False cognates

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Vlürch
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Re: False cognates

Post by Vlürch »

yangfiretiger121 wrote: 13 Dec 2019 22:13
k1234567890y wrote: 09 Dec 2019 08:50 just found a list of false cognates between Japanese and several other languages:

https://www.wa-pedia.com/language/japan ... ords.shtml
Technically, labeling that page "false cognates" is misleading because it doesn't provide etymological information for most entries, sticking to solely definitions. Specifically, boya and tsumari may be back-translations. Also, the page labels them as cognates. Thus, this is the incorrect topic. Granted, I wouldn't post the link in Surprising Cognates without complete research.
But they're not cognates? I'm a mega-lumper who sees cognates where there are none all day long and even I have no trouble accepting that they're just coincidences, although I would say that my certifiably pseudoscientific theory that languages can sometimes inexplicably coalesce into similar directions might apply... but that's an extension of pseudolinguistic language comparison past the point where pseudoscientific language comparison reaches its peak and becomes impossible to argue in good faith, so yeah, even though it's what I believe is possible through some kind of universal sound symbolism or whatever, there's no evidence to support it.

Anyway, the page doesn't label them as cognates like you say it does. It says they're "purely fortuitous coincidences between languages that have no phylogenetic connection nor history of borrowing", which doesn't sound like "they're cognates" to me... for some reason the link does have the word "cognate" in it, though, yeah, but I'd assume that's just to make it higher in search results or something like that.

You can look their etymologies up on Wiktionary, for example. All of them clearly have etymologies that make much more sense than cognacy with the similar non-Japanese words listed on that page. Not trying to sound like an asshole or anything, but like...
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Re: False cognates

Post by k1234567890y »

Mandarin Chinese 麻疹 /mä³⁵ ʈ͡ʂən²¹⁴⁻²¹⁽⁴⁾/ "measles" v.s. Standard German Masern /ˈmaːzɐn/ "measles"

@yangfiretiger121 @Vlürch thanks for telling
I prefer to not be referred to with masculine pronouns and nouns such as “he/him/his”.
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Re: False cognates

Post by qwed117 »

:alb: (Gheg) hangër to eat vs. :usa: hunger/hanger(y)

The former is from PIE *h₁ed to eat, while the latter is from PIE *kenk- to burn, to desire, and in the case of hanger(y) a blend of the previous with angry from PIE *h₂enǵʰ- narrow
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Re: False cognates

Post by CivilixXXX »

:pol: przywitać - to dwell, to welcome vs :rus: привет (privet) - hello

First one from PS *pri + vitati, other one is from OCS привѣтъ (privetŭ), from PS *privětъ, which would yield *przywiat in Polish.
/tsʲi¹⁴vʲiː⁵³ʎiks³³ iksʔiksʔiks/
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Re: False cognates

Post by Salmoneus »

English: I betray
vs.
Dutch: ik bedrieg
German: ich betrüg

All three words concern deception, and can specifically be used to denote sexual infidelity.

A little thought shows that the English can't be the direct and perfect cognate of the continental verbs, but I'd assumed they were ultimately related, probably via a loan from Frankish (by way of Norman French). But no, they're completely unrelated. Well, the be- bit is unrelated, but the -tray in English is instead from Latin, a doublet of... oh, bloody hell!

Anyway, the English form of the above Germanic word should instead be "I bedree".


----------

And I've just realised (although I'm guessing this has already been mentioned on an earlier page?):

French: trader (to trade)
Latin: tradere (to transmit, deliver, surrender or hand over)

The former is related to English 'trade' - I don't know if it's a direct borrowing from English or, more likely, a parallel borrowing from Low German.

But the latter is completely and utterly unrelated. And although it's survived in many languages, it seems to have shifted to a meaning of betrayal in all of them. The French/English word, meanwhile, is instead ultimate for a word for walking (English 'tread'), via a word for 'path'.

There's also Portuguese/Galician trado/trade, which is unrelated to either, and instead means an augur, from Celtic via Late Latin.


