I was inspired to write this from one of Ajit’s posts. I was first introduced to the origins of languages by my great-uncle who is a linguist. Ever since, I have always been on the lookout for words that are common, in seemingly different languages.. I am talking about the words which have been assimilated so well into various languages that we probably do not even realise that the origins are probably the same.
Here are some examples of words and their origins..
Rice – It has been speculated that the Indo-Iranian vrihi itself is borrowed from a Dravidian vari (< PDr. *warinci) or even a Munda language term for rice, or the Tamil name arisi (அரிசி) from which the Arabic ar–ruzz, from which the Portuguese and Spanish word arroz originated.
Mango – The name mango is ultimately either from the Kodagu mange, the Malayalam manga, or the Tamil mangai, and was loaned into Portuguese in the early 16th century, and from Portuguese passed into English. The ending in -o appears in English and is of unclear origin..
Orange – Orange derives from Indian, tamil naranthai to Sanskrit nāraṅgaḥ “orange tree”, with borrowings through Persian nārang, Arabic nāranj, Spanish naranja, Late Latin arangia, Italian arancia or arancio, and Old French orenge, in chronological order. The first appearance in English dates from the 14th century. The name of the colour is largely derived from the fruit, first appearing in this sense in the 16th century.
These are some of the words that I can think of – off the top of my head.. I am sure a lot of you will be able to provide me with loads of other examples.. Just the other day, I learnt from my Spanish neighbour that the word for table in Spanish is ‘mesa’ which is pronounced almost exactly as the Malayalam word for table – ‘mesha‘!
If we all start looking at similarities between ourselves and realise that just like these words, we all have common origins, a lot of our problems are bound to disappear – what do you think?