8 and night

IsaC

Senior Member
Portugal - português
In the sequence of the thread ten/town and since Frank06 deleted my post here's my new thread.

Is just a coincidence or is there a relation between the number 8 (eight) and the word night in many languages?

Ex:
- English: eight/night
- French: huit/nuit
- Portuguese: oito/noite
- German: acht/nacht
- Spanish: ocho/noche

Please add more
 
  • Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Hi,

    As Flaminius already indicated, other examples can be given in this OL thread.

    I suggest that we try to give explanations here in EHL.


    Is just a coincidence or is there a relation between the number 8 (eight) and the word night in many languages?
    And what could possibly be the relation? Well, about what kind of relation are you thinking of in the first place?

    Let's have a look at a few IE languages:

    Language: night -- eight
    Proto-IE: *nogʷh-, *nogʷh-t- -- *ok'to
    Tokharian: A nakcu, B nekcīye -- A okät, B okt
    Old Indian: nákta-, aktā́ -- aṣtā́, -ā́u
    Old Greek: nǘks -- oktṓ
    Proto-Slavic: *notjь -- *osmь
    Baltic: *nakt-i- (*nakt=) -- *ačtō^-n-
    Germanic: *naxt- c., *naxt-i- c. -- *axtō, *axtau
    Latin: nox -- octō
    Celtic:
    OIr innocht `hac nocte' -- OIt ocht;
    Cymr peu-noeth -- wyth;
    Corn haneth -- eath;
    Albanian: natɛ -- tetɛ

    What I am concerend, I think you really need to convince me of the similarities in the very first place. Similarities, other than very vague, rather arbitrary and superfluous ones.
    Then you can come up with an explanation and back it up.

    I also wonder how any kind of explanation will account for the instances where there is no similarity.

    In case you need more numbers '8', click here or here. For night click here.

    Groetjes,

    Frank
     

    IsaC

    Senior Member
    Portugal - português
    Hi,
    What I am concerend, I think you really need to convince me of the similarities in the very first place. Similarities, other than very vague, rather arbitrary and superfluous ones.
    Then you can come up with an explanation and back it up.

    I also wonder how any kind of explanation will account for the instances where there is no similarity.
    Frank
    Thank you for the examples.
    As you can see, there are obvious similarities whitch don't need to be explained!

    About the kind of relation is just what I was asking... any kind, something that justifies why this happens. Anything, something about our ancestors that could justify this; gramatical reasons, etc

    I can't believe that this is just a coincidence, taking in consideration that there are so many languages where this happens. And I don't think these similarities are superfluous as you said, but instead very interesting.
     

    Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Hi,
    As you can see, there are obvious similarities whitch don't need to be explained!
    This is exactly where we differ: what you call 'obvious similarities', I call the result of a very selective look upon things. You look at what is similar and you dismiss everything which is not similar.

    About the kind of relation is just what I was asking... any kind, something that justifies why this happens.
    I'll ask it another way: why should there be any kind of relation between 8 and night?
    Because some people find some very superficial similiarities between a few words for night and eight and forget about all the other words for 8 and night in languages from the same language family where there are no similarities?

    I can't believe that this is just a coincidence, taking in consideration that there are so many languages where this happens.
    And what do you do with the (IE) languages where it doesn't happen?
    Anyway, what exactly happens?

    And I don't think these similarities are superfluous as you said, but instead very interesting.
    Superfluous can be interesting, too.

    Anyway, you'll find a lot of discussions and explanations on night/eight. See e.g. here, here.
    This one is rather funny (at least I hope it's not to be taken seriously). I even came across a maconnic conspiracy theory.

    Groetjes,

    Frank
     

    IsaC

    Senior Member
    Portugal - português
    Well, superfluous in not interesting or it wouldn't be superfluous.

    I apreciate your opinion but what you're trying to do is convince me that I don't have a point. I see one, so I want to know more about it, that's why this forum exists.

    As you know this is not the right place to chat, so I won't answer your questions, especially because you want me to explain you why I think what I think.

    So, I'll expect someone can bring some knowledge about this subject and elucidate me because I'd really like to find out why this happens or if it just happens.

