[now see also:Ascent of Intelligence and How Children acquire Language]

Language and Evolution: Books, Presentations and Papers
Motor Theory of Language

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Chapter I Hypothesis:Phonological/Semantic Equivalence
Chapter II Parallelism of Speech and Gesture
Chapter III Speech-sound and Gesture Elements
Chapter IV Verification: Relation of Sound and Meaning

CHAPTER V

EVIDENCE FROM OTHER LANGUAGES
Expressivism in foreign languages
Resemblances between remote languages
Uniformities in demonstratives and pronouns
Uniformities in naming colours
Sound/meaning relation in Basque
CONCLUSION
REFERENCES

EVIDENCE FROM OTHER LANGUAGES

Chapter IV presented evidence for the existence of a systematic relation between sound and meaning in the vocabulary of the English language; references to other languages were limited and incidental. The conclusion reached was that there is good evidence of a systematic relation of sound and meaning in English and that the expressiveness of words in English, their appropriateness for their meaning, is linked to and can be explained by this. Nevertheless, it remains possible though not very probable that the apparent relations between sound and meaning in English and the apparent expressiveness of many words may be a purely English phenomenon. However, if in English the sound/meaning relation is not cultural or conventional but natural, there is no reason why foreign languages should not provide evidence to support this in the words they employ. Beyond this, if more languages than English display internally systematic relations of sound and meaning, the question arises how far the specific system for relating sound-elements and elements of meaning is something common to many languages, or possibly the universal underlying foundation for language generally; the enquiry then becomes how far a regular relation can be established between the systematic pattern of sound/meaning in English and sound/ meaning patterns in other languages.

The propositions considered in this Chapter are the following:

A Expressivism - that is the phenomenon that words are felt to be appropriate to their meanings - is as well-established for foreign languages as it is for English, particularly for French, Spanish and German. There is evidence of expressivism also in remoter languages;

B The expressiveness of words in English can be appreciated by speakers of foreign languages. Even though the patterns of sound may be unfamiliar to the foreign language-speakers and the words do not for them form part of any traditional sound/ meaning system, the expressive force is still conveyed;

C In foreign languages, apart from expressiveness in the sense of the felt appropriateness of particular words, there is evidence of sound/meaning groupings of words formed in a similar way to the groupings in English discussed in the previous Chapter i.e collections of words where the sound and meaning appear to vary together in a systematic way;

D For a considerable number of high-frequency words, naming familiar objects and actions, where the likelihood of borrowing between languages is small, one can find a 'mass-language effect', that is resemblance of sound and meaning which spread across many languages, related and unrelated, including languages geographically and in terms of language family extremely remote from each other. The resemblances go beyond anything that can plausibly be explained as chance or coincidence;

E This is particularly the case for some simple basic words where the meaning is sharply defined, notably for pronouns and demonstratives, for the names of the major colours and for words used to express some family relationships.

Expressivism in foreign languages

Some evidence on this was incidentally presented in Chapter IV. The object in this section is to look more closely at the position for a few foreign languages. For the French language, the most useful discussion is in Sauvageot's Portrait du Vocabulaire Français (1964). Though he is a strong adherent of the Saussurean school, he diverges from de Saussure in stressing the great importance attaching to onomatopoeic and expressive words in the French language (de Saussure had suggested that onomatopoeia was of marginal importance). According to Sauvageot, if one listens to the spoken French language rather than concentrating on the written language, one soon discovers that, even among educated people, the language "fourmille d'onomatopées les plus variées". Apart from onomatopoeia "L'expressivité générale de l'énonciation française s'est affirmée. Le français s'emplit de néologismes expressifs.. Les Français ne parlent donc pas plus 'abstrait' que les Anglais, les Allemands, les Russes &c. On a même le sentiment qu'ils seraient plus portés que leurs autres contemporains à confier l'expression de leur pensée quotidienne à des procédés d'allure onomatopéique".

Much the same can be said about Spanish. Garcia de Diego says: "We have to start from the principle that all words in varying degrees have a sensory or emotive symbolic value. In some words this value is obvious and commonly recognised, for example in words which refer to an action which is accompanied by an audible sound. This is the well-known symbolism of SILBAR (whizz) or ZUMBAR (buzz). All peoples at all periods have recognised that certain words evoke particular sensations or ideas." Spanish literature is rich in the use of expressive words and in Spanish the expressiveness of sounds is a well-established fact.

In the German language, Jespersen referred to the work done by other writers to demonstrate the extent of expressive sound, for example Hilmer's study of apparent links between particular sounds in German words and particular shapes and appearances of things - which extended to 70 pages of word-lists of expressive words in German with their English equivalents. Humboldt quoted as obvious examples of sound symbolism words like WEHEN WOLKE WIRREN WUNSCH where the vacillating, wavering motion is expressed through the letter W. Firth discussed the wide range of expressive words in Dutch and the Scandinavian languages. He noted in Norwegian about 80 pejorative words beginning with SL and a similar number in Swedish. He also listed 25 'nasal' words in Norwegian beginning with SN (parallel to English words like SNIFF SNIGGER &c); he found some 70 words beginning with FL belonging to a group like that of the English words FLECK FLICK FLICKER. Initial KL appears for 80 "clumsy, cloggy, ungainly, sticky" words. In Dutch he gave examples of a large number of expressive words including as a choice example PLIMPPLAMPPLETTEREN meaning 'to play ducks and drakes' that is throwing a flat stone to make it skip as many times as possible across the surface of water.

Thus the expressive force of words - the feeling that they are peculiarly appropriate in many instances to their meanings - is well-established for a good number of languages. The languages mentioned belong to the Indo-European group. There has been less discussion of sound symbolism, word-expressiveness, for non-Indo-European languages. There is no reason to think that it is any less important for Semitic and African languages, for the Polynesian languages referred to by Paget and Rea or indeed for the aboriginal Australian and Amerindian languages. In Les Langues du Monde, Manchu for example is said to have been absolutely full of imitative formations. Hörmann quotes examples from African languages of sound symbolism: in Ewe high-tone words indicate small things and low-tone words large things; in certain Sudanese languages high-tone words are used to express long distances or high speed and low-tone words to express proximity and slowness. However, a complete examination of expressiveness in remoter languages is best done by native speakers of the languages since they are able to answer the essential question: how appropriate to the meaning is the sound of the word felt to be, against the background of knowledge of the whole range of sounds and meanings of words found in current speech in any particular language.

Nevertheless expressiveness of words in one language can be appreciated by speakers of another. Recognition of expressiveness is not necessarily limited to native-speakers of the language. Sauvageot demonstrates this for French-speakers. In modern times there has been extensive borrowing into French of English (and American) words. He observes that some words have been introduced not because French lacks a suitable word of its own for a particular meaning but because the expressive force of the English word has led to its being used in French in preference to the French word. Onomatopoeic words are borrowed between languages in the same way as other words. "So in modern French we have borrowed the BANG of the English. Our engineers speak about the THUMP or the noise produced by the tyres of an automobile in contact with the surface of the highway." He speaks somewhat disapprovingly about "quelques intéllectuels français, peu initiés à la linguistique qui emboîtent le pas en se pâmant d'admiration devant la force suggestive de certains vocables anglais tels que THUMP BANG RUSH SPLASH FLASH CRASH &c". This is interesting because words like THUMP BANG SPLASH are of a phonetic form unfamiliar in French. Any expressive force can hardly derive from 'phonaesthetic habits' established by spreading association within French vocabulary. The appeal of such unfamiliar but expressive words seems natural rather than in any sense cultural or conventional.

It is of more interest perhaps to look at the extent of expressiveness in a remoter language outside the Indo-European family, namely Malayan. It is possible in examining Malay vocabulary to appreciate quite readily (as Sauvageot can for expressive English words) the peculiar appropriateness of a good number of words to their meanings. The following list of words in Malayan has been drawn up to demonstrate this. The Malayan words are presented first and then the corresponding English words in the same order It is interesting to study the Malayan words first to judge their expressiveness and possible meaning before looking at the English equivalents.

EXPRESSIVE MALAYAN WORDS

BERLETAR  KELEPOK        KEKEK-KEKEK    PUNCHA    MEREMAH-REMAH
EMBEK     KEPITAN        CHEKEK         PUKULAN   MEMUTAR-MUTAR
BELAHAK   KETAM          GELOGO         PUCHOK    BERTATEH-TATEH
PELOK                    MENGOGOK       PAKU
BERPUPUT  MELEKAT        MENYALOK       PATOK     TIPIS
PUPUTAN   KEPITING       MENJERIT       PILEH     TEBOL
BUAK      SA-RUMPUN      MENGATAKAN     PERET
BUEH      BERKUMPUL      MENGUAP        PETEK     BESAR
                         MENGUAPGUAP    PIDI      KECHIL
BUAH DADA GENGGAMAN      NGAP-NGAP
BUNCHIT   MENGGILING                    PAPAN
GEMBONG   TANGKAPAN      MERUNGUT       PANGGOK
GELEMBONG MENGHANCHORKAN MERENGUS       PANCHANG
MEMBUKA   KERKAH         BERSUNGUT
BISUL     KUKU           GANAS
BOLA      KEKOK          MURAM
BATIL                    GERANG
(BOTOL)                  RIANG
                         KERIANGAM


ENGLISH EQUIVALENTS

BABBLE    CLAP      GIGGLE    TAB       CRUMBLE
BLEAT     CLIP      GAG       PUNCH     TWIDDLE
BELCH     CLAMP     GULP      BUD       TOTTER
          CLASP     GURGLE    PEG
BLOW      CLING     YAP       PECK      THIN
PUFF      CRAB      YELL      PICK      THICK
BUBBLE    CLUMP     TELL      PRICK
FOAM      CLUSTER   YAWN      PLUCK     BIG
                    GAPE      PITCH     LITTLE
BREAST    GRIP      GASP
BULGE     GRIND               PLANK
BLOATED   GRASP     GRUNT     PROP
BLADDER   CRUSH     GRUFF     POLE
BURST     CRUNCH    GRUMBLE
BOIL      CLAW      GRIM
BALL      CLUMSY    GLOOMY
BOWL                GLAD
(BOTTLE)            GAY
                    GLEE


EXPRESSIVE MALAYAN WORDS (Continued)

BAWAH     KERTIK      MELIHAT           PALAM         LOMPAT
BUNTUT    MERETAKKAN  MEMANDANG         PUNG          LOMPOK
BENTOK    MENGETIK    PANDANG           CHELAM-CHELUM LIMPA
BERGABONG MENDETIK    KILAP             GUNTAR        LIHAT
BUNGKUSAN GELITEK     KILAT             PALONG        LESTARI
BENGKOK   DETING      GILANG-GEMILANG   GELEPONG      LENTING
BONGKOK   KEJANG      MENGILAP          GELETING      LENGAH
BUNGA                 KILAP             GELETOK       LEBAS
          PUTAR       KELIP             DENTUM        LAKSANA
          BERPUTAR                      MONGMONG      LACHUT
          MEMUTAR-MUTAR
SAMA
NAMA
NOT
YA
WAI
TUTUP
TUTOR
TUNGKAP
TUB-TUB


ENGLISH EQUIVALENTS
BOTTOM    CLICK     LOOK      PLUG      JUMP
BUTT      CRACK     GLANCE    PLOP      LUMP
BEND      TAP       STARE     THUMP     LIVER
BUNCH     TICK      GLIMPSE   THUNDER   LOOK AT
BUNDLE    TICKLE    GLINT     POOL      LASTING
CROOKED   TWANG     GLITTER   PLOSH     LEAPING
HUMPED    TWITCH    GLOSSY    TINKLE    LINGER
BLOSSOM             FLASH     TOCK      LASH
          TURN      FLICKER   BANG      LIKE
          TWIRL               GONG      WHIP
          TWIDDLE
SAME
NAME
KNOT
YES
WATER
SHUT UP
UTTER
TONGUETIED
SUDDENLY

From examination of the words in the list, it will be seen that the Malayan language forms imitative and expressive words through the use of sound-sequences similar to those familiar in English. The comparison between the group of words in Malayan beginning KELEPOK and the equivalent English group beginning CLAP is especially interesting since the Malayan group seems to show a parallel change in sound and meaning in the same way as was discussed for the group of English words in Chapter IV. The differences from English in the sounds used for expressive purposes and the way sound/meaning groups are constituted are also of interest. For example, Malayan links the words for FLASH FLICKER with those for GLOSSY GLITTER (KELAP KELIP MENGILAP GILANG-GEMILANG) - though in English there is a relation of meaning between GLOSS and FLOSS, and GLITTER and FLICKER have a considerable resemblance to each other.

Some of the Malayan words seem so obviously expressive through their sound that, given the general context, one might well be able to guess what they mean without using a dictionary e.g. KEKEK-KEKEK for GIGGLE, GELITEK for TICKLE, BERPUPUT for BLOW with PUPUTAN for PUFF, KERTIK for CLICK, GELOGOK for GULP, NGAP-NGAP for GASP, KILAP for FLASH, PETEK for PLUCK, PUNG for PLOP, GUNTAR for THUNDER, MONGMONG for GONG, TIPIS/TEBOL for THIN/THICK, LOMPAT for JUMP - and there are also some near-identities as SAMA NAMA NOT YA for SAME NAME KNOT YES.

For the existence of groupings of expressive words in other languages the list just considered for Malay is some evidence. There is obviously material that could be presented on similar lines for more familiar languages. So there is some parallelism between words in French beginning with CL CR GL GR and those beginning with the same initial letters in English - though words starting GR in French may begin CR or CL in English i.e. the resemblance of the forms is a broader one. Some examples are:

GRIFFE    CLAW                CLAQUER   CLAP
GRAPPE    CLUSTER             CLAMEAU   CLAMP
GRUMELER  CLOT                CLAPPER   CLICK (with the tongue)
GRIMPER   CLIMB               CLAQUER   CLATTER
AGRAFER   CLASP               CLIC      CLICK (noise)
GRIPPER   CLUTCH              CLIVER    CLEAVE
GRAPPINER GRAPPLE             CLAC      CRACK
GRUGER    CRUNCH              CRISPER   CLENCH
GRUE      CRANE               CRAMPONNER CLAMP
GROUILLER CRAWL(with)         CRAQUER   CRACK
GRINC     GRATE               CREPIR    CRIMP
GROGNER   GRUMBLE             CREPITER  CRACKLE
GRONDER   GROWL               CROQUER   CRUNCH
GRIGNER   CRINKLE             CROSSE    CROOK
GROLLER   GROUSE              CROULER   CRUMBLE

Though for the most part no etymological relation has been established between the French and the English words, the cross-linkings between the two languages in their use of a relatively limited number of sounds and sound-sequences to express a similar range of meanings is striking.

