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

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Having thus been brought home to Europe let us linger here for a space and consider one or two very curious matters. The Ainu word now usually used for “house” is Chisei or Tchisei or Tchse, or Tshe, or Tise, just as one choses, while among the Kurile Saghalien Islanders it is Che. But the Welsh for “house” is T; and the original Cornish name was Ty, Sing and Tai plural. Shuyd’s Grammar informs us, however, that in modern Cornish t has been changed to tsh thus out of ty producing tshey, “houses.” One wonders whether the Ainu word for “house” has any connection. Again in Cornish and Welsh the word for “head” (caput) is pen. In Ainu pen means the “source” or “head” of a river; “the upper part of a valley!” It also appears in penram “the chest. The words tu for two and re for “three” still keep us at home. So also tumbu. Tumbu means in Ainu “an appartment in a dwelling.” Thus, poru is a “natural cave” and tumbu, first, a “dwelling appartment” or “division in a cave” and then a “room” in a house. But further, the word Tumbu has very interesting associations. By some it means “womb,” and according to others “the placenta.” Tun means “foetus,” and hence comes the word tuntun, “fish-row.” All this reminds one of the Anglo-Saxon word Tûn “a close” (German “Zaun”), which afterwards becomes a “Town.”[1] Chisei, “house” applies to the “home” of many living objects as, a wasp, bee, man, bear and such like beings, while tumbu is only applied to the living apartment of a human being, whether it be in a cave, in a pit dug in the side of a hill or in a hole dug in the level ground; or whether it is a room in a “house” or Chisei, as that in of my house in Sapporo, or the poky dark hole 6 feet by 9 in the southeastern corner of Chief Penri’s hut at Piratori which was put up for me to sleep in; all these “divisions” or “apartments” are tumbu, “rooms” in Ainu. But it is a well known fact that the English word “tomb” is from the mediaeval Latin tumba. But tumba first meant “a hillock,” after that “a tomb.” Again one therefore wonders whether there is any family relationship between tumba “a hillock” and tumbu, “a apartment in a cave."

Now, pu in Ainu is the ordinary word for “godown” or “store house.” Hence tumpu or tumbu really means “the home” or “storehouse of the foetus” of living beings. Or, again, this last word tumbu might well be compared with the Russian домъ “home,” the final ъ of the Russian word being taken for the Ainu bu or pu, and thus we are brought to Latin domus.

A comparison of the Ainu word garu with the Welsh garu is also interesting for both are identical in meaning, which is “rough,” “uneven.” In Yezo there are two place-names in which the word occurs, one near Sapporo, namely Garu-pet, “turbulent stream,” (a name which quite agrees with the nature of the stream here), and Garu-ush-i “the rough place,” the name of a locality not many miles from Horobetsu near Mororan. This place also is a very uneven locality having many soft sulpheric hillocks cast up about it by volcanic action with a number of hot water springs among them.

A, also, both in Welsh and Ainu are the same in some instances. Thus:—In both it is used as an interrogative adverb, and in both also as the pronoun, “who,” “which,” “that.” An too seems to be alike in some instances in both languages, for in both it is used as a partitive particle. The resemblance also of Ainu gur’, guru to welsh gwr is very curious, for in both languages this word means a “person,” a “man.” The word i too, is another instance of an interesting analogy, for in both languages it is used as the objective pronoun “me,” and also by way of emphasis and intensity. So likeness is the vowel e. In Welsh this is the pronoun “he,” “she,” “it”; while in Ainu it is the ordinary objective particle meaning “him,” “it,” “her.” In Welsh O means “from,” “out of”; So it does in Ainu also.

Speaking of the vowels, a carries one thoughts on through an “to be” to the sanscrit verb of existence as. Speaking of this word Max Müller says:—“You know, of course, that the whole language of ancient India is but a sister dialect of Greek, Latin, of German, Cetic, and Slavonic, and that if the Greek says el-Latn, “he is,” if the Roman says est, the German ist, the Slav yeste, the Hindu, three thousand year ago, said as-ti, “he is.” This asti is a compound root as, “to be,” and the pronoun ti. The root originally meant “to breathe,” and dwindled down after a time to the meaning of “to be.”[2]

This is all most interesting when viewed in the light of Ainu studies. In Ainu the verb of existence is a, an, ash, on for the singular, and for the plural. Compare also the Greek ὁν and ὃντος. Further, if, as is said to be the case the sanscrit word as originally meant “to breathe,” the similarity between it and Ainu is yet more striking, for the present-day word for “to blow” in Ainu is as or ash.

The words chacha for “papa,” chip, for “ship,” mat for “female,” pone for “bone,” tu for “two,” re for “three,” and pak for “punishment” have already been mentioned, as also has wakka or aka, Eng: “water” sanscrit: aka. There are others too which might well be compared such as poi, “little,” (Italian poço and poi), sion “a little boy” (Russian сынъ), but space will not allow this subject to be further persued here.

The chief argument, however, for an Aryan origin of the Ainu language will be found to lie in the Grammar rather than in vocabulary. And to it the Reader is now to be introduced.

  1. Max Müller Vol II. Page 27.
  2. Intro: to the Science of Religion page 393.