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I recently came across this post (question attached). But this rule seems to struggle once it comes to the Sanskrit - Indo-Aryan side of the family (PIE) , for example ratri in Sanskrit and raat in Hindi. (However Hindi word for eight is aath) . Then one can look at this(1) , this(2) and this(3) . which all indicate that both, the night and raat . Are they absolute synonyms, or some other explanation can be given? the night in the Latin-German side of PIE 1st this 2nd this 3rd this

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  • I have added three links at the bottom, which lead to both raat and night , I was asking if hindi raat has to do anything with this night connection when we know Hindi and Sanskrit are PIE as well. – WiccanKarnak Apr 7 '19 at 5:08
  • The reddit image is here because I didn't know if guys had seen this before, but the aforementioned question can be linked now. – WiccanKarnak Apr 7 '19 at 5:09
  • So your question is about a potential meaning difference between nákti and ratri? – jk - Reinstate Monica Apr 7 '19 at 18:25
  • Yup if there is any. Or is it not the meaning difference but the usage difference etc. – WiccanKarnak Apr 7 '19 at 19:28
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Almost certainly it's pure coincidence.

It might seem unbelievable that so many languages have the same coincidence, right? But most of these languages are Romance, and we know the Romance languages share an ancestor: Vulgar Latin.

In Vulgar Latin, "night" was nocte, and "eight" was octo. The -oct- in the middle then developed the same way in both words. (You'll notice the different final vowels in all except French, by the way, and French just dropped most final vowels without a trace.)

The other two languages are Germanic, and linguists have a pretty solid reconstruction of their last common ancestor too, "Reconstructed Proto-Germanic". In this language, "night" was *nahts, and "eight" was *ahtou: once again, there's the common element *-aht-, which ends up evolving in the same way. The endings then disappear, so once again the two look the same.

And why do both Vulgar Latin and Reconstructed Proto-Germanic have their stems looking so similar? It's because these share a common ancestor too, Reconstructed Proto-Indo-European! In PIE, "night" was *nókʷts and "eight" was *oḱtōw. This is the main coincidence that all the others come from quite regularly. In both the Italic branch and the Germanic branch, *kʷt and *ḱt merged, so the two differed only in their endings. And as you've seen, all of your example languages either lost these endings, or the endings are still different today.

By the way, the merger of *kʷt and *ḱt happened in both Italic and Germanic, but not in many others. In the Slavic languages, you'll see different consonants in the middle, due to something called "satemization": Russian noči "night", vosem' "eight". You should see the same in Sanskrit and its descendants, but I don't speak enough Sanskrit to give a proper example.

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  • Umm okay. For the first part yes, and I found that as I did mention in links. on the 1st and 3rd link though the forms you see in Sanskrit are not just satemization, the words have changed completely. check out the links to find that there are words like raat/raatri – WiccanKarnak Apr 6 '19 at 19:32
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    @WiccanKarnak Wait, so you're not asking about the night~eight connection, but about where raatri comes from (since as you say it doesn't seem at all related to *nokwts)? – Draconis Apr 6 '19 at 19:46
  • yeah , i am sorry, can you help me edit the question if it isn't clear? – WiccanKarnak Apr 6 '19 at 20:04
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    @WiccanKarnak Absolutely! I think at this point it'll be best to leave this question in place (since it's been upvoted and answered) and add a new one: leave out the image entirely, and just point out that the word for "night" in Indo-Aryan languages looks nothing like the word for "night" in Romance, Germanic, or Hellenic languages (probably others too). – Draconis Apr 7 '19 at 22:06

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