Termenul regional românesc huscă ('sare obţinută prin evaporarea apei sărate'), explicat ca vechi germanism

  • Adrian Poruciuc (Author)

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The Regional Romanian Term Huscă ('Salt Obtained by Evaporation of Salt Water') Explained as an Old Germanism

The author of the present article considers that the traditional etymology (Puşcariu’s) according to which Romanian regional huscă comes from a Ukrainian term huska – meaning something like ‘(little) goose’ – is untenable. More credible is, as demonstrated below, an origin of Romanian huscă (and, possibly, of Carpathian-Slavic correspondents) in a very early Germanic *hūska ‘crust (of salt)’, reconstructed on the basis of Engl. husk ‘the dry thin covering of certain fruits or seeds’, which, in its turn, was etymologically explained through Low German hūske ‘little house, core of fruit, sheath’. That Germanic connection is sustained, among other things, by the existence not only of Romanian huscă, but also of two Romanian regional terms (in plural forms), namely huşte ‘fermented wheat bran (used for a traditional sour soup)’ and huşti ‘huts outside a village’, both terms representing regular Romanian developments from an old plural form husce < singular huscă. In conclusion, by whatever way huscă entered early Romanian, it should be included among the terms that indicate the earliest contacts (beginning in the 3rd–2nd centuries BC) between Germanic intruders of a Suebic-Bastarnic type and local (Carpic-Dacian?) populations of the Carpathian area in which natural sources of salt water have been exploited since prehistory.