Resemblances between remote languages of sound and meaning

The following list shows for 23 languages (including languages widely separated both geographically and in terms of language families) words used for some 40 objects, actions, adjectives and grammatical elements. The objects and actions chosen are those which are well-defined and familiar, the words being among the most-frequently used in ordinary speech 23 of the words relate to parts of the body, there are 9 verbs referring to common simple actions, together with basic nouns like AIR EARTH FIRE WATER &c. This kind of examination could be extended to cover a much larger number of words and a much larger number of languages. However, the less basic the words considered, the greater the chances of borrowing between languages and the less certain any conclusions drawn on the basis of the degree of resemblance observed. Extension of the number of languages would have increased the number drawn from language-groups already represented; addition of more languages would have not added enough to the interest and validity of the results to justify the excessive length to which discussion in this section would inevitably have had to develop.

In the Table which follows the collection of words in the 23 languages (including English) is arranged in alphabetical order as follows:

          Arabic    Korean
          Basque    Latin
          Chinese   Lozi
          Finnish   Malay
          French    Samoan
          German    Spanish
          Greek     Swahili
          Hebrew    Telegu
          Hungarian Turkish
          Italian   Venda
          Japanese  Zulu

In terms of language-families, seven of the languages are from the Indo-European group (Greek, Latin, English, German, French, Spanish, Italian). This has been strongly represented partly because these languages are more familiar and it is instructive to see the variations as well as the similarities between the words they use for familiar objects and ideas, partly because resemblances in remote languages may be to forms of words which appear in some Indo-European languages and not in others. Of the other languages, four are from the African group (Lozi, Swahili, Venda, Zulu) and are more or less closely related to each other, there are the two main Semitic languages Arabic and Hebrew, the two Finno-Ugrian languages Finnish and Hungarian, two languages from the Malay-Polynesian group Malayan and Samoan, and the remainder are clearly isolated languages such as Basque, Chinese, Japanese, Korean or single representatives of other language families such as Telegu (the Dravidian languages) and Turkish (the Altaic languages). Perhaps the main gap is the absence of words from Amerindian languages. There is a bewildering variety of these but, as some check, in the discussion of the words for each separate object or action some reference is made to parallels and resemblances in the Amerindian languages.

In the Table for some words the translation into a few languages is missing either because the language has no separate word for the idea or because the dictionaries available give no translation (particularly so in the case of Lozi). Where a word is missing, a gap is left so that the order of the languages is otherwise preserved.

COMPARATIVE WORD-TABLE
ANKLE                         KNEE

KAB       POKSONGABYO         BATTA     MURUP
ACHIRAIN  TALUS               BELHAUN   GENU
HUA4      NGONGO NA LIUTU     HSIAOT'UI LINWELE
NILKKA    PERGELANGAN KAKI    POLVI     LUTUT
CHEVILLE  TAPUVAE             GENOU     TULIVAE
FUSSKNOCHEL ASTRAGALO         KNIE      RODILLA
SPHURON   KIFUNDO             GONU      GOTI
YATED     CHILAMANDA          BEREKH    MOKALU
BOKA      AYAK BILEGI         TERD      DIZ
CAVIGLIA  KHOKHOLA            GINOCCHIO NGONA
ASIKUBI   IQAKALA             HIZA      IDOLO



HIP/THIGH                     ELBOW

KHASR     NOPJOKTARI          KU        PALKUMCHI
HANKA     COXENDRIX           UKONDA    CUBITUS
K'UAN1      -                 CHOU
LANKA     PANGGUL             KYYNARPAA SIKU
HANCHE      -                 COUDE     TULILIMA
HUFTE     CADERA              ELLBOGEN  CODO
GOMPHOS     -                 OLENE
YAREKH    TODA                MARPEK    MOCHEYI
CSIPO     KALCHA              KONYOK    DIRSEK
COSCIA/ANCA TSHIRUMBI         GOMITO
KOSHI     ITHANGA             HIZI

SHOULDER                      NECK

KITF      OKAE                'UNK      MOK
SORBALDA  HUMERUS             LEPO      COLLUM
CHlEN     LIHETA              CHlNGPU   MULALA
OLKAPAA   BAHU                KAULA     TENGKOK
EPAULE    TAU'AU              COU       UA
SCHULTER  HOMBRO              HALS      CUELLO
OMOS      BEGA                AUKHEN    SHINGO
KATEF     BHUJAMU             TSAVAR    MEDA
VALL      OMUZ                NYAK      BOYUN
SPALLA    SHANDA              COLLO     MUTSINGA
KATA      IHLOMBE             KUBI      UMQALA



NOSE                          HAND

MINKHAR   KO                  YADD      SON
SUDUR     NASUS               ESKU      MANUS
P12       NGO                 SHOU      LIZOHO
NENA      HIDONG              KASI      TANGAN
NEZ       ISU                 MAIN      LIMA
NASE      NARIZ               HAND      MANO
RHINA     PUA                 KHEIR     MKONO
AF        MUKKU               YAD       CHEYI
ORR       BURUN               KEZ       EL
NASO      NINGO               MANO      TSHANDA
HANA      IMPUMULO            TE        ISANDLA



COMPARATIVE WORD-TABLE (contd)

EYE                           EAR

'AIN      NUN                 UDU       KWI
BEGI      OCULUS              BEHARRI   AUREM
YEN3      LIITO               ERH3      ZEBE
SILMA     MATA                KORVA     TELINGA
YEUX      MATA                OREILLE   TALIGA
AUGE      OJO                 OHR       OREJA
OMMA      JICHO               OTA       SIKIO
AYIN      KANNU               OZEN      CHEVI
SZEM      GOZ                 FUL       KULAK
OCCHIO    MATO                ORECCHIO  NDEHWE
ME        ISO                 MIMI      INDLEBE

MOUTH                         LIP

TUMM      IP                  SHIFFI    IPSUL
AHO       OREM                EZPAIN    LABRUM
K'0U3     HANU                CH'UN     MULOMO
SUU       MULUT               HUULI     BIBIR
BOUCHE    GUTU                LEVRE     LAU
MUND      BOCA                LIPPE     LABIO
STOMA     KINYWA              KHEILOS   MDOMO
PEH       NORU                SAFAH     PEDAVI
SZAJ      AGIZ                AJAK      DUDAK
BOCCA     MULOMO              LABBRO    MULOMO
KUTI      UMLOMO              BIRU      UDEBE


TONGUE                        TOOTH

LISAN     HYO                 SINN      I
MIHI      LINGUA              HORTZ     DENTEM
SHE2      LILIMI              CHIH      LINO
KIELI     LIDAH               HAMMAS    GIGI
LANGUE    LAULAUFAIVA         DENT      NIFO
ZUNGE     LENGUA              ZAHN      DIENTE
GLOSSA    ULIMI               ODONTA    JINO
LASHON    NALUKA              SHEN      PALLU
NYELV     DIL                 FOG       DISH
LINGUA    LULIMI              DENTE     LINO
SITA      ULIMI               HA        IZINYO


CHIN/JAW                      CHEEK

DAKN      TOK                 KHADD     BYAM
MATRAILA  MAXILLA             MATHEL    GENA
K'02      MUTAHALI            CHIA
LEUKA     DAGU                POSKI     PIPI
MACHOIR   AUVAE               JOUE      ALAFAU
KINN      QUIJADA             BACKE     CARRILLO
GNATHOS   TAYA                PAREIA    SHAVU
SANTER    GADDAMU             LEHIY     CHEMPA
ALL       CHENE               ORCA      YANAK
MASCELLA  LUTAHA              GUANCIA
AGO       UMLATHE             HOO


COMPARATIVE WORD-TABLE (contd)

HEAD                          FACE
RAS       MORI                WISH      OLGUL
BURU      CAPUT               AURPEGI   FACIES
T'OU                          MIENMAO
PAA       KEPALA              MUOTO     MUKA
TETE      ULU                 FIGURE    MATA
KOPF      CABEZA              GESICHT   CARA
KEPHALE   KICHWA              PROSOPON  USO
ROSH      TALA                PANIYM    MUKHAMU
FEJ       BASH                ARC       YUZ
CAPO                          FACCIA
ATAMA                         MUKAU

VOICE                         HEART

SAUT(HISS) MOKSORI            KALB      SIMJANG
BOZ       VOCEM               BIHOTZ    CORDEM
SHENGYIN                      HSIN
AANI      SUARA               SYDAN     JANTONG
VOIX      LEO                 COEUR     FATU
STIMME    VOZ                 HERZ      CORAZON
PHONE     SAUTI               KARDIA    MOYO
KOL       KANTHADHVANI        LEV       HRDAYAMU
HANG      SEG                 SZIV      KALP
VOCE                          CUORE
KOE                           KOKORO

BODY                          BREAST

BADAN     MOM                 BIZZ      CHOT
GORPUTZ   CORPUS              TTITTI    MAMMA
SHEN1TI3  MUBILI              HSIUNG    LIZWELE
RUUMIS-VARTALO BADAN          POVI      SUSU
CORPS     TINO                SEIN      FATAFATA
KORPER    CUERPO              BRUST     SENO
SOMA      MWILI               MADZOS    KIFUA
GUF       ODALU               DAD       PETTU
TEST      VIRJUT              MELL      MEME
CORPO     TSHITUMBU           PETTO     MADAMU
KARADA                        CHICHI    IBELE

THROAT

ZLA'IM    MOK
LEPHO     GUTTUR
YENH0U
KURKHU    KERONGKONGAN
GORGE     FA A'l
GURGEL    GARGANTA
PHARUGX   KOO
GAHON     GONTU
TOROKX    BOGAZ
GOLA
NODO


COMPARATIVE WORD-TABLE (contd)

CUT                 HIT

KATA      PEGI      DARAB     MATCHIDA
PIKATU    CAEDO     JO        TUNDO
K01       PUMA      CHICHUNG  NATA
LEIKATA   MEMOTONG  LIPDA     MEMUKUL
COUPER    TIPI      FRAPPER   TA
SCHNEIDEN CORTAR    SCHLAGEN  PEGAR
KEIRO     KATA      TUPTEIN   PIGA
KARAT     KOYU      HIKAH     KOTTU
VAG       KESME     UT        VURMSIK
TAGLIARE  UTUMULA   COLPIRE   HIRWA
KIRU      SIKA      UTU       BETA

GO                  GIVE

RAN       KADA      'ADA      CH UDA
JOAN      VADO      EMAN      DARE
HSING     YA        CHI       FA
KULKEA    PERGI     ANTAA     MEMBERI
ALLER     ALU       DONNER    FOA'I
GEHEN     IR        GEBEN     DAR
KHOREIN   KWENDA    DIDOMI    PA
HALAKH    VELLU     NATAN     ICHCHU
MENJEN    GITMEK    AD        ALMAK
ANDARE    IYAYI     DARE      UFHA
IKU       HAMBA     KURE      NIKA

RUB                 SPIT

RAK       PIBIDA    TAFF      CHIMPAETDA
TORRATU   TERO      THU       SPUO
MOTSA     PIKITA    T'OT'U    KWA MATI
HANGATA   MENGGOSOK SYLKEA    BERLUDAH
FROTTER   MILl      CRACHER   ANU
REIBEN    ESTREGAR  SPUCKEN   ESCUPIR
TRIBEIN   KUSUGUA   PTUEIN    TEMA MATE
HIKEKH    PARUGETTU YARAK     UMMU
DORZSOL   SURTMEK   KOP       TUKURMEK
STROFINARE UKOROPA  SPUTARE   UPFA
KOSURU    HLIKIHLA  TSUBA     AMATHE

PRICK               LICK

SHAKK     JIRUDA    LIHIS
SISTATU   PUNGO     MILIKATU  LINGO
CHlENTZU  TABA      SHIH      LAZWA
PISTAA    CHUCHOK   NUOLLA    MENJILAT
PIQUER    TUI       LECHER    SALOSALO
STECHEN   PICAR     LECKEN    LAMER
KENTEIN   CHOMA     LIKHMADZO LAMBA
DAKAR     PODUCHU   LIKEK     NAKU
SZUR      SOKMET    NYAL      YALAMAK
PUNGERE   MUPFA     LECCARE   NANZWA
SASH      HLABA     NAMERU    KHOTHA

COMPARATIVE WORD-TABLE (contd)

AIR/WIND            WATER

ARYAH     KUNGI     MWAI      MUL
AIRE      AER       UR        AQUA
FENG      MOYA      SHUI      MEZI
ILMA      ANGIN     VESI      AYER
AIR       EA        EAU       VAI
LUFT      AIRE      WASSER    AGUA
AER       HEWA      HUDOR     MAJI
AVIYR     GALl      MAYIM     NILLU
LEVEGO    ICHI      VIZ       SU
ARIA      UWAINDA   ACQUA     MADI
KUUKI     UMOYA     MIZU      AMANZI

FIRE                EARTH

NAR       PUL       ARD       CHIGU
SU        IGNIS     LUR       TERRA
HUO       MULILO    TUTI      MUBU
TULI      API       MAA       BUMI
FEU       AFE       TERRE     ELE
FEUER     FUEGO     ERDE      TIERRA
PUR       MOTO      GE        NEHI
ESH       NIPPU     ODAMAH    BHUMI
TUZ       ATES      TUTI      TOPRAK
FUOCO     MULILO    TERRA     MAVU
HI        UMLILO    RIKU      UMHLABA

WAVE                CRAB

MAUJ                SARATAN   KE
UHAIN     UNDA      KARAMARRI CANCER
PO        LINDINDA  HSIEH     NKALA
LAINE     OMBAK     RAPUELAIN KEPITING
ONDE      GALU      CRABE     PA'A
WOGE      OLA       KRABBE    CAMBARO
KUMA      WIMBI     KARKINOS  KAA
GAL       ALA       SARTAN    KAPPU
HULLAM    DALGA     TENGERIRAK YENGEC
ONDA      LIGAMBEIO GRANCHIO  DAMBATSHEKWA
NAMI      IGAGASI   KANI      INKALA

DEAD

MAIYIT    CHUKUN
HERIOTZE  MORTUUS
SSUTE     MUSHU
KUOLLUT   MATI
MORT      MATE
TOT       MUERTO
NEKROS    MUFU
MET       CHACHCHINA
HALOTT    OLU
MORTO     MUFU
SINDE     FILEYO


COMPARATIVE WORD-TABLE (contd)

NAME                MEANING

ISM       IRUM      MA'ANA    DUT
IZEN      NOMEN     IKUR      NOTIO
MING      LIBIZO    II        TALUSO
NIMI      NAMA      ILMOITTAN ERTI
NOM       IGOA      SENS      UIGA
NAME      NOMBRE    MEINUNG   SENTIDO
ONOMA     JINA      NOEMA     MAANA
SHEM      PERU      MASHMAO   ARTHAMU
NOV       NAM       ERTELEM   MANA
NOME      DZINA     SENSO     MURERO
NAMAE     IGAMA     IMI       UMQONDO

