Cihac în privinţa limbii române asigurându-ne că: „Elementul latin în limba română nu reprezintă astăzi decât o cincime din vocabularul său, în timp ce elementul slav reprezintă 2/5 şi chiar mai mult”
    ("Dictionaries, as they are made until today, do not give us the circulation of the language, and especially this is the essential point. This error was made by Cihac with regard to Romanian language, he assuring us that: "Latin element in Romanian does not represent today but a fifth of its vocabulary, while the Slavic element represents 2/5 and even more")

    Anyway, the Slavic influence over Romanian was the most important influence of foreign languages and it left traces in core vocabulary, grammar, phonology etc.
    It did not change the Romance character of the language, but definitely made of Romanian something diferent in the family of Romance languages.

    I would compare this influence with the influence of Latin over ancient Albanian, which did not made of Albanian a Romance language, but provided a big amount of Latin loanwords in it and probably grammatical features.

    -------------
    On another idea about deducing linguistic facts from statistics:
    Other Romanian linguists made computations of ratio Slavisms/Latinisms taking as basis some poems of the most important Romanian poet: Mihail Eminescu.
    They came to ratios in favor of Latinisms, of course.
    It's worth mentioning this poet had a patriotic view in his literary work and also, as journalist, he expressed strong political opinions against foreigners and especially against Russian Empire (which ruled over Bessarabia in his life time).
    I suppose he carefully chose the words in his poems, preferring the Latin inherited ones.
    There are many manuscripts left by Eminescu where a poem has tens of variants before he decided the final version.
     
    Last edited:

    Dymn

    Senior Member
    I find "40% or even more" really exaggerated.

    Out of my 1000-word list of day-to-day words, only 81 have known Slavic origin, and some more are uncertain. I also included function words, which are usually traced back to Latin. I don't know if we should include them in such calculations.

    I'm going to add some more words that I forgot in my previous list:

    ciudat "weird", a găsi "to find", greșeală "mistake", lene "laziness", a lovi "to hit", mândru "proud", noroc "luck", păianjen "spider", a privi "to look", a se trezi "to wake up", a se odihni "to rest", a se opri "to stop", poveste "story", vreme "weather", zăpadă "snow"

    There is also a sizeable amount of words from Greek (18), Hungarian (13) and Turkish (11).

    Translating the same list into English, around 300 are of Romance or Latin origin.
     
    Last edited:
    Interestingly, a munci "to work" comes from mǫčiti "to torment" (mǫka "torment") and likewise the Latvian strādāt "to work" is borrowed from stradati, which means "to suffer; to work very hard" (strada "hard work"): I wonder why Slavic neighbors borrowed for their "to work" the verbs with such meanings.
     

    danielstan

    Senior Member
    Romanian - Romania
    Oh, we have a lot of words with such figurative change of meaning in Romanian - like they were poets those guys...

    rom. cinstit ("honest") < slav. čistiti/ чиcтити (someting related to "clean") => so "clean" is to not be corrupt in Romanian...
    rom. mândru (1. "proud" 2. "handsome") < slav. mǫndrŭ ("clever; wise")

    As an opinion, without confirmation from linguistic studies, I believe these changes in meaning came from the Romanian-Slavic bilinguism - a phenomenon accepted by most linguists - which produced, probably, some misunderstandings in loandwords learnt by uneducated people.

    The main facts supporting this assertion of bilinguism (short list, without details...):
    - lots of Romanian toponyms of Slavic origin
    - Slavic loanwords in the terminology of family and social relationships (nevastă "wife", prieten "friend", rudă "kin", dragoste "love", a iubi "to love", logodnă "act of being engaged" etc.)
    - similar phonetic changes in Romanian and Bulgarian (a > ă in unstressed syllable, initial 'e' pronounced with iod in Romanian words etc.)
    - common grammatical features in Romanian and Bulgarian, but also part of Balkan Sprachbund (definite article imported by Bulgarian from Romanian, a main distinctive feature, but also others less important: reduction of case declensions replaced by prepositions...)
     
    Last edited:

    danielstan

    Senior Member
    Romanian - Romania
    I find "40% or even more" really exaggerated.
    That assertion was made 150 years ago and was probably right at the time.
    Since then a long and continuous process of replacement of Slavisms by neologisms imported from French, Italian and (more recently) American English has drastically changed Romanian vocabulary.
    Today many Slavisms that you mentioned are in daily use, but in competition with neologisms:

    ciudat / straniu, greșeală / eroare, mândru / orgolios, noroc / șansă, a se odihni / a se relaxa, neamț / german, obicei / tradiție, slujbă / servici, ...
     
