I have been studying these books with the help of Google Translate. In the third volume on page 176, the authors seem to derive the Persian درنا (crane) from an Iranian root. This is obviously incorrect since درنا is Turkic. This made me question the book's accuracy since I've noticed other mistakes as well. This might be me understanding it wrong since I do not speak Russian. I'd appreciate your opinions on this. Thanks.


1 Answer 1


In the third volume on page 176 where they mention Persian درنا (durnā) “crane”, they do so with a reference to [Аб. ИЭСОЯ IV, 304] which is an abbreviation for Историко-этимологический словарь осетинского языка (Historico-Etymological Dictionary of the Ossetian Language), 1989, by Абаев В.И. (Abayev V. I.), vol. IV, p. 304, and they say the detailed description is there:

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The Historico-Etymological Dictionary of the Ossetian Language, vol. IV, p. 304 has an entry for zærnyg, zyrnæg “crane” which says this word is of the inherited Indo-European lexicon (and thus a cognate of English “crane”), from the IE root *ger/ǵar “to cry out”, and that Proto-Iranian z corresponds to Persian d, thus Proto-Iranian *zṛna- would give Persian *dṛna-, from which probably comes Modern Persian durnā. If this is the case, then Turkic turna “crane” should be considered a borrowing from Persian and not the other way round as it is usually treated:

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As you can see, actually there's no mistake, one dictionary refers to another dictionary (which is not a dictionary of Persian) and which explains the point from different sides and doesn't make any categorical statements, they do use probably (возможно) and if this is the case (в этом случае).

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    Thank you so much for your answer. This reveals the way I'm reading it is flawed even though I'm trying my best important details are left out and I will be more careful with the adverbs and references. But درنا exists in Yakut in the form of туруйа. How can a Turkic word that occurs in Siberian be a loan from Persian? This made me question it the most.
    – KamranNef
    Apr 22 at 15:21
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    @KamranNef, "How can a Turkic word that occurs in Siberian be a loan from Persian?" — We can ask a very similar question: "How can a Persian word be a loanword from Turkic, given the number of cognates in Iranian and other IE languages?". Apr 22 at 16:32
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    @KamranNef - It could happen in many different ways, e.g. like this: the OLD Turkic had the root tur- for “crane” which in the East gave Yakut туруйа (turuya) and Tuvan дуруяа (duruyā), and in the West after the contact with Iranian languages and namely Persian the Turkic root got contaminated with the Persian durnā, which gave Oghuz turna/durna.
    – Yellow Sky
    Apr 22 at 17:47
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    @KamranNef, the answer is simple: we (as a scientific community) don't know at the moment (unless there is a more modern explanation, of which I'm not aware). Yellow Sky has suggested one possible explanation, there might be others, but it's not like comparative linguistics is completely solved, even for the relatively well studied languages like Turkic and IE. Apr 22 at 18:09
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    @KamranNef - OK, but what book is "پرندگان ایران" (Birds of Iran)? Who's the author? When was it published? As a source for that statement the Persian Wikipedia refers to the book "فرهنگ نام‌های محلی پرندگان ایران" (Dictionary of Local Names of Iranian Birds, 2021) which is not available, as is the case with many modern books from Iran.
    – Yellow Sky
    Apr 22 at 18:52

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