Latin and Albanian come from the Indo-European language so it makes sense that those two languages share many words with each-other, but how comes Turkish which is supposed to come from non-Indo-European languages, share words with both Latin and Albanian?

For example, the word clay/dirt is:

balçık in Turkish baltë in Albanian bolus in Latin

What's the most possible explanation?

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    Languages that have been next to each other for thousands of years will naturally borrow many words. – curiousdannii Jan 19 '20 at 23:49
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    Could Linguistics SE have some sort of FAQ with explanations for this and a few other perennial questions (is language X more expressive, is language X older, is language X simpler...). – Adam Bittlingmayer Jan 20 '20 at 7:16

There are three possible explanations:

  1. Turkish has borrowed many words from other languages, just as has Albanian. I have been told courant d'air is actually a Turkish word (probably spelled the Turkish way). It is possible that your word, or a morpheme in it, was borrowed from an Indo-European language long ago. It may have happened in early praehistoric times, since the two families have been in contact since time immemorial in Central Asia and elsewhere.

  2. It is speculated that the Turkic family of languages might be related to the Indo-European family, together being part of a Eurasiatic super-family. Some linguists have tried to explain similarities across linguistic families thus. But it is generally not accepted that any substantial evidence exists for this theory.

  3. Coincidence. Arguably, most of what happens in language is coincidence, and there are only so many sounds of consonant-vowel-consonant that exist in Turkish, and only so many in Albanian; many are bound to exist in both, and a few of those will coincidentally have a similar meaning.

Consider also that the root from which balçık is derived probably had 20 different forms in the various historic and regional variants of Turkish, and even more different shades of meaning: it may be coincidental that one Turkish combination of form–meaning should match another in Albanian. But, in this case, it may very well be explanation 1, (praehistoric or later) borrowing.


Your question contains erroneous claims.
Latin bolus < Greek bolos has nothing to do with "mud" or "slime".
Albanian baltë means "mud"
Turkish balçık means "slime"

  • 1. The OP cited a source for his translations (albeit Google Translate); what's yours? 2. Even if you're glossing correctly, it doesn't take much imagination to see a semantic link between these three words, so this doesn't impact one way or another the question of whether the words are etymologically connected – b a Jan 20 '20 at 15:11
  • Turkish balçık has cognates in other Turkish languages, and comes from Proto-Turkic *bạl- "clay, mud". (Turkic etymology compiled by Anna Dybo, link: is.gd/JtWkIk ) – Locoluis Jan 20 '20 at 16:11
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    Albanian baltë comes from Proto-Albanian *baltā which is hypothesized to come from PIE *bʰoləto- "white > marsh", and cognate with Proto-Slavic *bolto (“swamp”), Lithuanian báltas (“white, shining”). Greek cognate is βάλτος (váltos, “swamp”). – Locoluis Jan 20 '20 at 16:15

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