Word coincidence

  • Dymn

    Senior Member
    Portuguese perna and Spanish pierna (both "leg"):
    from Latin perna ("[pork] thigh")

    Romanian pernă "cushion, pillow":
    from Serbian perina "pillow", from perje "feathers"

    The meaning is not the same but a connection could be possible, in a similar fashion as cushion which is related to "thigh".
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    Senior Member
    Sardu / Italianu
    Italian : Capitale (Capital city)
    Sardinian : Capidale, Cabidale (cushion, pillow)

    From Latin "Capitalis", adjective derived from "Caput-Capitis" (head)


    New Member
    English - U.S.
    Spanish: ir
    Quechua: riy
    Both mean “to go” (verb), and the Quechua word is pronounced exactly like the Spanish word backwards (complete with the alveolar “r”).

    Spanish: mal (adverb meaning “bad” or “badly”); malo (adjective meaning “bad”)
    Yucatec Maya: maʼalob (adverb meaning “well”)
    The Mayan word is pronounced like Spanish “malo” except with a brief glottal stop in the middle of 2 “a”’s (“mA-alo” [stress on first “a”; stress on “a” also in Spanish])

    Mandarin Chinese: 三 (The number 3. Pronounced “san” with the “a” sounding like the “o” in the English word “song.”)
    Japanese: 三 (The number 3, pronounced exactly the same as in Chinese.)
    This is a very strange case because while the written character in Japanese was copied from Chinese simply because Chinese characters were adopted into written Japanese via scrolls traded from China developing into Kanji characters in Japanese, the pronounced word itself for the number 3 was never copied from China.

    Spanish: “Casa” (house)
    Nahuatl: “Calli” (house)
    It’s just striking that both start with “ca” pronounced identically

    Spanish: “así” (Derived from Latin “sic”)
    (Modern) Greek:

    Spanish: “Goma”
    Japanese:” ゴム “ (pronounced “gomu,” as if just like the Spanish word with “u” vowel sound instead of “a”)
    Both mean “rubber” and also “eraser.”
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    Spanish: “así” (Derived from Latin “sic”)
    (Modern) Greek:
    Actually they're probably related, the MoGr adv. «έτσι» [ˈeʦ͡i] --> like this/that, thus is the result of contamination of the Byzantine Greek adverb «οὑτωσί» outōsí --> in this way or manner, so, thus < Classical emphatic adverb «οὑτωσῑ́» houtōsí, with the Latin conj. etsī --> even if, yet.


    New Member
    English - U.S.
    My mistake regarding the Chinese and Japanese number 3 and the Spanish and Greek “like this/that, thus.” Also upon a bit more research it’s probable that “gomu” and “goma” are related because “goma” is also Portuguese for rubber and the Japanese word is written in katakana, indicating it is a loanword.

    The Spanish coincidences with the indigenous-Latin-American words from Nahuatl, Mayan, and Quechua still stand and are remarkable, however. The phonemic coincidences between them and Spanish add to that by the way and are also striking. Even if they translate to the very specific opposite, which is even stranger in a sense, except for the Quechua example, which is the exact same meaning with the word backwards.

    Another similar case I found to the Spanish and Quechua "to go" verb is that the Spanish articles meaning "the" -- "el " and "la" (respectively masculine and feminine, irrelevant to Mayan grammar) -- translate to "le " (pronounced like "el " backwards) in Yucatec Maya.

    Then there's Spanish "tu " meaning "your " in the informal tense and "su " as the formal tense form corresponding (another switched-like case) to (Modern) Greek "σου " and "του " respectively.

    Back to Quechua, "Mama " means "mother " and "mom" and also used as a prefix as in "Mama Ocllo," once queen of the Incan Empire (first name Ocllo) -- much like in Spanish and Italian.

    And here's a very interesting one: Regarding the city of Malibu in Los Angeles County (and the coconut rum named after said city) in California, Malibu is an adaptation of the original place name "Humaliwu" given to it by the original Chumash tribe whose linguistic group spanned from Ventura southward to Malibu, and "Humaliwu" means "where the surf sounds loudly"; the Hawaiian word "Maliu" means "to listen, to hear, to turn towards, to heed" (pronounced the same as "Malibu" (and the 2nd through 4th syllables of "Humaliwu") obviously omitting the penultimate consonant, and the "i " pronounced like the "i " in "Maui"). Pure coincidence.
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    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Finnish pudota "fall"
    Slovene padati "fall", possibly from the same source as Latin pessum "to the ground/bottom"

    (I haven't been able to find the etymology of pudota, so it's not impossible these are related, but the vowels don't match very well.)

    Estonian luge- "read", cognate with e.g. Finn. lukea "read"
    Latin lege- "read"


    When I come across words sounding similar in other languages, I always wondered if they had connections before. Some of these are strikingly similar:

    Tamil - Nii = You
    Chinese - Nii = You

    Tamil - Niiviir, Niingal = You (plural, respect)
    Chinese - Niimen = You (plural)

    Tamil - kaN - கண் = eye
    käN - காண் = see, look

    Chinese -
    kan yi kan = to have a look

    Tamil -
    Ammaa = Mother
    Appaa = Father
    Korean -
    eomma = Mother
    abba = Father

    Tamil - Naan (sing) = I
    Korean - Na

    Tamil - Nii = You
    Korean - Neo = You

    Tamil - inga = (near) here
    Korean - yeogi, igot

    Tamil - pul = grass
    Korean - pul

    Tamil - konjam = few, little
    Korean - jogeum

    Tamil - tholai - தொலை = distant
    English, Greek - Tele


    Senior Member
    English, USA
    English quote ”something said by someone” < the verb quote ”to report something said/written” < Latin quotare ”to number chapters (in a book, etc.)” < quot “how many?”

