Swedish: How is SVAMP related to 'swamp'?

dimhollow

Senior Member
Polish
I find myself intrigued that the word svamp in Swedish but also in other Scandinavian languages is cognate with other words in German, Dutch and English which carry the meaning of 'swamp', 'marsh, and 'fen'. Is it possible that Scandinavians used to find and gather mushrooms and toadstools round swamps and wetlands, or is the word svamp connotes the swamp's porous surface and thus analogous with mushrooms?
 
  • Segorian

    Senior Member
    Icelandic & Swedish
    Is it possible that Scandinavians used to find and gather mushrooms and toadstools round swamps and wetlands, or is the word svamp connotes the swamp's porous surface and thus analogous with mushrooms?
    Probably both. English swamp, German Sumpf, Dutch zwamp, and Swedish sump all mean ‘wet, spongy land’, and German Schwamm, Swedish svamp, and Icelandic sveppur/svampur all mean ‘mushroom, fungus, sponge’, see here.

    All of these words, and many others, are believed to be derived from a Proto-Germanic root, *sumpaz, see here, and are probably also related to Greek σομφός, see here.
     

    dimhollow

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Probably both. English swamp, German Sumpf, Dutch zwamp, and Swedish sump all mean ‘wet, spongy land’, and German Schwamm, Swedish svamp, and Icelandic sveppur/svampur all mean ‘mushroom, fungus, sponge’, see here.

    All of these words, and many others, are believed to be derived from a Proto-Germanic root, *sumpaz, see here, and are probably also related to Greek σομφός, see here.
    Hi, thank you for your quick reply. The thing is that it was only my guess, and looked round for any linguistic study of the word but couldn't find one. It might as well be possible that any link, if ever there was one, that we think the ancestral Germanic language had between swamp or marshland and the mushrooms growing there was already lost a long time ago. So anyway no scientific paper to confirm or deny it as far as I can tell.
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    As far as I know (and I have just checked the online "Bokmålsordboka og Nynorskordboka"), sponge is the only reasonable English translation of svamp in Norwegian
     

    dimhollow

    Senior Member
    Polish
    As far as I know (and I have just checked the online "Bokmålsordboka og Nynorskordboka"), sponge is the only reasonable English translation of svamp in Norwegian
    Yeah, winenous, Norweigan has a somewhat different history. But the only possible link between mushrooms and swamps is a modern reconstruction, which is still just a guess. I was interested in the story behind the word, since I saw Swedish svamp is related to English swamp (or to Swedish sump). So I was looking for a source, some kind of scientific paper that works out the etymology, since wiktionary doesn't seem to quote one. Thanks any way.
     
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