Skip to comments.The Relationship Between The Basque And Ainu
Posted on 06/25/2004 3:44:16 PM PDT by blam
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BASQUE AND AINU
The language of the Ainu bear-worshippers of Northern Japan has generally been considered a language-isolate, supposedly being unlike any other language on earth. A few researchers noticed a relationship with languages in south-east Asia, others saw similarity with the Ostiak and Uralic languages of northern Siberia. The Ainu look like Caucasian people, they have white skin, their hair is wavy and thick, their heads are mesocephalic (round) and a few have grey or blue eyes. However, their blood types are more like the Mongolian people, possibly through many millennia of intermixing. The Ainu are a semi-nomadic hunting and fishing tribe but also practice simple planting methods, which knowledge may have been acquired from the newcomers. The invading people, under their Yamato government, called them the Ezo, the unwanted, and forced the Ainu in fierce fighting to retreat north to the island of Hokkaido. The name Ezo likely is an abbreviation of the Basque word ezonartu (to disapprove of)
Archaeologists have determined that the Ainu have been living on many of Japan's islands, from Okinawa to Sakhalin, for 7,000 years and likely longer. Their Jomon pottery is found everywhere; it is characteristic although somewhat clumsy and can be dated from 5,000 B.C. until just before the Christian era. It is very attractive and is distinguished by the fantasy of its shapes with elegant and imaginative cord decorations. Some of the most striking finds were the clearly anthropomorphic clay and stone figurines resembling pregnant females with mask-like faces and protuberant eyes; very similar to those found in many other parts of the world, especially in Europe.
A number of stone circles have also been found, similar to those in Cornwall (England) and Senegal (North-West Africa). A few still have the slender upright stone in the center, also found in the British Isles and elsewhere in Atlantic Europe and N.W. Africa. Around 300 B.C., Mongolian type people moved in from Korea and aggressively forced the Ainu north onto the large island of Hokkaido where an estimated 17,000 of them are still living. Some 10 dialects have been recognized, such as those of Sakhalin, Hokkaido and the Kurils, but several are at the point of being lost for ever. In Hokkaido young Ainu are now making an effort to restore their ancient language and traditions.
There are many intriguing resemblances between the religious customs of the Ainu and the Shinto Japanese. The Ainu called their God Kami while the Japanese called him Kamisama. The Aleut and Eskimo word kammi means "ancient thing" or "at the beginning," one of a great many correlations between Ainu and Inuktitut. (The Eskimo people call themselves the Inuit; note the similarity between the names Inuk and Ainu). Bear worship is still part of the Ainu religion and is described in detail by Joseph Campbell in Primitive Mythology. This paleolithic bear-worship may date back as far as 200,000 years, to the days of the Neanderthal people. It appears to have been practiced world-wide; wherever the bear was not found (mainly in Africa), its place was taken by similar panther-worship.
Bear worship was not tolerated in those areas later dominated by the major religions, therefore it was only possible for anthropologists to study the religion in the peripheral areas of northern Europe and Siberia. This gave rise to the idea that the Ainu must have moved eastward through Siberia, even though the nearest people of their type are found almost 5,000 miles away. But bear-worship has also been reported from Indonesia where languages similar to the Ainu language are still spoken (to be discussed with the Indonesian language). Could it be that the Ainu were part of the mass migration of "Caucasian" type Sea Peoples who fled the burning Sahara and, among others, became the "Caucasian" looking Polynesians and Maories? The following language comparison for the Ainu seems to indicate that this was the case.
THE NAMES AND WORDS OF JAPAN
In books about Japan it is often remarked that many of the names of Japan's geographical features were taken over from the Ainu. For instance the many names beginning or ending with ama (Goddess) are all thought to be of Ainu origin. In 1994 the newly married prince and princess of Japan travelled to the cave of the Goddess Amaterasu to ask her blessings for their marriage. The name Amaterasu is agglutinated from ama-atera-asu, ama (Goddess) atera (to come out, to appear) asturu (blessings flow): Blessings flow when the Goddess appears. This name is made up of perfect Basque! Other well-known names were similarly assembled such as Hokkaido: oka-aidu: oka (big meal) aiduru (looking foreward to): Looking forward to a big meal; and Fujiyama, fa-uji-ama: fa (happy) uju (cry of joy) ama (Goddess): "A happy cry of joy for the Goddess" is uttered by everyone who reaches the top of the holy mountain, just like is still being heard on many other mountains of the world (e.g . at Croag Patrick in Ireland, on the last Sunday of July). The Basques even have a word for this yodel cry for the Goddess, they call it the irrintzi.
The name Amaterasu is made up with the vowel-interlocking Ogam formula, which was surprising to me because in the Ainu language itself there is not a hint of this agglutinating formula. I then searched for more Japanese names and words which were assembled with the vowel-interlocking Ogam formula and found many such as Kamikaze and Samurai. The surprise which came from this comparison was that those words which showed vowel-interlocking were usually associated with fighting and male domination. This appeared to be true all over the Pacific, including Peru and Mexico. Could this mean that there were two major migrations, the first one many millennia ago from Mesopotamia which brought the peaceful people of the Goddess to the Pacific and a much later one, missionary based, bringing aggressive male domination and the language-distorting vowel-consonant-vowel (VCV) formula to these same areas?
