persimmon

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elroy

Imperfect Mod
US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
I'm wondering what words different languages use for "persimmon."

The word used in Palestinian Arabic is كاكا (kāka), which also means "poop"! :eek:

I've always found this a most unfortunate name for the fruit. I wonder if it was borrowed from another language in which the word is benign?

Thanks!
 
  • Yendred

    Senior Member
    Français - France
    In French, this fruit is also called kaki.
    Diospyros kaki is the species name of the tree.

    As told by Sardokan, "kaki" comes from Japanese.
    "Diospyros" (as told by apmoy70) comes from Greek ("the fruit of God")
    and "persimmon" comes from Algonquian language meaning "dry fruit".

    "kaki" is not to be confused with "khaki" color (the color of many army uniforms), which comes from Hindi, meaning "soil-colored".
     
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    bibax

    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    Czech:

    tree: tomel japonský (botanical term);

    fruit: kaki, churma or kaki-churma (also written kakichurma, ch is pronounced [x], or sometimes [k], also written kaki kurma, also ... :rolleyes:);

    Rather rare in our shops.
     
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    Ghabi

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    In this part of the world, the fresh fruit (known as lam4ci2 腍柿 in Cantonese) is only eaten/displayed on the day of the Mid-Autumn Festival, otherwise it appears in its dried form (ci2beng2 柿餅 "persimmon cake", which has become a generic name for a very flat object in Cantonese, as in "the car was run over by a truck to become a persimmon cake"), which is extremely sweet.
     

    bibax

    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    In Czech kakati = Latin cacare; e.g. Kaká kaká. = Kaká cacat. (Kaká, the Brasilian footballer)

    But no kaki derived from kakati, there is only a certain similarity with khaki (colour).
     
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    franknagy

    Senior Member
    Is not is interesting that the word "kaki" ("kaka"/ "chaqui", ...) means the same thing in so many unrelated languages, is it?
     
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    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    The word I am familiar with in Portuguese is caqui (stress on the last syllable).
     

    Sardokan1.0

    Senior Member
    Sardu / Italianu
    Correct. Some Italians (including myself) say ''caco'' in the singular.
    We say 'cachi' also for the colour.
    The It. vulgar word for 'poop' is cacca.
    I've heard sometimes on tv people saying "caco"; here is considered weird, no one would name the fruit "caco"
     

    franknagy

    Senior Member
    @Circumflejo
    Caqui/kaki
    Off topic question:
    The Latin and Romance languages disliked the the letter "K". Why? Because it is a Greek letter?
    Nowadays, however, the letter "K" is respected again.
     

    Yendred

    Senior Member
    Français - France
    Is not is interesting that the word "kaki" ("kaka"/ "chaqui", ...) means the same thing in so many unrelated languages, is it?
    Well it's just because the word has an exotic origin in all these languages, and because it evenly describes an exotic object for all the cultures of these languages.

    You can observe the same effect for example with the word "kangaroo":
    English: kangaroo
    French: kangourou
    German: Känguru
    Spanish & Italian: kangaroo
    etc.

    The word had no reason to evolve diferently in all these languages since all these cultures have the same relation with an object attached to Australia and the word describing it attached to its australian indigenous origin.
    (although according to Wikipedia, the etymology of "kangaroo", supposed to mean "I don't understand" in local indigenous language, is mythological)
     
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    Welsh_Sion

    Senior Member
    Welsh - Northern
    Welsh

    persimon
    (n.m.) (We don't really like doubling letters ...)
    eirinen (n.f.) goch = 'red plum'

    caci (n.m.) = 'kaki' (fruit). (We don't do <k> anymore).

    And cangarŵ (n.m.) for 'kangaroo'.
     