    Thanks for the links, I'll check it
     

    demalaga

    Member
    España castellano
    This is an idea with nothing to support it but is nothing lost in saying it.In another post in this forum I read that in a counting sistem based in number eight the number nine belongs to a new series and that's the reason why new and nine a similar words in a lot of languages.It is not impossible that the word eight was somithin as last or old, like the night is the end of the day or the old part of the day.This could explain the similarity.
     
    this link might be interesting for you then.

    But, in European languages, the word for "night" seems to translate as "no eight." This can be seen in the following languages:
    • English: no eight = night.
    • French: non huit = nuit.
      German: nein acht = nacht.
      Italian: non otto = notte
      Spanish: non oche = noche.
    • Saturn was frequently depicted in rock art as an eight-pointed star. (See graphics below.) Perhaps ancient peoples thought of Saturn as representing eight.
     

    Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Hi,

    I'm terribly sorry, but it's not a matter of esoterics, kabbalism, astrology, phases of the moon, pre-historical eight hour night shifts in the menhir factory or other farfetched explanations. A set of manuals on the historical phonology of the IE languages will do.

    In one of my previous posts I think I clearly showed the similarities AND the dissimilarities. For one or another reason, people tend to concentrate upon the similarities, but even then they ignore the level of similarity between the pairs and between the languages. This kind of selective blindness leaves the door open for the most fantastic explanations.
    It's quite clear that in e.g. Dutch nacht - acht, we have another kind of similarity than in English night - eight.

    I also gave the two PIE roots: *nogʷh-t- for night and *ok'to- for eight.
    In some IE languages, the sounds the -gʷh- (from PIE root *nogʷh-t-) and -k'- (from PIE root *ok'to-) merged, as in Proto-Germanic *naxt- and *axtō, for example. Here, [x] is more or less the -ch- sound as in Scottish loch.
    Merged here means that two different phonemes, depending on their phonetic environment, change (or evolve, whatever) into the same sound, into one phoneme, a quite comon process. This explains the (partial) similarities of later words as nacht/acht and night/eight, at least what the consonants are concerned. A similar explanation can be given for the Italic languages (and Latin and later the Romance languages).

    This also means by the way, that for example from Proto-Germanic on, it's not necessary anymore to explain the similarities, but the dissimilarities.

    In other languages those two sounds did not merge, but they changed in a different way, see Old Indian, Tocharian, Baltic and others.

    The sound changes do not depend on one set of words, but they can be found back in most (if not all) instances in which there was a PIE *-gʷh- and -k'- (though these changes also depend upon the phonetic environment, for example the following phonemes, and sometimes analogy).

    I hope this helps.

    Groetjes,

    Frank
     

    Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Hi,
    this link might be interesting for you then.
    At least for people who like esoterics and other farfetched "explanations".
    Has anybody ever considered the quite simple fact that there is a quite simple linguistic explantion (post 9), for all this.
    I do know it's a dull explantion, since it doesn't talk about Sumerian moon phases, nor about gods, no pyramids, no earth power, no massonic conspiracies, no Old Forgotten Knowledge, no Dan Brown(-like) stuff.
    Only linguistics.
    Sorry for that.

    Groetjes,

    Frank
     
    If this link given by Frank is true, in Hittite the words for 8 and night are not just similar but they are the same! "nekutz"

    I guess these two words are similar in many Indo-European languages just because they were similar in the first place in PIE !!!!!!! So it's no surprise that those two words remained similar in the languages evolved from PIE i.e. in many Euopean languages.

    Though why they were similar "in the first place" is unknown to me...And I dont think any linguists will come with an accurate idea. The only "rational" answer would be "just a coincidence" for our lazy scientists. Only science you know. Sorry for that.

    PS. Since no one said/proved it is wrong, I deemed to accept that those words (8 and night) are "the same" (nekutz) in Hittite. Why are they the same ? I dont know I am a simple man, but I wont take "it is just a coincidence" for an answer because it is simply not. And it is as cheesy as it should sound. They should simply say "We dont know, it is beyond us, it is hard for us to solve blah blah blah..." I would take those for an answer because you dont have to prove that you dont know some particular thing. But if some one says that it is "just coincidental" then they shall have to prove it. Otherwise it is not an answer, just science sorry.
     