KNOW                SAME

'IRIF     ALDA      SAWA      KATUN
JAKIN     SCIO      BER       IDEM
JENSHIH   ZIBA      HSIANGTUNG SWANA
TIETAA    KENAL     SAMA      SAMA
SAVOIR    ILOA      MEME      TUSA
KENNEN  CONOCER(SABER) SEIB   MISMO
GIGNOSCO  JUA       HOMOS     ILE ILE
YADA      JNANA     SHAVEH    SAWA
TUDOM     BILMEK    UGYAHAZ   AYNI
CONOSCERE UDIVHA    STESSO    FANA
SHITTE    AZI       ONAZI     NJALO

MAN                 AT

INSAN     SARAM     Fl        E
GIAZON    HOMINEM   DA        AD
JEN       MUNNA     CHIN      FA
IHMINEN   MANUSIA   SSA       DI
HOMME     TAGATA    A         I
MENSCH    HOMBRE    AN        A
ANTHROPOS MTU       EPI       PENYE
ADAM      MANUSHYUDA B        VADDA
EMBER     ADAM       A        DA
UOMO      MUTHU      A        NGA
OTOKO     UMUNTU     DE

In looking at the list, the question is what resemblances and differences can be observed between the different words used for each of the 43 meanings in the different languages. Before doing this, one must recall the warning given by Bloomfield (and many other philologists) against drawing any large conclusion about the relationships of languages from mere resemblance of vocabulary and in particular against attempting to construct new family relationships of language on the basis of scattered similarities of words. So Bloomfield, after discussing resemblances which can be explained by historical connections of languages, and accepting that there might be some resemblances resulting from universal factors in language, gave an illustration of the danger of basing too much on occasional similarities:

"Other resemblances between languages bear no significance whatever. Modern Greek MATI means 'eye' and so does the Malay word MATA. If we knew nothing of the history of these languages, we should have to work through their lexicons and grammars in search of other resemblances and then weigh the probabilities of historical connection, taking into account both the number of resemblances and their structural position. Actually our knowledge of the past forms bath of Greek and Malay shows us that the resemblance of the two words is accidental. Modern Greek MATI is a relatively recent development from an ancient Greek OMMATION 'little eye' and this word was in ancient Greek connected, as a secondary derivative, with an underlying word OMMA 'eye'. The Malay word on the other hand had in ancient times much the same phonetic shape as today. Even if against all present seeming, it should turn out some day that these two languages are related, the relationship would lie far back of Primitive IndoEuropean and Primitive Malayo-Polynesian times and the resemblance of the modern words for 'eye' would have nothing to do with this relationship".

With this caution in mind, one can now consider how far resemblances can be noted in the 23 languages between the words they use for the common ideas presented. The degree of resemblance can vary (in the same way as resemblance between words in any close language-grouping such as that of the Romance languages can vary). Resemblance can range from complete identity of sound, as in English HAND German HAND, through near identity, as in French COEUR Italian CUORE, a clear general resemblance, as in German ZUNGE English TONGUE, resemblance of structure, as in French LANGUE English TONGUE, resemblance of principal sound or sounds, as for LINGUA LISAN LIDAH (tongue), to remoter though possible resemblance, as for English HEART Greek KARDIA to complete dissimilarity, as for English NECK German HALS.

Given this varying degree of resemblance and the considerable quantity of material to be analysed, the way adopted here of tackling the description of the degree of similarity observed is to list the 43 words in the order which results from assessing the overall degree of similarity found between words drawn from the 23 languages i.e. the word where there is the greatest resemblance between the different languages is placed first and that where there is the least is placed last.

Proceeding in this way, in terms of the overall degree of resemblance, the words are placed in the following order:

          CRAB      LIP       BODY
          CUT       MEANING   MOUTH
          LICK      THROAT    EYE
          TONGUE    HIT       HIP/THIGH
          NAME      SAME      NECK
          WAVE      SPIT      PRICK
          HEART     EAR       BREAST
          AIR       KNEE      EARTH
          DEAD      WATER     CHIN/JAW
          RUB       GO        FACE
          AT        HAND      CHEEK
          NOSE      VOICE     SHOULDER
          FIRE      TOOTH     GIVE
          MAN       HEAD
          ELBOW     KNOW


The words for CRAB can be grouped in order of their degree of
resemblance as follows:

          CRAB      SARATAN   HSlEH
          CRABE     SARTAN
          KRABBE              RAPUELAIN
          CAMBARO
          CANCER              TENGERIRAK
          GRANCHIO
          KARKINOS            PA'A
          KAPPU
          KARAMARRI           YENGEC
          KANI
          KAA                 DAMBATSHEKWA
          KE
          KEPITING
          NKALA
          INKALA

Out of 23 words for CRAB, 14 begin with K (or C) or have K as a prominent letter in the word (NKALA and INKALA); GRANCHIO is included for its general resemblance to other words in the group. Apart from these 15 words, 2 of the remaining 8 words resemble each other (SARATAN and SARTAN), both of which are Semitic (from Hebrew and Arabic). The remaining 6 words appear completely isolated (words from Chinese, Finnish, Hungarian, Samoan, Turkish and Venda). The 15 words which show a varying degree of resemblance to each other include those drawn from the 7 Indo-European languages (though the words do not appear to be related by descent or borrowing except for CRAB CRABE and KRABBE in English, French and German). The other IndoEuropean languages have chosen as words for CRAB ones which have some broad degree of resemblance but not identity e.g. Spanish CAMBARO and Italian GRANCHIO. It may be thought that it is coincidence that so many of the words for CRAB should begin with K (or C), a sound that happens in English to be associated with the set of words such as CLASP, CLAW, CRUSH &c. It appears more than a coincidence if one notes the rarity (as regards the other 42 words listed) of finding K (or C) as the initial letter or as a prominent letter. The only other word which shows a similar concentration of the letter K (or C) in the different languages is CUT. The broad resemblances between words drawn from unrelated languages are of interest:

          Korean    KE        Japanese  KANI
          Swahili   KAA        Latin     CANCER
          Telegu    KAPPU
          Malayan   KEPITING

The words NKALA and INKALA are drawn from two related languages, Lozi and Zulu.

The degree of resemblance shown seems well above chance and not to be explained as a matter of accident or coincidence, nor is it apparently due to borrowing - since one would expect borrowed words to resemble each other more closely than most of these do. The resemblance suggests that speakers of different languages in some way come to associate with the very distinctive shape and character of the CRAB sounds which tend to be the same or similar.

In some other languages (not systematically covered in the above examination) the words for CRAB seem to fit the same pattern e.g. Pahlavi KARZANG Portuguese CARANGUELO.

A similar examination can be made of words for CUT. The words can be arranged in terms of their resemblance as follows:

          KO'       SCHNEIDEN
          KOYU
          CUT       VAG
          CORTAR
          COUPER    TAGLIARE
          KATA
          KATA      PEGI
          KARAT
          KEIRO
          KIRU      PUMA
          SIKA
          PIKATU    MEMOTONG
          LEIKATA
          CAEDO     TIPI
          KESME
                    UTUMULA

Out of the 23 words for CUT, 15 begin with K (or C) or have K as a prominent letter in the word (SIKA PIKATU and LEIKATA). Apart from these 15 words, the remaining 8 words appear isolated from each other and from the main group (words from German, Italian, Hungarian, Korean, Lozi, Malay, Samoan, and Venda).

The 15 words which show a varying degree of resemblance to each other include words drawn from 5 Indo-European languages (though they all appear etymologically unrelated). French COUPER and English CUT are not normally related to each other etymologically (even though there is also COUTEAU in French for the instrument used for cutting - a knife).

Apart from the general resemblance of the words in the group (based on the letter K (or C) ) there are some closer resemblances which are of interest:

          Telegu    KOYU      Arabic    KATA
          Chinese   KO        Swahili   KATA
          Japanese  KIRU      Basque    PIKATU
          Greek     KEIRO     Finnish   LEIKATA
          Hebrew    KARAT

The degree of resemblance seems extraordinary and well beyond any explanation in terms of chance or coincidence. Some resemblance, for example between Arabic and Swahili, may be due to borrowing though it would be surprising if a word for an action as common and necessary as CUT should not usually be found as an aboriginal constituent of every language. The resemblances between Japanese, Greek and Hebrew cannot be explained in this way.

That the resemblance (and the predominance of words beginning with K or with K as a prominent letter) cannot be due to chance is confirmed by examination of words for CUT in some other languages. In Aranda (an Australian aboriginal language) the word for CUT is KAMA, Amerindian words are KAWATE SIKATE UKUTA KOODE SIIKI, Punjabi KET, Icelandic SKERA, Hawaian OKI, Egyptian NEKA.

The next word considered is LICK. The words can be arranged in order of resemblance as follows:

LICK      NAKU      MENJILAT
LIKEK
LIKHMADZO NAMERU    SALOSALO
MILIKATU
LECKEN    NANZWA    KHOTHA
LECHER
LECCARE
NYAL
LIHIS
LINGO
LAZWA
LAMBA
LAMER
YALAMAK


Out of the 22 words listed, 14 begin with L or have L as a
prominent letter in the word. It is of interest that another 4
start with N (including NUOLLA which also has L as a prominent
sound). Out of the 14, 7 are drawn from Indo-European languages,
though several distinct roots appear to be involved. The
resemblance of the first 10 words is striking; besides English
LICK, these include:

          Hebrew    LIKEK
          Basque    MILIKATU
          Hungarian NYAL
          Arabic    LIHIS
          Greek     LIKHMADZO
          Latin     LINGO


Other striking resemblances are:

          Swahili   LAMBA
          Spanish   LAMER
          Turkish   YALAMAK

Again the overall degree of resemblance seems much greater than can be explained as a matter of chance. There seems little likelihood of borrowing between the remote languages which show strong resemblances. As in the case of the words already considered for CUT and CRAB, a cursory survey of some other languages throws up similar forms. In Amerindian languages there is the word LAMBI for LICK (and for tongue LISIKI LAKSI LINGI), in Russian LIZAT, Albanian LEPIJ, Somali LEEF.

The next word considered is TONGUE. The words for tongue can be arranged in order of resemblance as follows:

          LINGUA    ZUNGE     MIHI
          LINGUA    TONGUE
          LENGUA              SHE
          LANGUE              SITA
          NALUKA
          LISAN               HYO
          LASHON
          GLOSSA
          LIDAH
          DIL
          ULIMI
          LILIMI
          LULIMI

          LAULAUFAIVA 

          NYELV

          KIELI

Out of the 23 words, 14 have L as the initial letter or as a prominent letter in the word; another two also have L as a less significant letter. Two words appear completely isolated (from Basque and Korean); two resemble each other in form (German ZUNGE and English TONGUE - etymologically related) and also resemble in form a number of the words beginning with L on the pattern of LINGUA LANGUE. The remaining two words which may have some resemblance are drawn from Japanese and Chinese.

The large group of words beginning with L contains words from many language families. Besides the 5 Indo-European words, NALUKA is Telegu, LISAN and LASHON are Semitic, LIDAH and DIL are Malay and Turkish and the remaining three words are from the Bantu languages.

The degree of resemblance seems remarkable. The concentration of words beginning with L is matched only by the group of words for LICK (which seem closely related to words for TONGUE) and to a lesser extent by words for LIP. Apart from these, L is rare as an initial letter for the 43 words under consideration. The concentration seems to go beyond anything that could be the result of chance or coincidence. Words from other languages not included in the Table show a similar concentration in the use of L : Amerindian words for tongue have already been quoted LINGI NILI LAKSI LISIKI. In addition there are the Hawaian ALELO and the Aranda LINGA.

The next word considered is NAME. The words from the different languages can be arranged in order of resemblance as follows:


          NAME      ISM       IGOA      PERU
          NAME      IZEN      IGAMA
          NAMA      SHEM
          NAMAE
          NAM       DZINA
          NOM       JINA
          NOME
          NOMEN     IRUM
          ONOMA
          NOMBRE    LIBIZO
          NOV
          NIMI

          MING

Out of the 23 words for NAME, 12 begin with N and a further 8 have N or M as a prominent letter (including MING which has both N and M though in reverse order). One word PERU appears completely isolated and two others IRUM and LIBIZO are probably isolated (at any rate in terms of the languages dealt with here). These three words are from Telegu Korean and Lozi respectively.

The 12 words in the main sub-group beginning with N include, besides those from the 7 Indo-European languages, words from unrelated language-families, Finnish, Hungarian, Japanese, Malay and Turkish. Some of the resemblances between unrelated languages are striking:


          NAME      English (and German)
          NAMAE     Japanese
          NAM       Turkish
          NAMA      Malay
          NIMI      Finnish
          
          ISM       Arabic
          IZEN      Basque
          SHEM      Hebrew

          IGOA      Samoan
          IGAMA     Zulu

DZINA and JINA are from two related languages, Swahili and Venda.

The concentration of words beginning with N or including N as a prominent letter is unusual and remarkable. For the other words in the list, N is rare as an initial letter except for words for NOSE. It is unlikely that the close resemblances between remote languages can be due to borrowing; not only is this on the face of it improbable (Japanese NAMAE can hardly be a borrowing from English or German) but the idea NAME is something one would expect to be found in every language as a basic aboriginal element. Nor is it likely that Malay NAMA is borrowed either from the Japanese or the English.

A rapid examination of a number of other languages shows that the result described above is not dependent on pre-selection of the languages used. In Amerindian languages one finds MAMI WAMI NIK, Vietnamese MING, Russian IMYA, Hawaian INOA, Albanian EMER, Norwegian NAVN, Punjabi NAN, Icelandic NAIN, Pahlavi NAM.

Rather than examine at the same length each of the remaining 38 words, it is proposed simply to draw attention to some of the more striking resemblances which, cumulatively with the other material presented, seem to make it impossible to explain the overall degree of resemblance between the different languages in their words for common objects and actions a matter of sporadic resemblance or chance.


   HEART  Basque    BIHOTZ
          German    HERZ
          English   HEART
          Telegu    HRDAYAMU

          Japanese  KOKORO
          Latin     COR
          Italian   CUORE


to which can be added Egyptian    HAT.

   AIR    
                    Arabic    ARYAH
                    Greek     AER
                    Hebrew    AVIYR
                    Samoan    EA
                    Swahili   HEWA

   DEAD             Arabic    MAIYIT
                    French    MORT
                    Hebrew    MET
                    Lozi      MUSHU
                    Malay     MATI
                    Samoan    MATE
                    Swahili   MUFU
                    Venda     MUFU


to which can be added: Russian MYORTVYI  Egyptian METU Hawaian
MAKE  Punjabi MERYA.

   NOSE             English   NOSE
                    German    NASE
                    French    NEZ
                    Finnish   NENA
                    Japanese  HANA
Venda     NINGO


plus Amerindian NASA OSA NISI Russian NOS Icelandic NEF 
Norwegian NESE.

