The Slavic word for pear

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by EuropeanOrigin, Apr 4, 2014.

  1. EuropeanOrigin Member

    English NZ & Australia
    Is anybody aware if there is an indo European root for the Slavic word gruša/kruša/hruška, and if so is there a cognate in other languages?
  2. itreius Senior Member

  3. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

  4. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    Update. Both Slavic and Prussian vowels go back to the Balto-Slavic *ou>*au, whereas the Lithuanian form goes back to *eu>*iau. This suggests an ancient origin of this word. The same is true for the acute intonation in both branches: (later) borrowings tended to get a non-acute intonation. The vacillation like k/g, p/b or t/d occurs from time to time in inherited words (stъlpъ/stъlbъ, kъlpь/gulbis, drozdъ/strazdas), it is not necessarily evidence of a borrowing, though such a discrepancy makes it more plausible.
  5. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    And, finally, the common Balto-Slavic form was *k/g-r-ē/ō-w-ś-y-ā (without laryngeals). The IE word must have had the palatovelar k' instead of the BSl assibilated ś and laryngeals in both syllables.
  6. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    The Slavic etymological dictionary by Trubachov ( pp. 156–157) further connects these words with the verb grušiti/krušiti (Slavic) and krušti/kraušyti (Lithuanian) "to pound, crush, crumble", which would be parallel to the Latin pirum < *pisom from pinso with the same meaning, the Balto-Slavic word being possibly an ancient calque of the southern descriptive term for the pear.

    De Vaan's Latin etymological dictionary ( p. 467), however, does not discuss this etymology and regards pirum as a loanword from an unknown Mediterranean language, though again from the prototype *piso- judging from the Greek ἄπιον (partly because Latin has i instead of the phonetically regular e before r).

    I personally think the etymology in Trubachov looks more promising. However, if the Greek a- comes from a laryngeal, the required IE protoype *h2piso- would contradict the *pis- root of the verb (that begins from p-, cp. the Greek πτίσσω in de Vaan, p. 466) from Trubachov's etymology. The latter can be saved if an original Mediterranean borrowing in the southern languages was interpreted by the ancient speakers as derived from *pis- and as such served the source for the Balto-Slavic calque. Anyway, the relationships within Balto-Slavic seem to be clear, and the southern comparisons are so far speculations.
  7. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    And, finally, an amendment to post #5: if Trubachov's etymology is correct, the IE roots are ghrews-/krews- (+ a laryngeal either before or after w) and not ghrewk'-/krewk'- (+ a laryngeal) as I had assumed. The Lithuanian š is then from the ruki rule, the Slavic š comes from the same š > x > š again in the first palatalization, and Latvian and Prussian s from š > s following the fate of both ancient š (from k' and from the ruki rule) in these languages.
  8. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    Sorry, too much of me, but so many genial ideas '-)

    It seems to me that the accentological evidence contradicts Trubachev's etymology that connects the Balto-Slavic word for pear with the abovementioned root: both Lithuanian and Slavic words for pear have an acute intonation (kriáušė in Lithuanian and an accentual paradigm (a) in Old East Slavic, i. e. grùša), whereas the verb in both Slavic and Lithuanian has a non-acute root with the stress characteristically shifted one syllable to the right (krušìti/kraušýti). From what I know about the Balto-Slavic accentology, this suggests that both roots ("pear" and "crush") are unrelated: an acute root can receive a secondary non-acute intonation, but only when followed by certain suffixes, which is not the case in this kind of verbs (cp. acute stressed roots in stàviti, izbàviti, pràviti). So, my conclusion is that while the words for pear in Slavic and Baltic are related, any further connections are absent.
  9. jakowo Senior Member

    " acute root can receive a secondary non-acute intonation, but only when followed by certain suffixes, which is not the case in this kind of verbs (cp. acute stressed roots in stàviti, izbàviti, pràviti)..."

    Does this mean that verbs stressed –íti had a circumflex intonation? If so, could you give some examples?
    Thank you.
  10. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    First, about the term "circumflex": the Slavic accent termed this way is not related to the Baltic and Greek circumflex and was named so in the classical literature by mistake. As it appears now, the Balto-Slavic had two oppositions: acute/non-acute accent (the latter appearing as circumflex on long vowels and diphthongs) and dominant/recessive tone (partially preserved in Latvian and Samogitian). This is nicely reflected in the Lithuanian accentual paradigms in monosyllabic stems: 1 (acute dominant root), 2 (non-acute dominant root), 3 (acute recessive root) and 4 (non-acute recessive root). The Balto-Slavic dominant circumflex (Lithuanian accentual paradigm 2) corresponds in Slavic to either the neo-acute or to an unstressed syllable with the stress shifted one syllable to the right (Slavic accentual paradigm b). The Slavic circumflex corresponds to both the acute and the circumflex in the Lithuanian accentual paradigms 3 and 4, occurs only on the initial syllable and continues both Balto-Slavic recessive tones.

