Is Japanese "subaru" related to Russian "soberu" ("I'll put together") and Latin "conferre" ("to bring together")?

I think both Latin and Russian words derive from Proto-Indo-European "com bheroa̯" "I am putting together".

1 Answer 1


No relation at all. In linguistics the absence of a genetic relation is the null hypothesis. The burden of proof relies on those who claim a certain etymological relation or a common origin of two or more words. So, unless someone proves the relation between subaru and the other two words, the answer is: unrelated.

P.S. Don't let phonetic similarities fool yourself: when two words sound alike this is a good hint of their unrelatedness. Genetically related words usually have different phonetic shapes, as you can witness for Russian soberu (first singular of sobrat' 'to collect', formed by the prefix so- and the root ber/bir/br, meaning 'to take' and going back to the PIE root bher 'bring') and Latin conferre (a prefixed verb with multiple meanings relating to the notion of 'bringing' and going back to the same PIE root as the aforementioned Russian verb).

  • Well, Starostin's database gives for Proto-Altaic "č`óme" "together" and "bi̯ṓr" for "take, collect", the both cognates to Proto-Indo-European at Eurasiatic level. But in modern Japanese these would result in "tomohiro" (interestingly, there is such name in Japanese!). Still, there is possibility it is a borrowing from another Altaic language.
    – Anixx
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 22:52
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    @Anixx you cannot say "it is possibly a borrowing from another Altaic language" as if the Altaic connection were an established fact because, effectively, it is not. You've made a good attempt, you checked out on Starostin's database, and you answered to yourself that Japanese form does not fit with this etymology. Therefore, the answer to the original question is still "unrelated". (Not to speak about the fact that neither the Altaic family nor the Nostratic genetic connection are widely accepted facts in historical linguistics). Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 23:05
  • I still cannot find the etymology of "subaru" (it comes from "suberu" meaning "rule, superwise" but no further connection). And the meaning of the name "Tomohiro" seems to contradict Starostin (it means "wide wisdom")
    – Anixx
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 23:21
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    by the way, subaru and suberu have sub as their root (not 100% sure, but almost). The remaining is a secondary suffix and can be disregarded, for our concern. This makes further enquiry meaningless, because there is nothing related to sub in either the Russian or the Latin form. Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 23:25
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    See the etymology of both Japanese words in this book (p. 112 and 144): books.google.it/books?id=7ysws67HZegC Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 23:30

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