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I recently came across an Indo-European Etymological Database containing lots of interesting stuff about word origins. Eat your heart out Guive!



August 23, 2006

All this talk of impending war and doom and gloom and the Pope's all-too-German statements and the President's threats and the Wahhabis' jihadists and the UN addresses and nuclear this and the nuclear that and Fidel's disease and Raul's unease at the podium and the NPT and the IAEA and the coup in Siam, all and all, have really got me down. I say let's take a break. What do you say?


I recently came across an Indo-European Etymological Database containing lots of interesting stuff about word origins. Eat your heart out Guive!

Browsing through the Proto-Celtic section, I found a number of words eerily similar to Persian. I had always thought that the country names Eye-ran and Eye-rland sounded so close, but comparing the red-faced, red-haired Irish to the olive-skinned, dark-haired Iranians, one fails to notice any other similarity between the two peoples.

Here are some of the words I found:

The Proto-Celtic word "kluka" meaning stone or rock, reminds me of the Persian "kolookh".

The word "kwrimi" meaning worm, is awfully close to "kerm".

"keltako" meaning war or battle, may be related to "sheltaagh".

The Proto-Celtic "cecht" meaning hard, is the same as "sakht" in Persian.

The word "clun" in Middle-Welsh meaning rectum, only has an "L" over our good old "koon".

The word "gwelo" meaning to eat, is akin to our own "geloo" or "galoo".

"flengo" in Proto-Celtic means to jump. Is "feleng raa bastan" related to this?

English Leech or Persian "zaaloo" is "gelu" in Proto-Celtic.

The Sanskrit database also includes lots of neat stuff. It is theorized that Sanskrit is the mother of all Indo-European languages. Beside the usual commonalities like Mother, Father, Brother, etc., here are some other words I found worthy of note:

The Sanskrit "dush" means bad, wrong, or difficult. The Persian word "dushman" uses this root. Also the Old Persian word "dushyara" meaning a bad year, has been transformed into "dushvaar" meaning difficult.

Sanskrit "valka" meaning bark or rind is the root of Persian "barg". The English word "bark" is also from the same origin.

The Sanskrit word "starih" meaning a cow that doesn't produce milk, is the root of the Persian "setarvan" and the English "sterile".

The Sanskrit "kapota" meaning pigeon, is the root of the Persian words "kabootar" and "kabood".

The Sanskrit word "gendh" meaning smell, is combined with "dush" to denote a bad odor or stench in the word "dush-gendh". New Persian has dropped the "dush" part and uses the word "gand" to mean bad or rotten.

The Sanskrit word "Pakshman" meaning eyelash is the root of the word "pashm" in Persian.

The Sanskrit stem "vaa" means to be annihilated or extinguished. The Persian verb "vaa raftan" may be from this origin.

The Sanskrit "vaac" meaning voice or sound is the root of "voice" in English. The Persian "aavaaz" is also from the same origin.

Beside "aab", the Sanskrit word "vaar" also means water. Persian "baaraan' and English "water" and Russian "voda" are all from the same root. By the way, "vodka" means little water in Russian.

Sanskrit "vidhava" gives us the Persian "biveh" and English "widow".

The Sanskrit word "svitna" is the root of both "sefeed" in Persian and "white" in English.

The word "kaash" in Sanskrit means to appear or become visible. I wonder if the Persian "ey kaash" is related to this?

"Nagna" in Sanskrit means naked. The Pahlavi word "brah-nag" which nowadays is pronounced "berahneh" is form the same root. "Brah" could be from the Sanskrit "bhraahj" meaning shining. The word "berahneh" could then mean shining naked.


There are hundreds of other words, maybe thousands. But who has the time to go through all of them? Not me.

Ok, the break is over. Back to the headlines.

For letters section
To Shahriar Zahedi

Shahriar Zahedi



Book of the day

Pivot of the Universe
Nasir al-Din Shah Qajar
By Abbas Amanat

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