Common words of Indo-European languages

General Reference Section

Compiled by Jayaram V

The Indo European Languages numbering about 439, are a family of related languages. Of them 221 languages belong to the Indo-Aryan sub branch. It is believed that they were derived from a common source or they shared a common history at some point in human history.

These languages were mostly spoken in Europe, Middle East, including the ancient Anatolia, and the Indian subcontinent, accounting for nearly 40% of the world population or three billion people. Of the twenty largest languages spoken in the world, 12 belong to this group, namely, Spanish, English, Hindi, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, German, Marathi, French, Italian, Punjabi, and Urdu.

These twelve languages account for nearly 2 billion people or approximately 25% to 30% of the world population. There is a lot of speculation regarding how these languages came into existence and how they were diversified. The consensus opinion is that they might have originated from a common source, probably a Proto Indo European language (PIE), which is now extinct.

To understand the origin and diversification of these languages, linguistic study and knowledge of the following languages are considered important namely Vedic Sanskrit, Mycenaean Greek, Hittite, Latin, Ancient Gothic, Ancient Avestan, Ancient Lithuanian, Ancient Slavonic, and Ancient Anatolian.

The following tables presents a comparative analysis of common words from various Indo European languages that suggest to their relationship and their possible common origin. The difference in the spelling is mainly do to the differences in the manner in which they are pronounced in each language. As the languages diversified and evolved, their sound systems also evolved and diversified, resulting in different speech sounds and ways of pronunciation.

Words of Common Origin from the Indo European Languages

Sanskrit Hittite Greek Latin English Armenian Tocharian Old Irish Lithuanian Albanian
mam ammuk eme me me is - - mane mua
tuvam - su tu thou du twe tu tu ti
tvam tuk se te thee k'ez ci -t tave ty
kas kuis tis quis who? ov kuse cia kas kush
tat - to - that da te - tai -
pitar - pater pater father hayr pacer athair - -
matar - mater mater mother mayr macer mathair motina -
bhratar - - frater brother elbayr procer brathair brolis -
svasar - - soror sister k'oyr ser siur seser -
duhitar - thugater- - daughter dustr tkacer - dukter -
sunus - huios - son - soy - sunus -
gav- - bous bos cow kov keu bo guovs(Latv) -
asvas (Hier.Luw) asuwa hippos equus eoh (OE ) - yakwe ech asva, mare -
svan (Hier.Luw) suwana- kuon canis hound sun kwen con sun -
hrid kart- kardia cord heart sirt - cride sirdis -
janu kenu gonu genu knee cunr keni glun - gju
daru taru doru - tree - - daur (oak) drevo (OCS) dru
pad pat(a) pod- ped- foot otn paiyye - - -
navas newas ne(w)os novus new nor nuwe nue naujas -
na - - ne not - - ni ne -
asti estsi esti est is e ste is esti eshte
bharati - pherei fert bears bere paran berid - brings (BIE)
veda - (w)oide - wot gite - ro-fitir vestu (OCS) -
ekas - oi(w)os, 'alone' unus one - - oin vienas nje
duva twi duo duo two erku wi do du dy
trayas tri- treis tres three erek trey tri trys tri
catarvas - tettares quattuor four c'ork stwer cethair kesturi kater
panca - pente quinque five hing pis coic penki pese
sat - hex sex six vec' skas se sensi gjasthe
sapta - hepta septem seven ewt'n sukt secht septyni shtate
asta - okto octo eight ut' okt ocht astuoni tete
nava - enne(w)a novem nine inn nu noui devyni nede
dasa - deka decem ten tasn sak deich desimit dhjete
satam - hekaton centum hundred - kante cet simtas -

Abbreviation used for the closely related languages having the corresponding words: Luw= Luwian, Hier.Luw= Hieroglyphic Luwian, OE=Old English, Latv=Latvian, OCS= Old Church Slavonic

Some examples of shared Indo-Iranian words:

Sanskrit Iranian Meaning
Yajna Yasna A sacrificial ceremony
hotar zaotr Priest
Mitra Mithra A divinity
Arya Airya (Ave.), Ariya (OP) A Nobleman
duhitr dugdar Daughter

Words of Sanskrit and English Languages That Sound Similar

We are not suggeting that they were derived from them. They sound similar and probably some of the English words had their source in identical Latin or Greek words.

Sanskrit English
Matar mother
Pitar Father
bhratar Brother
svasar Sister
Duhitar Daughter
Nav (boat) Navy
Sama same
Siri Cereal
Manu Manu
Deva (daiva) Divine
Gau Cow
Asvah Horse
Thri Three
Danta Dental
Pala, Palitha polity
Vas House
Rtam Rhythm
Sant Saint
Matar Matter
Manah Mind
Na No
Sarpa Serpent
Nava (boat) Navy
Yoga Yolk
Gau Cow
Sant Saint
Vid Video
Atma, Adima Adam
Vatica Vatican
Charcha Church
Daiva Divine
Matar Matter

Words of Sanskrit and Ancient Egyptian Languages

Sanskrti Egyptian
Sarpah Asar-Hapi (From the Greek Seraph)

Abbreviation used

OP= Old Persian
Ave=Avestan

Back to Origin of Sanskrit

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