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Blackberries...

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Blackberries...

Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Wed Dec 29, 2004 8:42 pm

I'm looking for a way to say blackberries (nom pl), referring to the bush, not the fruit, in Ancient Greek, preferrably in Epic, if possible.

Blackberry bushes did not thrive in Ancient Greece. In fact, they didn't exist there at all.

The most obvious thing to do is to compound a word. [face=spionic]me/laj[/face] is the most obvious choice to say the black part - the easy part. However the Ancient Greeks did not have the same concept of berry as we Anglophones do. Looking through Perseus, the best thing seems to be the obscure word [face=spionic]stru/xnon[/face], which refers to several species of plants bearing various kinds of berries. The main appeal of this word is that it is referring to a plant as a whole. However I do not wish to say black/dark plants. So I'm thinking of sticking in [face=spionic]r(a/c[/face] which, as far as I can tell, refers to an individual grape (close enough to berry], as opposed to a grape-vine.

So, something like [face=spionic]stru/xna r(a/ktwn me/lwn[/face] - berry-plants of black grapes?
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Postby annis » Wed Dec 29, 2004 11:18 pm

Do we know where blackberries originated? It seems that the Greeks often named foreign foods after their home territory.
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Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Thu Dec 30, 2004 12:25 am

That depends on the variety. I am referring to the Himalayan Blackberry (though the only thing it has to do with the Himalayas is the size of the thorns), which came from Western Europe, but now is most common on the West Coast of the United States, where its epithets run from "delight of bird-lovers and jam-makers" to "noxious weed".

So as far as naming it after a place, it could go from the HImalayas (inaccurate, but I doubt the Greeks were always accurate about their plant origins), to Western Europe, to California/Oregon/Washington. Probably sticking with Himalayan is best, since at least people with some botany background could figure out what it was.

So, how should I make this into a Greek word?
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Postby annis » Thu Dec 30, 2004 1:08 am

GlottalGreekGeek wrote:So, how should I make this into a Greek word?


Probably spend a little time with Arrian's anabasis and see if any of his geographical digressions can lead to a nice Greek name for the Himalayas. The best I could think up after a quick search would be some sort of "indian ([face=spionic])Indiko/j h/ o/n[/face]) berry" idea.

Unfortunately the L&S tends not to include proper names.
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Postby ThomasGR » Thu Dec 30, 2004 5:51 am

In the Greek territory there is mulberry indigenous, and also some wild berries in the mountains. My suggestion is that for all kind of berries the name “μούρoν” is used. The scientific name for mulberry is “morus”, which could be of Greek origin or used by Greeks, so we can also say “μόρος”.

“μέλαν μούρoν” or “μέλαν μόρον”.
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Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Sat Jan 01, 2005 5:44 am

Would mo/ra (which is what Perseus can recognize, not mou/ra), refer to the whole plant, or only the berry-fruit.
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Postby ThomasGR » Sat Jan 01, 2005 9:51 pm

Without being sure,
I may suggest "mo/ra" for the fruit and "morai/a" for the plant.

PS: How does one look up at Perseus for a deffinition for this word?
I tried without success! :(
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Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Sun Jan 02, 2005 12:38 am

Go to the "tools" section of Perseus, go to "English - Greek" or whatever it's called, type in an English word, and it will search the LSJ, Liddell-Scott, and all the Greek-English lexicons they got, for your English word, and make a list linking to the LSJ/whatever entries. Mind you, and search for a word like "olive" might lead to some Greek word where the definition is "A ceremonial clay jar made by craftsmen in [insert obscure location] ; frequently used to hold water, olive oil, or wine in religious fesitivals." I know that when I searched for "rose" I got a bunch of words meaning going up or standing up or lifting - because "rose" is the past for "rise". But I eventually I got to a word which meant "rose flower/plant".

EDIT : I went through the Perseus Greek Morphological Tool, and it did not recognize [face=spionic]morai/a[/face], so I assume that no such word existed. It is quite possible that a word like [face=spionic]mo/ra[/face] could mean either the fruit or the plant, as in English, but I am not going to assume that without evidence.

EDIT 2 - If [face=spionic]mo/ra[/face] is the word I'm looking for, here's my haiku

[face=spionic]sfw=n a)ka/nqaisi
maxo/ntai me/la mo/ra
r(o/da t' a)/gria[/face]

Let me know if there are any grammatical errors in it - or if not, please tell me what you think the haiku is expressing, to see if it's making the point I'm trying to show.
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Postby annis » Sun Jan 02, 2005 5:22 pm

GlottalGreekGeek wrote:EDIT 2 - If [face=spionic]mo/ra[/face] is the word I'm looking for, here's my haiku


Even if it isn't, poets can get away with metonymy. :)

[face=spionic]sfw=n a)ka/nqaisi
maxo/ntai me/la mo/ra
r(o/da t' a)/gria[/face]

Let me know if there are any grammatical errors in it - or if not, please tell me what you think the haiku is expressing, to see if it's making the point I'm trying to show.


There is a great ambiguity in the dative of the first line, which, by chance, we reproduce in English.

The blackberry and the wild rose fight with their own thorns.

Where the dative, the "with" in my translation, could mean either "against" or "by means of."
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Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Sun Jan 02, 2005 8:42 pm

I meant "by means of their own thorns". Perhaps I should find some other syllable beside [face=spionic]sfw^n[/face] to make it 5 lines. [face=spionic]ge[/face] perhaps?
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Postby ThomasGR » Sun Jan 02, 2005 9:52 pm

EDIT : I went through the Perseus Greek Morphological Tool, and it did not recognize morai/a, so I assume that no such word existed. It is quite possible that a word like mo/ra could mean either the fruit or the plant, as in English, but I am not going to assume that without evidence.


I-m not surprised. It is often done in Greek, where you can replace the stress and give a whole new meaing to the word, or (-better-) by putting a suffix to a word form another new word (that still holds the meaning of the old word). In our example the suffix -ai/a serves well, and we have also the stress placed in the last syllable too. I think morai/a fits best. In modern Greek it is called "mouria/" (mou/ra as the fruit).
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