I know I miss out on all sorts of interesting things by not following Reddit, but life is short and my online habits are pretty well set by now. Just now, however, thanks to LH reader Ryan O’Donnell, I have discovered the linguistics subreddit, which I may have to bookmark. Ryan sent me a link to Etymology Game #2 featuring North Asia, and it’s a lot of fun: five English words matched with semantic equivalents in Turkish, Ket, Chukchi, Mongolian, and Erzya (a branch of “Mordvin”—see this LH post), and a bonus question involving Adyghe; you have to decide if the words are etymologically related. They’re hard! I got most of them right, but the one I got wrong was surprising and educational. Here‘s Game #3, whose answers aren’t up yet. Thanks, Ryan!


  1. the_traveler says

    Hey, thanks so much for the shout-out. I must credit Douglas Harper of the Online Etymological Dictionary for the original idea: he loves playing these games. I decided to kick them up a notch and make them a bit more challenging. BAM.
    Actually, what really motivated me to post here was your post on Val d’Aran. After scanning your post and the comments below, I feel there are some things that need to be clarified.
    “Aranese” is the Catalan name for the Occitan dialect spoken in the region. It is not an individual language and it’s not a hybrid of Basque.
    Val d’Aran indeed means “Valley of Aran,” which in turn means “Valley of Valley” (aran means valley or plumb in Basque). The reason is that the historical home of the Basque was not along the coast but more inland, among the Pyrenees Mountains. This was also Iberian territory, which suggests that in this particular valley, both Basque and Iberian were spoken. The traditional Basque tribe that bordered the ocean was the Aquitaine, further north, who spoke a dialect of Proto-Basque that did not survive.

  2. the_traveler says

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