Words in IE languages meaning "man/human" & their roots

miasam

Member
serbian - serbia
Hi all!
What are the words for "man" or "human" in the Indo European languages that you know and what are their etymologies?

for example:
Russian - челове́к "From PIE *(s)kʷel- (“crowd, people”).The latter part is akin to Lithuanian vaĩkas (“child”), Latvian vaiks (“boy”) and Old Prussian waiх (“manservant”), possibly ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *weyk-"
or мужчи́на "From Old East Slavic*мѫжьщина (*mǫžĭščina), from Proto-Slavic *mǫžьščina, from from *mǫžь (man) +‎ *-ьskъ (characteristic of, typical of)"
 
  • Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    In Spanish, man is hombre (from Latin homo) and human is humano (from Latin humānus). I don't know the etymology of the Latin words but I guess that a look to Wiktionary might help you with that.
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    To be honest, questions about how to say XYZ in “the Indo-European languages” (all of them?) are not very useful. You could at least in the first instance have a look at the “translation” box on “Wiktionary” (not always correct, but at least it is something).

    That said, the most widely spread IE word for “man (male human being)” is probably the one represented by Latin vir, Sanskrit and Avestan vīra-, Lithuanian výras, Tocharian wir, Old Irish fer, Gothic wair, and others.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    Latin vir, Sanskrit and Avestan vīra-, Lithuanian výras, Tocharian wir, Old Irish fer, Gothic wair, and others.
    I am not sure if the Avestan vīra- has survived into Persian but we now have mard for 'man' and mardom for 'people'.
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Also, man (male):
    I.E. *ner-
    Μ.Gr.: άνδρας<ἀνήρ (anḗr)
    Sanskrit: nár
    Welsh: ner
    Armenian: ayr
    Albanian: njer
     
    Last edited:

    apmoy70

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Also, man (male):
    I.E. *ner-
    Μ.Gr.: άνδρας<ἀνήρ (anḗr)
    Sanskrit: nár
    Welsh: ner
    Armenian: ayr
    Albanian: njer
    Human is «άνθρωπος» [ˈan.θrɔ.pɔs] (masc.) < Classical masc. noun «ἄνθρωπος» ắntʰrōpŏs --> human being, man.
    Doric (the dialect spoken in ancient Sparta) had the feminine form «ἀνθρωπώ» ăntʰrōpṓ for woman (which hasn't survived either in Standard MoGr or any other Modern Greek dialect, including Tsakonian which is believed to be the only MoGr dialect descended from Doric).
    Its etymology is unclear; per Beekes the word is probably of Pre-Greek substrate origin.
    Kuiper accepts it as a derivative of the 3rd declension masc. noun «δρώψ» drṓps (nom. sing.), «δρωπός» drōpós (gen. sing.) --> man a Pre-Greek gloss, which produced «ἄνθρωπος» after prenasalization and prothetic vowel.
    For other linguists it's a compound:
    «Ἀνήρ» ănḗr (3rd declension masc. nom. sing.), «ἀνδρός» ăndrós (masc. gen. sing.) --> man, male human being (PIE *h₂ner- man cf Skt. नृ (nṛ́), Arm. այր (ayr), Alb. njer, human being, person) + «ὤψ» ṓps (with disputed gender, masc. or fem.) --> eye, face, countenace (PIE *h₃kʷ- to see cf Skt. ईक्षते (īks̩ate), to observe).
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    And that is cognate with Sanskrit "martya", "marta" and Avestan "maṧiia", which mean "mortal, man".
    Yes..but..

    I know to die or death has well understood PIE roots and the following Persian words: mordan/to die, mordé/dead marg/death amordād/immortals, show that Persian as an IE language, is no exception in that respect. That said, I have some doubts or questions on whether martya meant mortal all those thousands years ago, either in Sanskrit or Old Persian and that sense of it, is a modern misnomer. The concept of 'man' being mortal requires a level of sophistication that usually comes after development of language, I am sure someone will correct me on that.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    ...What are the words for "man" or "human" in the Indo European languages that you know and what are their etymologies?...
    Beware! You have combined "man" and "human" as if the English accident that they both contain the letters m-a-n were perhaps significant. This isn't the case.

    Man comes through Old English from German and ultimately Teutonic man(n). The ultimate origin of this is unknown.
    Human comes from Latin humanus, from homo, Old Latin hemō, the earthly one (cognate with humus).

