Re: Celery - the Italian Connection

From: Richard Wordingham
Message: 15595
Date: 2002-09-19

I am more and more persuaded that the /ts/ of Bulgarian tsElina and
Romanian tzelina 'celery' is due to Italian. (However, the only
Italian forms we have noted on the list are standard sedano and
Lombard selleri, as opposed to the expected *selino.) I have found a
few examples of Latin s- > standard Italian z- (/ts/):

Latin sulfur / sulphur / sulpur 'sulphur':

Italian zolfo, Old French soufre, Provençal solfre, Old Spanish
(a)çufre, Portuguese (en)xofre. Curiously, Onions cites Italian
solfo. Is 'solfo' a lexicographical ghost, or a displaced form?

The Spanish and Portuguese prefixes are ascribed to Arabic influence
and identifies it as the definite article. Onions compare Old English
swefl with this word.

Late Latin (Oribasius) suppa 'soup':
Italian zuppa, Old French soupe, Provençal & Spanish sopa.

English socle, from French socle 'socle', from Italian zoccolo 'clog,
hoof', developed from Latin socculus, diminutive of Latin soccus
'light shoe'. In Russian, this word is "tsokol'". 'Socle' is not a
common word is not found in all dictionaries. It has at least two
meanings in English:

1. Plain block or plinth serving as a pedestal.
2. The sum of the minimal left ideals of a ring, if this is the same
as the sum of the maximal right ideals.

I have only ever encountered its use in English in the second sense.
The irregular correspondence of Russian ts- to French s- had stuck in
my mind since I first encountered the Russian word.