   MAN              English   MAN
                    Lozi      MUNNA
                    Malay     MANUSIA
                    Telegu    MANUSHYUDA
                    Venda     MUTHU
                    Zulu      UMUNTU
                    Swahili   MTU

   MEANING          English   MEANING
                    Arabic    MA'ANA
                    Swahili   MAANA
                    Turkish   MANA
                    German    MEINUNG

   HIT              English   HIT
                    Hebrew    HIKAH
                    Venda     HIRWA
                    Hungarian UT
                    Japanese  UTU
                    Samoan    TA
                    Lozi      NATA
                    Zulu      BETA

    plus            Amerindian ETI UKA
                    Spanish   BEGAR
                    Samoan    PIGA
plus                Amerindian PEKA

   SAME             English   SAME
                    Finnish   SAMA
                    Malay     SAMA
                    Lozi      SWANA
                    Arabic    SAWA
                    Telegu    SAWA
                    Hebrew    SHAVEH

   plus Russian SAMYI  Icelandic SAMUR

   EAR              English   EAR
                    German    OHR
                    Chinese   ERH
                    French    OREILLE
                    Greek     OTA
                    Hebrew    OZEN


It is proposed to deal more fully with the words for EYE which
are of special interest. The words can be grouped in terms of
resemblance as follows:

          EYE       OCCHIO    ME        NUN
          YEN       OCULUS    OMMA
          AYIN      OJO       MATA      LIITO
          'AIN      AUGE      MATA
          YEUX      BEGI      MATO      KANNU
                    GOZ
          ISO                 SILMA
                    JICHO

Three of the 23 words appear completely isolated (from Korean, Lozi, Telegu). The remaining words are placed in three sub-groups within which the degree of resemblance varies. The first sub-group brings together words from some remote languages: English EYE Chinese YEN Hebrew and Arabic AYIN and 'AIN and French YEUX (the plural form of OEIL which in form and etymological origin is linked to the words in the second sub-group beginning OCCHIO but in actual pronunciation is closer to the first sub-group beginning EYE).

The second sub-group brings together the languages of Latin origin (Italian, and Spanish but not French) with the German AUGE and, as more remote structural similarities, Basque BEGI and Swahili JICHO. See also Amerindian OGI with German AUGE and Latin OCULUS.

The third group is of particular interest. The Japanese ME is followed by four very similar words:

          OMMA      Greek (Modern Greek MATI)
          MATA      Malay
          MATA      Samoan
          MATO      Venda

In addition to these, from other languages there are Vietnamese MAT (Egyptian MAA to see) Hawaian MAKA.

Bloomfield's comment quoted earlier that the resemblance between Modern Greek MATI and Malay MATA is accidental and entirely without significance seems somewhat less justified when the words are placed in a larger group including remote languages such as Venda and Vietnamese.

Of the other comparisons, that between English EYE and Chinese YEN may seem extraordinary; the resemblance between English EAR and Chinese ERH makes it even more extraordinary. At some point explanation by way of coincidence begins to seem incredible - but no explanation in terms of language relation seems possible, any more than for the resemblance between Venda, Malay and Greek.

WATER   The words can be grouped as follows:
          WATER     MADI      UR        SU
          WASSER    MAJI      AYER      SHUI
          VESI      MEZI      AQUA
          VIZ       MIZ       ACQUA     HUDOR
          VAI       MWAI      AGUA
                    MAYIM               NILLU
                    AMANZI    EAU

                    MUL

In terms of resemblance the three sub-groups seem well-defined, though there are some resemblances between words in the different sub-groups e.g. VAI and MWAI1 VIZ and M1Z, VESI and MEZI, and a general resemblance of structure between the sub-groups.

There are two words which appear isolated (from Greek and Telegu). SU and SHUI are Turkish and Chinese respectively. The sub-groups bring together words resembling each other from remote languages: VAI is Samoan, VIZ and VESI Finno-Ugrian with some resemblance with German WASSER and English WATER.

MADI MAJI and MEZI are from the Bantu languages but MIZ is Japanese and MWAI and MAYIM are Semitic. UR is Basque, AYER Malay, AQUA Latin. The French EAU is related etymologically to AQUA but in sound, as currently pronounced, is quite distinct

Other languages show resemblance to one or other of the sub-groups - sometimes to two sub-groups at the same time as is the case for the Australian Aranda word KWATJA. This has a resemblance to the group beginning WATER, and to the group including ACQUA. Amerindian words include AKWINI as well as MA and UMA. There are also Swedish VATEN Hawaian WAI Russian VODA Norwegian VANN; and Egyptian MU (Korean MUL Arabic MWAI).

HEAD

The words for HEAD can be grouped as follows:

          CAPO      RAS
          KOPF      ROSH
          CAPUT
          KEPALA    BASH
          KEPHALE
          CABEZA

          KICHWA

Of the 20 words listed, other than the 10 above, the remainder appear to be isolated including French TETE and English HEAD. There seem in most languages to be a number of synonyms for HEAD; listing of the synonyms would bring out a greater degree of resemblance not only between remote languages but between languages belonging to the same family, particularly the Indo-European.

Nevertheless, the words in the first sub-group come from a wide spread of languages:

Italian CAPO, German KOPF, Malay KEPALA, Greek KEPHALE and Spanish CABEZA. KICHWA is Swahili.

The resemblance between the Malay and some Indo-European words is striking.

Survey of other languages produces some interesting resemblances: KAPUTA Australian aboriginal CAPUT Latin KUPA Amerindian; HEWIDA Amerindian HEAD English HOOFD Dutch; Egyptian TATA French TETE. There is also Amerindian KAPPALI (forehead) which closely resembles Greek KEPHALE and Malay KEPALA.

BODY

          Basque    GORPUTZ   English   BODY
          Latin     CORPUS    Arabic    BADAN
          German    KORPER


The Basque word may be a borrowing, though it is surprising
if
Basque had no word of its own. The resemblance between English
and Arabic is of interest.


NECK


The words can be grouped as follows:

          NECK      COU       MULAIA
          NYAK      KUBI      UMQALA
          'UNK      KAULA
                    COLLO
          AUKHEN    COLLUM 
                    CUELLO
          MOK

          TENGKOK

The first two sub-groups include 12 out of the 23 words. The remaining words (other than the two Bantu words (MULALA and UMQALA) appear to be isolated (including the German HALS, though etymologically this may be related to COLLUM).

In the first sub-group, the resemblance of the Arabic 'UNK, Hungarian NYAK and English NECK is striking. There seems no possibility of borrowing or explanation in terms of language-relation. The Greek AUKHEN is included because the main sounds N and K are the same though in reverse order; metathesis, the changing of the order of sounds in words, is a common phenomenon.

In the group beginning COU, most of the words are etymologically related to the Latin COLLUM but KUBI is Japanese and KAULA is Finnish. Though borrowing of the Finnish word from an Indo-European language has been suggested (from one of the Baltic languages), this seems unlikely. In Finnish, as in other languages, there is a parallelism between words for functionally similar parts of the body. Besides KAULA (neck) there is NILKKA (ankle). Similarly in English the NK grouping appears in ANKLE KNEE NECK KNUCKLE (and possibly a modified form in FINGER). In Japanese, there are HIZA and HIZI meaning knee and elbow respectively, in Arabic KU and KAB meaning elbow and ankle, in French COU and COUDE meaning neck and elbow, in Hungarian NYAK and KONYOK meaning neck and elbow, in Japanese KUBI and ASIKUBI meaning neck and ankle, in Samoan TAPUVAE TULIVAE TULILIMA meaning ankle knee and elbow respectively, in Zulu IQAKALA UMQALA meaning ankle and neck.

The resemblances amongst the words for NECK seem to go well beyond what can be explained as a result of coincidence, and with the comparisons between words for other joints (knee, ankle, elbow), there is a clear impression of some well-organised underlying system of relation between the sounds used and the meanings. A survey of words used in some other languages supports this: fitting the group of words beginning with COU there is Vietnamese CO and for the group of words beginning NECK, there are Amerindian NUKI NUK TENUK NOXI plus words in Dutch and German for nape of the neck NEK NACKEN) and Egyptian NEHEBET.

EARTH

Some resemblances are:

          EARTH     English   ERDE      German
          ARD       Arabic    ODAMAH    Hebrew

However, in most languages there are several synonyms or near-synonyms for EARTH, sometimes with slightly different applications (as in English EARTH GROUND LAND SOIL WORLD) Examination of the range of synonyms in other languages would be likely to produce a larger number of resemblances. To some extent, the words in different languages for EARTH AIR WATER and FIRE show interrelations similar to those seen between words for different joints of the body considered immediately above. So there are: MUL PUL in Korean meaning water and fire, UR LUR in Basque meaning water and earth, ARD ARYAH in Arabic meaning earth and air, MAA ILMA in Finnish meaning earth and air, VIZ TUZ in Hungarian for water and fire, NIPPU NILLU in Telegu for fire and water.

FACE

There is the resemblance:

MUKAU  Japanese
MUKA      Malay
MUKHAMU   Telegu

SHOULDER

Compare:

          KATEF     Hebrew    and       OMUZ      Turkish
          KATA      Japanese  OMOS      Greek
          KITF      Arabic    (HUMERUS) (LATIN)

GIVE

There are the following resemblances:

          AD        FA
          'ADA      PA
          DAR
          DARE
          DONNER
          DIDOMI

          ANTAA
          NATAN

In the first sub-group, AD and 'ADA are Hungarian and Arabic, DAR is Spanish and ANTAA and NATAN are Finnish and Hebrew. FA and PA are both from African languages.

From other languages, there are: NDAMA Australian aboriginal IDAI IDE from Amerindian languages TA Egyptian DADAN Pahlavi DE Punjabi DAVAT Russian.

The conclusions drawn from the above examination of resemblances between words in 23 languages for 43 common objects, actions etc. are the following:

(a) In the case of many, if not most, of the common words examined, there are resemblances between words drawn from remote languages which seem to go well beyond chance;

(b) these resemblances cannot plausibly be explained as a result of borrowing between languages or of previously unobserved relationships of descent between broad language families;

(c) there is a clear probability that, for well-defined referents, there is a tendency for a limited range of sounds to be used to express them - which results in a greater than chance resemblance between languages;

(d) in the case of some words, there are striking and almost complete resemblances between very remote languages; in other cases there is a tendency for a particular letter to be used as the initial letter or as a prominent letter in most of the languages for the particular referents;

(e) there are also signs of internal relationships between the sounds used in any given language to compose words referring to referents which are themselves related in function or form;

(f) these findings are consistent with and positively support the hypothesis that there is a systematic underlying sound-meaning relation in language and that this relation is manifested in many if not all languages The evidence is consistent with the experimental study of sound symbolism described in the previous chapter which demonstrated the ability of experimental subjects to reach conclusions with a greater than chance accuracy about the meanings of words in languages unknown to them, in the conditions of the experiments reported;

(g) the findings are not in conflict with the views of comparative linguistics on the family relationships of language which are based in a very similar way on the observation of resemblances in structure and vocabulary which are thought cumulatively to be so great that no other explanation (borrowing, convergence, analogy, accident and coincidence) is plausible as an explanation. Family relationships between languages (i.e. variations in form which have developed -in the same way as dialects develop - over time by different sections of an originally united language-community) are fully compatible as one form of explanation (using systematic sound-laws in parallel to systematic dialectal variations within a single language) with the assumption of a more generally shared natural underlying relationship between sound and meaning which increases the probability between languages that words for similar referents will be similar in sound-composition;

(h) an explanation on these lines supplements accepted comparative linguistics and provides an answer to some embarrassing peculiarities which have had up to now to be dismissed as the result of chance. So, because they cannot be fitted into the system of the Indo-European sound-laws, the following resemblances:


HAVE      English   DAY       English   PATH      English
HABEN     German    TAG       German    PATH      Persian
HABEO     Latin     DIA       Spanish
AVERE     Italian   DIES      Latin     BAD       English
                                        BAD       Persian

WHOLE    English FIRE     English 
HOLOS    Greek      FEUER    German
                    FEU       French
                    FOCUS     Latin
                    PUR       Greek

have had to be dismissed as meaningless accidents. Once it is recognised that there can be resemblances between languages which derive from a natural underlying basis and not necessarily from common language-descent, it is not surprising to find words such as the above which resemble each other between genetically related languages but do not follow the rules of dialectal variation which otherwise link a large part of the vocabularies.

The system of comparative linguistics was built up by not dismissing as accidental observed resemblances between languages and by the cumulative evidence that in this way was gathered in support of the hypothesis that there were underlying regularities between related languages. The system of verification of any relation between two languages involved "a hierarchy of criteria through which the comparative linguist will descend to find more and more support (or possible refutation) for a given hypothesis... To escape from all possible ambiguity, comparative linguistics has to base any proof of common origin and inference of proto-language forms on words that cannot conceivably be the product of coincidence brought about by extra-linguistic factors... The hierarchy will proceed through the more 'colourless' forms such as pronouns, articles, flexional endings, until these have been exhausted.... (the search must continue for regular resemblances) until "It is fantastically improbable that coincidence could have created these regular correspondences". (Lord - Comparative Linguistics).

Applying what is said about comparative linguistics to the results set out in this section, it is fantastically improbable that coincidence could have created the degree of resemblance observed between unrelated languages. The words used in the examination have been ones that are unlikely to be borrowed between languages. The accumulation of evidence makes it increasingly likely that some other principle, besides that of genetic relation between languages, must be introduced to explain the uniformities observed. The only gap so far is that the examination of resemblances has not extended to 'colourless' forms such as pronouns, articles, demonstratives or to words for basic colours on which much of the structure of comparative linguistics has been built. These other areas are dealt with in the remainder of this Chapter.

Uniformities between languages in words used for demonstratives and pronouns

The words dealt with in this section are the demonstratives THIS and THAT and the personal pronouns I (ME) THOU YOU HE IT WE THEY. The pronouns are also demonstratives in the sense that in any particular circumstances the reference of the pronouns must be indicated. So 'I' means 'THIS PERSON HERE who is speaking', 'YOU' means 'THIS PERSON HERE to whom I am speaking', 'HE' means 'THAT PERSON THERE about whom I am speaking'. In one sense demonstratives and pronouns have the most sharply defined meanings of any words - they refer to precisely identified persons or objects - but in another sense the demonstratives have no meaning other than is involved in the act of demonstration, the act of pointing to somebody or something; in this respect they resemble purely grammatical forms like the prepositions and conjunctions. In contrast, other words, nouns like CHAIR or WOMAN, are much more specific than demonstratives since they refer only to a particular idea; these other words can be used meaningfully in isolation from a context to convey the idea of a particular material or living structure.

Because demonstratives and pronouns are in the sense indicated free of specific content, they have the most uniform application throughout the world. They are a basic part of all languages because no language can be conceived of which does not make possible a distinction between the speaker and the person addressed and which does not allow indication of the particular real objects or persons referred to, This is why demonstratives and pronouns are of interest for study of the relationships between languages. Study of pronouns played an important part in the schemes of family relationships between languages constructed in the nineteenth century since it was assumed that for pronouns (and indeed for demonstratives more generally) it was more unlikely than for other words that borrowing rather than descent could explain observed resemblances. It was thought that pronouns and demonstratives must be primitive elements in any language which could be expected to descend from the parent to successor languages (as in the Indo-European family). Jespersen commented: "Personal and demonstrative pronouns, articles and the like, are scarcely ever taken over from one language to another, They are so definitely woven into the innermost texture of a language that no one would think of giving them up."

