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
     
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    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.
     
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    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'.
     
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    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.
     
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    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    For curiosity, in Romani ("Gypsy language") spoken in Central Europe the word for "human being" is manuš. The word for man (male), but exclusively of Romani ethnicity, is rom.

    P.S. What is the etymology of rom?
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Turner derives it from Sanskrit:
    5570 ḍōmba m. ʻ man of low caste living by singing and music ʼ
    This is interesting, because they traditionally really live by singing and music :) . However, I'm not convinced that this tradition goes back to the times when they still lived somewhere in India.

    Is the sound change > r (ḍōmba > rom[a]) "typical" in (some) Indo-Aryan languages?
     

    Delvo

    Senior Member
    American English
    This is interesting, because they traditionally really live by singing and music :) . However, I'm not convinced that this tradition goes back to the times when they still lived somewhere in India.
    It wouldn't need to. They could leave India with that word still having its older meaning at that time, then shift its meaning any time since then.

    There's another group of people whose ancestors left India and traveled west, but didn't get as far, who call themselves "Dom". Their language, Domari, has lost its retroflexes. It's the same root word as in "Romany", with the same modern meaning, so either it had the same kind of shift in meaning in both groups after they split, or the shift in meaning happened before they split. But they could very well have split in the Middle East, not India, so that wouldn't narrow down the time range very much even if we could say it had to be before or after that split.

    Is the sound change > r (ḍōmba > rom[a]) "typical" in (some) Indo-Aryan languages?
    Not in others I think, but it might be systematic in Romany. I have only a few examples, not nearly enough to defend my case if anybody wants to contradict me, but...

    Sanskrit maɳɖaka (bread)... Romany manrro/maro
    Sanskrit dugdʰa (milk)... Romany tʰud
    Persian amrūd (pear)... Romany amrol
    Persian āzmūdan (test, try)... Romany zumav

    It looks like something happened to the D-like sounds that were already present in the language by the time they got through Persia... they aren't lost in the same way, but they are lost; the only survivor I know of is the aspirated one that came right after another voiced plosive and lost its aspiration.

    But then, when they got farther west...

    Ossetian wærdon (cart)... Romany vordon/verdo
    Greek drómos (road)... Romany drom
    Greek skiádi (hat)... Romany stadǐ

    So by that time, if there had indeed been a pattern of losing D-like sounds, that process then ended, which meant the language could keep any new Ds it picked up after that.
     

    clamor

    Senior Member
    French - France
    In Armenian we use the word մարդ [mɑɾt̪ʰ], from Classical Armenian mard. According to Mallory J.P. and Adams D. (2006) it is derived from P.I.E. *mr̥tós ''mortal'' (in case we have forgotten...). Therefore it is akin to Persian mard.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    According to Mallory J.P. and Adams D. (2006) it is derived from P.I.E. *mr̥tós ''mortal'' (in case we have forgotten...). Therefore it is akin to Persian mard.
    This is a general comment about the link between Persian mard and mortal, I can not understand how the scholars have come up with this, weren't women also mortal, did only men die in old times, or were men so ignorant and up themselves that they didn't consider a woman's death as sign of their mortality.
     

    clamor

    Senior Member
    French - France
    This is a general comment about the link between Persian mard and mortal, I can not understand how the scholars have come up with this, weren't women also mortal, did only men die in old times, or were men so ignorant and up themselves that they didn't consider a woman's death as sign of their mortality.
    I don't know Persian, but in Armenian the first meaning of mard was ''human'' (homo). There was another word for ''he-human'', ayr, corresponding to Latin vir. So its current meaning of ''human'' is the result of an extension.

    Isn't it the same in Persian?
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    I don't know Persian, but in Armenian the first meaning of mard was ''human'' (homo). There was another word for ''he-human'', ayr, corresponding to Latin vir. So its current meaning of ''human'' is the result of an extension.

    Isn't it the same in Persian?
    Yes there is نر/nar which means 'male' in Persian.

    In Persian we have marg/death, mordé/dead, mordan/to die amordâd/immortal etc, so the 'similarity' between mard/man and mortal are very obvious, but I still can not link them for the reason I gave in post #25.

    Maybe you have addressed my question in your comments above but I don't see it.
     

    clamor

    Senior Member
    French - France
    In Persian we have marg/death, mordé/dead, mordan/to die amordâd/immortal etc, so the 'similarity' between mard/man and mortal are very obvious, but I still can not link them for the reason I gave in post #25.
    Actually, my question is - when mard ''derived'' from *mr̥tós (maybe long before Persian formed), didn't it apply to both men and women? I don't know if I understood your post, actually.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    didn't it apply to both men and women?
    Is this a question for me? it sounds like my own question. Basically both men and women are mortal, so why is it that 'mard/mart' applies to men only? In English 'man' means 'human being' as well 'male human' and female human i.e. a 'woman' has a 'man' element in it.

    Anyway mortality as a concept seems a little too advanced, for those early human beings, to use as a model or inspiration for the male name.
     

    clamor

    Senior Member
    French - France
    I found an ancestor of mard that could have referred to all human beings: martiya- in Old Persian. Is it true?

    Thus ''mortal'' could have applied to both men and women at the origin of the word.
     
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    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    I found an ancestor of mard that could have referred to all human beings: martiya- in Old Persian. Is it true?
    This may be relevant, in Persian mardom means 'people' and by extension human beings.

    Also if 'mrd' (no short vowel representations in Persian/Iranic scripts) is modelled after a word that meant 'mortal', then the final /d/ on it must be the result of adding /d/ to the present stem of 'to die' i.e. 'mr', to get 'mrd' which is its past tense, if this is right then those early Iranians developed 'grammar' before the word for man.

    Note - The past tense of all verbs in Persian are formed by adding mainly /d/ but also /t/, to the present stem of a verb.
     
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