Picture of an astronaut in front of the planet Earth and the Lemko word 'zemla' translated into many languages.

Lemko земля ⟨zemlja⟩ ‘earth’


The Lemko noun земля ⟨zemlja⟩ is translatable into English as “earth”, “ground”, or “floor”, depending on the context. It translates into Polish as ziemia.

How to Pronounce and Memorize

The first syllable is pronounced like English zen, but with an ⟨m⟩ sound at the end. The second syllable is pronounced as in “la la la”. To memorize, imagine a zen monk meditating in mud outside and saying “La la la, I can’t hear you!”


The Lemko noun земля ⟨zemlja⟩ ‘earth’ comes from Proto-Slavic *zemļà (Derksen, 2008, p. 542). Cognates include Old Church Slavonic землꙗ (ⰸⰵⰿⰾⱑ) ⟨zemlja⟩ Avestan 𐬰𐬃‎ ⟨zā̊⟩ ‘earth’ (accusative form 𐬰𐬆𐬨‎ ⟨zəm⟩), Sanskrit क्ष ⟨kṣá⟩ ‘earth’, Persian زمین‎ ⟨zamin⟩ ‘earth’, Ancient Greek χθών ⟨khthṓn⟩ “earth”, Hittite 𒋼𒂊𒃷 ⟨tēkan⟩, (genitive 𒁖𒈾𒀸 ⟨taknas⟩), Latin humus ‘ground’, and Ancient Greek χαμαί ⟨khamaí⟩ ‘on the ground’ (Vasmer 1953, pp. 452–453, see also Derksen, 2008, p. 542 and Pokorny, 1959, p. 415).


Lemko земля ⟨zemlja⟩ is a soft, first-declension noun that declines as follows:


Nomзе́мля ⟨zémlja⟩ziemiaземля́земля́
Genзе́млі ⟨zémli⟩ziemiземлі́земли́
Datзе́мли ⟨zémly⟩aziemiземлі́земле́
Accзе́млю ⟨zémlju⟩ziemięзе́млюзе́млю
Insзе́мльом ⟨zémlʹom⟩ziemiąземле́юземлёй
Locзе́мли ⟨zémly⟩aziemiземлі́земле́
Vocзе́мльо ⟨zémlʹo⟩bziemioзе́мле
The singular declension of the Lemko soft first declension noun земля ⟨zemlja⟩ ‘earth’ compared to its Polish, Ukrainian, and Russian cognates.

a Pyrtej (2013, p. 38) gives зе́млі ⟨zémli⟩ as the dative and locative singular forms, yet Fontański and Chomiak (2000, p. 64) provide зе́мли ⟨zémly⟩.

b Fontański and Chomiak (2000, p. 64) provide земле ⟨zemle⟩ as an alternative vocative singular form.


Nomзе́млі ⟨zémli⟩ziemieзе́млізе́мли
Genзе́мель ⟨zémlʹ⟩ziemземе́льземе́ль
Datзе́млям ⟨zémljam⟩ziemiomзе́млямзе́млям
Accзе́млі ⟨zémli⟩ziemieзе́млізе́мли
Insземля́ми ⟨zemljámy⟩ziemiamiзе́млямизе́млями
Locзе́млях ⟨zémljax⟩ziemiachзе́мляхзе́млях
Vocзе́млі ⟨zémli⟩ziemieзе́млі
The plural declension of the Lemko soft first declension noun земля ⟨zemlja⟩ ‘earth’ compared to its Polish, Ukrainian, and Russian cognates.


^ Derksen, Rick. (2008). In Lubotsky, A. (Ed.), Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series: Vol. 4. Etymological Dictionary of the Slavic Inherited Lexicon. Koninklijke Brill NV. https://brill.com/view/title/12607

^ Fontański, H., Chomiak, M.  (2000). Ґраматыка лемківского языка [Grammar of the Lemko Language]. Śląsk.

^ Pokorny, Julius. (1959). Indogermanisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch [Indo-Germanic Etymological Dictionary]. A. Francke AG Verlag Bern.

^ ^ Pyrtej, P. (2013). Лемківські говірки. Фонетика і морфологія. Об’єднання лемків [Lemko Dialects. Phonetics and Morphology]. Обʼєднання лемків [Lemko Union].

^ Vasmer, M. (1953). Russisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch, Erster Band: A – K [Russian Etymological Dictionary, Volume One: A – K]. Carl Winter Universitätsverlag.


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