I noticed that the first three digit words for most Austronesian languages are awfully close to P.I.E. I speak Tagalog and at first, I had thought that the words for one two and three had been taken from Spanish, (Isa, Dalawa, Tatlo) but when I went to look at the Austronesian Languages page on Wikipedia, I was baffled to see that they had been so close to P.I.E. Why is this so?

  • 3
    From Wikipedia: Proto-Austronesian: *əsa/*isa, *duSa, *təlu. Proto-Indo-European: *Hoi-no-/*Hoi-wo-/*Hoi-k(ʷ)o-, *d(u)wo-, *trei-/*tri-. They don't seem very similar to me. The only point similarity is the d and t, but no other numerals share similar initial consonants.
    – curiousdannii
    Sep 11 '16 at 14:38
  • @curiousdannii your list makes them even closer. A Nostratic connection? The lost tribes of Sulawesi found in Hallstatt culture?
    – Mitch
    Sep 12 '16 at 17:14

The word for "two" is dua in Malay/Indonesian and duo in Latin. This is a classic example of how words in two unrelated languages turn out looking the same, by pure coincidence.

  • That's very odd. Sep 11 '16 at 15:20
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    No, it is not odd. The statistical probability of random correspondences within a relatively small battery of phonemes is actually fairly large.
    – fdb
    Sep 11 '16 at 15:33
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    @MarcoRubenAbuyuanLlanes think of it this way: if each language has tens of thousands of words, then statistically some will resemble each other. what's more, high-frequency words tend to be short, and the shorter they are, the more likely will coincidences be. Sep 11 '16 at 21:21
  • 3
    – fdb
    Sep 11 '16 at 21:31
  • Two is most assuredly not odd. :) Feb 17 '17 at 14:43

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