Jachen is a small river in Bavaria.  It is a tributary of the Isar.  This name should already have given you pause but, remember, a “river” or “rzeka/reka” is a feminine noun in Slavic.  So what do we have if we look back at the way this river is called?

  • Jachna, Jachnau, Jachenau (1796)
  • Jachenay (1731)
  • Jachenaw (1457)
  • Jachna (1313)

This is what Wolf-Armin Freiherr von Reitzenstein has to say about this name in the Lexikon bayerischer Ortsnamen. Herkunft und Bedeutung. 2. (verbesserte und erweiterte Auflage (!)).

“1930 ist für Fluss und Tal die mundartliche Form d’jåchna belegt. Als ursprüngliches Grundwort wird daher aha angenommen. Als Bestimmungswort kann, muss aber nicht, der Personenname Jacho vermutet werden.”

There is a town – Jachenau – nearby:

  • Jachenau (1649)
  • Jachenau (1584)
  • Jachnaw (1558)
  • Jachenaw (1433)
  • Jachnaw (1416)
  • Jachnawe (1295)

The same source provides the following about this name (I just cut it from Wikipedia but assume it’s what he wrote):

“Für die Herleitung des Namens Jachenau gibt es unterschiedlichste Ansätze: von „Jochinau“ = die Au der Jocher von Altjoch am Kochelsee, von Ahornau in Anlehnung an den Ahornboden, von der Au des Jacho“, eines damals gebräuchlichen Vornamens [no doubt!] und als Ableitung vom Namen der Jachen, dieses schnell fließenden („jach“, mittelhochdeutsch) Gewässers des Tales.”

Yes, “schnell fliessen” as in “jechac“.

Herr Freiherr should Google Jachna or Jacho and see what comes up.  For starters there will be a number of last names.  He should look where they come up (to make this easier). (Incidentally, the word, easy, though French in origin, seems to have a similar root (perhaps, as in “gliding”).

Here are the Anecdota Palaeopolonica by Antoni Kalina from the Archiv für slavische Philologie:

In fact, the same can be said about:

  • Lech > Leszek

Here you can compare the River Lech with the Langobard King’s name of Lethuc. For the male side note that the name can also end in an -o or in an -u.  As in Lecho or Lechu.  Without the “ch” is also possible as in Slawko, Gniewko and so forth.

Note that Jachna can be short for Agnes or Jagoda as in Jagoda > Jaga > Jagusia or > Jachna.

From Starodawne prawa polskiego pomniki (Old Polish legal testimonia):

  • Wyrona uxor S. heredis de J. et Jachna soror ejus..cum Jaschkone herede ibidem in Wirbno.
  • Jachna uxor A. de R. omnimodam partem hereditatis sue maternam ibidem in R. in…
  • Israhel Canaan et Abraham filij Lewconis Judei de Cracouia cognouerunt, quod ipsis Jachna Jacussij et Hanca Paschonis relicte de Dambieza… ipse Jachna et Hanca tenentur ad soluendum…
  • Eadem Jachna et Hanca ipsis Judeis ex pericione adhuc centum marcas ad festum Natiuitatis Christi proximum tenentur exsoluere.
  • Jachna uxor Alberti Lassota de Radwanonice… Item dicta Jachna dietam…
  • Jachna uxor legittima Przeczslai de Sauice… Prandote de Jarossyno racione ville Jawidz in terra Lublinensi obligata fideiussit, ita quod dicte pecunie debent post mortem ipsius Jachne ad idetum Prandotam renerti; et easdem pecunias iudicauit in parte hereditatis in Slauice….
  • Ex aduerso Jachna litem legitime contestado respondit…quod Jachna habuisset virum viuentem…

On the male side the name is Jach or Jacho but also comes up as Jachno.

The location of the river Jachen shown with red dot below deep in Bavaria (Euratlas with borders from 700) – not really in Slavic territory, is it:

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November 23, 2017

10 thoughts on “Jachna

  1. Justyna

    Maybe from “jasna”, as in Jasna Woda, a tributary of Bukowa. Water is often described as bright and Jachenau itself is known as a “sun valley”, since in the summer it gets the sun from early morning to late evening.

    1. torino Post author

      Makes sense – most importantly, i’d like to see an explanation of how is is supposed to be Germanic…

      1. Justyna

        Well, it must have been the same Germans that named Jachna village, in the Dnieper Upland, along with many others like for instance Jachowiec, Jachniczki, Jachonki, Jachówki*…

        *For more Germanic inventiveness, please check Słownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego 🙂

  2. Maciek P.

    Please note the Loisach and Windach river on this map. Loisach – Liubasa (1003 ) and Windach – Windah(a) (1346). 😁

    1. torino Post author

      Yup. Maybe kielbasa is also German (or Celtic). It sounds very much like bratwurst.

      As for the -asa ending:

       kiełbasa… Prasłowiańskie; …z *kolbasa…; przyrostek -as, częstszy w przymiotnikach: białasy itp.

      The fact that -asa is more typical of an adjective ending (as per above statement), fits nicely with your Liubasa name – presumably the “[be]loved [river]”. Liubava would also have worked. Of course, there is “liebhaben” but German does not indicate cases through suffixes.

  3. Maciek P.

    Still to the names of the rivers! There is a main river Isar (Isura 763) in Bavaria. In Saxony there is the river Weser (Wisera or Wisura!). We know that in Slavic languages the letter “w” is often omitted like for example Polish ogień but in Upper Sorbian woheń, Lower Sorabian wogeń, Polabian widin, Ukrainian wogoń etc. Therefore maybe Bavarian Isura was so true W-isura. Maybe?

    1. torino Post author

      Think of the bathroom tasks that one normally performs. That is your root. The w is just an indication of a completed action normally. It is unclear what that means with river names though – sła, sła and wysła? Maybe szła, szła and wyszła?

      Btw sra has same origin as ozero and hence isera.

  4. Maciej P.

    Torino, my English is not good enough to carry with you great discussions. But I can assure you that I did not mean bathroom tasks :)any time. In terms of “w” your suggestion is related to verbs, but the Polabian “won” will describe the person (he) for example. I wrote about “w” because Weser is in the north, and Isar in the south, which corresponds to the observed lack of it “w” in Czech, Polish, etc. Only . The story of ozero is naturally known to me.

    1. torino Post author

      But I was serious! The bathroom activity very much has the same root – and may even be the key! The Polabian language has not been studied sufficiently and, perhaps, it varied between that spoken by the Sorbs and by other more “Polabian” Slavs.


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