Are the Old Slavonic interrogative particle "еда (ʲeda)" and verb "быти (byti)" to be related in any way?

For example, on the basis of:

  1. existence the following present forms of the verb:

есмь (ʲesm'), еси (ʲesi), есть (ʲest')

  1. existence the Old Slavonic alternating consonants rule д->с (d->s):

ядь -> ясти;
водити вести;
бродити брести

  1. constructing an interrogative sentence by analogy with european languages (putting on an auxiliary verb at the beginning of a sentences):

Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses?
Est-ce seulement par Moïse que l'Éternel parle?
Еда ли моисию единому глагола господь?

  1. existence the conjugation parrallel with the verb "ясти"

Noun ядь; verb ясти
я ямъ ты яси мы ямы вы ясте он ясть

Noun еда? (in the Old Slavonic, second meaning); verb быти
я есмь ты еси мы есмы вы есте он есть

  • It seems obvious, yes, but compare da "yes". The homophone jeda "to eat, meal" and jesti "to eat; am, have" is curious. Affarmitive jesti has been compared as loanword of En. yes? The Proto Indo European roots for these senses are reconstructed differently: *h1es- (whence was, is, etc.) and *bhew- (to be) versus *h1ed- (to eat, Ger. Essen, etc). I'm not sure that's certain and straight forward. Perhaps compare Ger. question particle bitte? "please", presentive bitte, da "voila, there you go", PIE *gʷʰedʰ- "ask, pray"; En. bid PIE *bʰewdʰ-; Rom. da "give" *deh3
    – vectory
    Feb 16, 2019 at 17:46
  • also dʰeh₁- (“to put”) - *to do and the like.
    – vectory
    Feb 16, 2019 at 17:55
  • En. justice, judicial show the same correspondance, so I'm sure that's not limited to slavonic.
    – vectory
    Feb 16, 2019 at 17:59
  • Affirmative jesti? Есть (ʲesť) is: The Russian form of the Old Slavonic verb ясти (jasti); The Russian present form of the verb "быти" ("to be") for all pronouns; The Old Slavonic present form of the verb "быти" ("to be") for third-person singular. Еда ʲeda is: the Russian noun (En. meal) Old Slavonic interrogative particle You may have a look at vasmer.lexicography.online/%D0%B5/%D0%B5%D0%B4%D0%B0 You may disregard all that concerns Russian forms! I'll rewrite my post basing on Old Slavonic words only (exclude russian terms). Your latest comment is brilliant.
    – user23897
    Feb 16, 2019 at 19:13
  • 1
    @prostorech: 1) what evidence have you that the /d/ of "budu" is part of the root? Since I know of no reflexes in non-Slavonic languages with a /d/, I doubt this. 2) Analogy can be a useful explanation for unexpected forms. Using it to posit forms which are unrecorded and inconsistent with their cognates is a futile exercise. 3) Even if you succeed in establishing a historical /d/ in the root of 'byti', this will do precisely nothing to establish a /d/ in the root of 'jesti'.
    – Colin Fine
    Feb 17, 2019 at 22:04

1 Answer 1


I will translate my Russian answer as there is a chance that here it is more likely to be discussed.

No, these words are not related.

To begin with, if some forms are included in the same paradigm it does not really mean that they share one root. Быть has a present form есть and this form is suppletive (it is not cognate).

Under these reasons, быть and еда 'particle' are not related. But the next question is if есть 'pres. of быть' and еда 'particle' are cognate. And the answer is no. In еда we probably see the same *ed- as in единый 'single' which is of IE origin (compare Latin ecce < *ed+ce 'yes, look!', NHG etwas 'something, etlich 'some').

Ref. Этимологический словарь русского языка (ЭСРЯ), V. 1, Issue 6, p. 246.

  • Do you consider "ʲe" to be a part of historical root of the following words: егда (когда,тогда, иногда, оногда, овогда), елико (колико, толико), еже (яже,юже,иже), коеждо (каяждо,кыиждо)?
    – user23897
    Feb 18, 2019 at 15:58

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