What if П for Б?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Rosett

Senior Member
Russian
I think столп and столб are variants of the same word. They are etymologically identical.
Столп is a very old word, stylish in modern Russian, reserved to either certain artifacts (Вавилонский столп Babylon Tower, архитектурный столп) or natural occurrences (столпы Геракла,) or figuratively to poetic mages (Александрийский столп,) fundamental notions or outstanding people (as if in столпы мироздания Pillars of Creation, столпы общества, науки, власти.) Столб is a common word used in everyday life, albeit Геркулесовы столбы (meaning крайний предел, граница, ultimate boundary) exist, too. These two words can’t be misunderstood in their respective context, but technically столп is столб, according to dictionaries.
 
Last edited:
  • pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    Столп is a very old word, stylish in modern Russian, reserved to either certain artifacts (Вавилонский столп Babylon Tower, архитектурный столп), or figuratively to poetic images (Александрийский столп,) fundamental notions or outstanding people (as if in столпы мироздания Pillars of Creation, столпы общества, науки, власти.) Столб is a common word used in everyday life. These two words can’t be misunderstood in their respective context, but technically столп is столб, according to dictionaries.
    Жена Лота в Библии превратилась в соляной столП.
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    столб and столп to me are unambiguously stylistic variants of the same lexeme, with столб clearly the default. The spelling столп additionally hints at (but not limits it to) the more abstract meanings, like 'support, foundation'. Some expressions are more or less fixed with that variant, but whenever I have to pronounce them it takes mental effort to substitute /п/ for /б/ in non-final environments. Most of the listed expressions admit either variant, and spelling them would require most natives to consult existing usage, i.e. the difference is not part of their grammar but simple graphic convention. Therefore I think discussing this pair is too far off-topic and unhelpful to most potential readers.
     
    Last edited:
    Status
    Not open for further replies.
    Top