    IsaC

    Senior Member
    Portugal - português
    I read that in a counting sistem based in number eight the number nine belongs to a new series and that's the reason why new and nine a similar words in a lot of languages.It is not impossible that the word eight was somithin as last or old, like the night is the end of the day or the old part of the day.
    I really apreciate this explanation! And I had never realized that there was also some relation between 9 and new.
    I'll try to find out more information about this.

    Thank you all for the links and information, allthought I'm not a believer of esoteric science maybe our ancesters were, which can also be a possible reason for this happening, we never know!
     

    Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Hi,
    I guess these two words are similar in many Indo-European languages just because they were similar in the first place in PIE !!!!!!! [...] Though why they were similar "in the first place" is unknown to me...And I dont think any linguists will come with an accurate idea. The only "rational" answer would be "just a coincidence" for our lazy scientists. Only science you know.
    Lazy? Maybe. But at least they have good eyes :).
    Let's have a look once again at PIE *nogʷh-t- for night and *ok'to- for eight. Please tell me what they have in common apart from -o- and -t- (which is a suffix in the first case). What do [gʷh] and [k'] have in common? I don't see a reason to do an effort to explain a so-called similarity which simply is not a similarity, at least not on the level of PIE.

    [edit]In this dictionary, a rather different notation and a different set of consonants is used. This kind of differences are not uncommon among etymological dictionaries. It would lead us too far to deal with the consonants here.
    Anyway, Watkins gives PIE *ok^to:, *okto: (in the so-called centum languages, o: is long o) and *nekw-t-, probably from *negw-, to be dark, be night. The O-grade form is *nokw-t-. Nevertheless, the differences remain. [/edit]

    What the similarities among the Germanic and Romance languages are concerned, I don't think one is lazy when one actually looks up a few things.

    What Hittite is concerned:
    PS. Since no one said/proved it is wrong,
    I deemed to accept that those words (8 and night) are "the same" (nekutz) in Hittite. Why are they the same ? I dont know I am a simple man, but I wont take "it is just a coincidence" for an answer because it is simply not. And it is as cheesy as it should sound. They should simply say "We dont know, it is beyond us, it is hard for us to solve blah blah blah..." I would take those for an answer because you dont have to prove that you dont know some particular thing. But if some one says that it is "just coincidental" then they shall have to prove it. Otherwise it is not an answer, just science sorry.
    Why this armchair attitude? Why don't you doublecheck yourself :confused:. Don't tell me that you are lazy too? :D.
    All we have in this thread is a very unreliable source.

    Luckily, there are other sources: This site claims that the Hittite word for 8 is not attested. Luwian (closely related) has *haktau, Lycian has aitãta. Neither could I find the word in this Hittte dictionary. This site says that only a few numerals are attested, they don't mention 8.

    Hence, so far the question is not "why are they the same", not even "are they the same"...
    The first question should be: Is the Hittite word for 8 attested? I couldn't find it. Maybe you have more luck.
    Anyway, once you have found the Hittite word for 8 we can come back to your cartoonesque 'presentation' of how you think science/linguistics works (which I quoted above).


    Groetjes,

    Frank
     

    demalaga

    Member
    España castellano
    Athough not directly related with "night"it is with "eight" wich in Arabic is thamani, not very different from tamam wich means complete.This could support the hypothesis that prehistoric men counted with the eight long fingers and used this number as a base.Most probably I am wrong, but for the moment I think it is not imposible.
     

    Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Hi,
    Athough not directly related with "night"it is with "eight" wich in Arabic is thamani, not very different from tamam wich means complete.This could support the hypothesis that prehistoric men counted with the eight long fingers and used this number as a base.Most probably I am wrong, but for the moment I think it is not imposible.
    I'm terribly sorry, I don't know Arabic at all :). Nevertheless, I kind of miss the link(s) between
    - 'thamani' (eight?)
    - taman (complete?)
    - counting on 8 fingers in pre-historic times
    - night

    Could you please explain?

