Persian: 2 Aunts & 2 Uncles

PersoLatin

Senior Member
UK
Persian - Iran
In English the sister and brother of one’s mother & father are called aunt and uncle respectively, i.e. only two names for the four relations mentioned. That seems to be the case in all other languages I managed to check incl., Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Italian, Swahili, Turkish & many others (on google translate). However that is not the case in modern Persian which has four separate names for each of those relations, as follows:

a) خاله/xālé, sister of ones mother
b) عمه/ammé, sister of ones father
c) دایی/dāŷ, brother of ones mother
d) عمو/amu, brother of ones father

1 - In that respect, are there other languages like Persian, which I’ve missed?
2- What is the etymology of these 4 in Persian and were there always 4 separate names in NP, MP, OP or other Iranic languages?

Having looked up these in Arabic, I can guess b) & d) are derived from Arabic عمة and عم, (for both aunts & uncles) respectively, but the etymology of a) & c) is not clear to me, again whilst checking I noticed the Turkish word for uncle is the same as c) and surprising to me, the name in Tajik Persian (also same for both), is completely different to all 4 above.
 
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  • elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    1. Yes, Arabic. :D
    That seems to be the case in all other languages I managed to check incl., Arabic
    :cross:
    Arabic عمة and عم, (for both aunts & uncles)
    :cross:

    In Arabic:
    a) خاله/xālé, sister of ones mother خالة (xāla/xāle)
    b) عمه/ammé, sister of ones father عمة (ʿamma/ʿamme)
    c) دایی/dāŷ, brother of ones mother خال (xāl)
    d) عمو/amu, brother of ones father عم (ʿamm)
    (Modern Standard Arabic pronunciations given in blue; Palestinian Arabic pronunciations, if different from MSA, given in purple.)

    2. a), b), and d) seem to come from Arabic. I don't know about c). It reminds me of the Arabic word داية (dāya/dāye) 'midwife,' but that doesn't seem particularly likely as the origin of the Persian word! I checked to see if داي (dāy) -- the hypothetical masculine equivalent -- was a word, but I didn't find anything.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    Thank you :)
    I did use google translate which brings back عمة for خاله & عمه (and عم for both دایی and عمو) when Persian to Arabic selected. Now that I know I can see what's going on but that leaves me with these questions:

    1 - With regards to this, do all Semitic languages have four names for those relations?
    2- The same could apply to other languages, can members please let me know if that's the case in their respective languages?

    Dehkhoda (Persian dictionary) doesn't list دایی as Arabic but lists خاله and خال as Arabic.
     
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    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    1. I know Modern Hebrew does not. It only has דוד (dod) for “uncle” and דודה (doda) for “aunt.” I don’t know about other Semitic languages. Before this thread, I didn’t know of any language other than Arabic that did this!
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    I didn’t know of any language other than Arabic that did this!
    Thank you.

    Persian must have adopted this from Arabic but I am waiting to see if anyone knows the names in MP/OP, if we assume دایی is Persian and it stood for uncle as a single name then what happened to the single name aunt, it must exist in MP/OP and/or regional dialects.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    خال in Arabic also means “mole/beauty mark,” but that sense happily coexists with the “uncle” sense and we rely on context to identify the meaning! :D
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    Actually خال/mole is Arabic anyway as you say, so I suppose when you borrow you can be picky.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I suspect Persian borrowed خال ‘mole’ before any “aunt/uncle” words, and when it borrowed those, خال ‘uncle’ wasn’t borrowed because خال was already firmly established with the “mole” meaning.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    I suspect Persian borrowed خال ‘mole’ before any “aunt/uncle” words, and when it borrowed those, خال ‘uncle’ wasn’t borrowed because خال was already firmly established with the “mole” meaning.
    Makes sense.
     

    OBrasilo

    Senior Member
    Brazil, Brazilian Portuguese
    This is in some dialects of Slovenian (standard Slovenian only has stric for any uncle and teta for any aunt):
    a) ujna, sister of ones mother;
    b) strina, sister of ones father;
    c) ujec, brother of ones mother;
    d) stric, brother of ones father.

    Other dialects (like Littoralese a.k.a. Primorski), appear to have this:
    a) teta, sister of ones mother;
    b) teta, sister of ones father;
    c) ujec, brother of ones mother;
    d) stric, brother of ones father.
    They use ujna for ujec's wife, strina for stric's wife, and tetec for teta's husband. This variant is also in use in Serbian and Croatian (where tetec is tetak).
     

