Re: Celery - the Italian Connection

From: m_iacomi
Message: 15603
Date: 2002-09-19

--- In cybalist@..., "Richard Wordingham" wrote:

> 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've checked out, in Venitian dialect is <sé£ino> or <sè£eno>,
with "vanishing l" <£> pronounced very slightly, almost vocalic.

> 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?

No, 'solfo' and 'suppa' are the old and dialectal forms for
similar standard Italian words with z-, everybody understands
them as such.

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

You may add Romanian /sup&/.

> 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'


> The irregular correspondence of Russian ts- to French s- had
> stuck in my mind since I first encountered the Russian word.

While Russian "tsokol" might be a late loanword from Italian,
I fail to see any conclusive evidence for Romanian & Bulgarian
/Telina/ being of Italian origin or influence. The /s/ -> /T/
innovation appears to be enough recent in Italian and it didn't
affect in any dialect the initial /s/ of the word for "celery".
For your hypothesis being true, Italian should have created the
form *zelino at some moment after Middle Ages, exported it somehow
in the Balkans just to Romanians and Bulgarians and then dropped
it with no trace, favouring a standard 'sedano' (from the same
Latin root) to replace it. This doesn't look pretty likely. :-)
Unfortunately, our (South)Slavic colleagues didn't brought (yet)
any light on the likeliness of Greek /s/ > Bulgarian /T/. I'll
maybe check it by myself, though my time is limited.

Marius Iacomi