This is not to say that all languages necessarily have the same number and classification of pronouns and demonstratives. Each language can be expected to distinguish I and YOU but some languages do not distinguish between IT and THAT or between HE and THAT MAN. Nor do all languages distinguish YOU singular (THOU) and YOU plural or even I singular and WE plural - (in some languages WE may be used in place of I, YOU may be used for singular and plural). Some languages have additional distinctions of pronouns and demonstratives which are not found in English. They distinguish WE (including the person spoken to) from another WE (not including the person spoken to). In some African languages, Homburger points out that between two people speaking to each other the role of the pronouns depends on whether it is a matter of speaking of a person or object which is present or absent, known or unknown, definite or indefinite. In a number of Oriental languages, a bewildering variety of forms is used for first and second personal pronouns depending on the relative status of the speaker and the person addressed, with elaborate circumlocutions for politeness. There may, even in European languages, be fine distinctions such as in the French use of TU and VOUS or the German DU and SIE. Similarly the third personal pronoun or some form substituting for it may be used in politeness in place of the first or second personal pronouns as in the roundabout phrases used in Spanish and Italian USTED LEI.

For the demonstratives as such, some languages distinguish more shades of meaning than in English. Rather than two words simply equivalent to THIS and THAT, they have additional words expressing more precisely the distance or relative position of the person or object referred to. So there may be words for 'THIS near me' 'THIS near you 'THAT near at hand' 'THAT far away or absent'. French has something on these lines with the distinction in use between CE CELUI-CI CELUI-LA.

In many inflected languages, there appears to be some systematic relation between the pronouns in isolation and the forms of the inflection used to convey them (the suggestion that inflections could have developed from so to say impacted pronouns is one which has regularly been advanced over many years). There may be some relation between demonstratives and pronouns and the forms of the verb TO BE; the verb TO BE itself has a certain demonstrative character. It may not be fanciful to see some significant resemblance between the demonstratives (words for THIS and THAT) and the 3rd person singular of TO BE in a number of languages. ESTI (Greek) EST (Latin) ESTA (Portuguese) meaning IS have some resemblance to TIS ISTE ESTE (demonstratives in these languages).

The conclusion from this discussion is that although in principle the essential meanings to be conveyed by demonstratives and pronouns are of the greatest uniformity and clarity throughout the world, the overall picture of the forms and use of demonstratives and pronouns is not necessarily simple. The discussion was undertaken as a preliminary to examination of the forms which demonstratives and pronouns are found to take in a wide range of languages.

In the remaining part of this section, the procedure in examining demonstratives and pronouns is similar to that followed earlier in the examination of resemblances between words drawn from a range of languages i.e. the collection of words from a number of languages is first presented, the apparent uniformities and resemblances between words from the different languages are noted and the extent to which the systematic resemblances observed are compatible with the theory of the direct relation of sound and meaning presented in this book is considered.

The material contained in the Table immediately following consists of words for pronouns and demonstratives drawn from some 70 languages; words used for the 3rd person singular of the verb TO BE are also included in view of the possible link to the demonstratives already referred to. Words are also included for the definite article THE.

For some languages, words are missing for some demonstratives or pronouns. This may be because the particular language does not make the distinction existing in English e.g. has no word for THE or IS or does not separate the word for HE from the word for THAT. As far as possible, the words presented for the pronouns are those which convey the basic simple meaning and honorific forms, forms of politeness, have been excluded.

The languages included in the list are from many different families. The languages are chosen to give the widest possible spread and include besides the more important modern languages, a number of important ancient languages such as Anglo-Saxon, Egyptian, Hittite, Latin, Pahlavi, Sanskrit, Sumerian. Given the range of languages and the room for dispute about transliteration from non-Roman scripts, there are bound to be some problems of orthography but it is thought that these do not vitiate the broad comparisons made.

PRONOUNS AND DEMONSTRATIVES

          I         THOU      YOU       HE        IT
Albanian  UNE       TI        JU        AY        ATE
Amerindian MI       NI        MA        HA        -
Anglo-Saxon IC      THU       GE        HE        HIT
Arabic    ANA       INTE      INTU      HU        -
Aranda    JINGA     UNTA      RANKARA   ERA       ERA
Arawak    NUKA      TIWA      ITI       LI        IRORO
Basque    NIK       HI        ZUEK      -         -
Bengali   AMI       TUMI      TOMRA     TINI      IHA
Bulgarian AZ        TI        VI        TOE       TO
Burmese   GNAH      THIN      NINDO     THU       THU
Chibchan  NAN       MA
Chinese   WO        NI        NIMEN     T'A       T'A
Czech     JA        TY        VY        ON        ONO
Danish    JEG       DU        I         HAN       DET
Dutch     IK        JIJ       U         HIJ       HET
Egyptian  NUK       TU        TEN       SU        SET
English   I         THOU      YOU       HE        IT
Eskimo    VINGA     ITLPIT    ITLPITSE  ITLE      ITLE
Etruscan  Ml        -
Finnish   MINA      SINA      TE        HAN       SE
French    JE        TU        VOUS      IL        LE
Georgian  ME        SEN       TKVEN     ES        -
German    ICH       DU        SIE       ER        ES
Greek     EGO       SU        HUMEIS    AUTOS     AUTO
Guahiban  HAN       HAM       PAXAMI    PONI      -
Hausa     INA       KAI       KU        YI        YA
Hawaiian  AU        OE        OUKOU     IA        IA
Hebrew    ANI       ATA       ATEN      HOU       OTO
Hindi     MAI       TU        TUM       YAH       YIH
Hittite   UK        ZI        SUMES
Hungarian EN        TE        ONOK      0         -
Icelandic EG        THU       THITH     HANN      THATH
Irish     ME        TU        SITH      SE        -
Italian   10        TU        VOl       EGLI      LO
Japanese  WATASHI   ANTA      ANATA     KARE      SORE

PRONOUNS AND DEMONSTRATIVES

          WE        THEY      THIS      THAT      THE       IS


Albanian         NE        ATA       KETE      ATE       AY
ESHTE
Amerindian  ISA     -         HEEKE     IMA       -      -
Anglo-Saxon WE      HIE       THES      THAET     SE        IS
Arabic    NIHNA     HINNI     HADA      HADAK     -      -
Aranda    NUNA      ETNA      NANA      TANA      ERA       -
Arawak    WIA       HEI       TIYAAHI ILE         WA        -
Basque    GU        -         HAU       HORI      A     IZAN
Bengali   AMRA      TAHARA    E         Al        JE        -
Bulgarian NI        TE        TOZI      ONZI      A     E
Burmese   GNADO     THUIDO    DI        IDA       -      SHI
Chibchan  -         -         -       - -      -
Chinese   WOMEN     T'AMEN    CHE       NA        -      SHIH
Czech     MY        ONI       TENTO  TEN          -      JE
Danish    VI        DE        DENNE  DEN          EN        ER
Dutch     WIJ       ZIJ       DEZE      DIE       DE        IS
Egyptian  N         SEN       THEN      PF        PA        AU
English   WE        THEY      THIS      THAT      THE       IS
Eskimo    VANGKUTA  ITLAIT    UNA       TAUNA     -      -
Etruscan  -         -         -       - -      -
Finnish   ME        HE        TAMA      TUO       -      ON
French    NOUS      ILS       CECI      CELA      LE        EST
Georgian  CVEN      ESENI     ES        IS        -      -
German    WIR       SIE       DIESER    JENER     DER       1ST
Greek     HEMEIS    AUTOI     HOUTOS EKEINOS  HO/TO ESTI
Guahiban  WAXAI     POMONE    XUA       BAHARA    -         -
Hausa     MU        SU        WANNAN NAN          N         CE
Hawaiian  MAKOU     LAKOU     KEIA      KELA      KA        -
Hebrew    ANOU      HEME      ZE        HENE      -         -
Hindi     HAM       VE        YAH       JOVAH     -         HAl
Hittite   WES       -         KAS       ANIS      -         -
Hungarian MI        OK        EZ        AZ        -         -
Icelandic VITH      THEIR     THESSI    THETTA    HINN  ER
Irish     SINN      SIAD      SO        SAN       AN        IS
Italian   NOI       ESSI      QUESTO    QUELLO  IL          E
Japanese  WATASHI-TACHI KARERA          KONO      SORE      -DES

PRONOUNS AND DEMONSTRATIVES

          I         THOU      YOU       HE        IT

Javanese  AKU       KAU       KAMU      IA        -
Khoin     AM        A         ANXA      E         HA
Korean    NA        TANGSIN   -         KIRI      KUGOT
Latin     EGO       TU        VOS       ILLE      ID
Lithuanian AS       TU        JUS       -         -
Malay     AKU       ENGKAU    KAMU      IA        DIA
Malayalam NAN       NI        NI        AVAN      ATU
Manchu    BVMINI    SI        SUVE      I         -
Mayan     AYINE     -
Mongolian BI        TA        TA        TERE      -
Norwegian JEG       DU        I         HAN       DET
Nubian    Al        ER        IR        TER       TER
Pahlavi   AZ        TO        ASMA      AN        -
Persian   MAN       TO        SHOMA     U         -
Polish    JA        TY        WY        ON        TO
Portuguese EU       TU        VOS       ELE       ISTO
Rumanian  EU        TU        VOl       EL        -
Russian   YA        TY        VY        ON        ETO
Samoan    ITA       E         TOU       IA        NA
Sanskrit  AHAM      TVAM      YUYAM     -         IDAM
Spanish   YO        TU        VOSOTROS  EL        LO
Sumerian  MA        ZA        MENZE     ENE       -
Swahili   MIMI      WEWE      NINYI     YEYE      -
Swedish   JAG       DU        NI        HAN       DET
Tagalog   AKO       KAYO      IKAW      SIYA      ITO
Tamil     NAAN      NII       NINGAL    AVAN      ATHU
Telegu    NENU      NIVU      MIRU      ATADU     ADI
Thai      CHUN      -         TAHN      KOW       MUN
Tibetan   NA        KYOD      KYE       KO        KON
Tucanoan  YII       BII       BI        -         -
Turkish   BEN       SEN       SIE       0         ONU
Vietnamese TOI      ONG       ONG       NO        NO
Welsh     Ml        TI        CHWI      EF        -
Yoruba    EMI       IWO       ENYIN     ON        -
Zulu MINA WENA      NINA      YENA      YENA

PRONOUNS AND DEMONSTRATIVES

          WE        THEY      THIS      THAT      THE       IS

Javanese  KAMI      MEREKA    INI       ITU       --
Khoin     BA        ABE       AA        A         -         ESO
Korean    URI       KUDUL     I         KU        -         I
Latin     NOS       ILLI      HIC       ISTE      -         EST
Lithuanian MES      -         SIS       ANAS      -         -
Malay     KAMI      MEREKA    INI       ITU       -         ADA
Malayalam NAM       AVAR      I         A         -         UNTU
Manchu    BE        CE        -         -         -         BI
Mayan               -         WILl      LA        -         -
Mongolian BITA      TEDE      ENE       TERE      -         BAINA
Norwegian VI        DE        DENNE     DEN       EN        ER
Nubian    AR        TIR       IN        MAN       -         -
Pahlavi   AMA       AWESAN    ED        AN        -         AST
Persian   MA        ISHAN     IN        KEH       -         AST
Polish    MY        ONI       DEM       TANTEN    -         -
Portuguese NOS      ELES      ESTE      ESSE      0         ESTA
Rumanian  NOI       El        ACEST     ACELA     EL        -
Russian   MY        ONE       ETOT      TOT       -         -
Samoan    MA        LA        LENEI     LELA      LE        UA
Sanskrit  VAYAM     -         AYAM      ASAU      -         ASTI
Spanish   NOSOTROS  ELLOS     ESTE      ESE       EL        ES
Sumerian  MENDE     ENENE     E         NE        BI        -
Swahili   SISI      WAO       HIKI      LE        -         NI
Swedish   VI        DE        DENNA     DENDAR    DEN       AR
Tagalog   KAMI      SILA      ITO       YAON      ANG       AY
Tamil     NAM       AVANGAL   IDI       ADI       -         IRUKU
Telegu    MEMU      VARU      VIDU      VADU      -        UNNADU
Thai ROW  KOW       NII       NAN       -                   CHY
Tibetan   KOU       -         DI        DE        CIG       -
Tucanoan  BARI      IDA       ATE       SISE      -         -
Turkish   BIZ       ONLAR     BU        SU        -         DIR
Vietnamese CHUNG TOI CHUNG NO CAINAY    CAIKIA    -         LA
Welsh     NI        WY        HWN       HWNNW     Y         YW
Yoruba    AWA       AWOU      EYINI     IYEN      NA        WA
Zulu      THINA     BONA      LELI      LOKHO     -         -

I

The words for the first personal pronoun 'I' in the different languages can be grouped in terms of resemblance as follows (where a word resembles more than one form, it is repeated with the other words which it resembles):

I    IC   EG        ME        EN        BI        AS        ITA
Al   1K   EGO       ME        NA        BI        AZ
AU   UK   EGO       ME        NA        BEN       AZ        TOI
EU   ICH  JEG       Ml        NAN
EU   AKU  JEG       Ml        NAN                           HAN
IO   AKU  JAG       Ml        NAAN
YO   NIK  JINGA     EMI       NENU                      WATASHI
YA   NUK            MIMI      ANA
YII  NUKA VINGA     MINI      ANI                           WO
JA                  MINA      AYINE
JA                  MINA      INA
JE                  MA        UNE                         GNAH
JEG                 MAI
JEG                 MAN
JAG                 AM
                    AHAM
JINGA

63 of the words given in the Table for 'I' can be grouped with other words which they resemble more or less closely. Only 7 words appear completely isolated from the rest; these words ITA TOI HAN WATASHI WO CHUN GNAH mean 'I' in Samoan, Vietnamese, Guahiban, Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Burmese respectively. The remaining words are formed into 5 large groups on the basis of resemblance and 2 small groups (each containing only three words). Between some of the large groups, the degree of dissimilarity is not very large; so words in the group beginning EG could easily be linked with words in the group beginning IC. Similarly the differences between the words in the group beginning EN and the words in the group beginning ME are not large Words in the group beginning I could mostly be linked with words in the group beginning IC or in the group beginning EG Indeed it could be said that, apart from the six words in the two small groups and the five isolated words, all the remaining 59 words could be arranged in only two large groups, one containing the groups beginning with I IC and EG and the other containing the groups beginning ME and EN (it might even be possible to associate the small group BI BI BEN with this second large group). This is an extraordinary result given the range of languages considered and strongly suggests some underlying principles of uniformity in the formation of the sounds appropriate for naming the first personal pronoun 'I'.

