Germanic languages: Tongue/language same word

< Previous | Next >

dihydrogen monoxide

Senior Member
Slovene, Serbo-Croat
I know that in English, but don't know for other Germanic languages. Did other Germanic languages use the same word for tongue and language. English does have tongue as an organ and mother tongue 'language'. Although it did use tongue in the past and not language for languages.
 
  • serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    Nor in Danish and Norwegian. But it's a kind of logical association, and it's used in Romance languages, so maybe also in some non-Indo-European "tongues", who knows...
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    ...and I almost forgot, of course, Slavic languages, e.g. язык in Russian is both "tongue" and "language".
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, of course. When I went to the west of Ukraine, I armed myself with the phrases не розмовляю українською мовою and розмовляю трохи українською мовою. But I found that even in the far west most people understood Russian and could also speak it in many cases.

    I wonder if using 'tongue' for 'language' is only an Indo-European thing? It's not the same in Thai and Arabic, at least. I suppose if someone had a lot of time on their hands, they could translate 'tongue' and 'language' into all the languages on Google translate and see what they found...
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    In Finnish the word kieli have four meanings: tongue; language; string (musical instruments such as guitarr); reed (in woodwind instruments).

    In Swedish there is the word tungomål, which have been used both for language, and for dialect, but today it's usually only known in tungomålstalande (speaking in tongues), used in some Christian denominations, such as Pentecostal.
     
    ...and I almost forgot, of course, Slavic languages, e.g. язык in Russian is both "tongue" and "language".
    And in Greek «γλώσσα» vs «γλώσσα» [ˈɣlɔsa] (fem.).
    Ancient Greek used the same word too: «Γλῶσσα» glôssă (fem.) vs «γλῶσσα» glôssă (fem.) (Attic «γλῶττα» glôttă) which stood for the dialect too, eg: «Ἡ Ἀττικὴ γλῶττα» hē attikḗ glôtta --> the Attic dialect
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Arabic لسان /lisa:n/ "tongue" may be also used for "language", although it isn't the main word for it. That metonymy must be pretty widespread.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top