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Is this a sound borrowing from English? If so, why did they select "li" as the second syllable when there's no "L" in the English word "sorbate"? If it's not a sound borrowing, why does it literally translate as "mountain pear"? This caused confusion for me yesterday when I showed a jar of 甜面酱 to the checkout cashiers at a Chinese grocery store, which didn't have English, and the first one said she had no idea what the word meant, and the second one said it meant "pear." 15:20, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

More likely has nothing to do with sound, rather the meaning: pears are Pyrus, sorbs are Sorbus, both in Maloideae. "mountain pear" probably refers to the sorb, or rowan. So then sorbic, in the same derivation as English. Robert Ullmann 15:35, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Wow. Just this weekend some friends planted a "service-berry" tree in memory of a local man who had passed away; I had never heard of it but it looks like that's the same plant. The conflation of the two species looks similar to how 枸杞 is often translated into English as "medlar." 22:01, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Mandarin etymology still needed. 05:35, 5 December 2008 (UTC)