    Cinstit may perhaps be related to čьstь "honor", čьstiti "to honor", čьstivъ "honorable, respectable", čьstьnъ "honest", with i reflecting this Slavic root before the change *i>ь (like in sticlă), crossed with *čęstitъ "happy" (Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian честит, Slovene čestit).

    P. S. The Serbo-Croatian честит also means "honest" (честит - Wiktionary), though it must be secondary, like in Romanian, as *čьstitъ would have produced **частит (ь>a in Shtokavian).

    If the Slavic čęstь "part" indeed is related with čęstъ "frequent, close, dense", which is the same word as the Lithuanian kimštas "packed, stuffed" (kimšti - Wiktionary), the Romanian cinst- would actually be among the earliest preserved Slavic loans, with in retained from times before the rise of the Slavic nasal vowels.
     
    Last edited:

    danielstan

    Senior Member
    Romanian - Romania
    Well, the Romanian verb a cinsti matches the meanings you mentioned above: "to honor", "to show respect", "to pay drink for somebody, as a sign of friendship or respect".
    While the noun cinstit, with the main meaning "honest", also means: "being honored, respected by somebody else".

    I was mislead by the etymology from dexonline which relates cinstit to bg. чист ("clean")
    I think cinstit is more related to bg. честен "honest" (I don't know the Old Slavic version of it)

    What do you think on Romanian nicovală < slav. nakovalo ? Is the transformation a > i somehow exceptional?
     
    Last edited:

    Angelo di fuoco

    Senior Member
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    I don't know about Romanian, but in Italian the reverse seems to be quite common: e. g. old Italian "dimani" -> modern Italian "domani", "dimandare" -> "domandare", "debile" - > "debole", "flebile" -> "fievole" (change in meaning, from Latin "flere", meaning "to weep", to "weak" as in English "feeble").
    In Ucranian, o regularly becomes i in closed syllables, most notably in the genitive plural in -iв.
     

    danielstan

    Senior Member
    Romanian - Romania
    I'd have said that this verb was similar to "invertire" (to change direction).
    I've found that the Latin verb "vertō" comes from the same IE root "*wert-".

    Tempting etymology - you made me think of some Latin or Slavic words with similar phonetic correspondance in Romanian.
    Latin examples:
    lat. libertare > rom. a ierta (Aromanian l'iertu) dexonline
    lat. certo > rom. a certa (Aromanian antsertu < lat. in + certo) dexonline
    lat. anno tertio > rom. anțărț dexonline

    Slavic examples:
    în + slav. vrъtĕti > rom. învârti dexonline
    bg. въртеж > rom. vârtej dexonline
    slav. prъtъ, sr-cr. prtina > rom. pârtie dexonline

    So, Slavic seems more plausible etymology and is what Romanian dictionary says.
     
    Last edited:
    Well, the Romanian verb a cinsti matches the meanings you mentioned above: "to honor", "to show respect", "to pay drink for somebody, as a sign of friendship or respect".
    While the noun cinstit, with the main meaning "honest", also means: "being honored, respected by somebody else".

    I was mislead by the etymology from dexonline which relates cinstit to bg. чист ("clean")
    I think cinstit is more related to bg. честен "honest" (I don't know the Old Slavic version of it)
    Честен comes from чьстьнъ/čьstьnъ.

    Phonetically, a cinsti corresponds to čęstiti "to do something faster; to do something more often; to frequent" (< Earlier Common Slavic *činstītī), though the meaning is taken from čьstiti "to honor" (<*čistītī). It seems that these two early loans (6–7th centuries) contaminated at some point, with the shape taken from one root and the meaning from another. Anyway, I don't know how to explain this in other than by assuming a loan at the period before it developed into the attested ę. Plus, *čist- and *činst- then differed only in the presence of the nasal (the later ь and ę are much more distinct), which may have facilitated the contamination.

    What do you think on Romanian nicovală < slav. nakovalo ? Is the transformation a > i somehow exceptional?
    Don't know, in Slavic it is a deverbal noun derived from the prefixed verb nakovati, which has a transparent structure, na-kov-a-ti, so this i must be or Romanian origin, perhaps as a result of contamination with some other word. As a variant: the verb niknǫti/nikati means, in particular, "to bend" (intransitive), so something like this, alluding to the movement the smith makes over the anvil, may have influenced.
     
    Last edited:
    Slavic examples:
    în + slav. vrъtĕti > rom. învârti dexonline
    bg. въртеж > rom. vârtej dexonline
    slav. prъtъ, sr-cr. prtina > rom. pârtie dexonline

    So, Slavic seems more plausible etymology and is what Romanian dictionary says.
    Âr here reflects the South Slavic syllabic (<ьr, ъr, rь, rъ) with a secondary schwa (Велико Търново → Veliko TârnovoCe poți face într-un weekend la Veliko Târnovo), the Latin er would have indeed produced **er or **ăr.
     
    Top