Examination of the groups of words set out above in more detail throws up some interesting resemblances across language-families. In the first main group, that beginning with I there are the following:

I    English   JEG       Danish
Al   Nubian         JAG       Swedish
                    JINGA     Aranda
AU   Hawaiian
EU   Portuguese
EU   Rumanian

JE   French
YII  Tucanoan
I0   Italian
YO   Spanish


In the second main group, there are:

IK     Dutch
IC   Icelandic
UK   Hittite
AKU  Javanese
NIK  Basque
NUK  Egyptian
NUKA Arawak


In the third main group, there are:

JINGA  Aranda VINGA  Eskimo


In the fourth main group, there are:

     ME   Irish               MA        Sumerian
     ME   Georgian            MAI       Hindi
     Ml   Etruscan            MAN       Persian
     MI   Other Amerindian    AM        Khoin
     EMI  Yoruba              AHAM      Sanskrit
     MIMI Swahili
     MINI Manchu
     MINA Finnish
     MINA Zulu

This is a really remarkable collection of resemblances. It suggests that there is something especially natural and appropriate about the use of the sound M for referring to the speaker himself. In the fifth group, there are:

     EN   Hungarian INA       Hausa
     NA   Korean    UNE       Albanian
     NA   Tibetan
NAN  Malayalam
     NAN  Chibcham
     ANA  Arabic
     ANI  Hebrew
     AYINE Mayan


The words in the small groups are:

     BI   Manchu    AS        Lithuanian
     BI   Mongolian AZ        Pahlavi
     BEN  Turkish   AZ        Bulgarian

YOU (THOU) The words for the second personal pronoun (singular) in the different languages can be grouped in terms of resemblance as follows:

TI   DU        NI        KAI       HI        E   TANGSIN
TI   DU        NI        KAU                 A
TI   DU        NI        ENGKAU              ER   IWO
TY   DU        NII                 HAM       OE
TY   SI        NIVU      KYOD                     ONG
TY   SU
TU   ZI                                           BII
TU   ZA
TU   SEN                                          ITLPIT
TU   SEN
TU   SINA                                         JIJ
TU
TU   THIN                                         WEWE
TU
TU                                                MA
TIWA
THU                                               WENA
THU
THOU
TA
TA
TE
TO
TO
ATA
ANTA
UNTA
INTE
TUMI
TVAM

57 of the words given in the Table can be grouped with other words which they resemble more or less closely. Only 9 words appear completely isolated; these words TANGSIN IWO ONG BII ITLPIT JIJ WIEWE MA WENA mean THOU in Korean, Yoruba, Vietnamese, Tucanoan, Eskimo, Dutch, Swahili and Zulu respectively. The remaining 62 words are formed into one extremely large group, one medium-sized group and four small groups each of which contains 3-5 words. The two largest groups resemble each other quite closely; these groups beginning TI and DU could plausibly be formed into one large group containing 40 words. Again as for words meaning 'I', this is an extraordinary concentration of resemblance and strengthens the case for believing in uniform principles operating across languages to determine the most appropriate sounds to express the idea 'YOU (THOU)', the 2nd person singular.

It is apparent even without giving examples that the same sounds must be used for THOU in remote languages. The following are of particular interest:

    TI   Albanian  DU        German    NI        Chinese
    TI   Welsh     SU        Greek     NI        Malayalam
    TU   French    SI        Manchu    NI  Other Amerindian
    TU   Lithuanian ZI       Hittite
    TIWA Arawak    ZA        Sumerian
    TE   Hungarian                     KAI       Hausa
    TY   Russian   SEN       Georgian  KAU       Javanese
    TA   Egyptian  SEN       Turkish
    TA   Mongolian SINA      Finnish
    ATA     Hebrew
    ANTA   Japanese
    UNTA   Aranda
    TO      Persian

Of the first examples, except for the 5 words from Indo-European languages, the remainder come from completely unrelated and geographically remote languages. The resemblance NI between Chinese, Malayalam (one of the Dravidian languages of Southern India) and the Amerindian word is also striking.

YOU (plural) The words can be grouped as follows:

    I    TE        VI        NI        KU        GE
    I    TA        VY        NI        KYE
    U    TOU       VY        NINYI     OUKOU     RANGKARA
    YOU  ITI       VOl       NIMEN     IKAW
    YUYAM          INTU      VOl       ENYIN     ITLPITSE
    JU   TEN       VOUS      NINGAL    KAMU
    JUS  TUM       VOS                 KAMU      ONOK
    ZUEK TAHN      VOS       NINDO
    SIE  ATEN      VOSOTROS                      IR
    SITH TOMRA     WY
    SUVE ANATA     CHWI                          ANXA
    SUMES          THITH
    SIZ            BI                            TKVEN
    SHOMA
    ASMA                                         MENZE

    HUMEIS                                       MIRU

                                                 ONG

                                                 PAXAMI
         MA

A rather larger number of words for YOU (plural) seem to be isolated, 12 in all. The remainder of the words can be formed into 3 large groups and two smaller on the basis of resemblance. Each of the groups seems distinct with no observable overlapping with other groups. There is some resemblance to words already listed for YOU (singular); the group beginning TE clearly resembles words in the large group beginning TI of words for YOU (singular). There is also some resemblance between words beginning with an S or Z and words beginning with S and Z for YOU (singular). For both YOU (singular) and YOU (plural) there are groups beginning with NI. Some of the words are simply plural forms Similarly there is a resemblance between the group beginning KU YOU plural) and that beginning KAI YOU singular). However, the group beginning VI seems specific to the plural YOU with no words resembling it found for YOU singular (other than the Tucanoan word BI which goes with the similar Tucanoan word BII YOU singular).

Interesting examples of resemblances are the following:


    JU   Albanian  TE        Finnish   NI        Malayalam
    JUS  Lithuanian TEN      Egyptian  NI        Swedish
    ZUEK Basque    ATEN      Hebrew    NIMEN     Chinese
    SIE  German    TUM       Hindi     NINYI     Swahili
    SUMES Hittite  TOU       Samoan
    SHOMA Persian  TA        Mongolian KU        Hausa
    HUMEIS Greek   TAHN      Thai      KYE       Tibetan
                   ITI       Arawak    OUKOU     Hawaian
    SUVE Manchu                        IKAW      Tagalog

WE The words for the 1st person plural in the different languages can be arranged as follows in terms of resemblance:


    WE   ME        N         KAMI      HAM
    WE   MES       NE        KAMI
    WES  Ml        NI        KAMI      GNADO
    WIJ  MU        NI
    AWA  MY        NOI       KOU       CVEN
    WIA  MY        NOI       GU
    WIR  MY        NOS                 VANGKUTA
    VI   MA        NOS       SISI
    VI   MA        NOUS      ISA       URI
    VI   AMA       ANOU      SINN
    VITH AMRA      NUNA                BARI
    VAYAM MAKOU    NIHNA
         MEMU      NOSOTROS            ROW
    BE             NAM
    BA   HEMEIS    NAM                 THINA
    BIZ
    BITA MENDE                         CHUNG TOI

    WOMEN                              WATASHI-TACHI

    WAXAI

10 of the words for WE cannot in terms of resemblance be grouped with any other words (some of them may be honorific forms). The remaining 56 words can be grouped in three broad groups containing together 48 words and in three small groups containing two or three words each. The first of the small groups containing KAMI is of words all drawn from languages of the Malayan group. Of the large groups, there is a strong resemblance between that starting ME and that starting with N and NE and the two groups probably could reasonably be combined into one larger group containing 30 words. The strong resemblance of the group of words beginning ME to the parallel group of words for the 1st person singular, also beginning with ME, is to be noted. As regards the group beginning WE, W is a rare letter for other pronouns and the number of words for WE involving it is notable, including even rather remote forms such as WOMEN (Chinese), WAXAI (Guahiban), WATASHI-TACHI (Japanese). Though less striking than for the pronouns earlier considered, the concentration of resemblances between words for WE is still remarkable.

The following are examples of particular interest:


    WE   English   ME        Finnish     N   Egyptian
    WES  Hittite   MES       Lithuanian  NE      Albanian
    WIA  Arawak    Ml        Hungarian   NI      Bulgarian
                   MY        Russian     NI      Welsh 
    BIZ  Turkish   MU        Hausa       NOUS    French
    BITA Mongolian MA        Persian     ANOU   Hebrew
                   MA        Samoan      NUNA   Aranda
    GU   Basque    MEMU      Telegu      NIHNA  Arabic
    KOU  Tibetan

Of these examples, though geographically close, Finnish and Lithuanian are unrelated languages; the resemblance of Finnish and Telegu and the resemblance of Samoan and Persian are also striking. Of the words beginning with N, the set of words from French, Hebrew, Aranda and Arabic show a remarkable similarity. The degree of resemblance overall between words for WE goes beyond what is conceivable as a result of pure chance.

HE Though a good number of languages do not have a word for the 3rd person singular separate from the demonstratives, the words in the list can be grouped on the basis of resemblance as follows:

    I    HE        SE        ER        TER       AVAN      EF
    I    HE        ES        ERA       TERE      AVAN
    YI   HIJ       SU                                      PONI
    IA   HU        SIYA      KARE      T'A       ATADU
    IA   HOU                 KIRI      TOE                 TINI
    IA   THU
    IA   HA                  KO
    AY   HAN                 KOW
    YAH  HAN
    IL   HAN
    EL   HAN
    EL   HANN
    ELE  AN
    ILLE ON
    ITLE ON
    LI   ON
    EGLI ON
    E    NO

    ENE  0
    YENA     U
    YEYE

Only some 4 words in the list appear to be isolated: EF PONI TINI ATADU are respectively Welsh, Guahiban, Bengali and Telegu. The remaining words are formed into two large groups, between them containing 41 words, and several small groups with 2-4 words each. There are resemblances between the two main groups e.g. I HE YI HIJ ENE AN YAH HA

but these are not extensive enough to form them into a single group. The small group starting with SE also shows some resemblance to the group beginning with HE: HE SE HU SU HIJ SIYA

but again it does not seem possible to incorporate it in the larger group. Nevertheless, the extent of resemblances between unrelated languages is again noteworthy as the following examples show:


    I    Manchu    ENE       Sumerian  SE        Irish
    YI   Hausa     YENA      Zulu      SU        Egyptian
    IA   Hawaian   YEYE      Swahili   ES        Georgian
    AY   Albanian                      SIYA      Tagalog
    YAH  Hindi     HE        English
                   HU        Arabic    ER        German
ILLE     Latin     HA Other Amerindian ERA       Aranda
ITLE     Eskimo     HAN   Swedish
LI   Arawak        AN        Pahlavi   KARE      Korean
IL   French                            KIRI      Japanese
                   ON        Yoruba
KO   Tibetan       ON        Russian   TER       Nubian
KOW  Thai          NO        Vietnamese TERE     Mongolian

Of these examples, Manchu, Hausa and Hawaian have no known relation to each other nor obviously do Latin, Eskimo and Arawak. The resemblance of Tibetan and Thai may be due to language relation as also that of Swahili and Zulu but not Sumerian. Pahlavi is an Indo-European language but the resemblance between English, Arabic and one of the Amerindian languages obviously owes nothing to relationship, nor can the resemblance of Russian, Yoruba and Vietnamese. The resemblance of German and the Australian aboriginal language is striking as well as that of Nubian and Mongolian. There may be some borrowing between the Korean and the Japanese though the two languages are unrelated. There is obviously no relation between Irish, Egyptian, Georgian and Tagalog.

These results, not only the curious resemblances but the tendency for the different languages to use a limited range of sounds for the 3rd person singular, are in line with those for the other personal pronouns.

IT Many languages do not distinguish the pronoun IT from the demonstrative THAT or possibly from the pronoun HE. The result is that there are relatively few distinct words for IT. These can be grouped in terms of resemblance as follows:

    YIH  IT        ONU       LE        ES        KUGOT
    YA   ITO       ONO       LO        SE
    IA   ITLE      KON       LO                  IRORO
    IHA  ISTO      ON                  SORE
    HA   ID        NO
         IDAM      NA                  ERA
         ADI                           TER
         DIA
         DET
         DET
         DET
         HET
         SET
         HIT
         ETO
         TO
         TA
         ATE
         OTO
         AUTO
         ATU
         ATHU
         THU

Two of the words, KUGOT and IRORO, are completely unlike any of the others. They are from Korean and Arawak respectively. The remaining words form one large group where there is a broad resemblance, containing 23 words, one small group with 6 words, another with 5 words and a few small groups with 2 or 3 words each. The large group produces resemblances between remote languages which are of interest:

    IT   English   DET       Swedish
    ITO  Tagalog   SET       Egyptian
    ITLE Eskimo    HET       Dutch
    ISTO Portuguese
    ID   Latin
    IDAM Sanskrit
    ETO  Russian
    T'A  Chinese
    ATE  Albanian
    ATU  Malayalam
    AUTO Greek
    OTO  Hebrew


In the smaller groups resemblances of interest are:

    ONU  Turkish
    NO   Vietnamese
    NA   Samoan
    ONO  Czech
    KON  Tibetan


Some of the individual resemblances are striking and the
concentration of words for IT in the large group beginning with
IT fits the same pattern as has been found for other pronouns.


THEY   In the same way as for HE and IT, a number of languages
make no clear distinction between the pronoun and demonstrative
forms. The words appearing in the Table for THEY can be arranged
in terms of resemblance as follows:

    TE   HE        El        U         ABE       ONI       LAKOU
    DE   HEI       ELES      SU        AVAR      ONI
    DE   HEME      ELLOS     SIE       VARU      ONY       KUDUL
    DE   HIE       ILS       ZIJ       AVANGAL   ONLAR
    TEDE HINNI     ILLI      ESSI                          OK
    THEY           ITLAIT    ESENI     AWESAN    WY
    THUDO                    SEN       ISHAN     WAO     KARERA
    THEIR          LA        SILA                AWOU
    TAHARA                                       MEREKA
    TIR            ENENE     SIAD
    ATA                                                    BONA
    T'AMEN
    ETNA                                         POMONE
    DA
                                                 CHUNGNO
    VE
    CE

Out of the 58 words, at least 8 have no clear relation to any other words (those in the last column); these are drawn from Hawaiian1 Korean, Hungarian, Japanese, Malay, Zulu, Guahiban, and Vietnamese respectively. The other words are arranged in groups of more nearly equal size than was the case for the other pronouns. The largest broad group contains 14 words but the group beginning TE could plausibly be associated with the group beginning HE which would make a larger group containing 19 words. The next largest group, beginning with U has 9 words.

