2006 | 30 | 233-240
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Latvian 'kapuosti' (cabbage): a Word of Slavic Origin, among Names of Latvian Traditional Dishes (an ethnolinguistic aspect)

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Cabbage belongs to the most ancient and widespread vegetables.In Latvia, they started to plant head-cabbage in the 11th century. The Latvian folk-songs and popular beliefs as well as the use of the word 'kapuosti' among names of a traditional dish prepared on the occasion of swine slaughtering (e.g., a(p)bedu kapuosti, cuku kapuosti, verbatim 'swine cabbage', sietalkapuosti, verbatim 'fattened pig's cabbage') confirm the importance of cabbage in popular nourishment. The Standard Latvian word 'kapuosts' was borrowed from Old Russian 'kapusta' simultaneously with the appearance of this plant before the 13th century. In Standard Latvian, but more frequently in regional sub-dialects, names for various cabbage dishes are formed using the word 'kapuosti' (in the plural). They are mainly composite names with this word as the independent component, established due to a metonymical meaning transfer 'product' - 'dish'. The depending component of composite names for dishes performs the differentiating function while comprising several information about this product. Under semantic aspect, they have to be classified in 4 main groups: (1) names that contain in their 1st part a noun differentiating the dish upon the product (e. g., mugurkaula kapuosti (backbone cabbage), lapu kapuost (leaf cabbage), galvinu kapuosti (head cabbage); (2) names with reference to a feature or property of the dish in their 1st part (e. g., saldenie kapuosti - cf. saldens (sweet), skistie kapuosti - cf. skists (watery), baltie kapuosti - cf. balts (white); (3) names whose 1st component includes reference to an action performed when preparing the dish (e.g. sutinatie kapuosti, stuovetie kapuosti - cf. sutinat, stuovet (to stew); (4) names containing reference to the preparing period, or intention, of the dish (a(p)bedu kapuosti - cf. a(p)bedas (wine slaughtering), skiribu kapuosti - cf. skirt (to divide), skirties (to separate). In Latvian regional sub-dialects the word 'kapuosti' also denotes a dish made of other vegetables (e.g., biesu kapuosti (beet cabbage), balandu kapuosti (garden orach's cabbage), skabinu kapusti, (sorrel cabbage). Semantic and word formational equivalents in Latvian and Slavic material are testifying the antiquity of the borrowed word 'kapuosti' in Latvian, as well as giving evidence of common linguistic phenomena in these languages.
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  • B. Busmane, Latvian Language Institute of the University of Latvia, Akademijas laukuma 1, LV-1033 Riga, Latvia
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