Armenian Language Corner


There are words that sound the same and mean the same, but do not come from the same place.

The primitive meaning of the English word “core” is related to the inner part of a fruit, like an apple or a pear. The origin is unknown, even though the most probable source is Old French cor or coeur (“core of fruit”) which literally means “heart”—it has the same double meaning in modern French—and was derived from Latin cor “heart,” from which we also have the English word “concord.” From Latin we go down all the way to the Indo-European mother language, where the root *kerd meant “heart.”

An Armenian reader might associate “core” with the Armenian word կորիզ/goriz, which sounded coriz in Classical Armenian and today in Eastern Armenian, especially since this word means… “core.” But if you think that Proto-Indo-European *kerd was also the root for coriz, you are not right, because the Armenian word derived from that root is… սիրտ (sird) “heart.”

However, appearances may be deceiving, and this is another case that proves the rule. The origin of goriz is unknown, even though a German linguist, Evald Liden, suggested that it also came from another Indo-European root, *geu (“to bend”), with the addition of the suffix *-r. However, Hrachia Adjarian considered it dubious, and he just collected several examples from Armenian dialects, showing that the original form of the word was կորինձ (gorintz), which later evolved to goriz.

Incidentally, goriz is also used with the meaning of “nucleus,” which is also the core portion of an atom, and this why a nuclear plant is called կորիզային կայան (gorizayin gayan) and a nuclear weapon, կորիզային զէնք (gorizayin zenk).

Therefore, this is how two words coming from totally different places ended up meaning the same and sounding the same.