    English quoth ”said” < Old English cweðan “say”, cognate with Icelandic kveða “say”, etc., and perhaps further with Armenian կոչել, կոչ- (kočel, koč-) “to name, call”.

    Latin inquit “said” (where in- is a prefix) < the same root as inseque “tell!”, which has been linked to English say, German sagen, etc.


    herd "flock of cattle or other animals", thought to be cognate with Slovenian čreda "herd", Greek kórthus "heap", etc.

    horde "large group of people", potentially also "moving pack of animals"
    < Turkic orda / ordu "encampment" (later > "army" > "group of people" by metonymy)


    Yakut-Sakha tıla "language"

    Dutch taal "language"


    Senior Member
    Français - France
    Having taken Russian lessons when I was in high school, I always remember the peculiar euphony between the Russian expression "да так" and the French expression "D'attaque" (= ready to go / in good shape).
    The meaning of "да так" is not so clear for me (please help me, Russian participants ;)) but I think it means something like "almost / not bad".
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    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Czech - ale [but]
    Modern Greek - αλλά [but]

    That's interesting. I always guessed that these terms were related, but now that I think about it, maybe not.

    Do you happen to know the etymology of Cz. ale? (I did a little looking, but so far I haven't found anything.)


    Senior Member
    Hungarian kutya - dog
    Hindi kutta - dog

    Hungarian: kupak - lid (uncertain origin :confused:)
    Turkish & other languages: kapak -lid
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    Senior Member
    Persian ki (who)
    Hungarian ki (who)

    Hungarian possessive suffix -m (e.g: my father - apám)
    Turkish possessive suffix - m (babam - my father)

    English: bad
    Persian: bad (i.e. bad)


    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Finnish kaiva- “to dig” (infinitive: kaivaa)
    Latin cava-“to hollow out” (inf.: cavāre), the source of Spanish cavar “to dig”, English excavate, etc.


    Scandinavian piske/piska "whip" (noun)

    Finnish piekse- (infinitive piestä) "to beat, whip"

    (Finnish piiska "whip" (noun) is cognate with the first of these.)


    Senior Member
    Basque plural suffix -k
    plural suffix -k


    English nationality adjective suffix of Arabic/Indo-Iranian origin -i (Iraqi, Yemeni, Nepali, Bangladeshi, etc.)
    Hungarian "place of origin" adjectival suffix -i (iraki, jemeni, nepáli, bangladesi, but also kanadai, perui, madridi, berlini, etc.)


    Senior Member
    Hungarian: lyuk (pron. /juk/, in archaic dialects /ʎuk/) - hole (an old word of Finno-Ugric origin)
    Russian: люк [lʲuk] - manhole, hatch (from German Lücke - gap, hole)


    Senior Member
    English, USA

    Partial coincidence:

    English merganser "a type of duck" < Latin merg- "dive" + anser "goose"

    German Meergänse "a type of duck/goose" < Meer "lake, sea" + Gans "goose"

    gans and anser are cognate, but the syllables mer-/meer- are unrelated to each other.



    circle is pronounced roughly like [soj.kl] in some English accents (e.g. parts of the northeastern US, if I'm not mistaken)

    This pronunciation is rather close to the standard pronunciation of cycle, i.e. [saj.kl]. Like circle, the word cycle can refer to a cyclical movement (though the most frequent meaning of circle is probably not a movement, but a static cyclical shape).

    circle is from Latin circulus < Greek kríkos, plus the Latin diminutive suffix -ulu-, whereas cycle is from Greek kúklos < *kwekwlo-, a reduplicated form of *kwel- "to turn" (as seen in e.g. Latin colere "to cultivate").


    Serbian: čeljad /tʃêʎad/ << Proto Slavic: *čeľadь << ??? - "child"
    English: child /t͡ʃaɪld/ << Old English ċild /t͡ʃild/ << ???


    Senior Member
    Finnish: peri-, intensive prefix, e.g. perikato "utter destruction", perivihollinen "archenemy"
    Greek: περι- (peri-), intensive prefix, e.g. περιζήτητος "much requested", περίφημος "very famous"

    Finnish: -ma, suffix that forms action/result nouns from verbs
    Greek: -μα (-ma), suffix that forms action/result nouns from verbs

    Finnish: liian "too (much)"
    Greek: λίαν (lian) "very much"


    I have a whole big list of such words:
    A few of them:

    In Armenian: "blblal" /բլբլալ/ - "talk fast and ununderstandably, silly things"
    In English: "blah-blah-blah" has identical meaning and form

    In Armenian: "nan, nani" /նանի/ - "mother, grandmother" (informal usage)
    In English: "nanna" - "grandmother" (informal usage)

    In Armenian (Artsakh dialect): "who(v), whom" /հու(վ), հում/ - "who, whom"
    In English: "who, whom"

    In an Armenian dialect: "hush ketsir"/հաշ կեցիր/ - "stay silent"
    In English: "hush" - same meaning

    In Armenian: "bumpel" /բամփել/ - "to bump, hit with hand"
    In English: "to bump" - similar meaning


    The definite article in old Armenian (Grabar) is "z" (զ), and like "the" in English it is put at the beginning of the noun (unlike in modern Armenian).

    The funny thing is that when some Armenians and Russians have difficulty in pronouncing the English "the" article, they say "z" instead of it as "z book", and it sounds similar to old Armenian in that regard )