None of the Ainu words were exactly the same as in Basque, but many were extremely close such as ikoro and koro (money), kokor and gogor (to scold), tasum and eritasun (illness), iska and xiska (to steal). A surprise was the Ainu word nok (testicle) which is much like the Basque word noka (familiarity with women). In English slang the same word is used in "to knock up" meaning "to cause a woman to become pregnant." In Indonesian nok means "unmarried young woman," while dénok means "slender, elegant woman." In Dutch slang the word is slightly altered to neuk (sexual intercourse). There is little doubt that the word goes way back to the Neolithic or even Paleolithic. From the following comparisons it seems clear to me that Ainu and Basque are genetically related. In comparing Ainu with Dravidian, I did not find such a relationship, although Dravidian itself is obviously also related to Basque. Two separate branches of the same tree?
The following words were taken from: An Ainu Dialect Dictionary edited by Shiro Hattori and (thank goodness) printed mostly in Latin characters. This work provided a wealth of excellent material for my comparison. Don't forget that the Basque "s" is pronounced as a soft "sh" and that our sharp "sh" is written as "x" in Basque. (The page column shows the word number/page number)
(There is a whole column of word comparsions listed here. Please click on the site to see...to difficult to html, thanks)
It is easy to find hundreds more like the ones above, all it takes is time, but I can see little reason for doing that. To me this comparison is quite convincing: the Ainu language is genetically related to the universal language, Saharan/Basque; the similarities are just too many to be accidental. Considering that the Ainu have probably been separated from the west for some 7,000 years, if not 8,000, it is not surprising that the language has drifted away from the neolithic language as it had developed in the Sahara. The fact that so many Ainu words are still clearly recognizable when compared to modern Basque words, this is nothing short of amazing and tells us that the ancient oral traditions had been faithfully maintained since they left the Sahara or Mesopotamia. The Ainu had no writing system but memorized their history and legends as yukar, which means that the poetry and epics were performed by professional memorymen with elaborate display and ritual. Similarly, in the west, the universal language was maintained by regular meetings, probably at the central shrine on Malta, where the bertsolari (professional memorymen) of all the tribes and regions met to re-inforce and standardize their language and knowledge.
The Pacific sea peoples settled on hundreds of islands, they scattered over the entire endless Pacific, and it must be assumed that the single unifying educational exchange practiced in the Mediterranean was impossible to repeat. Similar local meeting-islands must have been designated in the Marianas, Polynesia, Melanesia, Indonesia, New Zealand etc. but regular contact with the far-away Ainu could hardly have been maintained. Consequently the formerly universal language drifted and diversified into what we know today as the many languages of the Pacific islands, including those of the Kurils and Aleutians. Several of the Pacific languages, such as Japanese and Hawaian, do not have the "r". It has been theorized that these languages have lost this letter over the centuries.
Another suggestion was that the original "Caucasians" coming from Africa or Mesopotamia, some 7,000 years ago, did not know this letter. However, it appears that the Ainu were the first to arrive in the Pacific and they have the "r". The lost "r" theory may well be correct. It is interesting to note that the name Ainu possibly comes from ain'u, an abbreviation of ainbanatu (to distribute, to scatter all over). Another origin could be the Basque word aienatu (the disappeared, departed).These astute navigators of the Pacific must also have discovered the west coast of North America at a very early date. The island-chain of the Aleutians was a ready-made pathway to Alaska, which must have been reached well before 6,000 B.C., possibly before the east coast of North America was spotted. It may have been about the same time that the Eskimos started to spread east into Arctic Canada and Greenland, bringing along a pidgin-type, Ainu-related, Basque to Labrador and Greenland, but I will discuss this with the Eskimo language.
WERE THE AINU "NOMADS OF THE WIND"?
There are indications that the Ainu sailed regularly to Alaska to obtain reindeer hides from the Aleuts established there, which they needed for their sails, exactly the same as was done by the Basques, the Irish and Scots who went to Arctic Norway for their reindeer-leather sails (Mt. Komsa people). The Ainu must have been great long-distance sea-farers to keep up contact with their home-base which may have been in Mesopotamia. All over the Pacific this incredible sailing tradition waned fast when the social structure changed after the coming of European or Asiatic domination. Today the Ainu still sail the ocean but mostly on fishing trips. The complex navigational techniques, acquired over millennia had been the property of a few special families and were never popular wisdom. They are now lost. The astonishing amount of astronomical knowledge which the members of such navigator families had to memorize was taught them at a very young age and was built up during a lifetime on the ocean. To these highly skilled and proud people the Pacific was no hostile place, the ocean was their life and joy, and an indispensible part of their culture. Only in the Carolines the ancient spirit, some of the secret navigational techniques and much astronomical wisdom has been maintained to this day. All this is described in a wonderful book called: We, the Navigators by David Lewis.
