Why "черника", "брусника", "голубика", "костяника", "клубника" and "земляника" all finish on "-ика" or even "-ника"?

  • downvoted since it's a very strange thing to ask to be honest.
    – shabunc
    Oct 3 '20 at 12:45
  • 2
    Because langualge is mostly logical and likes to give similar names to similar things? Oct 3 '20 at 16:39
  • From the Proto-Indo-European suffix -ik- (compare Veronica, America, swastika, Mathematica etc)
    – Anixx
    Oct 9 '20 at 16:23

The suffix -ик- is fairly common amongst Slavic languages. Wiktionary has a great explanation for its usage in Proto-Slavic and its descendants: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Reconstruction:Proto-Slavic/-ica

Proto-Slavic is a reconstructed language, so keep that in mind.

The main working theory among linguists is that the names of berries satisfy the meaning 4: carrier of a property. As such черника is a berry that is black (черный) while земляника is a berry that grows close to the ground (земля). Голубика is blue (голубой), and I presume that костяника has a large stone inside (I have no idea—I've never eaten it :)).


Here's what happened - you've chosen a subset of berries to prove some hypothesis which actually doesn't hold true if you care to have a bigger set. True, -ника is very productive when it comes to berries, however here's (incomplete) list of other berries:

  • облепиха
  • черёмуха
  • малина
  • черноплодка
  • вишня
  • черешня
  • чёрная и красная смородина
  • клюква
  • морошка
  • рябина
  • крыжовник

Those are, of course, berries in a non-scientific sense (as far as I remember "малина" strictly speaking is not a berry, just like as "земляника" by the way) - but people percept them as such.

Now imagine someone coming up with a question why name of the berries end with "-ка" or "-ха" (or, "-ня", whatever) in Russian.

  • 1
    But the question wasn't "why all berries end like that"; rather: why so many do. There must be something typical and productive about -ика, and this can have a valid answer.
    – Zeus
    Oct 5 '20 at 2:17
  • Also, арония, кизил...
    – Anixx
    Oct 9 '20 at 16:09

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