Grain Legume Crop History among Slavic Nations Traced Using Linguistic Evidence

June 2014
Czech Journal of Genetics & Plant Breeding;2014, Vol. 50 Issue 2, p65
Academic Journal
With Proto-Slavic and other Proto-Indo-European homelands close to each other and on the routes of domestication of the first cultivated grain legumes, now known as pulses, one may assume that the ancestors of the modern Slavic nations knew field beans, peas or lentils quite well. The main goal of this short note was to examine the origin and the diversity of the words denoting field bean, pea and lentil in most of the modern Slavic languages. The common ancestor of all modern Slavic words denoting field bean is the Proto-Slavic *bobŭ, derived from the Proto-Indo-European *bhabh-, bhabhā, also denoting field bean and meaning literally something swelling. The Proto-Slavic root *gorhŭ, denoting pea, is the origin of the words denoting pea in all the Slavic languages and was derived from the Proto-Indo-European *ghArs-, ghers-2, that denoted a leguminous plant in general. The words denoting lentil in the modern Slavic languages form two etymologically distinct groups. The first one owes the origin to the Proto-Slavic *lętjā, also denoting lentil and deriving from the Proto-Indo-European root *lent-, *lent-s-, with the same meaning. Another group has its origin in the Proto-Slavic *sočevic?, somehow related to the Proto-Slavic *sòkŭ, denoting juice. This short thesaurus is a testimony of the significant role the most ancient Eurasian grain legumes, such as field bean, pea and lentil, have been playing in the everyday life of the modern Slavic nations.


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