The people who sailed the Pacific without the aid of instruments have recently been called the "Nomads of the Wind", a most appropriate title for these courageous and resourceful people. The Ainu appeared to have been the avant garde of the Pacific migration. The desertification of the Sahara had probably forced these tribes to flee for their lives. It was then that the name "Africa" was coined: af.-.ri-ika, afa-ari-ika: afa (happy) arinari eman (to escape) ikara (terror): Happy to have escaped the terror. Some of these displaced tribes sailed around Asia and started to populate the nearest Pacific islands, all of them speaking the same universal language and bringing along the same religion.
While looking in more detail at the names in the Pacific, I found that many of the Pacific islands had names which could be translated with the Basque dictionary such as: "Tahiti", from tahi-iti, tahiu (appearance) iti (ox): "Resembles an ox" the sharp pointed mountains indeed resemble ox horns. Or: "Rapa Nui" (Easter Island), arra-apa ' nui, erraldoi (giant) aparta (far, far away), nui (enormous, in Hawaiian): "Enormous giants, far, far away". Or: "Hawaii", ha'u-ahi: ha'u (this one) ahigarri (exhausting): This one is exhausting! It still is. Or: "Papua", apapua (living in poverty); stone age people don't own much, they don't pollute and they live as part of nature. One tantalizing hint comes from Peru where the patriarchal Incas established a complex civilization, complete with highly evolved Sumerian-type irrigation. The Incas were living gods and the Basque word for "God" is ainkoa! More later about this.
Some think the Basque are an isolated remnant of Cro Magnon man in Europe.
When mention that to my half-sister, whoser father has Basque roots, she is never amused. :-)
I skimmed through his biography after Googling his home page. Interesting.
Didn't think of that
As to 'knocked up' that is taken as slang, but it could be cant and could be from much older street language, koine or prakrit.
I once saw a DNA 'break-down' for Kennewick Man, at the top of the list of genetic comnections was: 1. Ainu 2. Polynesian (I can't remember the others)
The 9,300 year old Kennewick Man skeleton was found in Washington state.
Jomon (pre-Ainu in Japan) type cord-pottery has been found in Olmec ruins in Mexico
One never knows.
All my life I have corrected my mother's word for 'hair.' She pronounces it as 'haar' and I always thought it was southern slang. During all this anthropology/archaeology learning I've done over the last few years I've learned that the Old English and Old High German word for hair is HAAR! I don't correct her anymore, lol. (Both sides of my family have English backgrounds)
I'm skeptical, too, on methodological grounds. "Basque" is a cultural designation based largely on language, and our knowledge of the Basque language and the people who speak/spoke it is pretty recent, dating back no earlier than--I would infer--the Greco-Roman period. "Ainu" seems to be a more racial designation, but once we start talking about Ainu religion we're getting into a cultural definition based on fairly recent knowledge from the past millennia-plus or so; whereas this article makes statements about Ainu religion in 5000 BC, long before any written records in Japan, and it also makes inferences about Ainu migrations based on projecting backwards from current knowledge of the Ainu language to hypothetical migrations that supposedly may have taken place "millennia ago". This procedure seems very speculative to me. The linguistic argument also seems very weak--this type of linguistic argument from common-sounding words was common in the 19th century but has fallen out of favor because of problems with this method that have since been pointed out.
I believe there are many 'southern' accents. Furthermore, I believe they are descended from the various people of different ethnicity that originally settled the various regions. Probably the most manufactured American accent is the standard TV news accent. My ears began to open when a Carolinian gal complained how I spoke in diphthongs all the time as do all Yankees. It seems Yankees can't make a simple vowel sound, they always make it like two vowels together. All the time I thought she had a drawl when it is the other way around.
I read the same about the early people found on the Canary Islands. Cro-Magnon had a larger brain than all humans today. (Did they have a higher IQ?)
The Jomon are usually shown as being distinct and earlier than the Ainu in Japan. The oldest Jomon skeleton ever found in Japan is 13,000 years old.
Edo Nyland is famed nonsense non-scientist. But very entertaining. His methods are so far fetched that it is possible to prove the connection of any words in any language.
He has a homepage where you can see his method of analysing and reconstructing relationships between words and names. It is very entertaining for someone with enough brains and geeky enough. I'm not sure if the guy is serious and just plain crazy, or if he does it to annoy or mock serious "comparative linguists".
Even so it is a great post. As far as I am concerned, the past, like the present, was complex and development multifacited.
I've read that there is some linguistic relationship between the Basque language and at least one of the American Indian languages. Have you ever heard anything along that line?
Maybe all languages are related at some level. Huh? (also, how many different combination of sounds can a human make?)
Their language is unique, and I believe their race is well over 20,000 years old. Interesting............FRegards