False cognates

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Imralu
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Re: False cognates

Post by Imralu » 20 Jul 2018 03:08

So, generally I'd be skeptical of conlang examples without some pretty involved justification to show that there wasn't even subconscious borrowing, but it just so happens my conlang Wena (which I'm now calling Ngehu) has this:
  • :con: Ngehu: mwalimu = teacher, mentor, guru (from mwa "leader" + limu "learner", which in turn comes from li "beginner" + mu "knowing one")
  • :tan: Swahili: mwalimu (pl. walimu) = teacher (from Arabic: مُعَلِّم‎ muʿallim "teacher", which is derived from عَلَّمَ‎ ʿallama "to teach", from the root ع ل م‎ ʿ-l-m which is related to knowing and knowledge)
So, the reason it fits here is it's not even a subconscious borrowing. I came up with all the syllabic roots for Wena/Ngehu well before I started learning Swahili or ever knew the word mwalimu. The obvious word for "teach(er)" would be zyelimu, basically "one who causes/makes learners" but that sounds very much more like the compulsory education word - someone who forces learning. When I was writing it down I suddenly thought "That sounds like Swahili mwalimu!" and I realised that using mwa "leader", we get a softer sounding word, more like a facilitator of learning, mentor, guru etc., which also matches how mwalimu is used as an honorific title Swahili, especially referring to Julius Nyerere. So, indirectly, it's kind of a borrowing because I thought of using mwa because of Swahili, but without Swahili I could easily have created this word from these roots, especially if looking for an honorific kind of word for a teacher/mentor.
Glossing Abbreviations: COMP = comparative, C = complementiser, ACS / ICS = accessible / inaccessible, GDV = gerundive, SPEC / NSPC = specific / non-specific, AG = agent, E = entity (person, animal, thing)
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Re: False cognates

Post by Iyionaku » 23 Jul 2018 15:29

:fin: ilma - air
:isl: ilma - to smell pleasant

It looks to good not to be true, but apparently they are really not related. The Finnic word is of Proto-Uralic origin and I doubt that there are too many Uralic loanwords in Icelandic, let alone ones that have maintained their original form so well.
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Re: False cognates

Post by Pabappa » 23 Jul 2018 22:44

Oh, thanks, you just reminded me of my all time favorite : ) From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Icelandic: :isl: Menn eru gæddir vitsmunum og samvizku,

Welsh :wls: Fe'u cynysgaeddir â rheswm a chydwybod,

Apparently both words have the same meaning, roughly "endowed", and are not cognate to each other .... the Icelandic one is distantly cognate to English "get" and the Welsh one goes back to a separate PIE root that also gave rise to the "have/had" family.
Sorry guys, this one has the worst sting.

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Re: False cognates

Post by Pabappa » 28 Jul 2018 20:44

:eng: flake ~ :esp: flaco "thin" are apparently unrelated, unless the spanish goes back to an unknown Latin loan. But the meanings seem to drift further apart going back in time.
Sorry guys, this one has the worst sting.

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Re: False cognates

Post by k1234567890y » 29 Jul 2018 18:48

English Tungus(a member of Tungusic peoples) and Turkish Domuz "Pig"(from Proto-Turkic *doŋuŕ) might not be cognates, while some claims that the English word might ultimately from the word for pig in a Turkic language(e.g. Yakut).
...

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Re: False cognates

Post by k1234567890y » 30 Jul 2018 18:58

Double post =_=|||

English obsolete common noun steven and English proper noun Steven/Stephen
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Re: False cognates

Post by eldin raigmore » 30 Jul 2018 19:57

k1234567890y wrote:
30 Jul 2018 18:58
Double post =_=|||

English obsolete common noun steven and English proper noun Steven/Stephen
(Please tell us what Chaucer meant when he wrote “steven”. Or “stevene”. And how he thought his characters and his readers would pronounce it. )

It’s a great example!

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Re: False cognates

Post by k1234567890y » 30 Jul 2018 20:45

eldin raigmore wrote:
30 Jul 2018 19:57
k1234567890y wrote:
30 Jul 2018 18:58
Double post =_=|||

English obsolete common noun steven and English proper noun Steven/Stephen
(Please tell us what Chaucer meant when he wrote “steven”. Or “stevene”. And how he thought his characters and his readers would pronounce it. )

It’s a great example!
steven meant "voice" in older English, btw. and is a native word; while Steven as a proper noun is a Greco-Latin word and means "crown, wreath" in Ancient Greek.
...

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Re: False cognates

Post by Pabappa » 30 Jul 2018 21:16

Apparently it survives as "even steven" .... I'd always assumed that that was just a rhyme based on the proper name.
Sorry guys, this one has the worst sting.

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Re: False cognates

Post by k1234567890y » 30 Jul 2018 21:40

Pabappa wrote:
30 Jul 2018 21:16
Apparently it survives as "even steven" .... I'd always assumed that that was just a rhyme based on the proper name.
how so?
...

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Re: False cognates

Post by shimobaatar » 31 Jul 2018 00:17

k1234567890y wrote:
30 Jul 2018 21:40
Pabappa wrote:
30 Jul 2018 21:16
Apparently it survives as "even steven" .... I'd always assumed that that was just a rhyme based on the proper name.
how so?
What's unclear?

