Old Georgian phrases and sentences 52 (fruit trees in the desert)   Leave a comment

I stumbled upon these lines in Sarjveladze & Fähnrich, p. 525. The citation is from an 11th-cent. manuscript, H-341 (46). (Incidentally, it is a boon to the dictionary that the authors scoured not only editions, but manuscripts, too, thus including unedited textual pieces and even, it seems, some marginal notes and colophons.)

დამიკჳრდა უდაბნოსა მას ესევითარი ხეოანი, რამეთუ იყო ფინიკი, ბროწეული, თრუნჯი, ატამი

Ich staunte über so einen solchen Baumbestand in der Wüste, denn es gab Dattel, Granatapfel, Orange, Pfirsich.

  • და-მ-ი-კჳრ-დ-ა aor 3sg O1 (here indir. vb) დაკჳვება to be amazed, astounded
  • უდაბნოოჲ wilderness
  • ხეო(ვ)ანი having trees (ხეჲ)
  • ფინიკი date
  • ბროწეული pomegranate
  • თრუნჯი orange or some other citrus fruit
  • ატამი peach

I was amazed at such a tree-area in the wilderness, because there were [trees of] date, pomegranate, citrus, and peach.

Plant-names are notorious for spreading across languages, and we have some such words here, words it would be easy to follow down many interconnected paths. To take two of the Georgian words above, for ფინიკი we have Greek φοίνιξ (φοινικ-), for თრუნჯი we have Persian turunǧ, Aramaic etrog (Mandaic trunga, Syriac ṭruggā), Arabic utruǧ/nǧ. (For Aramaic terms, see I. Löw, Aramaeische Pflanzennamen.) Wholly unrelated, however, to the Georgian word ატამი above is a widespread term for peach: MP šiftālūg/NP šaftālū(ǧ/d)/Tajik шафтолу/Turk şeftali/Tatar шәфталу; NP has another related word šaftarang for a kind of red peach, and another word hulū. We could, of course, go on, both more deeply and broadly, but for now let’s stop at this marvelous oasis that appeared in the wilderness to the Georgian speaker above.

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