Words with the same bases/roots in both English and Japanese

Did archaic Swedes use water though? I was under the impression that the further north you went in Roman times, the more likely just soap was used.

I don’t know anything about Swedish bathing habits from the middle ages. A quick search did tell me that they had bathing houses before they were closed in the more prudish renaissance times. And that bathing every saturday was a tradition.

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I’m not really sure I understood your approach completely. Are you looking specifically for compounds that are made up of units comparable in meaning? Would you count words like 土曜日, 目医者 or 犬小屋 as well?

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Yep, compounds with exact or near exact meanings and the same for the parts too. I would say 1:1 parts excluding grammatical elements.

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Places where Indo-European languages are spoken generally also have or had derivatives of the Indo European religion, so the gods often line up well. The same tends not to happen with non-IE cultures.

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Even though you just said “Indo-European” twice, I still read this as “Internet Explorer”…


That’s a good point

That is a common thing in languages. Either words share a same origin in some common proto language, or they are incorporated in one language through contact with people with foreign languages.

It is a fascinating subject indeed.

I remember a crack pot self thought genius who used this phenomenon to prove his thesis all world languages originated from Dutch.

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No, it wouldn’t, and I can say that with confidence because somebody has already compiled such a list.

(For those who are unaware, “gairaigo” are relatively straightforward loanwords, “wasei-eigo” are words that are somewhat more loosely derived from English - e. g. “ハンドリマン” (“handleman”) meaning “designated driver”, or whatever the heck “skinship” is supposed to mean.)

Nah, that’s a list of words in Japanese that came from English. I was more thinking a list of words in which the Japanese and English words sprang from the same source.


I was more thinking a list of words in which the Japanese and English words sprang from the same source.

… which they did by definition if the Japanese word stems from the English word. (Incidentally, the word you’re looking for is “cognate”.)

Yes, I get what you mean, I’m just being pedantic.

That list would be extremely shortened though.

Both the origin and meaning would need to match and additionally (perhaps I should edit this into the first post),

so if we look at just the first part of this list

avec is out right off the bat.

And for the rest we have to see if they have actually have parts. To make things easier, we’ll use morphemes and exclude any grammatical elements. To be a morpheme, it needs to actually have meaning.

If アフレコ and アフターサービス both started with アフター at the beginning, then I think you could have a morpheme for after there and both words would count. Post-recording/アフレコ and after-service/アフターサービス would both have 2 parts to 2 parts. If it’s the whole word though, that would be 1 part to 2 parts, which would not work.

Idol would be good, feel free to add that one.

Ice cream and ice lolly (you wouldn’t be able to call it a popsicle), I’m inclined to say no because anytime I try to describe naturally occurring ice as アイス, I’m told I have the wrong word. The only times it seems to be right is for man-made ice. Therefore the Japanese meaning of アイス would be “(man-made) ice” and not “frozen liquid,” so the meanings wouldn’t add up. To prove or disprove this would take some decent research.

アイセン comes from steigeisen, which seems to have 2 parts- climbing and iron. Crampon comes from the same origin as cramp, so something that clamps down. Even though the Japanese is just アイセン, iron doesn’t mean the same as cramp, so that’s out.

That’s 1 yes, 2 no, and 4 maybe.

Maybe if I’m really bored one day, I’ll go through this list, but I think I’ll stick to a personal criteria of words I learn and already know the parts of.

Welcome to the community!

If you happen to remember the name of the Dutch theory guy, please let me know. The kind of people who make these sort of theories tend to have very interesting biographies lol

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I edited in some of the the rules clarified in the comments so people don’t have to search for them. :slight_smile:

However, a thought occurred to me, should we include or actively exclude single morpheme words? That would be words like mouth/(くち) and hand/(). I’m worried it would end up bloating the list in a boring way. What are your thoughts?

If any languages lacked words for “mouth” or “hand”, I’d be rather concerned for that culture.

I think some languages exclude “hand” and do the entire arm as one unit… :man_shrugging:

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Well, that’s fair - Japanese has the same word for “leg” and “foot”, after all - but it’s close enough.


That’s the kind of thing that has me on the fence. Like will it bloat the list or just make it more obvious in a possibly useful way what is the same?

I think (あし) and leg would be close enough/arguably the same for the purposes of this list, but then foot would not equal (あし)

now I’m a little bummed because I just realized the alternative reading of mukade wouldn’t work for this list because it’s 100 leg, not 100 feet like centipede ):

Fun fact: No centipede has precisely 100 legs, because centipedes always have odd numbers of body segments.


I don’t know whether to be pleased or displeased by this new information

still way too many legs