Wednesday, December 10, 2008
thali and -stan
A thali is a dish served on a flat plate. It's from Hindi थाली thālī "flat metal plate", which is related to Sanskrit sthālā "a vessel, plate" from Proto-Indo-European *steh₂- "to stand".
Also from *steh₂- is Persian -stān "place where anything abounds" and Sanskrit sthāna "place". This forms the suffix in place names like Afghanistan, Hindustan, and Rajasthan.
In an interesting vegetable metaphor twist, thālī is found in the Hindi expression थाली का बैंगन thālī kā baiṃgan "eggplant on a tray", figuratively used to mean "one whose opinions follow his self-interest". The word for eggplant, baiṃgan, is related to aubergine.