Meanwhile, the 'tradere' verb in many or most Romance languages seems to have a secondary meaning, "reveal". Which, of course, 'betray' does as well. (the glint in his eye betrayed his greed, etc). But this is apparently also a coincidence, with this meaning in English being a later development through conflation with 'bewray', which previously bore this meaning.
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Re: False cognates

Post by qwed117 »

Salmoneus wrote: 26 Jan 2020 18:41 English: I betray
[is from] Latin: tradere (to transmit, deliver, surrender or hand over)
you telling me instead of "betraid" I'm supposed to be writing "betrade" now? [xD]
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Re: False cognates

Post by Alessio »

Not sure that this hasn't been posted before, but I just came across it:

:lat: reddō - I return, give back
:ara: رَدَّ‎ (radda) - he returned, gave back

The Latin word is from re- (prefix indicating repetition) + (I give), while the Arabic word is from the root ر د د‎ (r-d-d), with no connection whatsoever with Latin.
:ita: :eng: [:D] | :fra: :esp: :rus: [:)] | :con: Hecathver, Hajás, Hedetsūrk, Darezh...

Tin't inameint ca tót a sàm stê żōv'n e un po' cajoun, mo s't'armâgn cajoun an vōl ménga dîr t'armâgn anc żōven...
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Re: False cognates

Post by Shemtov »

Salmoneus wrote: 26 Jan 2020 18:41


Latin: tradere (to transmit, deliver, surrender or hand over)




Which is the source of :eng: "traitor", as Christians who handed over sacred texts to Roman persecutors were derisively called by the nominal form of the Latin by other Christians
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Re: False cognates

Post by Salmoneus »

Shemtov wrote: 18 Feb 2020 00:47
Salmoneus wrote: 26 Jan 2020 18:41


Latin: tradere (to transmit, deliver, surrender or hand over)




Which is the source of :eng: "traitor", as Christians who handed over sacred texts to Roman persecutors were derisively called by the nominal form of the Latin by other Christians
I'm very skeptical. As I say, the word developed the meaning of betrayal - as a verb - in all descendent languages. And the original meaning included things like "deliver up for judgement" and "surrender up to the enemy", so I don't think there's any need for a just-so story here. It seems like plain specialisation, in which a word with many senses reduced to having only one.
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Re: False cognates

Post by Sequor »

Salmoneus wrote: 18 Feb 2020 01:35
Shemtov wrote: 18 Feb 2020 00:47Which is the source of :eng: "traitor", as Christians who handed over sacred texts to Roman persecutors were derisively called by the nominal form of the Latin by other Christians
I'm very skeptical. As I say, the word developed the meaning of betrayal - as a verb - in all descendent languages. And the original meaning included things like "deliver up for judgement" and "surrender up to the enemy", so I don't think there's any need for a just-so story here. It seems like plain specialisation, in which a word with many senses reduced to having only one.
No need to be skeptical: it's wrong. The meaning "surrender somebody/something in the hands of the enemy" of trādere is attested early, in Terrence, in the 2nd c. BC (Phormio 236-7), but the verb (and the related noun trāditor) continued to be used in a neutral way for a long time, simply meaning 'hand sb/sth over' whether for good or evil. It could be used positively for e.g. entrusting a woman to a man in marriage, passing a mōs 'custom' to the next generation, among other things. During all this time, the normal words for 'to betray' and 'traitor' were prōdere and prōditor.

Trāditor doesn't gain the negative sense of 'betrayer, traitor' until very late, after the Empire had crumbled and everyone who could write was Christian... Even Jerome, in the late 4th century, does not use trāditor for 'traitor' in the Bible. There is exactly one attestation of the word, used for Judas Iscariot in Mark 14:44, and even then in the sense of him handing Jesus over to the authorities, not in the sense of traitor. Jerome otherwise uses prōditor seven times (three of them in 2nd Maccabees), including Luke 6:16 for Judas himself when listing the apostles that Jesus had just chosen: ...et Iudam Iscarioth qui fuit proditor '...and Judas Iscariot who ended up being a traitor'.

