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Armenian čandari ‘plane tree’

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image of Iran and the Caucasus

The Armenian word čandar-i appears in two basic meanings: ‘plane tree’ and ‘poplar, aspen’. It is attested in a Commentary on Genesis hesitantly attributed to Eɫišē. The other two attestations of the word come from authors originating from eastern parts of Armenia: Kirakos Ganjakec‘i (13th century) and Zak‘aria Sarkawag K‘anak‘eṙc‘i (17th century). Particularly important is the testimony from Chapter 21 of Ganjakec‘i who mentions čandari, the local equivalent of sawsi ‘plane tree’. The Iranian origin of čandar-i is obvious, though the etymological details are unclear. Łarabaɫ tənǰərí/ɛ́, which refers to both ‘plane tree’ and ‘poplar’ and is found in a late mediaeval Armenian dictionary, Baṙgirk‘ hayoc‘, derives from čandari through metathesis: čandari > *čəndərí > tənǰərí/ɛ́. The combined evidence from Ganjakec‘i, Baṙgirk‘ hayoc‘ and the Łarabaɫ dialect testifies to the existence and unbroken development of the word in the territory of Łarabaɫ and surroundings and shows that the metathesis (čandari > tənǰərí/ɛ́) took place at some stage between the 13th and 16-17th centuries.


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