Minkä takia pellava on pellava

  • Vilja Oja
Avainsanat: itämerensuomalainen kielentutkimus


Why is flax called pellava? (englanti)

3/2002 (106)

Why is flax called pellava?

In the Eastern and Northern Finnic languages, the term used to denote the flax plant has the stem pellava-: Fin. dial. pellava, pella|vas, -ves, pellova, pellovain(en), pellovas, pellain(en), pellavaittiin, pelva(a)s; Izh. and Vote pellavaz, pellovaz; Kar pellava(sh), pelva|sh, -s, -z; Veps pu|vaz, pu|vaz (p?az) gen. -han, p|vz gen. -hn. It has been considered a genuine Finnic word in origin, and this has led to the conclusion that the first inhabitants of the eastern and northern Finnic areas must have known a fibrous plant before any contact with either Baltic or Germanic tribes. The Sami words of the same stem (Kolta Sami arch. pielvas, Kildin arch. piillvas, piilvas, piilves, Inari Sami arch. piellivas, Norwegian Sami biellems ~ bllems) are considered Finnic loans.

According to historians, woven cloth gradually began replacing the deerskin worn by the then inhabitants of the present-day Finnic area around the 3rd millennium B.C. Most likely, the hunting and fishing tribes who had lived in this area since the 7th millennium B.C. spoke a Proto-European dialect. What was their term for such a vital material as the leather or fur of an animal as well as objects (clothing, footwear, tents etc.) made of leather or fur? It seems possible that the terms had their origin in the Proto- Indo-European root *pel- to cover, as in Latin pellis (<*pelnis), Greek pelaz (pl. acc. pellaaz), Low Middle German pels (> Danish, Swedish pels) etc. The last mentioned have also been associated with certain Slavic terms with a pel-stem that are used for cloth or objects made of cloth (e.g. Russian ?????? cover, arch. (piece of) cloth; shroud, ???????, dial. ?????? babys nappy ~ diaper).

Thus, the Finnic pellava word family could perhaps be based on an Indo- European substratum word of the same root. The concrete word shapes can be explained in various ways: 1) a loanword + derivative suffixes *pellV + -va + -s (or -inen); 2) a borrowed compound *pellV + *eu- (> IE *wes-), the second component of which occurs in many Indo-European words for cloth and clothing. The final suffix -s : -(h)- (in pellavas, -vos etc.) is often attached to a borrowed stem or a borrowed final component.

Because of their semantic and phonetic features, it is also possible to associate the Veps p?u, pu, pvu, pevu and Lude pv, pw, p furcoat (usually sheepskin with fur turned inside) with the assumed substratum word. The word pvv (pvv) denoting the same object in the Izhorian Soikkola dialect is evidently a Veps-Lude loanword.

In Finnish and Karelian dialects, pellava(s) can also mean sinew. At first sight the term seems to be motivated by a certain similarity between a tough tissue and flax fibre. On the other hand, the original meaning of the term for sinew may well have been leather, leather-like.

Vilja Oja


pellava (kieli: suomi, sivulla: 375)

tammi 3, 2002
Oja, V. (2002). Minkä takia pellava on <i>pellava</i>. Virittäjä, 106(3), 375. Noudettu osoitteesta https://journal.fi/virittaja/article/view/40194