2015. № 1 (4), 59-69

Vinodradov Russian Language Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Moscow State University


The paper observes some words for waterfowls (aquatic birds) occurring exclusively in South Slavic languages: пат, патка, пате, патица 'duck, goose' and some of their derivatives. The root in these words is generally attributed to common Slavic pъt- 'bird', but the origin of the vowel timbre (a instead of ъ) is unclear. Furthermore, this root could also be found in Eastern and rarely Western Slavic names for another bird 'куропатка' ('Perdix'). Here all of the attempts for explaining the root vowel are summarized; also I propose a new convergence with the turkish root pat-/pač-, which could have had strong influence on the root vowel in a number of derivatives in Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian and Croatian.