    Torontal

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    a) خاله/xālé, sister of ones mother
    b) عمه/ammé, sister of ones father
    c) دایی/dāŷ, brother of ones mother
    d) عمو/amu, brother of ones father
    In Turkish there was some change in meaning in the case of hala, it became paternal, not maternal aunt there. so there it is:

    a) hala / خاله paternal aunt
    b)teyze / تيزه maternal aunt
    c) dayı / دایی/ طايى maternal uncle
    d) amca / عمجه/ عموجه paternal uncle

    apparently both teyze and dayı are from old Turkic, dayı from old Turkic taġay attested from pre-Islamic time too, though for teyze also compare the Persıan origin دايه wet-nurse, which is from old Persian?
     

    Derakhshan

    Senior Member
    Arabic, Persian
    then what happened to the single name aunt, it must exist in MP/OP and/or regional dialects.
    In Lari we have: dâmu(n) for maternal aunt. But interestingly we use the Arabic word for maternal uncle, xâlu. So opposite of standard Persian.

    Now that I think about, I parse this word as + mun = "sister of mother", since we have dâdâ = "elder sister" and moŋ = "mother".

    dāya "midwife" comes from MP dāyag with the same meaning. In northern Kurdish there is dāyik "mother". In Bakhtiari "mother", southern Persian dialects day/dey "mother".

    Is it possible therefore, that دایی can be parsed as + i = "maternal"?
     

    desi4life

    Senior Member
    English
    In English the sister and brother of one’s mother & father are called aunt and uncle respectively, i.e. only two names for the four relations mentioned. That seems to be the case in all other languages I managed to check incl., Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Italian, Swahili, Turkish & many others (on google translate). However that is not the case in modern Persian which has four separate names for each of those relations, as follows:

    a) خاله/xālé, sister of ones mother
    b) عمه/ammé, sister of ones father
    c) دایی/dāŷ, brother of ones mother
    d) عمو/amu, brother of ones father

    1 - In that respect, are there other languages like Persian, which I’ve missed?
    2- What is the etymology of these 4 in Persian and were there always 4 separate names in NP, MP, OP or other Iranic languages?

    Having looked up these in Arabic, I can guess b) & d) are derived from Arabic عمة and عم, (for both aunts & uncles) respectively, but the etymology of a) & c) is not clear to me, again whilst checking I noticed the Turkish word for uncle is the same as c) and surprising to me, the name in Tajik Persian (also same for both), is completely different to all 4 above.
    In Hindi (and probably most other languages of India) there are separate words for each relation, and also a separate term for the younger and older brother of one's father.

    a) sister of one's mother = मौसी (mausii) or मासी (maasii), and in Muslim usage ख़ाला (xaalaa)
    b) sister of one's father = बुआ (bu'aa) or फूफी (phuuphii)
    c) brother of one's mother = मामा (maamaa) or मामू (maamuu)
    d) younger brother of one's father = चाचा (chaachaa) or चाचू (chaachuu)
    e) older brother of one's father = ताया (taayaa) or ताऊ (taa'uu)

    The word xaalaa seems to be used (and sometimes adapted to local phonology) by Muslims everywhere regardless of language.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    That seems to be the case in all other languages I managed to check incl., Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Italian, Swahili, Turkish & many others (on google translate).
    Google translate uses English as an intermediate language most of the time, so using it is pretty much pointless here (once it turns خاله into "aunt", the information is already lost). Turkic languages tend to use different terms for brothers of one's mother and one's father, and, to a lesser extent, for sisters too; they also tend to have separate terms for their spouses (unlike Arabic, which basically uses "wife of..."/"husband of...", or most European languages, which often don't even make a distinction here).
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    Google translate uses English as an intermediate language most of the time, so using it is pretty much pointless here (once it turns خاله into "aunt", the information is already lost)
    That's exactly how it happened. But had I searched for 'aunt' with English to Arabic selected, I would have seen both عمة and خالة which would have helped.

    Turkic languages tend to use different terms for brothers of one's mother and one's father, and, to a lesser extent, for sisters too; they also tend to have separate terms for their spouses (unlike Arabic, which basically uses "wife of..."/"husband of...", or most European languages, which often don't even make a distinction here).
    In Modern Persian the spouses, children and sons/daughters-in-laws of those four are simply e.g. son of خاله etc, so the gender is always known.
     
