Christopher Culver at Безѹмниѥ has a post on a “theory” so terminally silly you’d think it would have to be the invention of a satirist, but apparently it’s real (in the sense that people actually believe it). Chris begins by quoting Brent Brendemoen on “the so-called Güneş Dil Teorisi, the ‘Sun-language Theory’”:
According to this theory of language development, Turkish was the mother of all languages. Thus it was no longer necessary to search for pure Turkish words to replace Arabic and Persian ones, since the ultimate origin of these words and languages was Turkish anyhow.
He goes on to quote Geoffrey L. Lewis in the first issue of Turkic Languages:
The theme was that man first realized his own identity when he conceived the idea of establishing what the external objections surrounding him were. Language first consisted of gestures, to which some significant sounds were then added. Kvergić saw evidence for his view in the Turkish pronouns. M indicates oneself, as in men the ancient form of ben ‘I’, and elim ‘my hand’….
[The theory] saw the beginning of language as the moment when primitive man looked up at the sun and “Aaa!”
That vocable, ağ, was the “first-degree radical of the Turkish language”. It originally meant sun, then sunlight, warmth, fire, height, bigness, power, god, master, motion, time, distance, life, colour, water, earth, voice. As man’s vocal mechanisms developed, other vowels and consonants became available, each with its own shade of meaning. Because the primeval exclamation was shouted, and it is obviously easier to begin a shout with a vowel than with a consonant, any word now beginning with a consonant originally began with a vowel, since abraded. The words yağmur ‘rain’, çamur ‘mud’, and hamur ‘dough’, for example, are compounded of ağmur ‘flowing water’, preceded by ay ‘high’, aç ‘earth’ and ah ‘food’ respectively. (The reader is urged not to waste time searching the dictionary for the last four words.)
… [The reformer] Dilmen began the next day with a lengthy outline of the theory, proving, among other things, the identity of English god, German Gott and Turkish kut ‘luck’. The proof is simple enough: Gott is oğ + ot, god is oğ + od, kut is uk + ut. He avoids explaining the second t of Gott by spelling it with only one t.
I can understand how people could have believed this sort of thing in the 18th century, but two centuries later you’d think even language reformers would have a little more sophistication.