They Look Like Two Peases in a Pod
The original singular for the word "pea" was "pease" (Middle English plural: "pesen"). "Pease" was used as both singular and collective, just like words for grains (wheat, corn, barley) or animals (sheep, deer, swine, buffalo, fish, trout, etc.). The sound on the end was reanalyzed as a plural 's' marker and, at the end of the 17th Century, people started talking about one "pea". This reinterpretation or rather misinterpretation of the division between words is called metanalysis, and often yields word forms that, by common use, eventually get incorporated into languages as the norm or standard. We have already seen another metanalysis example in the previous post on "norange" (orange) and still have a few more to discuss in the future.
"Pea", came from Middle English "pease", which in turn came from Old English "pise" (West Saxon), from Late Latin "pisa", plural of "pisum", from Greek "pison", perhaps ultimately of Thracian or Phrygian origin.
Here are some "international" peases:
bizele (Albanian); pèsols (Catalan); pizoj (Esperanto); μπιζέλια [bizelia] (Greek); piseanna (Irish); piselli (Italian); pois (French); pwa (Haitian Creole); bezelye (Turkish); pys (Welsh)
Posted September 5, 2013
Filed Under: Blog