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    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    so the gender is always known
    Gender is known most of the time anyway, especially in languages which do have grammatical gender. What I meant is that languages like Standard English or Russian don't make any lexical difference between, say, a sister of one's parent and a wife of the parent's brother - both will be "aunt"/"тётя" just the same. Arabic, on the contrary, regards that as an important difference, although it lacks an appropriate lexical item and has to be descriptive every time. Turkish or Kazakh, in turn, possess an actual word for such relationships (yenge/жеңге for an "aunt-in-law" and enişte/жезде for an "uncle-in-law").
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    Gender is known most of the time anyway, especially in languages which do have grammatical gender.
    True, most of the times 'cousin' being an exception in a statement like this "one of my cousins" (cousin was not in the OP)
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    Turkish or Kazakh, in turn, possess an actual word for such relationships (yenge/жеңге for an "aunt-in-law" and enişte/жезде for an "uncle-in-law").
    Part of my question in the OP was whether MP/OP/Avestan had these lexical items but I have had no takers so far.
     

    Derakhshan

    Senior Member
    Arabic, Persian
    Middle Iranian period is characterized by the reduced inflection of the noun and verb, so the gender distinction in kin terms must have been marked in a different way. There are no records of terms related to father’s and mother’s sisters and brothers in middle Iranian period. There are only records of the canonical family kin terms: xvāhar (sister), pitar (father), mātar (mother) , pus (son) , duxt (daughter) , duxtar (daughter), brātar (brother), zan (wife), (Frahvashi,1378)
    https://jlkd.um.ac.ir/index.php/lj/article/download/50517/10470

    Apparently in a translation from Avestan, pid brādar was used to express "paternal uncle":
    On the other hand, the Pahlavi translator of A did not understand the Avestan word and again left a blank, with the exception of that of R1, who correctly translated Av. tūiriia- by Phl. pid brādar “brother of the father > uncle”.

    On the other side, the Pahlavi translators of A also left a blank, with the exception of that of R1, who created a feminine Phl. pid brādarēn “sister of the father > aunt” from the preceding Pahlavi masculine pid brādar “brother of the father > uncle”.
    https://gredos.usal.es/jspui/bitstream/10366/76221/3/DFCI_Andres_Toledo_MA_Videvdad.pdf

    Now, can someone answer whether dāyī is from Turkic, or cognate with dāyag and related dialectal terms as I explained above?
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Wiktionary postulates two things: that Persian dāy is a native formation from ("mother"?) and that Turkish dayı with the same meaning comes from Proto-Turkic *tay with the same meaning. It seems very likely, however, that from these two words one must be at the very least influenced by the other, or must be a loanword, or both (in some fashion). Sadly, I don't have sufficient knowledge of Turkic languages, and regarding Iranian ones it's even worse.
     

    EranShahr

    New Member
    Persian
    The Persian equivalents for "خاله عمه عمو" are:

    khale, sister of mother: دایا dāyā
    dayi, brother of mother: it's persian
    amme, father's sister: کاکی kāki

    amu, father's brother: کاکا kākā

    while these words are extinct in official (Tehrani) Persian, they still exist in Gilaki and Shirazi dialects. And these words are used by the poet Ferdowsi in Shahnama.
    It's also interesting that the ā and the i endings have no set definitions and seem to alternate between genders.
     

    desi4life

    Senior Member
    English
    The Persian equivalents for "خاله عمه عمو" are:

    khale, sister of mother: دایا dāyā
    dayi, brother of mother: it's persian
    amme, father's sister: کاکی kāki

    amu, father's brother: کاکا kākā

    while these words are extinct in official (Tehrani) Persian, they still exist in Gilaki and Shirazi dialects. And these words are used by the poet Ferdowsi in Shahnama.
    It's also interesting that the ā and the i endings have no set definitions and seem to alternate between genders.
    I suspect kākā and kākī are not native Persian but rather borrowed from India (e.g. Hindi kākā, kākī). The words are ultimately of Dravidian linguistic origin.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Are there any loanwords from Hindustani or other Indian idioms in Persian, aside of certain unavoidable cultural and geographical (essentially) terms?..
     

    desi4life

    Senior Member
    English
    Are there any loanwords from Hindustani or other Indian idioms in Persian, aside of certain unavoidable cultural and geographical (essentially) terms?..
    Yes, there are some loanwords from Indian languages to Persian, but more loanwords from Persian to Indian languages. In the case of kākā, kākī a borrowing from India seems likely given the diversity of related words mentioned in RL Turner's Indo-Aryan Comparative dictionary and the Dravidian origin attributed to them. Unless of course they are just widespread nursery words with no precise linguistic origin.
     