    Groetjes,

    Frank
     

    demalaga

    Member
    España castellano
    The Arabic word for eight is thamaniyyah.This is the feminine form.th sounds like English th in "thing" and the final h is unpronounced but when followed by some words is pronounced as t.
    The ending iyyah is a tipical ending for feminine adjectives.In the case this word comes from the same root as tamam would mean" the completing one".The problem is whether or not this conexion is real or just a coincidence.
    From all the arabic numerals till ten the only one that has adjective termination in this number eight.Tamam is used to say O.K.
    It is possible to count easily and accurately using the fingers.The first person counts till eight and announces to the person counting in the higher level wich counts its first digit.When this person uses all digits the person in the highest level counts in his turn.When everything is counted the tree (or more) persons show the digit they have got.
    So well trained teams could do very quick and accurate countings.
     

    Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Hi,


    The Arabic word for eight is thamaniyyah. [...] Tamam is used to say O.K. It is possible to count easily and accurately using the fingers.[...]
    Okay, that's nice, but you lost me here.
    I mean, what does this have to do with the topic of this thread?

    Groetjes,

    Frank
     

    demalaga

    Member
    España castellano
    well.My last post seems a little disgression trying to show that the number eight is a speciall number widely used in ancient times, and for this reason could have semantic relationship with many other words, but if it is or nor related with "night" it seems we have done little progress in this thread.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Isac has observed that the words for eight and night are similar in many Indo-European languages.

    This suggests to me that the following two statements are probably true.
    1. The words for eight and night were similar in the Indo-European language.
    2. Those words belong to categories (maybe numerals, and very common everyday experiences) that tend to stick around in languages for a long time as the languages develop, and that tend not to be replaced by loan-words from other languages.
     

    Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Hi,
    Isac has observed that the words for eight and night are similar in many Indo-European languages.
    This suggests to me that the following two statements are probably true.
    1. The words for eight and night were similar in the Indo-European language.
    Five problems:
    (a) I don't see the relation between your number (1, and I take it you mean Proto-Indo-European) and the observation that in many Indo-European languages night and 8 are similar.
    (b) Those "many languages" are mainly Germanic and Italic languages. Avok still hasn't come up with the Hittite form, so it's not sure we can add Hittite to the list.
    (c) The PIE roots for both words were not similar.
    (d) The similarities in the Germanic and Italic languages are due to the merger of two different phonemes.
    (e) That the words for 8 and nine are not similar in almost all the other language families is not a detail that should be ignored!

    Groetjes,

    Frank
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In response to Frank's questions
    - I understand that the (a?) reconstructed Indo-European (Proto-Indo-European if you insist, though the OED does not so insist) word for eight was ok^t¡(u), and for night was nokº-t-s. If you think that eight and night are similar, then ok^t¡(u) and nokº-t-s are similar (give or take an initial n and one or two different vowels).
    http://www.indo-european.nl/cgi-bin/startq.cgi?flags=endnnnl&root=leiden&basename=%5Cdata%5Cie%5Cpokorny
    - If two similar-sounding words are subjected to the same phonetic changes, it is not surprising that after the phonetic changes the two words still sound similar.
    Clearly this observation has no bearing on any perceived similarity between any words in any words not derived from ok^t¡(u) and nokº-t-s.
     

    Rajki

    Member
    Hungarian
    I think the key is two similar-sounding but unconnected PIE roots, *ak 'sharp' and *ok 'light'.

    For the first, see Latin acus 'needle'. Old Indo-Europeans might have shown all the protruding bony (=sharp) knuckles of both their clenched fists to say 'eight', PIE *ok-t-ou (*ou being the PIE dual).

    For the second, see Greek aktis 'sunray' and Dutch ochtend 'in the morning'. Old Indo-Europeans might have put this in the negative: *n-okw-t-, meaning no light = night.

    Modern eight and night are thus unconnected, all resemblance comes from the ending of the two PIE roots (*-k-) plus the two (?unrelated) suffixes (*-t-).
     

    OBrasilo

    Senior Member
    Brazil, Brazilian Portuguese
    I don't think this is limited to Indo-European languages.
    In Japanese, there is:
    - yo-n, yo-ttsu - four;
    - ya, ya-ttsu - eight;
    - yo-i, yo-ru - night, evening.

    Add to that the fact that Japanese o originates in proto-Japonic *au, so I could imagine:
    - ya-u-n, ya-u-t-tu - four;
    - ya-, ya-t-tu - eight;
    - ya-u-i, ya-u-ru - night, evening.

