Peculiarities of languages


The negation is done using a negative verb e-, whose present indicative active is en, et, ei, emme, ette, eivät (originally evät). Some Uralic languages also have the past tense of this verb. The imperative in Finnish is elä/ellös, elköön, elkäämme, elkää, elkööt; but the first e- has changed to ä in modern Finnish. The present participle of this verb is epä, which is now used only as a prefix with the same meaning as the English prefix un-.


There are two main types of adjectives. I-adjectives behave almost like verbs, and they have a past tense. Na-adjectives behave like nouns. As predicatives they are followed by the verb ‘to be’; as attributes they get the attributive form of the verb ‘to be’, ‘na’, between them and their modificand. In addition, there are so called no-adjective which are actually nouns. Their attributive form uses the genitive particle ‘no’, otherwise they are similar to na-adjectives.

I-adjectives: 青い鳥 aoi tori ‘blue bird’, 鳥は青い tori wa aoi ‘the bird is blue’,
鳥は青かった tori wa aokatta ‘the bird was blue’

Na-adjectives: 綺麗な鳥 kirei na tori ‘beautiful bird’, 鳥は綺麗だ tori wa kirei da ‘the bird is beautiful’,
鳥は綺麗だった tori wa kirei datta ‘the bird was beautiful’

The negation is done using an adjective nai ‘nonexistent’. With verbs (and i-adjectives) this has practically turned into an inflectional ending. With nouns (and na-adjectives) it is used with the verb ‘to be’ as a negation. Without the verb it has its original meaning and indicates that the thing spoken of doesn’t exist.

Verbs: 食べる taberu ‘to eat’/‘I eat’/etc., 食べない tabenai ‘I don’t eat’/etc.

I-adjectives: 青い aoi ‘(is) blue’, 青くない aokunai ‘is not blue’

Nouns: 猫 neko ‘cat’, 猫ではない neko de wa nai ‘(it) is not a cat’,
猫はない neko wa nai ‘the cat doesn’t exist’/‘the cat isn’t there’

Na-adjectives: 綺麗 kirei ‘beautiful’, 綺麗ではない kirei de wa nai ‘is not beautiful’


Good bye < God b’uy < God buy’ye < God be wy ye < God be with ye

Sainfoin (Onobrychis viciaefolia, a plant used as fodder) < Saint Foine < Neo-Latin sanctum foenum ‘holy hay’ < sanum foenum ‘wholesome hay’ < herba mĕdica ‘healing plant’ < herba Mēdica ‘Median grass’ < Greek Μηδικὴ πόα ‘Median grass’

The country name Hungary << a Turkish tribe name (via the Slavonic languages) *ongur < *on-ogur ‘ten arrows’. This also gave into Russian the word for Hungary: Ugrin, which gave the English word Ugric.


Consertis digitis amplexatus sum genu ‘I was embraced at my knee by conjoined fingers’ = I squeezed my knee (Augustine, Confessiones, 8.8.20)

Naturae debitum reddere ‘pay one’s debt to nature’ = die

Aea = the name of the island where Circe lived. Aeaeus is an adjective derived of it, or an inhabitant of the island. Circe was also calles Aeaea (female inhabitant of Aea). This word has a genitive (which is also the genitive singular and nominative plural of the adjective) Aeaeae (pronounced [ɑiˈɑiɑi] or [eːˈeːeː]). Aeaeae artes, or ‘the skills of Aea’ means witchcraft.

Domiporta ‘gastropod’ is literally ‘home carrier’.

Classical Greek

The supreme god Zeus can be used as the modal subject in natural phenomena: Ζεὺς ὕει [ˈdzeus ˈhyei] ‘Zeus rains’

καταμύω [kɑtɑˈmyoː] ‘close one’s eyes’ = to die


Mynd i wlad y gwaddod ‘go to the land of the moles’ = to die

Ancient Egyptian

[hieroglyphs] (nty.w im) ‘the ones who are there’ = the dead

[hieroglyphs] (t3 cwt špst) ‘the noble cattle’ = people


New Zealand = Whenua o aotearoa ‘The Land of the Long White Cloud’. Whenua = ‘land’, o = genitive (cf. English of), ao = ‘cloud’, tea = ‘white’, roa = ‘long’.