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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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Subject: Germanic 'Jörð' vs. Turkic 'yer/yurt'
Question: Hello everyone. I am preparing a presentation of compared mythology
and I reached an interesting point. The word Jörð in Old Norse is
etymologically related to ''earth'' as you know. In Turkic, there is
two words: ''yer'', which directly means ''earth'' and ''yurt'' (t/d
change is observed in Old Turkic), which means ''homeland''. These
two words are also used in today's Turkish. I see a phonological
and semantical similarity here. I need to know if these words are
originally related or not. Thank you!

Reply: It depends on what you mean by "related". Conventional linguistic wisdom is that
Germanic languages are in a separate language family from Turkic.

As it happens the Oxford English Dictionary indicates that earth/jörd come from an
Indo-European root *er- with reflexes in Greek (i.e. a native word).

There is a possibility that there is a root borrowed into both languages or between
languages, but I don't know enough about Turkic to be sure. You'd want to know more
about the phonological developments in each family to be sure.

It is known that unrelated words can have words that happen to look alike but not have
a history.

Sorry I can't give you more information.
Reply From: Elizabeth J Pyatt      click here to access email
 
Date: 18-Apr-2013
 
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Germanic 'Jörð' vs. Turkic 'yer/yurt'    Herbert Frederic Stahlke     (18-Apr-2013)
  2. Re: Germanic 'Jörð' vs. Turkic 'yer/yurt'    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (19-Apr-2013)

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