    The -iti verbs had a dominant acute suffix in the Infinitive. In verbs with acute dominant roots, the stress remained on the root (my examples above in the post #8). In verbs with non-acute dominant roots the stress shifted to the right late in the Common Slavic (probably not in all dialects). The original Balto-Slavic rule for stress placement was that the stress fell on the leftmost dominant syllable: hence, in verbs with recessive roots the stress was placed on the suffix already in the Balto-Slavic. All this is discussed in great detail in the works by Dybo, e. g. in this summary book: (Дыбо ВА · 2000 · Морфологизированные парадигматические акцентные системы. Типология и генезис. Том I)

    So, the examples are (Dybo, pp. 563–) (intonation marks may be distorted in Windows computers):
    dominant acute root: sta̋viti — cp. Praes. Sg.3 sta̋vitь (the stress stable on the root)

    dominant non-acute root: světi̋ti, nosi̋ti — cp. Pres. Sg.3 svě̃titь, nòsitь (the stress shifted to the acute suffix in the infinitive but preserved as neo-acute on the root in the Praes. Sg. 3 before a non-acute present suffix)

    recessive non-acute root: lovi̋ti — cp. Sg. 3 lovĩtь (the stress shifted to the dominant suffix in the infinitive and to the dominant ending in Praes. Sg. 3 in the Balto-Slavic and much later in late Common Slavic retracted one syllable back from the final yer giving a neo-acute thematic vowel).

    (I don't include avi̋ti from Dybo's examples since I don't know if its recessive root was historically acute or non-acute, for the late Common Slavic this was irrelevant)

    An update to the post #8. I had some doubts whether the Slavic gruša had an acute or neo-acute root (the latter as in nòša), but Dybo (p. 51) gives an acute accentuation, grűša, so indeed the Slavic and Baltic forms are identical and not related to the verb.

    Update 2. In my yesterday's examples I used the gravis sign for the acute (à) since I didn't have the required double acute sign (a̋) available; now I have found how to insert it.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2014
  11. jakowo Senior Member

    Thank you for your detailed and comprehensive explanations.
    (I adopted the term 'circumflex' from Christian Stang's
    «Slavonic Accentuation», p. 20 et passim). I didn't know
    Dybo before.
  12. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    With all these details, I actually haven't answered your question. So, here are examples from the Old East Slavic, taken from Зализняк АА · 1985 · От праславянской акцентуации к русской, pp. 137 and 139–140 (

    In the Old East Slavic, the stress on -i̋ti characterized verbs of two accentual paradigms, b and c. The verbs from the AP b had Balto-Slavic dominant non-acute roots, which were unstressed (e. g. in the Infinitive and Present Sg. 1) or neo-acute (e. g. in the Present except for Sg. 1) in late Common Slavic: blazniti, bluditi, boroniti, broditi, brъsiti, běsiti, voditi, voziti, voločiti, vorotiti, vъpiti, -glъtiti, goniti, daviti, kazniti, krasiti, kupiti, kusiti, kъrmiti, lomiti, lupiti, ļubiti, moliti, molotiti, -motriti, močiti, měsiti, nositi, paliti, ploditi, prositi, räditi, světiti, skočiti, služiti, sočiti, strojiti, stupiti, suditi, -toliti, tomiti, točiti, traviti, tužiti, xvaliti, xvatiti, xoditi, xoroniti, cěpiti (with some verbs vacillating between this and the following type). In the modern Russian this type exists as бродить — брожу — бродишь.

    The verbs from the AP c had Balto-Slavic recessive (both acute and non-acute) roots, which were unstressed (e. g. in the Infinitive and Present except Sg. 1) or circumflex (Present Sg. 1) in the late Common Slavic: buditi, běditi, valiti, variti, verediti, vьršiti, gasiti, govoriti, goditi, goroditi, gruziti, gubiti, dojiti, drobiti, dušiti, děliti, -žasiti, kaditi, kaziti, katiti, kloniti, kļučiti, koriti, kropiti, krušiti, krьstiti, krěsiti, lišiti, loviti, ložiti, lučiti, lěpiti, lěčiti, moriti, mutiti, -měžiti, měniti, noroviti, -oriti, -periti, pojiti, poloniti, postiti, prostiti, pustiti, raditi, raziti, roditi, rostiti, -ruditi, -ružiti, rěšiti, saditi, seliti, skopiti, spěšiti, studiti, tajiti, taščiti, tvoriti, topiti, truditi, tušiti, učiti, cěditi, cěliti, činiti, javiti (again with vacillations towards the AP b). In the modern Russian this type continues as дробить — дроблю — дробишь.

    And, finally, for the record, verbs with the AP a (Balto-Slavic dominant acute), which had permanently stressed acute roots in the late Common Slavic as well as all the way from the IE: -baviti, vaditi, vysiti, věriti, věsiti, gladiti, grabiti, -dariti, žaliti, kvasiti, laziti, mъlviti, mětiti, -niziti, nuditi, pariti, plaviti, pļuščiti, praviti, pъrtiti, raniti, -rětiti, sklabiti, staviti, -sětiti, těšiti, xytiti, cěstiti, širiti, jězditi (Зализняк, p. 133). Modern Russian: верить — верю — верит.

    (Some roots that appear homonyms had in fact different tones, e. g. -dar- in u-da̋riti "hit" and po-dari̋ti "donate").
  13. jakowo Senior Member

    Thanks. Very detailed again.
    Is there any evidence when the acute and circumflex intonations disappeared in Old Russian? Considering the fact that SerboCroatian
    maintaines its tones (yet better before the neo-štokavian retraction) and in Russian there is but the (different) accent place left?
    (I'll be back in one week). Wo.
  14. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    There are reports of local East Slavic dialects that still preserve some of the tonal distinctions ( p. 440–). Since nobody ever searched for this kind of phenomena, it is quite possible that the disappearance of tones was rather gradual and could have happened in the literary language at any time before the Lomonosov's grammar of the middle 18th century. Contrary to the popular opinion, the vowel reduction is not relevant as an indicator of a toneless language, since both in Lithuanian dialects and in Latvian the tones perfectly coexist with the strong reduction.

    The literary neo-štokavian Serbo-Croatian tones are not related to the ancient ones, only the length distinctions are old. The Slovene tones are.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014

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