0

I have been studying languages and history for more than thirty years but I am still in surprise how some of Indo-European languages that has separated thousands years ago from each other still utilise cognate local words even with the same pronunciation . Is it possible that the Scandinavian and Iranian connection had been later than Corded ware or Yamnaya cultures, for instance by Siberian tribes migration into Scandinavian territory.

These are examples of common words and meanings between Swedish and Persian:

Mellan= miyan ,

Bror= berar,

Kött= gosht,

Hoppar= halpar ,

Varg= voru ,

Skjorta= futa,

Hon = oon, Etc..

Some scholars consider these similarities just as coincidences which sounds and pronunciation may create them but I only research about the real words that have the same pronunciation and meaning even in their cultures and beliefs.

So far, I have found more than seven hundred common words between Iranian and German languages ​​that have the same meaning and usage, but I cannot find the historical period of their utilization.

For instance the word "Daughter" which is the same in most Germanic languages, shows a completely similar pronunciation between Swedish and Persian,( dotter= dokhtar ) as if they have learned it from each other.

2
  • 3
    Those are all just coincidences. Some of them aren’t even cognates, just words that happen to currently sound a little similar. Skjorta, for example, didn’t sound anything like futa if you go back a few hundred years. And I would say that /ɕœtː/ and /ɡoːʃt ~ ɡuːʃt/ don’t sound similar at all – the only sound they have in common is the /t/. Aug 31, 2023 at 11:12
  • 1
    True cognates, i.e. systematic correspondences, would go back to prehistory, not history. But I am not saying that your examples will turn out to be cognates... Only the word for "brother" is a candidate, I think, for it is similar in most if not all indo-european languages.
    – Alazon
    Aug 31, 2023 at 12:01

1 Answer 1

3

For instance the word "Daughter" which is the same in most Germanic languages, shows a completely similar pronunciation between Swedish and Persian,( dotter= dokhtar ) as if they have learned it from each other.

Two things cannot be "completely similar": they can be "absolutely identical", and they can be "similar". You can apply various scalar adverbs to "similar" such as "highly", "fairly" or "somewhat". The words dotter and dokhtar are similar, also German tochter is similar ("equally" similar is being more similar in one respect and less similar in another). This is not because modern Swedes (or Germans) and Persians get together for word-swapping, it is because they learn their respective languages the normal way people learn languages, with words being passed down from generation to generation, and this word has not changed much. The original source word was indeed a single word, used thousands of years ago. This is not a coincidence, it is a well-known and well-studied pattern. If you listen to a speaker of Swedish and Persian saying the respective words, it is obvious that the pronunciations are not the same.

Whether or not any other words on your list are similar by coincidence vs. similar because of common origin can only be determined if we have a more objective and informative data source. Swedish bror means "brother" (I don't know is there is a different word that you have in mind). Not knowing Persian, I can't guess what "berar" is except by association with bror, and I can at least determine that there is a Farsi word برادر conventionally transliterated as berâdar or berâdar which likewise descends from a common source in proto Indo-European.

گوشت [goʃt] and kött [çøtt] are only somewhat similar, but fortunately we know from historical study of Swedish that originally the consonant spelled k was also pronounced [k], which has an unknown historical source. The Persian word seems to be similarly of unknown origin. It is possible to conjecture that proto-Germanic *ketwą or the verb *kutjaną "cut" is related to this Persian word (the correspondence between Germanic [k] and Iranian [g] is known). It could also be a coincidence.

The null hypothesis is that any two words are historically independent, but you can set aside the null hypothesis if you have sufficient evidence for an alternative. There are numerous criteria used to support a hypothesis of historical relatedness. First, there has to be a consistent chain of connections in form going back to the putative proto form. Directly comparing Swedish [brʊr] and Persian berâdar runs into a problem regarding the d, but fortunately we know that some dozen centuries ago is was pronounced bróðir in Scandinavian. Second, there has to be a credible semantic chain between the words, meaning that known earlier meanings of words have to be taken into consideration, and you cannot just look at modern Farsi, you have to look at all of the related words in older languages (Old Persian, Avestan, Sogdian) and sister languages (Luri, Kurdish, Pashto). The connection of mellan and miyan via PIE *médʰyos is also not beyond the pale even if it is not a conventionally-accepted truth.

The connection between هاپر halpar and Swedish hoppar – I guess "hopper" – requires lots more evidence in order to overturn the null hypothesis of unrelatedness. For example, is هاپر a bin into which you would load grain for grinding? In other words, there is always the conceptual possibility of two words being historically related, but the burden of proof is on you to establish the chain of evidence that overturns the null hypothesis. Direct comparison of isolated words in two modern languages is of negligible value in providing that proof.

5
  • 1
    “berâdar or berâdar” – was one of those supposed to be something else? (Also, Swedish kött is /ɕœtː/, not /çøtː/ – Swedish has no /ø œ/ distinction within short vowels, so you could in theory write it /ɕøtː/, but [ç], though common in Norwegian, is not found as an allophone of /ɕ/ in any dialect of Swedish.) Aug 31, 2023 at 19:04
  • Swedish hoppar is the present tense of hoppa "to jump"
    – Tristan
    Sep 1, 2023 at 8:38
  • with gosht ~ kött, whilst the first consonants do correspond, the final ones don't. A Germanic t should correspond to d in Proto-Iranian (and then evolve from there, notably to y /j/ by Middle Persian), not to anything that could give sht
    – Tristan
    Sep 1, 2023 at 8:41
  • These words that I mentioned as examples are all found in Middle Persian and I am sure about their commonality with some European languages except its origin . For example, in ancient Persian, meat was called cow body (Gao tänü , läšé gav = cow flesh ), but now it has been changed in these new words .
    – Alireza
    Sep 1, 2023 at 10:00
  • Similarity in sound-meaning can be found fairly easily between any pair of languages. Consider English so in the sense of “as a result”. That meaning is expressed in Mandarin by 所以, and their respective pronunciations are [so] and [soi]. But without evidence of either a borrowing or documented descent from a common ancestor, we write their similarity off as just such a coincidence. Sep 1, 2023 at 21:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.