book

book = a collection of printed pages bound together in English

What do English “book”, German “Buch”, Dutch “boek”, Danish “bog”, Icelandic “bók”, Norwegian & Swedish “bok”, all meaning “book”, have in common with the Slavic “buk” (Polish, Czech, Slovak, Lower Sorbian, Upper Sorbian, Croatian), “bukev” (Slovene), “бук” {buk} (Russian, Belarussian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Bulgarian) and “букa” {buka} (Macedonian), meaning “beech”?

Well, they are cognates. They all come from the Proto-Indo-European *bʰehǵos (beech).

In Germanic languages the meaning change from “beech” to “book” is explained by the fact that smooth beech bark was commonly used as parchment.
*bʰehǵos (beech) in PIE > *bōkō (beech), *bōks (beech, book) in Proto-Germanic > *bōkijā (beech) in Proto-West-Germanic, “bók” (beech, book) in Old Norse > “book” / “beech” in English, “Buch” / “Buche” in German, “boek” / “beuk” in Dutch, “bog” / “bøg” in Danish, “bók” / “beyki” in Icelandic, “bok” / “bøk” in Norwegian and “bok” / “bok” in Swedish.

In Slavic languages the path was as follows:
*bʰehǵos (beech) in PIE > *bōkō (beech) in Proto-Germanic > *bukъ (beech) in Proto-Slavic > “buk” in Polish, Czech, Slovak, Lower Sorbian, Upper Sorbian, Croatian, “bukev” in Slovene, “бук” {buk} in Russian, Belarussian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Bulgarian and “букa” {buka} in Macedonian

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mama qucha

mama qucha = sea in Quechua

Etymology: “mama” (mother) + “qucha” (lake)

My first contact with the Quechua language was back in the 90s, well before the internet era, when I bought in an antiquarian bookshop an old student book on Quechua. My eyes were wide with amazement. First time in my life I thought that to learn a language within the same language family as your native language is a piece of cake but to learn a language that is linguistically much more distant is a real achievement and would need a change in thinking.

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øl

øl = beer in Danish

The word “øl” comes from the Proto-Germanic *alu (beer).
*alu > ᚨᛚᚢ {alu} in Norse > ǫl in Old Norse > öl in Icelandic, Swedish, Elfdalian, Gutnish and øl in Faroese, Norwegian, Danish

Cognates:
ale in English
aal in Dutch (ale)
alus in Latvian (beer)

The Finnic languages borrowed the word from the Proto-Germanic *alu or Proto-Balto-Slavic *alu.
olut in Finnish, Ingrian, Karelian, Veps
õlu in Estonian
oluq in Võro
õlud in Votic

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çiçek

çiçek = flower in Turkish

The most amazing thing about learning languages is that if you learn one langauge it will open doors to a dozen of other languages.

The word “çiçek” comes from Proto-Turkic *čeček just like…
çiçək in Azerbaijani
сәскә {säskä} in Bashkir
ҫеҫке {śeśke} in Chuvash
şeşek in Crimean Tatar
шешек {şeşek} in Kazakh
чечек {čeček} in Kumyk, Southern Altai & Tuvan
цэцэг {tsetseg} in Mongolian
чәчәк {çäçäq} in Tatar
сяська {sjasʹka} in Udmurt
چېچەك ‎{chëchek} in Uyghur
chechak in Uzbek
чэчик {çeçik} in Yakut

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snagcheol

snagcheol = jazz in Irish

Most languages borrowed a name for the musical art called “jazz” from the English language:
dżez, jazz in Polish
djass in Icelandic
τζαζ {tzaz} in Greek
ジャズ {jazu} in Japanese
재즈 {jaejeu} in Korean
džiazas in Lithuanian
джаз {džaz} in Russian
caz in Turkish
jatsi, jazz in Finnish
jas, jazz in Welsh
jazz in Danish, Dutch, French, Spanish, Portugues, Italian.

But Irish decided to invent their own term “snagcheol”. They combined two words “snag” (gasp of breath; hiccup) and “ceol” (music).