Some interesting resemblances from the largest group are as follows:

    TE   Bulgarian THEY      English
    DE   Swedish   TAHARA    Bengali
    TEDE Mongolian THEIR     Icelandic
    DA   Tucanoan  TIR       Nubian
    ATA       Albanian

Whilst Swedish DE is related to English THEY and probably to Bulgarian TE, all being Indo-European languages, the comparison with Mongolian and Tucanoan is interesting and of these with the Albanian. Bengali is also an Indo-European language included with the English and Icelandic for comparison with the Nubian form.

Examples from the other groups are:

    HE   Finnish     ILLI    Latin     ABE       Khoin
    HIE  Anglo-Saxon ITLAIT  Eskimo    AVAR      Malayalam
    HEI  Arawak
    HEME Hebrew      ESSI    Italian   AWESAN    Pahlavi
    HINNI Arabic     ESENI   Georgian
                     SEN     Egyptian  ONY       Russian
                                       ONLAR     Turkish

Words not mentioned in the examples which show more or less resemblance to each other mostly are from related languages e.g. ISHAN and AWESAN are Persian and Pahlavi. AVAR and AVANGAL are both Dravidian, WAO and AWOU are from related African languages.

Though for THEY there is not the same concentration in use of a very few sounds as has been seen for other pronouns, the number of resemblances between remote languages is still considerable

THIS The words for the demonstratives, such as THIS, can in the same way as the words for pronouns be grouped in terms of resemblance as follows:

    E    ZE        SIS       Dl        I         HIC       LENEI
    E    EZ        THIS      Dl        I         HIKI      LELI
    ED   SIS       THES      IDI       IN        HEEKE
    EZ   CECI      THESSI    DEZE      IN                  WILl
ESTE CHE       TOZI      DIESER    NII       HAU
    ESTE KEIA      THEN      DENNE     INI       HOUTOS    XUA
    ATE  KETE      TENTO     DENNE     ENE
    ACEST          ACEST               DENNA     EYINI     AAHWN
    ETOT QUESTO    TIYAAHI             INI       YAH
                             VIDU                AYAM      BU
         CAl-NAY             ITO       UNA
         KONO                          NANA                TAMA
                                       WANNAN

There is not the same concentration of resemblances in one group as was seen for most of the pronouns; a wider range of forms seems to be used. There are five medium-sized groups, each containing 8 or 9 words and a number of small groups. Nevertheless, there are resemblances and links between some of the medium-sized groups; there is a broad resemblance between words in the group beginning SIS and the group beginning ZE and similarly between the group beginning SIS and the group beginning Dl. Some words in the two groups are obvious variants e.g. DEZE THESE, DENNE THEN. Five words appear to be isolated and to have no apparent resemblance to any other words in the collection. These words - WILl XUA HWN BU TAMA - are Mayan, Guahiban, Welsh, Turkish and Finnish respectively.

There are, however, a good number of interesting resemblances across language-families. Some examples are:

    E    Bengali   ZE        Hebrew    SIS       Lithuanian
    E    Sumerian  EZ        Hungarian THIS      English
    EZ   Hungarian CHE       Chinese   TOZI      Bulgarian
    ED   Pahlavi   KEIA      Hawaian
                   KETE      Albanian  THEN      Egyptian
    Dl   Tibetan   CECI      French    DENNE     Norwegian
    IDI  Tamil     ACEST     Rumanian  TENTO     Czech
    Dl   Burmese
                   I         Korean    IN        Nubian
    HIC  Latin     I         Malayalam IN        Persian
    HIKI Swahili                       INI      Javanese
HEEKE          Other Amerindian    NII       Thai
                                       ENE     Mongolian
                                       EYINI     Yoruba
    UNA  Eskimo
    NANA Aranda
    WANNAN         Hausa

Some of the resemblances between distant languages are curious e.g. the Latin HIC and Swahili HIKI, the Egyptian THEN and the Norwegian (and other Nordic) DENNE. Some of the resemblances may be due to distant language relation e.g. that of the Lithuanian, Bulgarian and English, SIS THIS TOZI, but overall the conclusion is that resemblances across languages are at least as striking for THIS as for the pronouns.

THAT The words for THAT in the different languages can be grouped in terms of resemblance as follows:

    A    AZ        SISE      DA        NE        SORE      ONZI
    A    ESE       ISTE      DE        NA        HORI
    Al   CELA      ESSE      DIE       AN                  PF
    DA   KELA      ESE       DEN       NAN
    ATE  QUELLA    ASAU      DEN       NAN             EKEINOS
    THAT ACELA     AZ        DEN-DAR
    THAET          CAI-KIA   IS        MAN                 JOVAH
    THETTA KEH     ANIS      ADI       SAN
    TOT  KU        ANAS      VADU      ANIS                YAON
    TAMTEN                             ANAS
    TEN  LELA                ITU       IYEN                SU
    TAUNA                    ITU       HENE
    TANA                               JENER               LOKHO
    TERE                     TUO       HWNNW
                                                           BAHARA

                                                           IMA

                                                           HADAK

The pattern of resemblances is very similar to that found for words for THIS i.e. five medium-sized groups and a number of smaller groups. However, more of the words, 10 in all, have no apparent resemblance to any other words; these words, in the final column, are from Bulgarian, Egyptian, Greek, Hindi, Turkish, Zulu, Guahiban, Other Amerindian and Hebrew respectively (many of them are clearly related to the corresponding words for THIS in the same language e.g. Hebrew HADA HADAK, Turkish BU SU).

There are some resemblances, though not very extensive, between the larger groups. The group containing THAT has some parallels with the group containing DA DEN (mostly due to language-relationships).

The more interesting resemblances between languages are:

A    Khoin          AZ        Hungarian      ACELA     Rumanian
A    Malayalam      ESE       Spanish        CELA      French
                   SISE      Tucanoan       KELA      Hawaiian
ATE  Albanian       ISTE      Latin          KEH       Persian
THAT English        ASAU      Sanskrit       CAI-KIA Vietnamese
TOT  Russian
TEN  Czech          ANIS      Hittite        NA        Chinese
TAUNA Eskimo        ANAS      Lithuanian     NAN       Hausa
TANA Aranda                                  NAN       Thai
                                             AN        Pahlavi
                                             ANIS      Hittite
                                             ANAS   Lithuanian

Of the resemblances between distant languages perhaps the most curious are those between Aranda (Australian aboriginal) and Eskimo, between Chinese, Hausa and Thai and between the Persian, Hawaiian, French and Rumanian

The degree of resemblances across languages is much the same as that found for words for THIS

THE Many languages make no use of the definite article or have no word for it distinct from a demonstrative THAT, or THIS The Table has words for THE in rather less than half the languages listed These words for THE can however be arranged in groups in terms of resemblance in the same way as the pronouns and demonstratives:

AY   SE   ERA       -EN       PA        HO        TO        KA
-A   JE             N                   O
A    DE             HINN                                    -BI
     THE  LE        AN
     DER  IL        -EN                                     CIG
Y    DEN  EL        ANG
          LE        NA                                      WA

The words used for THE are more scattered in terms of resemblance than those for the pronouns and demonstratives The position is complicated where a language has differing forms for gender e.g. Greek HO HE TO. Examples of resemblance across languages which are interesting are:

    -EN  Danish
     N   Hausa
    AN   Irish
    ANG  Tagalog
    NA   Yoruba
    HINN Icelandic


IS   A good number of languages do not distinguish the verb
TO
BE   Nevertheless, where IS exists as a separate word, there are
some resemblances which can be grouped as follows:

I    AY   JE        UA        ER         DES      BI
IS   HAl  CE        AU        ER         ADA
IZAN      CHY       YW        AR         DIR       BAINA
IST                           WA
EST                                                           NI
ESTA
ESTI                                                        IRUKU
EST
ESHTE                                                      UNNADU
ASTI                                                        UNTU
ESO
E                                                           ON
SHI
SHIH
E
AST
AST


The largest group is based on languages identified as
belonging to the Indo-European group. However, some of the
resemblances are interesting:

    IS   English   UA        Samoan
    IZAN Basque    WA        Yoruba
    ESO  Khoin     AU        Egyptian
    ESHTE Albanian YW        Welsh
    SHIH Chinese
    CHY  Thai
    CE   Hausa

Perhaps the most curious is the resemblance between the Basque and Indo-European words.

Before summarising and drawing conclusions from the examination made of resemblances between the words in many languages for pronouns and demonstratives, there is one other feature of the material which is striking, that is the extent to which there are resemblances not simply between words for the same pronoun or demonstrative but between the words for different pronouns and demonstratives. Rather in the same way as study of words for family relationships (MOTHER FATHER UNCLE AUNT) in diverse languages shows a high degree of resemblance but at the same time a certain fluidity in use so that words which mean FATHER in one language may mean UNCLE or MOTHER in another, so it appears that there is a certain fluidity between languages in using the same word-sounds for differing pronouns or demonstratives. This can be shown most clearly by the following comparisons:

Al   means 'I' in Nubian      TE        means 'THOU' in Hungarian
AY   means  HE' in Albanian   TE        means 'YOU' in Finnish
Al   means 'THAT' in Bengali  TE        means 'THEY' in Bulgarian
ME   means 'I' in Irish and Georgian    
NI        means 'THOU' in Chinese
ME   means 'WE' in Finnish    NI        means 'YOU' in Swedish
MY   means 'WE' in Russian    NI        means 'WE' in Bulgarian
and Welsh
MI   means 'I' in Etruscan    NI        means 'IS' in Swahili
NA   means 'I' in Korean      WIJ       means 'WE' in Dutch
NA   means 'IT' in Samoan     WY        means 'YOU' in Polish
NA   means 'THAT' in Chinese  WEWE means 'THOU' in Swahili
NA   means 'THE' in Yoruba    WY        means 'THEY' in Welsh
BI   means 'I' in Mongolian   VI        means 'YOU' in Bulgarian
BI   means 'YOU' in Tucanoan  VI        means 'WE' in Danish
AZ   means 'I' in Pahlavi
AZ   means 'THAT' in Hungarian
ON   means 'HE' in Russian    I         means 'HE' in Manchu
ON   means 'IS' in Finnish    I         means 'YOU' in Danish
                             I         means 'THIS' in Korean
HAN  means 'HE' in Danish     I         means 'THIS' in Malayalam
HAN  means 'I' in Guahiban    SU        means 'HE' in Egyptian
ESTE means 'THIS' in Rumanian SU        means 'THOU' in Greek
ESTI means 'IS' in Greek      SU        means 'THEY' in Hausa
E    means 'THIS' in Sumerian A         means 'THAT' in Khoin
E    means 'IS' in Italian    A         means 'THAT' in Malayalam
E    means 'THIS' in Bengali  A         means 'THE' in Bulgarian
E    means 'HE' in Khoin
                             YEYE      means 'HE' in Swahili

BUT - there is no word like IC or EG meaning 'I' amongst the other pronouns and demonstratives

- there is no single word like ME or MI (meaning 'I') among words for HE IT THEY

- apart from the example given, there are remarkably few words for other pronouns and demonstratives (other than for YOU plural) like the group TE TU TI meaning THOU'

- no other pronoun resembles the group HE (meaning 'HE') other than the Finnish for 'THEY'.

The picture then is a mixture of some fluidity of sound/meaning relation coupled with some specificity.

The conclusions drawn from this examination of words for pronouns and demonstratives in a wide range of languages are:

(a) Amongst words in the different languages for particular pronouns and demonstratives, there is in nearly every case a high degree of concentration of resemblances into one, two or three main groups of words. The resemblances are so extensive and cut across language families in such a remarkable way that neither borrowing nor chance nor common language-descent appear adequate as an explanation. There is an established tendency for a limited range of sounds to be predominantly used for a limited range of meanings;

(b) Besides the resemblances between words for any single pronoun or demonstrative, there are also resemblances between words for different pronouns and demonstratives The common element of meaning between pronouns and demonstratives, i.e. that they are all indicative, seems to carry with it a greater probability that certain sounds will be used for one or other pronoun or demonstrative;

(c) Often resemblances between remote languages are more striking than those between related languages. Two principles appear to be at work, the first being the familiar dialectal variation by which originally c9mmon forms belonging to a historically prior single-language community have diverged to form descendant languages and the second being some relation between languages which goes beyond language families and may be universal;

(d) Such a universal or near-universal relationship cannot have a cultural or conventional basis but must derive from the underlying nature of language and from constraints imposed by the physiological character of the speech-process;

(e) It is probable that the degree of resemblance between words for pronouns and demonstratives derives from the similarity of function of pronouns and demonstratives in all languages. All pronouns and demonstratives can readily be associated with simple indicative gestures. The scheme of relationships between sounds, meanings and gestures presented in Part I of this book offers a plausible and consistent explanation.

This section concludes with a quotation from Meillet, one of the outstanding students of comparative linguistics. In speaking about the criteria for establishing language-relationships he said:

"Les rapprochements qui ne s'extendent pas plus de deux dialectes sont peu sûrs, sauf raisons particulières; car la ressemblance de deux mots exprimant le même sens dans deux langues différentes peut être due à une rencontre fortuite; c'est ainsi que l'anglais BAD n'est pas apparenté, même de loin, avec le persan BAD signifiant aussi 'mauvais'; mais ce serait un hasard surprenant si BAD signifiait 'mauvais' dans une troisième langue sans un rapport avec l'anglais ou le persan. La coincidence de trois langues non contigues suffit donc pratiquement à garantir le caractère "indo-européen" d'un mot. ".

By these standards, the significance of the resemblance of the words for pronouns and demonstratives is established many times over; forms e.g. for THOU which resemble each other are found in some forty languages - many of which are remote from each other. This cannot establish language-relationship - it establishes some other universal principle of language-formation on the lines indicated above.

Uniformities between languages in words used for naming colours

The starting point for this section is the study by Berlin and Kay published under the title 'Basic Colour Terms, Their Universality and Evolution.' They set out to examine how true it was that the perception of colour by speakers of different languages was determined by the manner in which the particular language encoded colour perceptions into basic colour words (e.g. white, black, red), the contention of the Whorfian school being words for basic colours are strictly not translatable between languages because the system of words available in one language is totally arbitrary with respect to comparable encoding in other unrelated languages. However, on the basis of a linguistic and psycho-physical investigation of the traditional doctrine in ninety-eight languages of diverse language families, Berlin and Kay concluded that colour-words are properly translatable, that eleven precisely defined colours serve as the perceptual focal points of all the basic colour words in all the languages of the world i.e. that in relation to colours the existence of semantic universals is established - in the some way, as in the immediately preceding section, it has been argued that the pronouns and demonstratives constitute a set of words with universal meanings translatable across languages. Put simply their conclusion is that whatever word is used for the colour RED in different languages, the speakers mean by RED the same actual colour, the same perception. This means that the set of words for colours is prima facie suitable for testing uniformities between languages of the sounds and meanings of words.

