Reflections of Christianity in Popular Names of Plants in Albanian and Romanian Languages


Author: Anyla Saraçi (Fan S. Noli’ University of Korce, Albania)
Daniela-Carmen Stoica (Fan S. Noli’ University of Korce, Albania)
Robert Damo (Fan S. Noli’ University of Korce, Albania)
Speaker: Daniela-Carmen Stoica
Topic: Anthropological Linguistics
COMELA 2022 General Session


Abstract

Southeast Europe is one of the regions in which ethno-botanical studies have been highly developed. The great linguistic and cultural diversity of this relatively small territory, the existence of an ancestral popular knowledge regarding the use of plants, as well as the nowadays globalization of the world economy, make it possible for this region to still provide researchers with important sources of investigation. The popular names of plants in the culture of each country reflect their close connection to elements of the lifestyle, to the environment, their use in everyday life. Meanwhile the popular way of naming plants is closely related to the mentality, religious beliefs and superstitions of a certain linguistic community. A considerable number of plant-derived or compound plant names are based on words that reflect realities of Christian religious life, relating to God, Christ, the Virgin, and the saints, rites, ceremonies, or clergy. Depending on the appearance, characteristics and use of plants, their names reflect through metaphor and metonymy the beliefs and impact of these beliefs on the mentality, culture and civilization of the community. Our paper is based on comparing a corpus of popular plant names collected during our field research, as well as included in botanical and ethno-botanical dictionaries in Albanian and Romanian, to build a panorama of linguistic and cultural similarities and differences in the popular mentality of these Albanian and Romanian ethno-cultural communities. From this perspective, one can discover the influence of the Christian faith on the Albanian and Romanian population, the importance that Christian spirituality and civilization have had on the collective Albanian and Romanian imagination.

Keywords: Religion, plant names, comparative approach, culture, Romanian, Albanian