"Shaman"

Luis Gonzalez-Reimann reimann at UCLINK4.BERKELEY.EDU
Tue Apr 2 20:04:00 EST 2002


Marina,

Below is Gary Holland's response to Valerie's question (from another list).

Luis Gonzalez-Reimann
University of California, Berkeley
____________
At 08:49 AM 04/02/2002 -0800, you wrote:
>We use the same word in Russian. I always assumed, it
>is coming from a local dialect. Unfortunately, I do
>not have any Russian or Slavic dictionary around to
>check it up. Perhaps, someone could do it?
>     Regards.
>    Marina Orelskaya
____________

These words are ultimately the same. English shaman is borrowed from 
Russian. 
The Russian word in turn is borrowed from Tungusic, which must have borrowed 
the word from Tocharian B, which has s.ama:ne 'monk, ascetic'. The
Tocharian B 
word was borrowed either directly, or via a Middle Indic intermediary, from 
the Sanskrit word. 
For a short exposition of the importance of shamanism in Tungusic culture see 
Lopatin's contribution to Handbuch der Orientalistik, fünfter Band: 
Altaistik, dritter Abschnitt: Tungusologie, p. 17ff.
I have just found that this etymology is given in the American Heritage 
Dictionary.
Gary Holland



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