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Thread: Coincidental Linguistic Similarities Found Outside of Africa

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    Coincidental Linguistic Similarities Found Outside of Africa

    The purpose of this thread is to share any indirect SSA linguistic similarities you've observed in other parts of the world.




    Below are a few words I've found to have either a literal or similar meaning in either my mother or father's tongue in Uganda:


    Ayiko (Lugbara\Aringa, Uganda) = Happiness, Joy (common male name; female derivative = Ayikoru)
    Aiko (Japanese) = Child of Love (common female name)

    Kakwa (Kakwa, Uganda\Sudan\DRC) = thorns, sharp bite
    Kakwa (Cree, Canada) = Porcupine

    Kanada (Kakwa, Uganda\Sudan\DRC) = whose land? (posed as a question)
    Kanata (Iroquois, Canada) = settlement, village





    I've heard of Nilotic languages having linguistic similarities to other East-Asian languages but haven't come across any other specific words. More often than not, it's Japanese words that sound\look the most familiar to Ugandan\Kenyan surnames. Some East-Asians have mistaken me for Japanese before meeting in person; a few other Ugandans have jokingly shared the same experience.

    Given the limited permutations of letters in these short words, I suppose it wouldn't be a surprise to find similar meanings in several other languages -- I still find some of these coincidences to be quite chilling.
    Last edited by Angoliga; 07-12-2016 at 05:52 AM.

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    Coincidental similarities are more common than what most people think, IMO the funniest ones are found between ancient and modern languages.
    מכורותיך ומולדותיך מארץ הכנעני אביך האמורי ואמך חתית
    יחזקאל פרק טז ג-


    ᾽Άλλο δέ τοι ἐρέω, σὺ δ᾽ ἐνὶ φρεσὶ βάλλεο σῇσιν:
    κρύβδην, μηδ᾽ ἀναφανδά, φίλην ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν
    νῆα κατισχέμεναι: ἐπεὶ οὐκέτι πιστὰ γυναιξίν.


    -Αγαμέμνων; H Οδύσσεια, Ραψωδία λ

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    The phonetic similarity between Semitic, African, and European languages for onion is interesting.

    Hebrew, Arabic: bṣl
    Hausa: albasa
    Yoruba: alubosa (unsure about the origin)
    Portuguese, Spanish: cebola, cebolla

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    Quote Originally Posted by Morci View Post
    The phonetic similarity between Semitic, African, and European languages for onion is interesting.

    Hebrew, Arabic: bṣl
    Hausa: albasa
    Yoruba: alubosa (unsure about the origin)
    Portuguese, Spanish: cebola, cebolla
    Perhaps the Spanish\Portuguese\Arabic connection is through the Morrish occupation in the Iberian Peninsula? -- az˙car (sugar), arroz (rice), aceite (oil) would be other food related examples taken from Arabic that are still used in Spanish.

    I recall the word "abuela" in Spanish class for the word grandma; in my mother's tongue which borrows many words from southern Sudanese Arabic, it's "abuba". Thinking there might be an Arabic connection, I'd ask other friends who spoke Arabic what their equivalent was, but Egyptians, Jordanians, Lebanese etc. all had different variants -- I recently bumped into a few Northern Sudanese who've confirmed they use "Habuba".

    Then again perhaps that's sheer coincidence -- I've heard "baluba" is used in polish *a bit harder to make a connection there lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Agamemnon View Post
    IMO the funniest ones are found between ancient and modern languages.
    Oh really? That's cool - feel free to share any examples
    Last edited by Angoliga; 07-24-2016 at 06:05 PM.

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    I remember watching a man speaking in Japanese with English subtitles. The word I think he used to describe rope/wire sounded like 'harig', similar to the Somali word 'xarig'.

    I also find that the word sugar sounds similar in a lot of languages. Sonkor (Somali), Cukr (Czech), Cukier (Polish) etc
    Last edited by Almagest; 07-25-2016 at 08:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Almagest View Post
    I remember watching a man speaking in Japanese with English subtitles. The word I think he used to describe rope/wire sounded like 'harig', similar to the Somali word 'xarig'.
    You have good ears, but the similarity is superficial. The Japanese word used in this case should be 針金 harigane "wire" < Japanese 針 hari "needle" + Japanese 金 kane "metal (especially gold = "yellow kane," silver = "white kane," iron = "black kane," or copper = "red kane"); money; a large bell (especially one at a temple that is struck by swinging a hammer that is suspended with ropes) or various other sorts of metallic percussion instruments; a carpenter's square; (to take something or someone as) a model, an exemplary ideal; being perpendicular, being at a right angle (to something), straight across (a river, etc.); a branding iron (for horses or cattle); a solution of iron filings dissolved in tea, vinegar, sake, etc. used to stain the teeth black (the inhabitants of the Japanese islands have long had habits of knocking out, ripping out, or otherwise damaging teeth or painting teeth black)."

    I also find that the word sugar sounds similar in a lot of languages. Sonkor (Somali), Cukr (Czech), Cukier (Polish) etc
    The European words for "sugar" are all ultimately derived from Sanskrit via Persian and Arabic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NiloSaharan View Post
    Oh really? That's cool - feel free to share any examples
    The Ge'ez 2nd person singular-masculine pronoun አንተ (ʾanta) is identical to the Japanese personal pronoun あんた (anta), also meaning "you".
    מכורותיך ומולדותיך מארץ הכנעני אביך האמורי ואמך חתית
    יחזקאל פרק טז ג-


    ᾽Άλλο δέ τοι ἐρέω, σὺ δ᾽ ἐνὶ φρεσὶ βάλλεο σῇσιν:
    κρύβδην, μηδ᾽ ἀναφανδά, φίλην ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν
    νῆα κατισχέμεναι: ἐπεὶ οὐκέτι πιστὰ γυναιξίν.


    -Αγαμέμνων; H Οδύσσεια, Ραψωδία λ

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    Quote Originally Posted by Morci View Post
    The phonetic similarity between Semitic, African, and European languages for onion is interesting.

    Hebrew, Arabic: bṣl
    Hausa: albasa
    Yoruba: alubosa (unsure about the origin)
    Portuguese, Spanish: cebola, cebolla
    Somalis also say basal for onion.I think it is just Arabic influence not a mere coincidence

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    As a Swahili speaking Kenyan I've noticed similarities in my language with Arabic, Portuguese and Persian words. You'll thank me later for teaching you Swahili

    Swahili comes from the Arabic word Sahil which means coasts
    Sita comes from the Arabic word sita which means six
    Tisa comes from the Arabic word Tisa which means Seven
    Chai comes from the Persian word Chai which means Tea
    Achari comes from the Persian word Achari which means Pickle
    Diwani comes from the Persian word Diwani which means Councillor
    Serikali comes from the Persian word Serikali which means Government
    Meza comes from the Portuguese word Meza which means Table
    Gereza comes from the Portuguese word Gereza which means Prison
    Pesa comes from the Portuguese word Peso which means Money
    Last edited by SWAHILLI_PRINCE16; 09-05-2016 at 09:05 PM.

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