378 Pages
    by CRC Press

    378 Pages
    by CRC Press

    Lexicon of Pulse Crops integrates botanical and linguistic data to analyze and interpret the grain legume significance from the earliest archaeological and written records until the present day. Aimed at both agronomic and linguistic research communities, this book presents a database containing 9,500 common names in more than 900 languages and dialects of all ethnolinguistic families, denoting more than 1,100 botanical taxa of 14 selected pulse crop genera and species.

    The book begins with overviews of the world’s economically most important grain legume crops and their uncultivated relatives, as well as the world’s language families with their inner structure, including both extinct and living members.  The main section of the text presents 14 specialized book chapters covering Arachis, Cajanus, Cicer, Ervum, Faba, Glycine, Lablab, Lathyrus, Lens, Lupinus, Phaseolus, Pisum, Vicia, and Vigna. They provide the reader with extensive lists of the botanically accepted species and subtaxa and surveys lexicological abundance in all world’s ethnolinguistic families, comprising extinct and living as well as natural and constructed languages, while the vernacular names for the most significant taxa are presented in comprehensive tables.  Each of these chapters also presents the existing etymologies and novel approaches to deciphering the origins of common names, accompanied by one original color plate depicting possible root evolutions in the form of corresponding pulse crop plants.   

    1. World’s Pulses

    2. World’s Languages

    3. Arachis L.

    4. Cajanus Adans.

    5. Cicer L.

    6. Ervum L.

    7. Faba Mill.

    8. Glycine Willd.

    9. Lablab Adans.

    10. Lathyrus L.

    11. Lens Mill.

    12. Lupinus L.

    13. Phaseolus L.

    14. Pisum L.

    15. Vicia L.

    16. Vigna Savi


    Aleksandar Mikić, PhD, born in Pančevo, Serbia, in 1974, is Research Associate and annual legume breeder at the Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops in Novi Sad, Serbia. His fields of interest encompass conventional and molecular genetics, genetic resources, breeding, agronomy, agroecology, and crop history of annual legumes. Dr. Mikić co-authored more than 350 journal papers, about 120 international conference papers, over 10 book chapters, and more than 30 legume cultivars. He is also one of the founding members of the International Legume Society (2012), among the creators of the UN FAO 10-Year Research Strategy For Pulse Crops (2016) and is a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution (since 2018).

    "This book will appeal to biologists, ecologists, horticulturalists, and literature majors, in addition to humanists and those in religious studies, with its positive messages for the world. The book also provides interesting descriptions of the domestication history of pulse crops in diverse regions of the world and how the seeds came to be used in culinary traditions."

    - Professor Tom Warkentin, Legume Science 1, 2019

    "(...) "Lentil", for instance, is given in 187 languages and dialects, some of which offer more than one name. What does this demonstrate? That this and other crops have travelled a long, long way from their native range, and that there’s a wealth of stories here, if we care to look deeper. Stories about how people found, by trial and error, what seeds could be eaten and what couldn’t; and how they harvested them, used them, took them to new lands, and shared them with others. All this must have taken years of patient research and cataloguing by someone as familiar with pulse agronomy as he is obviously interested in lexicology and etymology. This book is useful for the agronomist, enlightening for the linguist, and fascinating for the curious. The author has also drawn several family trees (or rather, pulse plants) illustrating the relationship between different plant names and their linguistic roots. (...)"

    - Howard Huws, BSc, Google Books, November 2018

    "(...) Furthermore, the author in each chapter elaborated the possible origins and evolution of pulse crops common names within certain language groups. Etymological explanations are accompanied by colour illustrations of the corresponding plant, which at the same time represents a symbolic dendrogram, that demonstrates possible evolution of vernacular names and the links between different languages, dialects or speeches. What may be of particular interest for the readers are the common names in Serbian dialects, ranging from Dalmatia to Gallipoli. There are also vernacular names for endemic edible legumes, like Vigna lanceolata in more than 80 dying Australian Aboriginal languages, as well as more than 400 common names for pea, including many in numerous Dutch and Italian dialects, what witnesses the significance one pulse crop has for a certain population. The publication represents a valuable source of information for both linguistic and agronomic researchers."

    - Professor Dr. Branko Ćupina, Ratarstvo i povrtarstvo / Field and Vegetable Crops Research, 55, 2018)

    "The content, i.e. 9500 common names in more than 900 languages and dialects denoting more than 1100 taxa belonging to 14 selected genera is simply a mine of information. It must cause an interest of agrobiologic as well as linguistic communities. Working on legume genetics and breeding I did not realize that it is possible to gather and fuse so much information on plant related disciplines. Congratulations to the Author and the Editor. Thank you on behalf of the legume community."

    - W. K. Swiecicki, Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, November 2018

    Before us is a truly uncommon work presenting grain legumes not in an everyday sense. Having been dealing primarily with genetic resources, genetics and breeding of grain legumes and due to his own high sensibility, the author felt that the ordinary names denoting pea, bean, soybean or lentil do not just simply designate species, but also represent a possible history of their origin, domestication, paths of distribution and significance they have for certain peoples. My personal impression is that the author, by this work and in one most unaccustomed manner, have expressed the gratitude of our human race to grain legumes, which have been feeding us and are feeding us throughout the entire development and existence of ours.

    - Dr. Vojka Babić, SELEKCIJA I SEMENARSTVO, Vol. XXIV, 2018


    The variety of the kingdom of plants is expressed by the language in the form of their names. Studying popular names in the languages of diverse peoples represents a linguistic component of ethnobotany. They keep the information about the morphological traits of plants, their characteristics, uses, roles and symbolism, about the places and conditions of their growing, as well as about their meaning in sociocultural and ethnic history. This book is a result of the author’s long-term research on the issues of origin and diversity of popular names of the main grain legumes taxa in various world’s languages. It comprises botanical and linguistic data about pulses from early archaeological and written records up to modern times. The book is useful for all those who are interested in taxonomy, genesis, distribution and domestication of these crops.

    Dr. Janna Akopian, Legume and Groat Crops, Vol. 2019/2

    Being a specialist in genetic resources, genetics and breeding of grain legumes, Aleksandar has started to deal with ethnolinguistics long ago. Linguistic analysis is one of the methods of studying plant biodiversity: it enables comprehending the history of domesticated plants, finding the testimonies of relatedness, paths of migrations of peoples and the crops they were growing and the nature of exchange between languages. This book may be regarded as a linguistic tool, casting light onto the history of each genus it deal with, as well as dictionary. The lists of the popular names for grain legumes are remarkably sufficient: for instance, the author collected common names for pea in more than 400 (!) languages, dialects and speeches. The book is necessary and contemporary, I’m sure, not only for those who are experts in genetic resources, but also for molecular botanists, phylogeneticists and, hopefully, linguists.

    Professor Margarita A. Visnhyakova, Proceedings on Applied Botany, Genetics and Breeding, 2019, Vol. 180


    This book takes a novel, though logical, approach to exploring the human history of the major legume pulse (grain legume) crops; the author approaches it from the perspective of language. In each chapter, for any of the major crop species, Mikić lists exhaustively in tables the common names for the species in virtually every language (including creole, constructed language, historical, extinct, and, for Pisum, even a couple of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional elvish languages) in which it might be used. He concludes each chapter by a discussion of the evolution of the major crop name within each major language group where relevant, including some interesting and entertaining anecdotes. The book’s greatest strength is its comprehensiveness on the subject and as such it is an excellent addition to a collection on either pulses or linguistics.

    Sterling Herron, Economic Botany, 2019, Vol. 73