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    symposium

    Senior Member
    Italian - Italy
    I've heard sometimes on tv people saying "caco"; here is considered weird, no one would name the fruit "caco"
    Here I've always heard and said "caco"; until I read this thread I even thought it was an Italian word ("caco" because it's as soft as... :eek: ).
    The Latin and Romance languages disliked the the letter "K". Why? Because it is a Greek letter?
    That might be an interesting question. First of all, one has to see how common the letter K was in written Latin: if its use was not very widespread it doesn't come as a surprise that it just fell out of use in most Romance languages. Secondly, I suppose it was a matter of intelligibility: maybe written K was too easily mistakable for other letters (perhaps Rs or Hs) so they decided to discart it altogether in favour of longer yet clearer ways to indicate the same sound ("qui/que" in Spanish and French, "chi/che" in Italian). There are no words with Ks in modern Spanish, French or Italian apart from foreign words that have been adopted into those languages.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    In Russian it's хурма (khurmá) [xʊr'ma], a loanword from Turkic languages (the fruit doesn't grow in Central Russia, obviously, being cultivated only in the southernmost regions of the modern day Russia).
     

    Welsh_Sion

    Senior Member
    Welsh - Northern
    Here I've always heard and said "caco"; until I read this thread I even thought it was an Italian word ("caco" because it's as soft as... :eek: ).

    That might be an interesting question. First of all, one has to see how common the letter K was in written Latin: if its use was not very widespread it doesn't come as a surprise that it just fell out of use in most Romance languages. Secondly, I suppose it was a matter of intelligibility: maybe written K was too easily mistakable for other letters (perhaps Rs or Hs) so they decided to discart it altogether in favour of longer yet clearer ways to indicate the same sound ("qui/que" in Spanish and French, "chi/che" in Italian). There are no words with Ks in modern Spanish, French or Italian apart from foreign words that have been adopted into those languages.
    I can't speak for the history of the Romance languages, but I'll add this piece as an aside to this interesting question.

    The Welsh New Testament was translated in 1567, and the London printers (Wales had been annexed by the Kingdom of England in the previous generation) did not have enough <k>'s to satisfy the needs of the Welsh. So, the translator, William Salesbury, banished <k> from our alphabet and replaced it with <c> in all cases. To this day, <c> always has the sound of /k/ in Welsh words.

    The only possibilities of having <k> in Welsh would be in personal names appropriated from other places, e.g. 'Keith', 'Kaunda' or in the prefix 'kilo-', where even then 'cilo-' could be used. In spelling a word with this letter in it, we would say 'ce' /ke:/. So, 'Kenneth' would be 'ce: e: dʊi en e: eθ'.
     

    nimak

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    In Macedonian it is called јапонско јаболко (jáponsko jábolko) ['japɔnskɔ 'jabɔɫkɔ] lit. "Japanese apple". The term каки (káki) ['kaki] is also known.

    p.s. Like in some other languages, in Macedonian children's language каки (káki) ['kaki], кака sg. means: "poop", "dirt".
     
    Yes, there obviously was some sort of confusion about exotic southern fruits. :) In Russian the word for the date fruit is "финик" (fínik), from Byzantine Greek.
    Ah, from the Byzantine «φοινικοβάλανος» phoi̯nikobálanos (fem.) --> nut of the palm tree (=«φοῖνιξ» (masc.), palm tree + «βάλανος», acorn, nut in general). It hasn't survived at all in MoGr, we prefer the Turkish word.
     

    Nanon

    Senior Member
    français (France)
    In French, this fruit is also called kaki.
    [...]
    and "persimmon" comes from Algonquian language meaning "dry fruit".
    There is another, seldom used French name: plaquemine, from the Algonquin piakimin (or piakimina - the local name for Diospyros virginiana according to the French Wikipedia).
    Plaqueminier is the name of the tree, but some speakers use kaki for the tree as well as for the fruit.
    The word I am familiar with in Portuguese is caqui (stress on the last syllable).
    In European Portuguese, dióspiro is used.
     

