An Ainu–English–Japanese Dictionary/Chapter I/Section VIII

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

Whilst studying the subject presented in this volume, the Author has been very much struck at times by the great similarity found to exist between certain Ainu and Hebrew words. And he has accordingly wondered whether or no there can be any real family connection between them. No doubt one could make no greater mistake in such a matter as this than to rely too much on mere sound. But the comparison of the words given below shows such a peculiar resemblance that it seems too much to conclude, without proof, that all is pure accident. But to be perfectly honest in the matter, and it is truth not fiction the writer is aiming at, one must add here that in so far a mere grammar is concerned no analogy has so far been found to exist between the two languages. It must not be supposed that the Author is building any theory on this matter; the words are simply appended and compared as being very curious examples of verbal correspondence. They are, it goes without saying, already insufficient to prove either the Ainu to be the ten lost tribes, or their language to be Semitic. Indeed, I have already stated that I believe, speaking from a study of the construction of the grammar of the langage, that it is Aryan. Whether I am right or not others must judge later.

Hebrew and Ainu words compared.

Heb. English. Ainu English.
1. 1 Ani, אֲנִי I. Ani[1]

2. Anoki, אֲנֹכִי I. Anokai
I. You.
3. Av, אָב Father. Abo,
In some places “father”
and in others “mother.”
[It should here be noted that in Ainu there is no v sound properly so called, the nearest approach to it being b or p. Po is often found suffixed to nouns of consanguinity, thus:—Iyapo, “father;” achapa, “uncle;” mitpo, “grandchild;” matnepo, “daughter;” yupo, “elder brother;” sapo, “elder sister;” tureshpo, “younger sister.” It is curious to remark also that the English word papa, “father,” is in Ainu, according to the law of letter changes, chacha, “uncle,” an “old man;” for in some districts pa always becames cha].
4. Akh, אָח Brother. Ak,
Younger brother.
5. Arack, אֹרַח To travel. Araki, To come; approach.
6. Ba בָּא Come. Paye, To go.
7. Bara, בָּרָא Create. Kara, To make.
8. Esh, אֵשׁ Fire. A,
To burn.
[Mark the א aleph in this and the next word but one.]
9. Kala קֶלַע To carve. Kara, To make.
10. Ur, אוּר Fire. A,
To burn.

11. Enush, אֱנוֹשׁ A human being. Ainu, Man; human being.
12. Nahar, נָהָר River. Nai, River; stream.

  1. The a in the Ainu word ani is the substantive verb of existence. It therefore differs radically from the aleph in the Hebrew word. This fact is fully sufficies to prove that the similarity is only in sound and not in essence. Moreover, the Ainu a may never be used simply as an expletive while aleph may. (See Gesenius′ Hebew grammar page 61 par: 4 under ā′leph prosthetcum.)