Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Fri Jun 22 02:23:04 UTC 2012

On 6/21/2012 3:52 AM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society<ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Benjamin Barrett<gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM>
> Subject:      Kombucha
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> The Wikipedia article on kombucha =
> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kombucha) says that the word was first =
> recorded in 1995, citing: Algeo, John and Adele Algeo (1997), "Among the =
> New Words," American Speech 72.2: 183-197.
> Google Books claims a 1923 citation in _Ars Medici_ at =
> http://ow.ly/bJ0N8, but it can't be seen. If it's the same as =
> http://ow.ly/bJ0PA  of 1928, then it may be about a fungus.
> The next earliest citation I see is 1927 (http://ow.ly/bJ0Wh). It =
> appears to be titled _Chemistry Research: The Production of Formaldehyde =
> by Oxidation of Hydrocarbons_. The citation is: 'In the "Kombucha" =
> fermentation, which consists in the fermentation of China tea sweetened =
> with sucrose by a mixture of Bact. gluconicum, Bact. xylinum and Bact. =
> xylinoides, the inversion takes place before the dehyddrogenation to =
> gluconic acid.' The next sentence includes the names Hermann and =
> Neuschul, perhaps German scientists; there are earlier German citations =
> for "kombucha."
> Also worthy of note is a 1928 citation athttp://ow.ly/bJ14U.
> The OED does not include kombucha, though the AHD =
> (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/kombucha) and Wiktionary =
> (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/kombucha) have it.
> The earliest possible citation I see for "konbucha," a possible =
> Romanization, is 1998 (http://ow.ly/bJ1av).

I guess this fermented tea stuff called kombucha is completely distinct
from the Japanese kelp tea called (in Japanese) konbucha/kombucha or

So maybe the name for the fermented stuff actually came from somewhere
else (perhaps subsequently altered to match the name of Japanese kelp
tea with which it was confused)?

Here is a candidate:

康普茶 = kang1 pu3 cha2

-- apparently one of the Chinese names for this fermented stuff (of
course "cha" is "cha" is cha[r] is tea).

This appears (e.g.) in the first line of body text in the pertinent
Chinese Wikipedia page:


Here is "What is kangpucha?" from Baidu (in Chinese):


-- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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