Did Latin get it’s word for ‘frog’ from Chadic or Berber languages?

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Taking a short break from looking at similarities between words in the Niger-Congo languages and Indo-European languages, today we uncover an intriguing relationship between the word for ‘frog’ in Afro-Asiatic languages [Hausa and Berber] and one Indo-European language [Latin, and the Romance languages which derive from it].  The influence is almost certainly northern Africa –> southern Europe and not vice-versa.

‘FROG’

  • Hausa – ‘Rana

  • Tamazight Berber – ‘Jranna

  • Moroccan Arabic [with Berber substrate] – ‘Zraana‘ / ‘Graana‘ 

  • Somali – ‘Rah‘ / ‘Rihii

  • Oromo – ‘Raacha

 

  • Latin – ‘Rana‘ / ‘Ranae

  • Italian – ‘Rana

  • Spanish – ‘Rana

  • Asturian – ‘Rana

  • Catalan – ‘Granota

  • French – ‘Raine‘ / ‘Grenouille

  • Galician – ‘Ra

  • Portuguese – ‘Ra

Celtic words for ‘wife’/’woman’; & ‘husband’/’man’ appear to be closely related to the same terms in several African languages

Take a look and see what you think:-

WIFE / WOMAN

  • Fula – “ɓeyngu”

  • Yoruba – “obinrin

  • Proto-Celtic – “*benā

  • Old Irish – “ben

  • Irish – “bean

  • Manx – “ben

  • Scottish Gaelic – “bean

  • Welsh – “benyw

  • Cornishbenyn

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  • Fula – “kore

  • Toro Tegu (Dogon language) – “yà-gùrɔ̌-n” [“Young woman”]

  • Ben Tey (Dogon language) – “yà-gùrɔ̂-m” & “gùrɔ̂:” [“Young woman”]

  • Bankan Tey (Dogon language) – “yàgùrâ-m” & “yàgùrâ:” [“Young woman”]

  • Nanga (Dogon language) – “yà-gùrɔ́” [“Young woman”]

  • Kinyarwanda – “Umugore

  • Kirundi – “Umu-gore

  • Kenyang – “Ngoreh” / “Ngore

  • Kanuri – “Kur kúri

  • Breton – “gwreg

  • Cornish – “gwreg

  • Welsh – “gwraig

 

MAN / HUSBAND

  • Fula – “gorko” / “goriyo

  • Wolof – “góor

  • Serer – “ko:r

  • Songhai -“kurɲæ

  • Kanuri – “Kwâ” / “Kwâŋâ

 

  • Breton – “gour” / “gwaz

  • Old Breton – “gur

  • Cornish – “gour” / “gwas

  • Welsh – “gŵr

  • Middle Welsh – “gwr

 

What is a ‘Coracle’? And where did the name come from?

coracle

English
Noun

coracle ‎(plural coracles)

(nautical) A small, circular or oblong boat made of wickerwork and made watertight with hides or pitch, propelled and steered with a single paddle and light enough to be carried on a man’s back.

The coracle is a small, lightweight boat of the sort traditionally used in Wales but also
in parts of Western and South West England, Ireland (particularly the River Boyne), and Scotland (particularly the River Spey);[..] The word “coracle” comes from the Welsh cwrwgl, cognate with Irish and Scottish Gaelic currach, and is recorded in English as early as the sixteenth century. Other historical English spellings include corougle, corracle, curricle and coricle.

The name ‘coracle‘ in modern-day English probably derives from Welsh ‘corwgl‘, which in turn is derived from ‘corwg‘.  ‘Corwg‘ [cognate with Gaelic ‘curachan‘], is likely also the source of Middle English ‘currock‘.

The Welsh and Irish words themselves ultimately originated from Proto-Celtic *kur uko .

This reconstructed word takes us back in time to an unknown European location, perhaps as early as 800BCE.   But can we find any similar words or roots in existence which might provide a clue as to the word’s earlier origins [assuming that the word didn’t appear completely out of the blue in Wales/Ireland]?

An explanation given for the origin of ‘coracle‘ is that the name comes from the Latin word ‘corium‘, meaning “skin, hide, leather”; also related to ‘cortex’ [“bark”]; and ‘scortum’ [“skin, hide”], from a postulated Proto-Indo European root *(s)ker- [“to cut”].  Cognates include Sanskrit ‘krtih’ [“hide”]; Old Church Slavonic ‘scora’ [“skin”]; Russian ‘skora’ [“hide”]; ‘kora’ [“bark”]; Old English ‘sceran’ [“to cut, shear”].

However, a bit of investigation revealed that there were strikingly similar (or related) words for ‘canoe’ or ‘boat’ in some African languages:-

  • Twi – “Korow” & “ɔkorow” [“canoe”]

  • Yoruba – “kọ” [“canoe”; “boat”]

  • Yoruba – “kọ̀keré” [“boat”]

  • Edo – “Oko” [“canoe”]

  • Bambara – “kurun” [“canoe, small boat”]

  • Yeyi – “Mokoro” [“dugout canoe”]

  • Mandinka – “kuluŋo

  • Central Kanuri – “kòlékòlé

  • Songhai – “KoleKole

  • Hausa – “Kwale Kwale

  • Wolof – “Gaal

 

No doubt there are numerous other examples.

Having found these, I was struck by the resemblance between those examples of African words for boat or canoe which possess ‘kor‘ or ‘kur‘ roots, and the Proto-Celtic word for boat, *kuruko .

But then something else caught my attention:-

  • Slovenian – “čoln” [“boat”]

  • Czech – “člun” [“boat”]

  • Slovak – “čln” [“boat”]

  • Russian – “čoln” [“boat, canoe, dugout (usually hollowed out of a single log)”]

  • Polish – “czółno” [“dugout, a boat made from a hollowed tree trunk”]

The Slavic examples above are also reminiscent of the African words for boat/canoe/dugout which possess the kol / kul root, *especially* “kuluŋo” from Mandinka.

And then a brief look at a variety of African words for ‘bark’, ‘skin’, ‘cut’, ‘leather’, ‘tree’, and ‘weaver’ revealed similar words also:-

  • The verb ‘gor’ in Wolof means “to cut down” [for example, a tree];

  • The words for “skin/hide” are ‘kuuru’ in Songhai and ‘Kulu’ in Mandinka

In my view this is a genuine connection between some very old European and African boat terminology, and should be investigated further.  It is worth bearing in mind that thousands of years ago, the Sahara desert was a lush green environment which supported human populations, and Lake Chad was many times larger than it is today.  The world’s oldest dugout canoes found to date have been in Africa (Chad Basin, northern Nigeria) and Europe (the Netherlands), at 8000 years old and 10000 years old, respectively.  Is it possible that humans entered Europe from Africa in prehistory and brought their words for boat with them?

 

 

 

 

Is the Celtic word for ‘short’ related to the Basque and Igbo words for ‘short’?

Let’s take a look:-

Proto-Celtic – *birro- ‎(“short”)

Breton – berr (“short”)

Cornish – berr (“short”)

Welsh – byr (“short”)

Old Irish – berr, gerr (“short”)

Basque – labur, laburrak (“short”)

Igboobere (“short”)

 

Can anybody who reads this post suggest any other examples which might be related to these?