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Why the World Only Has Two Words For Tea

An nameless reader quotes a file from Quartz: With a couple of minor exceptions, there are in point of fact only two ways to say “tea” in the world. One is like the English time period — te in Spanish and tee in Afrikaans are two examples. The different is a few variation of cha, like chay in Hindi. Both variations come from China. How they unfold round the international gives a transparent image of the way globalization labored earlier than “globalization” was once a time period any one used. The phrases that sound like “cha” unfold throughout land, alongside the Silk Road. The “tea”-like phrasings unfold over water, by means of Dutch buyers bringing the novel leaves again to Europe.

The time period cha is “Sinitic,” that means it’s common to many kinds of Chinese. It started in China and made its means via central Asia, in the end changing into “chay” in Persian. That is certainly because of the industry routes of the Silk Road, alongside which, in keeping with a recent discovery, tea was once traded over 2,000 years in the past. This shape unfold past Persia, changing into chay in Urdu, shay in Arabic, and chay in Russian, amongst others. It even it made its solution to sub-Saharan Africa, the place it was chai in Swahili. The Japanese and Korean phrases for tea also are in response to the Chinese cha, regardless that the ones languages most probably followed the phrase even earlier than its westward unfold into Persian. But that does not account for “tea.” The te shape utilized in coastal-Chinese languages unfold to Europe by the use of the Dutch, who was the number one buyers of tea between Europe and Asia in the 17th century, as explained in the World Atlas of Language Structures. The major Dutch ports in east Asia had been in Fujian and Taiwan, each puts the place other folks used the te pronunciation. The Dutch East India Company’s expansive tea importation into Europe gave us the French the, the German Tee, and the English tea.

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