Thursday, May 8, 2014

What's the Armenian word for "Brown Rice"? Nobody seems to know exactly.

Brown Rice (image from Wikipedia)

When I posted a recipe for ‘Lentil and Brown Rice Salad with Cumin Dressing’, a comment appeared asking for the Armenian translation of ‘brown rice’. Because my ability to speak-read-understand Armenian is limited, I started to seek an answer from my Armenian community.

Here’s what transpired:

1. From the Internet: “Brown rice” in Armenian: շագանակագույն բրինձ. –OR- shaganakaguyn brindz.

2. Sonia Tashjian from Yerevan suggested this information and translation for “Brown rice”:
 “In Armenia, there hasn't been the culture of rice as widely as in the East. In the region of Marash there had been, & in the fields of Ararat, before Soviet Union. Because of the fear of malaria, the Soviets had dried the fields of rice in Armenia.
So if there is no culture of brown rice & the only rice known by the Armenians was white rice, how we could we have synonym for brown rice? or black rice? or wild rice? I think your reader (might be) from Armenia. It's better if your reader could visit a market & find whatever he/she searches.
Perhaps, brown rice is- srjakuyn rice, coffee colour.”

3. Neighbor Marian Amiraian and my Aunt Arpie suggested: Sourjakouyn prindz, ‘the color of coffee’ rice. Both stated that they never heard of brown rice being used in any Armenian recipes, nor had they ever heard an Armenian word for it. 

4. Translation suggested by Ara Kassabian:
“Regarding brown rice, I honestly do not know. The word for whole wheat bread is "sev hats" (black bread), so maybe brown rice is "sev brintz" (or "sev prints", in Western Armenian pronunciation). Or possibly "luman prints" (whole rice). I don't think I've ever thought about this before, since I don't really like brown rice and I never saw it sold in Armenia or in the Armenian market... I suppose you can always ask for "sev prints" and, when you get a blank look, explain that it is rice that has not been peeled (chegeghvuvadz prints).”

5. And finally, thoughts about this topic from CK Garabed, the master of Armenian words:
If there is (a word for brown rice in Armenian), I'm not aware of it.
I checked a couple of my cookbooks - Baboian, Uvezian, and found nothing.”
CK summed it up best with the following statement:
“Unless there is an Armenian recipe that calls for brown rice, there's no point to having a word for it.”

There it is, folks. If you know of an actual Armenian translation for “brown rice”, we’d love to hear from you.

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