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    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Unless of course they are just widespread nursery words with no precise linguistic origin.
    That is, by default, more likely.
    but more loanwords from Persian to Indian languages
    That is natural, considering that from the XIII century onwards the majority of local elites at Hindustan were either just native speakers of Persian or at least heavily influenced by Persian. Loanwords going in the opposite direction, however, must be much more limited in number and nature.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    1 - In that respect, are there other languages like Persian, which I’ve missed?
    Older German (until the 19th century):
    Oheim = mother's brother
    Muhme = mother's sister
    Onkel = father's brother
    Tante = father's sister.

    Today only Onkel and Tante are used.
     

    Derakhshan

    Senior Member
    Arabic, Persian
    I suspect kākā and kākī are not native Persian but rather borrowed from India (e.g. Hindi kākā, kākī). The words are ultimately of Dravidian linguistic origin.
    But kākā exists in Kurdish (all dialects I believe), and in Larestani and southern Persian dialects, however with the meaning of "brother". In Larestani it specifically means "elder brother". The common factor between all these meanings seems to "elder male family member". What meanings does it have in Dravidian, and how widespread?

    Edit: in Kurdish it is also an honorific for men like English "Mr", this is fitting if it means "elder male".
     
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    desi4life

    Senior Member
    English
    But kākā exists in Kurdish (all dialects I believe), and in Larestani and southern Persian dialects, however with the meaning of "brother". In Larestani it specifically means "elder brother". The common factor between all these meanings seems to "elder male family member". What meanings does it have in Dravidian, and how widespread?

    Edit: in Kurdish it is also an honorific for men like English "Mr", this is fitting if it means "elder male".
    According to RL Turner's dictionary entry below, the word is attested in a large number of Indo-Aryan languages with a hypothetical proto-Indo-Aryan reconstructed form of *kākka ʻ senior male relative ʼ, that he considers a borrowing from Dravidian and lists examples from Dravidian languages.

    2998 *kākka ʻ senior male relative ʼ. [← Drav.: Kan. kakka ʻ uncle ʼ, Tel. kakka ʻ daddy ʼ, Mal. kākke ʻ mother's brother ʼ]
    Gy. eur. kako m. ʻ uncle ʼ; Paš. kākūˊ ʻ boy ʼ, kākī ʻ girl ʼ; Sh. (Lor.) kāko ʻ elder brother ʼ, kāki ʻ elder sister ʼ; K. kākh, dat. kākas m. ʻ one's own father, elder male relative ʼ, kākañ f. ʻ his wife ʼ; S. kāko m. ʻ elder brother ʼ, kākiṛo m. ʻ uvula ʼ; L. kākī f. ʻ pupil of eye ʼ; P. kākā m. ʻ elder brother, father's slave, son or grandson of a Sikh prince, little child ʼ, kākī f. ʻ little girl, pupil of eye ʼ; WPah. bhal. kāk ʻ brother ʼ, paṅ. kakkā ʻ uncle ʼ; Ku. kakā hon. pl. ʻ uncle ʼ, kākhī ʻ aunt ʼ; N. kāko ʻ father's younger brother ʼ; A. kakā ʻ grandfather ʼ, kakāi ʻ term of address for an older relative or elderly man ʼ; B. kākā ʻ father's younger brother ʼ, kākī ʻ his wife ʼ; Or. kākā, kakāī ʻ father's younger brother ʼ, kāku -- mā ʻ his wife ʼ; Mth. kakkā ʻ father's brother ʼ; H. kākā m. ʻ father's younger brother ʼ; G. kākɔ, usu. hon. pl. ˚kā m. ʻ father's brother ʼ, ˚kī f. ʻ his wife ʼ, kāku ʻ pet name for a boy ʼ, kākliyā m.pl. ʻ mother's brother ʼ; M. kākā m. ʻ father's brother, elderly cousin ʼ, ˚kī f. ʻ his wife ʼ.
    Addenda: *kākka -- : WPah.kṭg. kāk m. ʻ father's brother (used in the Khaś tribe) ʼ.
     
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