What's the linguistic relation between

  1. the Turkic words bin or min and Latin word mille meaning thousand

  2. Turkic dil and dutch taal meaninge language?

  • 10
    In every language there is a good chance that one can find a half-dozen words that sound sorta like words with similar meanings in any other language. That's normal, and displays no linguistic relation, but rather a statistical one. What you should look for is patterns of such similarities, between the same two languages, with most of the specific sounds in one always being represented by specific different sounds in the other. Like the pattern here.
    – jlawler
    Jun 3, 2013 at 14:03
  • 1
    Coincidences are exceedingly common with such very short words such as these monosyllables. That is not to say that an answer with some of the relevant etymologies would be of no value though. Jun 3, 2013 at 15:11
  • 4
    All I can offer for etymologies so far, all from the English Wiktionary: bin = Old Turkic biŋ, from Proto-Turkic *bɨŋ (“thousand”). mille = Proto-Indo-European *(sm̥-)ǵʰéslo-. Cognates include Ancient Greek χίλιοι (khilioi) and Sanskrit सहस्र (sahásra). taal = Middle Dutch tale, from Old Dutch *tala, from Proto-Germanic *talō. dil = Old Turkic tıl, from Proto-Turkic *til, *dɨl (“tongue; language”), *dil (“tongue; language”). Jun 3, 2013 at 15:22

4 Answers 4


There is no known linguistic relation. For (unprovable) ideas about a relationship, cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurasiatic_languages.

  • 1
    Care to offer a source for your statement?
    – Aspinea
    Jun 4, 2013 at 8:48
  • 4
    A source for the fact that there is no known relationship between these Turkish words and a word in Latin and a word in Dutch? Researchers rarely delve into explanations of what words are not related, so I doubt anyone has explicitly said anywhere that "Turkish dil is not related to Dutch taal". For the etymology of these Turkish words, cf. nisanyansozluk.com/?k=bin1 and nisanyansozluk.com/?k=dil1.
    – Sverre
    Jun 4, 2013 at 10:19
  • 3
    There are not very many etymologists or lexicographers who spend their careers writing about specific word pairs in disparate languages not being related. Instead you can study the origins of the words you seek. If they come from a common ancestor language, were borrowed from a common source, or (the ancestor of) one borrowed from (the ancestor of) the other, then they are related. Otherwise they are not related. The basic etymologies I posted in my comment on the question suggest each word goes comes from a direct ancestor language in families not accepted as related to one another. Jun 4, 2013 at 15:37

There is no relation between the cited words.

  • 3
    How can you prove that there's no relation?
    – user2045
    Jun 4, 2013 at 17:31
  • 4
    A reference or source for their different origins?
    – user2045
    Jun 4, 2013 at 18:04

There are three reasons that words in different languages may sound similar:

  1. Common origin;

  2. Loans; and

  3. Coincidence.

Common origin gives us series of related words. For instance, English "father" and Latin "pater" have a common origin. But then we have a whole series of words that have a similar fonetic structure in Germanic languages and other Indo-European languages, particularly featuring the peculiarity that what begins in "f" in Germanic languages begins in "p" in non-Germanic languages, and what sounds as "th" in English sounds as t in other languages.

So we have,

father (English) - Vater (German) - pater (Latin)

mother (English) - mater (Latin)

fish (English) - Fisch (German) - pisces (Latin)

foot (English) - Fuss (German) - podos (Greek)

feather (English) - pteros (Greek)

When we do not have those series, then a common origin cannot be established. In the particular case you cite, we do not have any consistent series of words in which Turkish initial /b/ corresponds to Latin initial /m/, nor Turkish final /n/ to Latin final /l/. This means that the similarity is very probably - quite certainly, indeed - not due to a common origin (or is rooted in a common origin so ancient that it has left no real trace in either language).

This leaves us with the hypotheses of 2. loans, and 3. coincidence. In the cases you bring into our attention, a loan is also quite unlikely. Words for "language" are quite central vocabulary in any language, which will not have much reason to borrow it. You borrow words like "spaghetti", that denote objects that you didn't know previously to an inter-cultural contact; and if you borrow a word like "language", it usually is an erudite borrowing, to establish a more refined/abstract connotation than the original "tongue". Neither Latin nor Turkish seem to have any problems with /b/ or /m/, so if they had borrowed from each other, both words would start with /b/ or both words would start with /m/.

So, the most likely is that this is a coincidence, that you notice because of the similarity in meaning. But similarity in meaning is elusive; in the examples above I cited "feather" and "pteros" as related words - which they are, albeit their meaning being quite different. If there isn't historic evidence of a borrowing, or comparable series of words that can establish a common origin, coincidence is by far the most likely explanation for such irregular similarities.


No relation.

Bin or min is Bıng (not with a i but ı) in the old Turkic.

Dil is Tıl (not with a i but ı) in the old Turkic. And its real meaning is tongue not language.

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