The names of the trees of Russia, each of us knows from childhood. We do not think about what they mean, why they sound like that, and not otherwise. Just like the words sun, sky, earth or birds. All these words are not conceptual for us, for example, such as a locomotive or an airplane. Their meaning is hidden from our mind, but they create the visual and semantic sphere of our being. If you ask yourself what the names of trees mean and whether they are similar in different languages, and start your little research, then interesting facts are revealed. Consider the above positions on the example of the three most typical representatives of the Russian flora: birch, oak and willow. These deciduous trees, whose names themselves represent conceptual components for every native speaker of the Russian language: white, strong and weeping - respectively.
The name of the birch tree in modern Russian came from Old Russian. And then its roots can be traced - in Old Slavonic, Common Slavic and Indo-European. Even the English Birch is somewhat alliteratively consonant with the Russian word. At the level of the Old Slavonic language, birch ("brz'n") has the same meaning as the month that is now called April.At the level of the Indo-European - the root bhereg- is interpreted as white, pure or light. Thus, it becomes clear that the birch got its name as a tree with a light, whitening trunk. At first glance, the disclosure of the conceptual series gave us very simple conclusions, even obvious ones, but now the word "birch" is becoming more understandable.
All attempts by linguists to decompose the name of this tree into some components
ended in rather ambiguous conclusions. For example, by pulling the word "oak" to the Greek demo (to build), the translation was obtained - "building tree". Pretty questionable result. But identifying the Slavs as a people who used mystical practices, and in particular their taboo experience, the understanding of this word becomes more transparent. The oak, like the bear, was for the ancestors of the Russians something more than rulers or masters. The direct word was rarely used. Instead of "ber" they said "man in charge of honey", that is, a bear. Instead of "perk" they said "a tree with a hollow", that is, an oak. Thus, it turns out that this is the tree of Perun, one of the main gods of the Slavic pantheon.
Will, willow, willow, willow… Many people think that these are the names of different trees. This is not true. In fact, they are the same plant. But only one name - willow - entered all Slavic languages. If we refer to the Indo-European proto-language, it means "reddish wood". But, turning to the mythology of the Slavs, you canfind a more romantic, and perhaps more accurate, understanding of the name. "Willow" - "Vila" - "Samovila" - these are magical creatures who could sing beautifully. By the way, the same perspective can be traced in English: Willow is the name of a tree and Veelae are fabulous girls who can sing charmingly. Of course, a rather approximate meaning, far from the methods of modern science, but what a romantic…
The names of trees, like many other words of the Russian language, are a journey into the history of our ancestors - the Slavs. Into their language secret. Later, there were many transformations of the Russian language. Cyril and Methodius threw out a lot of letters, in their opinion, superfluous. German scientists in the era of Catherine II structured the language in the manner of European ones. The Bolsheviks removed the last mysterious signs. Modern Americanized Russian makes you forget the last secrets. But it is possible to reveal the secrets simply by listening to the sounds and analyzing the meaning of ordinary Russian words.