Is the Russian word "ёлка" related to the English word "yule"? "Yule" is related to Old Norse "jol," which refers to an old pagan feast of midwinter. There could easily be some Norse words surviving in Russian, so it is not too far-fetched. And it isn't hard to imagine the English word "Yule log" referring to a fir wood, as the Russian word does.

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    Reminds me of a movie called "Big Fat Greek Wedding"... There was a guy who always looked for Greek origin in words... – cha Jan 14 '14 at 0:50
  • In other words, you don't know the answer... – Anton Mostiy Jan 16 '14 at 3:57
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    I did not really know the answer until I saw the the one provided by shabunc. However, I saw that you have chosen a word that is not the original word. What I mean is that the original word is "ель". "Ёлка" is derived from it, so it would be more appropriate to try to locate the origins of that word. BTW, why are you so rude? People are trying to help you, I myself was trying to cheer you up. What's wrong with you? Встал не с той ноги что-ли? – cha Jan 16 '14 at 4:56
  • My rudeness was in reaction to perceived rudeness, and of course, inexcusable on my part. The Greek fellow in the film you mentioned was a bit of a joke, at least in his pursuit of Greek origins for English words. Of course, there are many English words of Greek origin, so he wasn't a total idiot (just used a word of Greek origin---I think). Anyway, I suggest doing a "reset." As a newcomer to this forum, I was not aware of the "atmosphere" (did it again) that prevails, so I overreacted. The thing is, perhaps all of us learned something. Начнем по на правой ноге. С Новым годом! – Anton Mostiy Jan 22 '14 at 17:48
  • BTW, I did do research, and I knew about "ель," but it made no difference to my question. If "ель" was related to "Yule," then so would be "ёлка." – Anton Mostiy Jan 22 '14 at 18:01

Original word is "ель" and in all Balto-Slavic languages there exists a word sharing the same original root and used as a term for the conifers. Here's a quote:

церк.-слав. ѥла (греч. ἐλάτη), русск. ель, укр. єль, їль, яль, болг. ела́, сербохорв. jе́лa, словенск. jêl (род. п. jelȋ), др.-чешск. jedla, чешск. jedle ж. «пихта», словацк. jedľa, польск. jodła, в.-луж. jědla, н.-луж. jedła. Первонач., вероятно, древняя индоевр. основа на -о ж. р. Родственно др.-прусск. addle, лит. ẽglė, латышск. egle «ель»

As for "jol", here's another quote:

From Old Norse jól, cognate with Danish, Norwegian, Swedish jul, Icelandic jól, Old English geōl and English Yule, from Proto-Germanic *jehwlą, perhaps from Proto-Indo-European *yekə- (“joke, play”).

As you can see, the answer to your question is "no, these words are not related". Also I want to noticed that both quotes can be found very easily and it is always better to try to google such things before asking questions here.

Just like on any Stack, the attempt to take some actions before producing a question is welcome.

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    How do you know I didn't spend a couple of hours searching the Internet before asking the question? As far as I'm concerned, the question was legitimate, and similar to other questions posted on this forum. But I am not a professional linguist. If I were, I wouldn't have needed to ask for help. Anyway, thanks for the info, and don't worry, I don't think I will be inclined to trouble you further. – Anton Mostiy Jan 16 '14 at 3:54
  • @AntonMostiy please, don't get me wrong and don't be offended. I guess the majority of people here (including me) are not linguists. The question is 100% legitimate, nobody down votes it or trying to delete it. All I'm trying to say is that (once again, sorry for misunderstanding) that question that show an attempt of research is a priori more valuable with than a question without a trace of such research. – shabunc Jan 16 '14 at 12:09
  • Thanks for the clarifications. The truth is, I realized that my question was a little "different," but the further truth is that it bothers me every year about this time, when Russians mention the ель. So, I am glad I got an answer to it. Nevertheless, it will probably bother me again next year when I hear "Yule" and "ель" mentioned. I have to admit I was hoping to find a connection, in order to confound my Russian friends, some of whom insist there is no connection between English "goose" and Russian "гусь." Their argument is that the Russian word ends in a soft sign, and the English doesn't. – Anton Mostiy Jan 22 '14 at 17:56
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    @AntonMostiy your Russian friends are wrong by the way - гусь and goose are indeed connected - the argument about soft sign is invalid and counter-linguistical))) – shabunc Jan 23 '14 at 7:37
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    Of course my Russian friends are wrong about goose and гусь. But if you know Russians, you know that it was impossible for me to convince them. But the larger point is that it is related to a Germanic word. Knowing that made it seem more possible to me that Yule and ель might be related. In fact, I still wonder if there might not be a connection in Proto-Indo-European (which is where the goose-trail leads, after all). I am like a bulldog, it is hard for me to let go of something once I get hold of it. So I will likely revisit this question. Perhaps soon. – Anton Mostiy Jan 23 '14 at 19:11

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