Tamil words in English

Erik Seldeslachts erik.seldeslachts at RUG.AC.BE
Wed Feb 11 16:19:50 UTC 1998

> ---"Dominique.Thillaud"  wrote:
> >
> > >>I am sure it is a Tamil loanword appearing not only in English but
> also in
> > >>other European languages (e.g. Czech ryze via Greek oryza).
> >
> >         'a' --> Gr. 'o' is incredible.
> >         We know in ancient Greek two words for the rice:
> > o'ruza is considered as borrowed from eastern iranian (see afgan
> vriZE)
> > ori'ndEs is considered as borrowed from western iranian (see persan
> birinj)
> > (for "wr" --> Gr. "or", see Schwyzer, Gr.Gr. 1,313, n.2)
> >         Both are probably related to the vedic vrIhi'.
> >         The first greek word give Latin oryza --> Italian rizo and all
> > other western names.
> >         A long time before the Indo-Portuguese ...
> >         It's highly probable that vriZE, birinj, vrIhi are not
> Eurindian
> > but loan words (rice is an eastern plant), nevertheless a link with
> Tamil
> > arici seems phonetically curious.

The statement "'a' --> Gr. 'o' is incredible" is not correct; in fact it is rather
frequent. However, that does not mean that this rule applies in this case: oryza is not
from arici. Your derivation from Iranian is probably the right one.
Arici itself is probably a loanword from early Indo-Aryan *vrIjhi (p vrIhi). There are some
names for 'rye' in European languages which suggest a possible Indo-European connection:
Greek briza (from Thracian?), Lithuanian rugiai, German Roggen, Dutch rogge, English rye.

Erik Seldeslachts
Universiteit Gent

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list