N + 8 = Night?


Senior Member
Brazil - Portuguese
I once heard that in all European languages the word "night" was made by the letter "n" + the number "eight" with some little modifications. Is it true? What about other languages? I don't remember now if it was European languages or Indo-European languages... but we'll see...

My opinions is that they were talking about Indo-European languages because of this:


8 = Nyolc
Night = Éjjel

So, what about your languages?
  • ireney

    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    I think this is a clear case of paretymological explanation.

    Yes, νύχτα/νύκτα sounds somewhat like οχτώ/οκτώ. (nychta/nykta - ochto/okto) but that's just because their IE roots have a similar sound.

    *nyk-t* >*nek*t and *okto*u)


    Croatian, Croatia
    I never thought about that, but it seems to be true in English, Spanish, Italian, German and, I think, French. How strange...

    Not in my language though: Croatian: eight- osam night- noć


    Senior Member
    Not too close in Swedish: 8 = åtta, night = natt
    Even less in Danish: otte, nat

    But like ireney wrote, considering the proposed Proto-Indo-European roots, similarities should be common among IE languages.


    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    I never thought about that, but it seems to be true in English (n + eight = night), Spanish (n + ocho = noche), Italian (n + otto = notte), German (n + acht = Nacht :tick: ) and, I think, French (n + huit = nuit). How strange...

    Not in my language though: Croatian: eight- osam night- noć
    Well, they don't match accurately in the languages you mentioned except for German. Other languages:

    Afro-Asiaic: Arabic: :cross: ن + ثمانية = ليل (n + thamaaniya = layl)
    Japonic: Japanese: な + 八(はち) = ニクス :cross: (na + hachi = nikusu)
    Indo-European: Albanian: n + tetë = natë (not very close, but likely)

    To summarize the last posts: It works in all Indo-European languages. Neli, Lugubert, and netko, it does work in your languages, but since there have been several sound shifts, the words "night" and "eight" don't have to match exactly.

    Slovenian: n + os(em) = noč
    Swedish: n + ått(a) = natt
    Croatian: n + os(am) = noć


    Senior Member
    France - French
    In German:
    8: acht and night: Nacht
    In Spanish:
    8: ocho and night: noche
    In Italian:
    8: otto and night: notte

    It works more or less, but I had never noticed this.


    Senior Member
    Trilingual: Swedish, Romanian & English
    It actually makes sense!

    8 = opt
    night = noapte

    8 = otto
    night = notte

    But I think (hope) that it is a coincidence. Did our ancestors really have this lack of fantasy??

    :) robbie

    Abu Bishr

    Senior Member
    Afrikaans, South Africa
    It works in Afrikaans:

    ag = eight

    nag = night

    pronounced like Dutch "acht" & "nacht" except for the "t" at the end.


    Senior Member
    Iran, Persian, Kurdish, English, Finnish
    hasht= 8
    Shab= night

    hasht= 8
    Shaw= night

    kahdeksan= 8
    Yö= night

    emem....doesn't work:)


    Senior Member
    Am. English
    It is close in only vowel sounds. The "t" and "Th" sounds are different. The first is a dental t (tongue goes against the teeth) and the second is a retroflex aspirated t (tongue on palate with an aspiration). They sound different, so the only thing in common is the vowel sound. Also, /raat/ comes from the Sanskrit /raatri/ which is different from the Sanskrit word for eight, which I don't know, but it is different.


    Senior Member
    English - Ireland
    At first glance, doesn't work in Irish:

    8 : ocht
    night : oíche

    tonight : anocht

    Curioser and curiouser... :D


    Senior Member
    Czech Republic, Czech
    Ok guys, there are similarities in most of IE languages, but what does it tell us?
    A night has 8 hours? Or No Eight (of something) is the night? What do you think?


    In Indonesian it doesn't work at all.
    The title of this thread should be changed to:

    (Indo-)European Languages: N + 8 = Night?


    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)

    I have moved a few posts from the Other Languages forum to the EHL forum.
    I suggest that we use this thread to give more examples.

    Attempts to explain things can be posted in the EHL thread).


    Moderator OL and EHL


    Senior Member
    Chinese - Cantonese (HK)
    When I saw this thread I quickly compared it to French and I thought oh, how amazing! :eek:

    It doesn't work in Chinese either: 晚 (wan) = night, 八 (ba) = eight :cross:


    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    It is aSTa, that is with two retroflexed consonants. Alternative nom/voc/ack form aSTau, looking like a dual. Very fitting for the super-dual 2x2x2.
    PIE *oktou is a dual (strongly contracted) form, it means something like "4 on both sides" (you can show two open hands w/o thumbs), the numeral 4 was reduced to the mere kt;

    night: *noktь (i-stem) > noc [nots], noć, noč, ночь /nočь/, etc.
    eight: *osmъ (os-mъ, os- < *ok't- < *okt-) was ordinal numeral (8th), later taken as cardinal numeral (8): osm, osem, osiem, osam, восемь /vosemь, prosthetic v-/, etc.;
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    As has been shown by Indic, Iranian, Baltic and Slavic examples, this is not even an Indo-European coincidence: "night" and "eight" are similar only in Centum languages.

    We can reconstruct Proto-Indo-European "eight" as *Hoḱtōw and "night" as *nokʷt-... vaguely similar, but remember that *ḱ and *kʷ were different sounds in Proto-Indo-European and it would be unfair to subjectively ignore this difference.

    At this point, it would be very contrived to try and find a similarity... it would be like deriving English "sick" from "dig", because you might get sick from contaminated dirt if you dig too much!

    Now, in the so-called Centum languages (except Greek), *ḱ and *kʷ merge before a consonant, and in those languages which drop the final vowel "night" really does become "n + eight", but this is an artifact of sound changes. In the so called Satem languages, *ḱ and *kʷ become quite distinct and existing similarity is lost.
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