A more detailed account of the analysis which can be made of the material collected by Berlin and Kay is to be published elsewhere. For the purposes of this section, the manner in which the material can be used to explore the extent to which there seem to be systematic relations between the sound and meaning of words going across many languages (on similar lines to the analyses of pronouns and demonstratives in the preceding section) is illustrated by consideration of the words found for the colour RED. 9 languages have no separate word for RED. The words in the remaining languages can be grouped in terms of apparent resemblance as follows:


RE        KORE      POGH      LAULAU    MAADO     TANTANKIN MYNFU
RED       KYIREY    KPOU      LUAL      ADOM      TUTUKA
RARA'     KIRAN     PEL       KULA      'AHMAR    TSUKU
(GARA)    KOKO      PALA      KULA      ADARO               BLEMA
(BARA)    (KYAMA)   PULA                          CIPSwUKA
('BABARE) (KONDON)  (ANPALUKTAK)        'AS       (SUBILA)  PEAT
RARA      (EKUNDU)  (PPALKAHTA)         AZGARH    SIVAPPU
ERERENG   COH       MAPULA    HUNG      AZUFU     CUWEPPE   LOTOR
(EYEYENGO) CAH      'ILP'ILP  HUNG      'AT'E
ERYTHROS  (CERVENO) PIROS                         BEG     SHILOWA
ROJO      (KRASNYY) PIRIR     VEVE                CABAC
         'GA                  VERMELL   NCHI      ABANG   UHIE
CARA      AKA                           NI        (OWANG)
ASERAH    JA        DO        OTI       LICHI     MBWAKI  NAAIDAT
MERAH     KACE      DIDE                S-WIGI
MERAH             (GODDIOUDO) MOTANE    CHINANA           ENYUKI
SHAH                DENG                          NYIAN

The result is that there are three fairly large groups and several smaller groups with about 13 completely isolated words and others with more distant resemblances. Out of the words listed, 42 are shown in the three larger groups. Within these groups there Are some interesting resemblances between words drawn from unrelated languages. For the first group, the languages from which the words are drawn are as follows:

RE   -         Bulu - Congo-Kordofanian (Africa)
    RED  -         English
    RARA -         Hanunoo (Philippines)
    GARA -         Batak (Sumatra)
    BARA -         Batak (Sumatra)
    'BABARE -      Urhobo - Congo-Kordofanian (Nigeria)
CARA -         Tarascan (Mexico)
    ASERAH -       Yibir - Afro-Asiatic (Chad)
    MERAH -        Malay (Malaya)
    ERERENG -      Nasioi - South Bougainville (South Pacific)
    EYEYENGO -     Poto - Congo-Kordofanian (Nigeria)

For the second group, the words ore drawn from the following languages:

KORE -         Arawak    - Andean-Equatorial (Surinam)
    KYIREY -       Songhai   - Nilo-Saharan (Mali)
    KIRAN -        Fitzroy River (Queensland)
    KOKO -         Tshi (West Africa)
    COH  -         Tzotzil - Mayan (Mexico)
    CAH  -         Tzeltal - Mayan (Mexico)
    KONDON -       Songhai - Nilo-Saharan (Mali)
    EKUNDU -       Swahili
    KYAMA -        Songhai - Nilo-Saharan (Mali)

For the third group the words are drawn from the following languages:

POGH -    Toda - Dravidian (South India)
KPOU -    Mende - Congo-Kordofian (Sierra Leone)
PEL  -    Chinook Jargon - Amerindian (NW America)
PALA -    Hopi - Uto-Aztecan (SW United States)
PULA -    Tagalog (Philippines)
ANPALUKTAK - Eskimo (Canada)
PPALKAHTA -  Korean
MAPULA    -  Bisoyan (Philippines)
'ILP'ILP  -  Nez Perce - Penutian (United States)
PIROS     -  Hungarian
PIRIR     -  Nandi - Nilo-Saharan (Ethiopia)

Apart from the similarities in the main groups of words for RED, the following more restricted resemblances can also be noted:

TANTANKIN -         Pozo - Hokan (United States)
TUTUKA    -         Arunta (Australia)

LUAL   -         Dinka - Nilo-Saharan (Sudan)
LAULAU -  Tanna Island (New Guinea)

MAADO -          Dazo - Nilo-Saharan (Eastern Nigeria)
ADOM -    Hebrew
'AHMAR -  Arabic

There are a number of features of the collection of words for RED to which attention can be drawn:

(1) The above average number of words beginning with R or in which the R sound is prominent; the above average number of words similarly including K and P; in comparison only 3 words for BLUE in Berlin and Kay's list begin with K, none begins with R and none begins with P; out of 103 words for WHITE, only 3 begin with R. Out of 100 words for BLACK only 1 begins with R, none begins with P.

(2) Some reasonably close resemblances between remote languages:

    RE   Bulu      KORE      Arawak    KOKO      Tshi
    RED  English   KYIREY    Songhai   COH       Tzotzil
    RARA Hanunoo   KIRAN     Fitzroy River
                                       KPOU      Mende
    PIROS Hungarian PEL      Chinook   POGH      Toda
    PIRIR Nandi    PALA      Hopi
                   PULA      Tagalog   TANTANKIN Pozo
    MAADO Dazo                         TUTUKA    Arunta
    ADOM Hebrew    CARA      Tarascan
                   GARA      Batak

A similar analysis can be made of words for the other main colours WHITE BLACK BLUE. The picture for the other colours is much the same as that seen for RED; an apparently above chance degree of resemblance between remote languages, a tendency for a few sound-elements to be particularly prominent for each of the colours and for the words to be readily grouped (except for a relatively small number of isolated words) in terms of broad resemblance A few examples of resemblances are:



For WHITE                  For BLACK

BOPU   Ngombe (Congo)         TUI       Nandi (Ethiopia)
PUPU   Tiv (Nigeria)          TIYE      Ixcatec (Mexico)
POPO Sierra Popoluca

YOPA   Queensland             KURO      Japanese
EUPE Swahili                  GURU      Fitzroy River

ERA    Bedauye                IK        Tzotzil (Mexico)
URA    Tarascan               YIK       Sierra Popoluca (Mexico)
BURA   Fitzroy River          ZIKO      Nupe (Nigeria)
EBORR  Masai (Sudan)          MADO      Somali (Chad)
                              MAITUM    Bisoyan (Philippines)
LIKAI Western Apache
LAGAI Navaho                  UNMA      Queensland
LAGTI Hanunoo(Philippines)    NEMA      Shona (Rhodesia)
LEUKOS Greek                  HMA       Mazatec (Mexico)
LOKWE  Bari (Sudan)           MANARA    Queensland


For BLUE

BILU   Samal (Philippines)
BLUE   English

NILA   Malayalam
NILA   Urdu
LAN    Chinese
LHIL LANNA Zuni (Mexico)

There is room for argument what precisely the mathematical chances are that by a random process of selection of sounds (from the millions of combinations possible) exactly the same combination or a closely similar combination of sounds should be selected in more than one language for a particular one of the unlimited number of distinct percepts and concepts identified by the human mind. But to say that all the resemblances noted between unrelated languages are the result of chance alone is not plausible. If the resemblances between words for the same colour were due to chance, then one would expect to find the same degree of resemblance between words used in different languages for the different colours, but this is not the case.

If chance is ruled out as an adequate explanation, it is equally implausible to assume that the degree of resemblance observed can be explained as due to hitherto unrecognised genetic relationships between geographically widely separated languages. Nor is it likely that borrowing can be the explanation for any large number of similarities. Borrowing is not an acceptable explanation between languages where there has been no special political, cultural or geographical reason for borrowing to take place.

If these other explanations are ruled out, then what is left is some universal tendency - or near-universal tendency - for similar percepts, in this case colours, to be associated with similar sound-sequences forming words. This does not operate absolutely because in that case there would not be many different words for the same colour) but tends to increase the probability that certain patterns of words will be found for certain percepts. It implies that along with the semantic universals in language (which Berlin and Kay's work seems to establish) there are phonological universals, which govern the formation of words.

This conclusion is in harmony with the evidence presented in earlier sections of this Chapter. Whether for colours or for pronouns and demonstratives or for the common words for parts of the body &c dealt with earlier, the pattern of results has in each case been the same i.e. a greater degree of resemblance between the sounds of words used in different languages for the same meanings than can be explained in any conventional way. The cumulation of evidence from different directions goes to support the basic hypothesis presented in Part I, that there is a natural relation between the sounds and meanings of words.

Sound/meaning relation in another language: Basque

The presentation and verification of the hypothesis considered in this book have concentrated very largely on a single language, English, even though there has been fairly considerable examination of resemblances in certain fields between diverse languages. The same technique for assessing the degree of sound/meaning relationship as has been applied to English can be applied to other languages. Purely as an illustration of how this might be done, the following consideration of the relation between sound and meaning in Basque is appended. This is only an outline of a much fuller study that would be necessary.

(1) Words in Basque appear to be expressive (in much the same way as words in English were found to be expressive). The following are some examples:


    CUCKOO         KUKU      SPIT      THU
    MOO            MU        LICK      MILIKATU
    MIAOW          MIAU      SNEEZE    URTZINTZ
    CHIRP          TCHIUKA   SNIFFLE   ZURRUPA
    WHISTLE        CHICHTU   SNEER     MURRIKA
    HOWL           UHURRITU  GNASH     KIRRISKA
    TINKLE         DINDATU   GNAW      KARRUSKATU
    CRACK          KRASKA    GONG      DUNDUN
    CHEW           CHEHATU   THUNDER   DURRUNDA

(2) Words in Basque can be arranged in groups where the sound and meaning appear to be systematically related (as was demonstrated in English for e.g. the group of words CLAP CLIP CLASP &c). Examples of this are:


CLUTCH    -         HARTU     GRIP      -         HARTZE
CLENCH    -         HERSTU    GROPE     -         HAZTATU
CLAMP     -         HORTZ     GRASP     -         HATCHEMAN
CLIP      -         HARRAPATU GRAPPLE   -         KRAKO
CLASP     -         KORTCHET  GRATE     -         KARRAKATU
CLAP      -         KLASKATU  GRIND     -         KIRRISKATU
CRACK     -         KRASKA    GRAZE     -         KARAMITCHA

(3) However, comparison of Basque with a wide variety of other languages shows few resemblances for common words (in the lists of high-frequency words considered earlier in this chapter). Basque seems to be a genuinely isolated language in terms of vocabulary. Though a few resemblances exist, the difference between Basque and other languages seems to be about as complete as that between Korean, another isolated language, and other languages.

(4) Even for pronouns, the difference between Basque and other languages is consider-able Apart from the isolated resemblance Basque NIK meaning 'I' with NUK Egyptian1 NUKA Arawak, most of the Basque pronouns are distinct.

(5) The same applies to the Basque words for colours. There are no words in the other languages considered which resemble the Basque words for WHITE BLACK and BLUE and resemblances to the Basque word for RED are not very close.

(6) For English in Part I, a system of sound/gesture relationships was established. The isolation of Basque suggests that the system devised for English cannot be applied as it stands to Basque - but this does not mean that no natural (physiological) relation exists in Basque between the sounds of words and the meanings they have.

(7) It is not possible to develop in this book the evidence for believing that the sound meaning relation (linked to a gestural system) is as full and systematic in Basque as in English - this would need a complete repetition of the material contained in Part I but in terms of the Basque language - but there is reason to believe that a parallel sound/gesture system can be constructed in which for every sound in Basque there is a corresponding gestural element, with the total system taking the form of a transformation or transposition in a regular way of the system explained in Part I for English. The photograph immediately following shows for sounds in what in Part I were described as the Main Consonantal and Main Vocalic Groups the relation between the associated gestures in English and Basque. Essentially, the proposition is that the English system is transposed into a different set of co-ordinates rather as a sphere could be systematically distorted into an ellipsoid so that any patterning on the surface of the sphere would undergo a regular change of relative position and shape (an idea similar to that of D'Arcy Thompson's method of transformation of biological forms through regular distortion of a reference set of co-ordinates) See the discussion of the relevance of this to language in Lenneberg's Biological Foundations of Language pp. 245 ff.

The same approach, as has briefly been described for Basque, could be followed for other languages. Many languages on a cursory examination appear to make use of a sound/gesture system very similar to that described for English, including in particular other Indo-European languages, the Dravidian languages, the Malay-Polynesian group, Aranda, Japanese and a good number of non-tonal Amerindian languages. Other languages, like Basque, appear to be based on a different sound/gesture scheme (though with a systematic transformation of form, on the lines briefly indicated above, from the English system). This appears to be the case for Korean, Finnish, Hungarian, the Semitic languages, and the Bantu languages. Chinese, as a tonal language, so far does not appear to fit this pattern but no doubt in time it may prove possible to relate it to the sound/meaning system found in non-tonal languages (see the difficulties recorded by Roger Brown and others in demonstrating a better than chance probability of guessing words between Chinese and non-tonal languages).

This account is inevitably extremely compressed and there is no possibility of setting out in the present book the evidence on which the suggestions made in the immediately preceding paragraph are based. There is obviously an immense field left for research There seems no reason to believe that the systematic relation of sound and meaning described in English is a peculiarity of English or of any single group of languages Further research will surely show that it is only one particular aspect of a general relation, operating in all languages, between sound and meaning, perception and gesture.

CONCLUSION

The work of exploration of the hypothesis has only just begun A wide field of enquiry remains to confirm or refute the ancient view that language is phusei and not thesei, that its basis is in human physiology and neurology and not in mere habit or convention. It may be appropriate to conclude with two quotations which bear on the basic issues underlying the hypothesis and material presented in this book, first how plausible it is to assume a structural relation between the sounds of language and meaning, between gesture and perception and secondly how far chance is a sufficient explanation for resemblances and apparent ordering of phenomena.

On the first point, Charles Darwin, the naturalist, quoted approvingly a French anatomist, Gratiolet, on the nature of human expression:

"II résulte de tous les faits que j'ai rappelés que les sens, l'imagination et la pensée elle-même, ne peuvent s'exercer sans éveiller un sentiment correlatif et que ce sentiment se traduit .... dans toutes les sphères des organes extérieurs suivant leur mode d'action propre comme si chacun d'eux avait été directement affecté".

The human individual functions as a totality. The modification in his system produced by thought or perception is accompanied by modification in the external processes which take the form of the patterning of articulation (producing speech-sounds) and the patterning of muscle-state (producing gesture and other physical expressive action).

As regards the mathematical probability of chance as the source of observed order, Charles Darwin's grandson, the physicist Sir Charles Darwin, described in his closing address to a Symposium (1957) on Observation and Interpretation in the Philosophy of Physics a relevant calculation he had made. Starting from the well-known idea that the whole of the Bible could be produced by a sufficiently prolonged random process, he said:

"I once amused myself by seeing how long it might be. I took an army of a million, starting 3000 million years ago when the earth first came into existence The first three words of the Bible are 'In the beginning' and I found that even after this immense time and with this immense number of typists, it was no more than an even chance that these three words would be found somewhere in the texts".

Language and Evolution: Books, Presentations and Papers
Motor Theory of Language