    I have been in meetings where it was alleged that homo sapiens was sexist because it implied male. That would of course be vir sapiens in Latin, but there's no arguing with prejudice.
     

    ahvalj

    Senior Member
    Hi all!
    What are the words for "man" or "human" in the Indo European languages that you know and what are their etymologies?

    for example:
    Russian - челове́к "From PIE *(s)kʷel- (“crowd, people”).The latter part is akin to Lithuanian vaĩkas (“child”), Latvian vaiks (“boy”) and Old Prussian waiх (“manservant”), possibly ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *weyk-"
    The Slavic čelověkъ "human" only has several (and trivial) lexical derivatives (čelověčьskъ, čelověčьjь, čelověčьnъ), so it may actually be a rather recent word. The traditional interpretation relates its first component to čeļadь "household; servants", and so the original meaning of čelověkъ may be similar to the original sense of "valet" (*vassallettus), which, interestingly, still existed in Russian a century ago (Если к вам пришли гости, а у вас ничего нет, пошлите человека в погреб…).

    That said, the most widely spread IE word for “man (male human being)” is probably the one represented by Latin vir, Sanskrit and Avestan vīra-, Lithuanian výras, Tocharian wir, Old Irish fer, Gothic wair, and others.
    This word may have survived in Slavic as well, in the form of vira "wergeld" — that dictionaries usually explain as a Germanic loan, though it is impossible phonetically (Germanic, as well as Celtic and Italic shorten the unstressed long vowel here by Dybo's law — see Дыбо ВА · 2008 · Германское сокращение индоевропейских долгот, германский «Verschärfung» (закон Хольцмана) и балто-славянская акцентология: 558–567), whereas vir-, with its stable initial stress in Russian, is the expected fully regular phonetic counterpart of the Lithuanian vyr- with the dominant acute of the first syllable.

    P. S. The initial accent in vyras (and in vira, if it is indeed the same root) is due to Hirt's law.
     
    Last edited:

    EranShahr

    New Member
    Persian
    The general Persian word is "mard", from old persian "mārtyā"

    But we have a few more words: "doshman" means enemy (literally bad man), "bahman" meaning nice person, kohromān meaning hero (literally man of work, corrupted as "qahremān"). It is derived from a PIE root *man- (see Sanskrit//Avestan manu-, slavic mǫž "man, male", English man).

    Another word in Persian meaning hero, "huvir" (literally good person, not used daily but used alot by poets). see Latin vir, Sanskrit and Avestan vīra-, English wer.
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    "doshman" means enemy (literally bad man), "bahman" meaning nice person,
    No. They are from the Old Iranian root manyu "mind".

    kohromān meaning hero (literally man of work, corrupted as "qahremān"). It is derived from a PIE root *man- (see Sanskrit//Avestan manu-, slavic mǫž "man, male", English man).
    No. It is from Middle Persian kār-framān "commander of works".
     

    EranShahr

    New Member
    Persian
    No. They are from the Old Iranian root manyu "mind".
    Hmm, that's an interesting theory. One that I had never heard before. According to Mo'in Dictionary, the second biggest and one of the most important Persian Dictionaries:

    قهرمان [ ق َ رَ ، معرب] : گویا درست این واژه « کهرمان» است و « قهرمان» عربی شده است. و ریشه ی قهرمان یا همان کهرمان مرد کار است، به معنی مرد آدمی و کارآمدی بی مانند. « من» در واژگان دیگری مانند دش+من به+من هو+من نیز دیده می شود​

    Qahreman: It has been said that the correct form of kohroman is qahreman, and qahreman is the arabicized for of it. The root of qahreman or kohroman is man of work, man of the people. man could be seen in other words like dosh+man (enemy), bah+man (friend), hu+man(avestan and middle persian for human).
    دشمن [ دُ م َ ]: دُش
    .همان دُژ است به معنی «بد». دشمن یعنی من بد، دشمن که در کردی دُژمِن گفته می شود یعنی آدم بد در بدابر بَهمَن که آدم خوب است
    dosh is the same as dozh, which means bad. doshman ,which is dezhman in Kurdish, is the antonym of bahman which means good man.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    dosh is the same as dozh, which means bad. doshman ,which is dezhman in Kurdish, is the antonym of bahman which means good man.
    دشمن/doshman/dushman means 'enemy' someone with bad intentions i.e. 'bad mind' and not a 'bad man' per se. Not all 'bad men' are enemies and not all enemies are 'bad men'.
     
    Last edited:

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    To return to the question under discussion: The English (and Germanic) word “man” is presumably cognate with Sanskrit manu- “man”, also the name of the primal man Manu-. There are related nouns in Sanskrit and the other Indo-Aryan languages, but curiously the ONLY cognate in Iranian is the Avestan name of the mythical king Manuš-čiϑra- “the seed of Manu”, and its Middle and New Persian derivative Manūčihr.

    It has been claimed that these “man” words are cognate with Indo-European *men “to think”, but this is debated.
     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top