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Re: False cognates

Post by All4Ɇn » 31 Jul 2018 06:40

Really cool one I just discovered:
:deu: Vielfraß "glutton" (from Old German compound vilifrāʒ)
:deu: Vielfraß "wolverine" (from Old Norse fjellfräs meaning mountain cat)

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Re: False cognates

Post by k1234567890y » 31 Jul 2018 08:09

All4Ɇn wrote:
31 Jul 2018 06:40
Really cool one I just discovered:
:deu: Vielfraß "glutton" (from Old German compound vilifrāʒ)
:deu: Vielfraß "wolverine" (from Old Norse fjellfräs meaning mountain cat)
nice (:
shimobaatar wrote:
31 Jul 2018 00:17
k1234567890y wrote:
30 Jul 2018 21:40
Pabappa wrote:
30 Jul 2018 21:16
Apparently it survives as "even steven" .... I'd always assumed that that was just a rhyme based on the proper name.
how so?
What's unclear?
was wondering what made him/her think the proper noun possibility at first
...

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Re: False cognates

Post by shimobaatar » 31 Jul 2018 14:45

k1234567890y wrote:
31 Jul 2018 08:09
shimobaatar wrote:
31 Jul 2018 00:17
k1234567890y wrote:
30 Jul 2018 21:40
Pabappa wrote:
30 Jul 2018 21:16
Apparently it survives as "even steven" .... I'd always assumed that that was just a rhyme based on the proper name.
how so?
What's unclear?
was wondering what made him/her think the proper noun possibility at first
They likely made that assumption, as I did myself, because the name "Steven/Stephen" and this "steven" are pronounced identically, at least in my variety of English. Additionally, the name is far more common, especially given that it appears that, at least in most dialects, "steven" only survives, as Pabappa said, in the phrase "even steven".

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Re: False cognates

Post by Pabappa » 31 Jul 2018 21:42

thanks, yeah. i just took it to be one of those phrases like "okey-dokey" where the first part is meaningful but the second is just a rhyme. one other example that surprised me is "willy-nilly", where both parts are meaningful.

:deu: Vielfraß is interesting, because that has led to the use of the word glutton in English as a synonym for wolverine. a folk etymology that got translated.
Sorry guys, this one has the worst sting.

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Imralu
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Re: False cognates

Post by Imralu » 01 Aug 2018 04:11

shimobaatar wrote:
31 Jul 2018 14:45
k1234567890y wrote:
31 Jul 2018 08:09
shimobaatar wrote:
31 Jul 2018 00:17
k1234567890y wrote:
30 Jul 2018 21:40
Pabappa wrote:
30 Jul 2018 21:16
Apparently it survives as "even steven" .... I'd always assumed that that was just a rhyme based on the proper name.
how so?
What's unclear?
was wondering what made him/her think the proper noun possibility at first
They likely made that assumption, as I did myself, because the name "Steven/Stephen" and this "steven" are pronounced identically, at least in my variety of English. Additionally, the name is far more common, especially given that it appears that, at least in most dialects, "steven" only survives, as Pabappa said, in the phrase "even steven".
In fact, how would the average person who hasn't specifically learnt it as a matter of trivia, even know that there ever was a common noun "steven"?
Glossing Abbreviations: COMP = comparative, C = complementiser, ACS / ICS = accessible / inaccessible, GDV = gerundive, SPEC / NSPC = specific / non-specific, AG = agent, E = entity (person, animal, thing)
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Re: False cognates

Post by shimobaatar » 01 Aug 2018 06:43

Imralu wrote:
01 Aug 2018 04:11
shimobaatar wrote:
31 Jul 2018 14:45
k1234567890y wrote:
31 Jul 2018 08:09
shimobaatar wrote:
31 Jul 2018 00:17
k1234567890y wrote:
30 Jul 2018 21:40
Pabappa wrote:
30 Jul 2018 21:16
Apparently it survives as "even steven" .... I'd always assumed that that was just a rhyme based on the proper name.
how so?
What's unclear?
was wondering what made him/her think the proper noun possibility at first
They likely made that assumption, as I did myself, because the name "Steven/Stephen" and this "steven" are pronounced identically, at least in my variety of English. Additionally, the name is far more common, especially given that it appears that, at least in most dialects, "steven" only survives, as Pabappa said, in the phrase "even steven".
In fact, how would the average person who hasn't specifically learnt it as a matter of trivia, even know that there ever was a common noun "steven"?
Wiktionary seems to indicate that it isn't obsolete in some dialects in northern England and Scotland, but for those of us who don't speak those dialects, exactly. How would we know?

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Re: False cognates

Post by k1234567890y » 05 Aug 2018 07:00

English -s and Tsez -z (oblique plural ending)

English kid and Tsez kid "girl"
...

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Re: False cognates

Post by Shemtov » 09 Aug 2018 03:39

If the Glottalic Reconstruction of PIE is right, it bears a striking resemblance to the stop system of Modern Korean.
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Xonen
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Re: False cognates

Post by Xonen » 09 Aug 2018 12:01

Shemtov wrote:
09 Aug 2018 03:39
If the Glottalic Reconstruction of PIE is right, it bears a striking resemblance to the stop system of Modern Korean.
Okay, I guess these threads we have here have more or less demonstrated that pretty much anything counts as a false cognate or unfortunate coincidence or whatever in somebody's opinion... but still, I think this one's a bit of a stretch. By definition, "cognates are words that have a common etymological origin", and phonological inventories aren't words. What we'd have here would be a case of a parallel phonological structure, which are quite common cross-linguistically - and indeed, the fact that there are apparently very few if any known parallels for the usual reconstruction of the PIE stop inventory is the main reason why alternative theories like the glottalic one are so tempting.

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