A positive use of trādere in Jerome:

Omnia mihi tradita sunt a Patre meo. Et nemo novit Filium nisi Pater, neque Patrem quis novit nisi Filius et cui voluerit Filius revelare.
'Everything has been handed over to me by my Father. And nobody knows the Son except for the Father, nor does anyone know the Father except for the Son and whoever the Son has wanted to reveal Him to.' (Matthew 11:27)
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Re: False cognates

Post by Shemtov »

Don't blame me, I got the story from a respectable YouTube channel on early Christianity from a secular perspective. It may be that they meant that trāditor became narrowed because of use by early Christians and commentaries on them, but the transfer of the data from linguistics to religious studies went badly. I see no issue with the idea that Church Fathers used trāditor to mean what I said, maybe as shorthand for"trāditor of Scripture" once context was established, and later Fathers quoting them once that was not a problem having to explain what their predicesors meant, being a factor in semantic narrowing
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Re: False cognates

Post by Pabappa »

:ind: (Hindi) संत sant "saint" ≠ :eng: saint
I'll take the theses, and you can have the thoses.
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Re: False cognates

Post by qwed117 »

:usa: grits (food item) !~ :usa:grit + s (pebble)
"grits" as a food comes from Old English grēot while "grit" comes from Old English grytt, the former from PGm *grutją and the latter from PGm *greutą. They both come from the same PIE root, but "grits" cannot (or well, should not) be analysed as a plural of "grit", but rather an ablauted variant.
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Re: False cognates

Post by Aevas »

Irish: 'day'
Hawaiian: 'day'
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Re: False cognates

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Not quite a "complete" false cognate, but...

:it: Monaco (di Baviera) Munich !~:it: (Principato di) Monaco Monaco

The former Monaco is from Latin monachium monastery, which comes from Greek monakhos friar from Greek monos sole. The latter is supposedly from a Ancient Ligurian word that the Greeks interpreted as "monoikos" or monos + oikos, a single house. If the latter Monaco does indeed come from Ancient Ligurian, then chances that it's related to monos oikos is pretty low- but even so, the -aco portion of both are two different elements!
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Re: False cognates

Post by Aevas »

guitar < Spanish guitarra < Arabic qīṯāra < Latin cithara < Ancient Greek κιθάρα 'lyre'

sitar < Hindi sitār < Persian setâr lit. 'three strings'
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Re: False cognates

Post by Sequor »

Spanish yo 'I, me'
Middle Chinese 余 yo, 予 yo 'I, me'
Japanese 余/予 yo 'I, me' (borrowed from Chinese)
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Re: False cognates

Post by Shemtov »

Shemtov wrote: 19 Feb 2020 00:00 Don't blame me, I got the story from a respectable YouTube channel on early Christianity from a secular perspective. It may be that they meant that trāditor became narrowed because of use by early Christians and commentaries on them, but the transfer of the data from linguistics to religious studies went badly. I see no issue with the idea that Church Fathers used trāditor to mean what I said, maybe as shorthand for"trāditor of Scripture" once context was established, and later Fathers quoting them once that was not a problem having to explain what their predicesors meant, being a factor in semantic narrowing
Also, if when explaining the gospel story, missionaries used traditor for Judas, maybe something like "Judas the proditor, as he was the traditor of Jesus", maybe Christianity did help in the semantic narrowing.
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Re: False cognates

Post by qwed117 »

Thought of this one
:african: Swahili simba lion vs. :ind: Sanskrit सिंह siṃhá lion

The former word originates to Proto-Bantu *ncímbá "felid", while the latter comes from PIE *sinǵʰo- "lion". The PIE word is from a wanderwort prominent in Central Asia, with reflexes in Sino-Tibetic and Chechyn. The Central Asian wanderwort appears to have had a reduced form with reflexes *šarguh in Proto-Iranian and Old Chinese *sri. The reconstruction back to Proto-Bantu would indicate that the word was used in that area around 500 AD at minimum, well before significant Indo-Arabic trade had reached that far south, and additionally, at a time when Bantu speakers would be confined to the interior of the Congo Rainforest, making a borrowing unlikely. Additionally the anusvara in Sanskrit would imply that a loanword would probably contain a nasal vowel or a velar nasal, the most common reflexes of *ṃh in Indic languages (cf. :ind: Hindi सिंघ siṅgh lion). It would additionally be unusual for the nasalized vowel to fortite to mb.
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Re: False cognates

Post by Khemehekis »

Huh. I was about to post a question in the L & N Quick Questions thread asking whether Swahili simba was a cognate with Punjabi singh.

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