Publication details

K pojmenování ,medvěda‘ ve slovanštině

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Title in English On the designation of "bear" in the Slavic languages


Year of publication 2017
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Slavia
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Field Linguistics
Keywords Indo-European; Slavic; zoological terminology; onomastics; etymology
Description The zoonym 'bear' in Slavic languages is more differentiated than appears at first sight. The dominant and etymologically transparent term *medved6 'honey-eater' is common Slavic and the only two exceptions, Polabian and Macedonian, very probably represent replacements of the same term *medved6. The second term in distribution, *meč6ka, is attested in South and East Slavic, with possible onomastic traces in West Slavic. The ambition of the present contribution is to offer its “bee”-etymology, contrary to the traditional hypocoristic interpretation. The term *b7rtnik7 is limited to Czech and Slovak in the meaning ‘bear’ and was transferred from the designation of a man seeking honey of wild bees. Finally, the old attempt of Sobolevskij to find Slavic traces of the primary Indo-European term *HrTk'o- 'bear' is discussed.
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