Plants and Religion  Religious Motivations in Naming of Plant in Albania

Anyla Saraçi, Ani Bajrami, Robert Damo


Ethnobiologists have emphasized the importance of plant local names as repositories of traditional knowledge to understand how communities recognize and use plants known to them, while linguists and anthropologists have illustrated them with examples of the semantic motivation of plant names in the language of these communities. The paper aims to analyse the naming patterns of some Albanian plants as a reflection of the religious world in the language image of the world. The analysis of the names of plants within this special field that expresses the specific national worldview shows how notions related to religion can serve as a tool for fixing information about the various properties of plants in the Albanian culture. Analysing some components of the culture and traditional knowledge used in relation to plant naming, perceptions and categorization of the religious world in plant names were investigated. In order to categorize their meaning in the relevant lexical field, a vast corpus of plants with religious attributes in their names were selected. The plant names were consulted from several thematic and explanatory dictionaries and analysed according to the categories of the Deity, Virgin Mary, Jessus Christ and the Saints (Holy Days) in Albanian language. Based on the concept that the image of the world is a picture of everything that exists as an integral and multifaceted world structured and in the connections of its parts, reflected in the language with linguistic names that come from centuries of experience, the names of plants give us a view into community's way of life. Religion has always been an important part of people identity within a certain culture and it is expressed or mirrored in the names of plants due to similarities or usage.



ethnobotany, plant names, language, religious contents, semantic motivations

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