Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Why didn't I think of that? Why did it only occur to me today while reading languagehat's first post of the year where he slams William Safire for getting it totally wrong again - this time concerning the Persian suffix "-stan" - and adds:

..."home of" isn't exact, but it gives the general idea. ("Place of" would be better; it's from the Indo-European root *stā- 'stand,' and in Persian it's also used in words like registan 'place of sand, desert' and gulistan 'place of roses, rose garden.')

That's when it hit me: Bulbulistan. An 18th century poetic composition in Persian by a Bosnian poet Fawzī al-Mostarī (Bosnian: Fevzi Mostarac, i.e. Fevzi of Mostar, some sources give the name Fevzi Blagajac) modeled after Saʿdī's "Gulistān". One of the manuscripts of Kitāb-i bulbulistān is preserved in the Bašagić Collection of Bosnian islamic manuscripts in Bratislava's University Library.

Now if only I had thought of bulbulistan back in August ... But I didn't and so I went for the same concept ("place of"), but with the Slavic suffix -ovo, like in the names of Bulgarian cities Veliko Tǎrnovo and Gabrovo (whose inhabitants have - undeservedly, no doubt - a reputation for being skinflints). As for Slovak municipalities with names featuring this suffix, it would appear that they have been named after a historical personality:

Bernolákovo - Anton Bernolák
Gabčíkovo - Jozef Gabčík
Golianovo - general Ján Golian (one of the commanders of Slovak National Uprising)
Hurbanovo - Jozef Miloslav Hurban (an ally of Štúr, one of the creators of modern Slovak)
Štúrovo - Ľudovít Štúr

Or the founder:

Trebostovo - a 13th-century nobleman by the name of Treboš.

The only exception is Námestovo, probably derived from námestie = town square, market square, most likely referring to its status as a market town.

Seriously, bulbulistan, what a great name that could have been. Ah well, too late now. At least I'll update the picture.


Languagehat said...

I too mourn it. Bulbulovo is a fine name, but Bulbulistan... well, it has that certain something, does it not? Maybe you'll want a second blog someday...

bulbul said...

Or maybe the time has come to register a domain...

Languagehat said...

The village of Bulbulovo, located in the Domain of Bulbulistan... I like it!

Anonymous said...

In Bashkir this word is "bylbylstan". It occurs, for example, in "Bashkortostan" poem by Bashkir poet Shayekhzada Babich (Шәйехзада Бабич)(1895-1919):
"...Башҡортостан - гөлбостан,
Былбылстан, нурбостан,
Шунда тыуған, шунда үҫкән
Башҡорт атлы арыҫлан."

"...Bashkortostan - garden of flowers,
Place of nightingales, garden of light,
There was born, there grew up
A lion named Bashkir"

Bryce Wesley Merkl said...

Nice comments. Here's a site you might want to check out:

Башҡорт wiki browser

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