Indo-Iranian and Slavic languages: birds and the Sun?

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by jarajar, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. jarajar New Member

    Hi! While learning Indo-Iranian languages (mainly Persian and Hindi), I've found some similarities between them and my native language, Polish. I'm curious about possible connection between birds and sun (and thus, expressing time) in these languages. I'm talking about stems like: -rōz, -rōg, -raj and so on.

    About the birds:
    I've found that in Polish there are many similar names of prey birds, containing the -rog-, -róg, -ruk element. For example Raróg is the Saker Falcon; krogulec is the sparrowhawk; and kruk means a raven. Wróżba means a divination, I've heard Slavs used to tell fortune by observing birds flying.
    Persian رخ rokh is an enormous legendary bird of prey, and there's also a similar element in Slavic mythology - raróg - a scary hawk, falcon or a fiery dwarf which is probably connected with Swaróg, a Slavic deity of sun, sky, fire and blacksmithing. The Polish word Swaróg it itself similar to Sanskrit-Hindi sūraj, which means the Sun.

    About the sun and expressing time:
    Polish razić means: to glare; we say "rażące światło" - a very intense light, hard to look at. Word: raz is used to express the time, for example "tylko raz" is used to say "only once", "Zaraz!" means "One moment, please!". Teraz means: now; nowadays. In the 16th century it was "ten raz", literary meaning "this time".
    I think the Polish word "razić" might have something to do with Indian sūraj. And the Polish one: teraz (ten+raz) sounds similar to Persian امروز emrooz -today (I think it literary means "this day").

    Do you think the prey birds really have someting in common with the Sun in these languages? And are the similar words cognates? Or is this just a coincidence? I wonder what could connect birds and sun, maybe the fact they could be seen high in the sky? Can you find more similar examples in Slavic and Indo-Iranian laguages? I wish some native speakers could help. ;)
  2. killerbee256 Senior Member

    American English
    I can't tell you any details, but I've read that proto-slavic speakers had much interaction with nomadic Iranian speakers from the steps during antiquity; there are several words in Slavic traced back to Iranian but as I said I don't know the details.
  3. Treaty Senior Member

    The overall concept is interesting. However, the examples are not accurate. Kruk is an onomatopoeic word that is wide in IE languages (crow, cuervo, kalagh, ...). Rokh (phoenix) is not a Persian word. It is Indian or Chinese. The connection between phoenix and sun is widespread in Chinese mythology. Persian ruz and probably the Polish razic are cognates with English light and Latin lux.
    Sanskrit surya, Mid. Persian khwar and Latin sol and probably Swarog are all also cognates meaning sun. Actually, rog is not a part of their common root.
  4. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    The Slavic languages and Indo-Iranian languages are both thought to belong to the Eastern or Satem branch of Indo-European as opposed to the Western or Centum branch. Satem languages are believed to share some similarities not found amongst the Centum languages.
  5. jarajar New Member

    I've read about the Satem group and that explains why some words in Slavic and Iranian languages are similar. Thanks for the answers. :)
  6. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    I'm sorry to tell you that your collection of examples seems to be a random array of words not having much in common. Why do you, for example, extract the syllable 'ruk', from the word 'kruk' and treat it as a stem appearing in the word 'raróg'? This is not the way etymology works. According to Bańkowski's dictionary 'kruk' is an exclusively Polish word, unrelated to any other language, and the word is of onomatopoeic origin. There is also a possibility that 'kruk' is related to Latin 'corvus', ad English 'crow'. Both explanations exclude ay relation with 'raróg'. How would you explain the difference between 'u' and 'ó' in the respective words? And what about the lack of correspondence between the final 'g' and 'k'?
    Moreover, the word 'raróg' consists truly of the stem 'rar' and the ending'-óg'.

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