The word book comes from Old English bōc, which in turn comes from the Germanic root *bōk-, cognate to ‘beech’. In Slavic languages like Russian, Bulgarian, Macedonian буква bukva is cognate with ‘beech’. In Russian, Serbian and Macedonian, the word букварь (bukvar’) or буквар (bukvar) refers to a primary school textbook that helps young children master the techniques of reading and writing. It is thus conjectured that the earliest Indo-European writings may have been carved on beech wood. The Latin word codex, meaning a book in the modern sense (bound and with separate leaves), originally meant ‘block of wood’.
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