1. If they got it from the protolanguage, then why does it have different phonetics? Is it possible that they were developed separately?

    • 'Mañana' in Spanish – means 'morning' and 'tomorrow'
    • 'Morgen’ in German – means 'morning' and 'tomorrow'

    In Slavonic languages we can observe the following:

    • In Russian, 'utrom' means 'in the morning'
    • In Polish, 'utrom' means 'tomorrow'.

    How could phonetics so drastically change? 'Morgen', 'Mañana', 'Utro'? What is the Sanscrit word for 'morning' and 'tomorrow'?

  2. If a word was adopted with all its meanings but with the change of phonetics, like German 'der Schloss’ transferred all its meanings into Russian “Замок” – 'Lock' and 'Castle' simultaneously.

    If so, with 'tomorrow', how did people live before without the adopted word 'tomorrow' since it defines the basic understanding of time? I can imagine living without 'castles', but cannot imagine living without 'tomorrow'. I think all Structuralism and Poststructuralism philosophies will argue language could exist without the word 'tomorrow'.

What do Ferdinand de Saussure, Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida, Ludwig Wittgenshtein think about this? Has this question already been raised?

  • 3
    In Polish, 'tomorrow' is jutro, not utrom, although jutro and утром have the same Slavic root.
    – Yellow Sky
    Jul 8, 2017 at 15:03
  • 3
    It perplexes me that you ask why words that are descended from the same word in a protolanguage can have drastically different phonetics, and also how you seem to assume that words that developed separately must not have had an antecedent in the protolanguage: those two assumptions together would imply that common words are bound to always be recognizably the same in a protolanguage's descendents, but that would basically mean that all of the languages in the same family should be mutually intelligible except for "modern" words, which is easily shown to be false.
    – LjL
    Jul 8, 2017 at 17:08

2 Answers 2


The words utrom, morgen, mañana don't all derive from the same word in Proto-Indo-european, so that is why they are pronounced differently. As to why "morning" and "tomorrow" are sufficiently similar in semantics that they can be the same word, this is a reasonably common fact across languages (very common in Bantu, for example). If you're going to develop terminology for time, the most fundamental division is the boundary delineated by the long sleep, which terminates in the morning, which comes tomorrow. (The most basic distinctions of time are "present", "future" and "past", and "tomorrow" is a much higher order concept, which depends on also developing a discrete 24-ish hour concept "day"). The fact that "tomorrow" is an important concept for human existence does not mean that the word for "tomorrow" is doomed to remain unchanged.

Swallow (the bird) is likewise often the same root as the verb (e.g. in Logoori), which is explained by the distinctive feeding habit of swallows. There are similar semantic intersections between "right" (direction) and "right" (correct), or "male" ("right hand" is the "male hand"), explained by the predominance of right-handedness in humans and thus various ostensively positive descriptions of right (direction).

Under language contact, polysemy of a word or phrase can be borrowed by a language. An example is French marché aux puces which we translate as "flea market" (that's how it literally would translate into English), even though nobody sells fleas there. Such borrowings of translations are known as "calques".

Lakoff & Johnson have a book, Metaphors We Live By, which discusses the importance of metaphor in language and human life.


Russian word "utrom" most likely came from Proto-Indo-European root a̯u̯es- meaning "glow". It is cognate to English "East". Compare PIE words

a̯u̯estrom east (-> Austria, Australia)

a̯u̯esos dawn

"Aura" and "Aurora" are also of this root.

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