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Linguistica Uralica cover
Linguistica Uralica
ISSN 1736-7506 (Electronic)
ISSN 0868-4731 (Print)

К истории понятий ’соль’ и ’солeный’ в финно-угорских языках [On the History of the Concepts ’salt’ and ’salty’ in Finno-Ugric Languages]; pp. 161-168

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Vladimir Napol\'skich


After reconsidering the existing Finno-Ugric etymologies for taste and smell terms (such as ’salty’, ’sour’, ’bitter’, ’spoiled’, ’rancid’ etc.), two FU etyma for taste (and smell) of food are reconstructed: *kᴕćɜ(/-) ’sour, salty, bitter’ (in a positive sense), denoting, in its optimal sense, the sour-salty taste of fermented food, and in its maximum expression (mainly in derivatives) the taste of too sour or too salty (up to unpleasant) food (in modern Udmurt the meaning is ’salty’); and *kačke ’spoiled, rancid, uneatable’ with derivatives (suffix *-) meaning ’smoke, burning’ or ’mould’. Possibly, the two reconstructed roots could represent cases of Proto-Finno-Ugric palatal—velar alternation similar to the ­Hungarian döböz ’small box’ ~ doboz ’box’. From the historical point of view it is important that these reconstructions demonstrate the absence of the use of salt in the dietary and food-preservation tradition among the speakers of Proto-Finno-Ugrian, which relates to hunting and fishing being the base of their economy and accounts for the later borrowings of words for salt from different sources.


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