With other music genres they were less poetic and more literal:
rac-cheol = rock music
popcheol = pop music
ceol trom-mhiotalach, miotal trom = heavy metal music
teicnicheol = techno
anamcheol, ceol sól = soul music
blues na gormacha, gormacha = blues

Photo by Francis Wolff for the cover of one of my favourite jazz albums “Moanin'” by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers published by Blue Note in 1959.

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dżdża

dżdża = drizzle in Polish

The word “dżdża” is in my opinion one of the stragest, if not the strangest, words in the Polish language.

It all started with the Proto-Slavic *dъždžь (rain).
*dъždžь > deżdż (Old Polish) > deszcz (Polish) – all meaning “rain”
The Old Polish “deżdż” survived in words like “dżdżyć” (to drizzle), “dżdżysty” (wet, rainy, drizzly), “dżdżownica” (earthworm) but also as a genitive form in the Polish saying “łaknąć czegoś jak kania dżdżu”, literally: to crave for something like a kite (bird) for rain, meaning “to crave for something a lot”.

And here starts the most interesting part. People forgot about “deżdż” so many thought that the nominative form of “dżdżu” is “dżdż”. There is even a humoristic poem by a well-known Polish poet, Konstanty Ildefons Gałczyński:
“Muchy brzęcza. W niebie grzmi.
Słońce świeci. Pada dżdż.”
(The flies are droning. It thunders in heaven.
The sun is shining. It is drizzling.)

Eventually the word “dżdża” was coined.

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muha

muha = fly in Slovene

There was only one “h” in the Proto-Slavic – voiceless velar fricative however East & West Slavic languages added also voiced glottal or velar fricatives to their inventories. South Slavic languages did not and they still have one voiceless velar fricative “h” – expressed as “h” in Latin alphabets (Slovene & Croatian) and as “х” in Cyrillic alphabets (Serbian, Bulgarian & Macedonian).

In East & West Slavic languages you have:
х & г in Belarusian & Ukrainian
ch & h in Czech, Slovak, Lower Sirbian & Upper Sorbian
(voiceless & voiced)

Two Slavic languages lost voiced “h” – Russian and Polish.

In Polish voiceless and voiced “h” were expressed respectively by “ch” and “h”. Then it retained voiceless sound but left “ch” and “h” in orthography causing a huge problem to pupils and students. Now “hart” (fortitude) and “chart” (greyhound) or “hełm” (helmet) and “Chełm” (city in Poland) sound exactly the same.

There are two more pairs of sounds in Polish that are the same now. The sounds rz=ż and u=ó causing more problems during spelling bees.

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puke

puke = book in Hawaiian

When Hawaiian borrows words from English, you get really interesting results.

haneli = hundred
hapa = half
kaimana = diamond
kālā = dollar, money
kamepiula = computer
kanauika = sandwich
kaukani = thousand
kīkā = guitar
lakuna = raccoon
loke = rose
pākeke = pocket
pāloke = parrot
poloka = frog
wikiō = video
ʻanakala = uncle
ʻānela = angel

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ćma

ćma = moth in Polish

The word “ćma” in Old Polish meant “darkness” but then the meaning shifted to “moth” and the original meaning stopped being used (except in one Polish region). The word comes from the Proto-Slavic *tьma (darkness). All other Slavic languages also have words originating from *tьma but they retained the original meaning.

цьма {cʹma} in Belarusian
тьма {tʹma} in Russian & Ukrainian
тъма {tǎma} in Bulgarian
тама {tama} in Serbian
tama in Croatian
tema in Slovene
tma in Czech & Slovak
śma in Lower Sorbian
ćma in Upper Sorbian
All meaning “darkness”

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caterpillar

caterpillar = larva of a butterfly or a moth in English

One of those words which etymology can surprise you.

cate (female cat) + peluse (hairy) in Old French > catepeluse (caterpillar) in Old French > catirpel, catirpeller in Middle English > caterpiller [archaic], caterpillar in Modern English

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