Wednesday, 10 December 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.

1 comment :

Stan said...

Hello, and thank you for this. Because of my name I have sometimes wondered what the geographical suffix -stan meant, and whence it came, but I never thought to investigate further. Now I don't have to.

Also, the Word Verification step asks me to enter "stantre". It's not the first time I've idly speculated on what kind of A.I. lies behind it!