    Jennifer Weiss

    Senior Member
    Russian
    In Russian it's хурма (khurmá) [xʊr'ma], a loanword from Turkic languages (the fruit doesn't grow in Central Russia, obviously, being cultivated only in the southernmost regions of the modern day Russia).
    Hm... even though I agree with "hurma" sounds like a Turkic word, "hurma" means "date" in Turkish... I think "persimmon" is "trabzon hurması" or "japon hurması" (literally "Japanese date") in Turkish. Interesting.
     

    Delvo

    Senior Member
    American English
    Off topic question:
    The Latin and Romance languages disliked the the letter "K". Why? Because it is a Greek letter?
    That might be an interesting question. First of all, one has to see how common the letter K was in written Latin: if its use was not very widespread it doesn't come as a surprise that it just fell out of use in most Romance languages.
    All Roman letters were Greek letters, so that's not it.

    But the Romans didn't get the alphabet straight from the Greeks. Rome and the area around it were under Etruscan rule at the time, and the Greeks were primarily dealing with Etruscans, so the alphabet was used by Etruscans for a while before the Romans got it. And the Etruscan language appears to have lacked a distinction between voiced and unvoiced plosives. An Etruscan word with a T could also sometimes appear with a D, one with a P could also sometimes appear with a B, and one with a K could also sometimes appear with the letter that represented the sound we now associate with G, although it looked like a C. But instead of randomly switching back & forth indefinitely, they started arbitrarily favoring one letter over the other in each pair, so D, B, and K started getting less & less common (with T being used for both "t" and "d", P being used for both "p" and "b", and C being used for both "k" and "g"), and would probably have disappeared if the Romans hadn't started writing and preserved them. By that time, K had simply gotten farther along in that process of fading away than D or B had, so it was so rare that the Romans hardly thought of it as a letter at all anymore and weren't clear on how it was supposed to be different from C, which had ended up representing both its own original sound "g" and its counterpart "k" which the Etruscans considered the same sound. Eventually, the Romans decided that having one letter for both "g" and "k" was a bad plan, so they started marking it slightly differently depending on which of its two sounds was intended, thus creating G. But the new symbol got the letter's original sound and the old symbol was assigned a new sound, so C went from "g" to both "g" and "k" to just "k". (As a result, for any words that only appeared before then, like the name "Caius", we don't know the original pronunciation, which is why it sometimes gets rendered as "Gaius".)

    There was an intermediate stage in which, regardless of whether the K/C/Q sound was voiced or not, there might have been some consistency for a while in the use of K before A, C before E and I and consonants, and Q before O and U (because it came from another Greek letter representing "kʷʰ" back when Greek still had that sound before it shifted to ""). This was probably based on the vowels in the letters' names: Kappa, Gimel, and Koppa/Qoppa. But, even before the invention of G, C started gradually taking over from K and Q before A and O, which drove K almost completely out of business, left behind the unique persistent digraph QU, and made C the natural choice as the one to make G out of.

    K barely managed to hang on in Latin in just a few rare words with stubborn old spellings lingering from a previous era, and, since they mostly perceived it as a foreign letter, for quoting Greek words that used Kappa. It has that in common with Y, which was used for quoting Greek words containing the letter Upsilon.

    Any other sounds you might think of for G and C other than "g" and "k", such as the sounds that English also spells with J, CH, or S, are the results of palatalization in later languages.

    * * * * *

    Back to the original topic about names for a plant, here's the persimmon page on a website that's full of various languages' words for a bunch of different kinds of plants:

    M.M.P.N.D. - Sorting Diospyros names
     
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    Cowrie

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Japanese: 柿/カキ/かき [kaki] (multiply cross-posted)

    I could not find the definite, substantiated etymology of the name, but all the candidates I found were benign (such as red, shine, and solid).

    Trivia: October 26 is Kaki Day in Japan. (I think most Japanese people are unaware, though.)

    Happy Kaki Day!
     
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