    So maybe ancient humans did have a connection between eight and night. Maybe it's as simple as you sleep eight hours at night, though it would be left to verify how ancient humans measured time. :p
     

    danielstan

    Senior Member
    Romanian - Romania
    I don't find a relationship between 8 and night in the examples presented here.

    I feel I could clarify the evolution of Latin nox and octo in the Romance languages.
    Latin nox (at nominative) for night is noctem in accusative.
    Most of the Romance languages have inherited the accusative form of Latin names.
    Also the final -m in Latin accusative have been lost early, before the Romance languages emerged.

    So, the source for night in Romance languages is the Vulgar Latin *nocte, which resembles somehow the Latin octo.

    Latin octo | noctem > French huit | nuit, Spanish ocho | noche, Italian otto | notte, Romanian opt | noapte

    and you get somehow some Romance languages where 8 sounds a little like night.


    This example shows clearly how accidents (or hazard) in the evolution of a language can mislead someone in finding pseudo-etymologies (night = no eight!!!).
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    The currently favoured IE hypothesis is that “night” and its cognates are from IE *nekwt-, while “eight” is from the dual of *h3eḱteh3-, “span” (four fingers), like Avestan ašti- “span”. It is only in the centum languages (like English) that -kwt- and -ḱt- have an identical outcome.
     
    Last edited:

    OBrasilo

    Senior Member
    Brazil, Brazilian Portuguese
    In Indo-European languages, the 8-night similarity does seem to be restricted to the centum languages (peripheral IE), while satem (central IE) seem to lack it as the two roots developed differently (oḱt- became ost- in Slavic (8 = ostŭmĭ), but nekwt- became notj-).
    However the weirdest thing is that it apparently occurs outside IE too, I posted the Japanese examples earlier, I need to look into Korean to see how it is there, and it would be interesting to look into Uralic, Turkic, Tungusic, Mongolic, etc. as well.
     

    mataripis

    Senior Member
    Tagalog word for eight is walo maybe a contractions of 2 words- dalawa/duah+ lo( ulo or representing head/circle/round shape. The words for night are gabi and dilim(darkness) with archaic forms deram,derom,delom.That part of the word lom could be luom or loob ( enclosed,folded and inside or inner) .And in my analysis the these two words have something in common - concealing,undefined as 8 is also undefine symbol,immesurable or infinite curve.
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    ... it would be interesting to look into Uralic, Turkic, Tungusic, Mongolic, etc. as well.
    Some Uralic examples:

    Hungarian
    nyolc - eight
    éj - night

    Finnish
    kahdeksan - eight
    yö - night

    Komi
    kükjamüs - eight
    oj - night

    Nenets
    sidndet- eight
    pij - night

    (The Komi and Nenets use the Cyrillic alphabet, so my transliterations serve only for illustration)

    It is supposed that the Proto-Uralic had a base-6 numeral system, so the numbers 7,8,9 and 10 in Uralic languages are of later development or loanwords, that's why the words for 8 in the above examples are evidently of different origin. However, I can see no connection between night and eight in none of them ...
     
    Last edited:

    sotos

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Let us assume that there is a relation between eight and night, at least in IE languages. Can we find possible explanations for that? One idea of mine is that the daylight time was roughly divided in 7 or 8 parts, in which case the 8 corresponds to the onset of night. But how the day could be divided in 8 parts in the pre-clock era?
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    On the basis of vague similarities we can invent alternative "theories" for the etymology of night, as well. For example:

    night < nlight = no light (English)
    Nacht < nicht < nlicht = nein Licht (German)
    nox < nux < nlux = non lux (Latin)
    noč < nuč < nluč = ně luč (Russian)
    ...

    :)
     
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    Karton Realista

    Senior Member
    Polish - Poland
    Please dont't take the examples in my post #35 too seriously ...
    I'm not responding to your examples, but to the transcription. I get that you are not serious.
    To me this discussion is silly, it's like "dog in some aborigen language is also dog, that proves whatever".
    It's even dumber when you consider that most of the examples are from related languages and all the forms come from two proto-indo-european stems that may have been accidentaly similar.
     
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