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Searching for the Welsh-Hindi link
BBC ^ | Monday, 14 March, 2005, 10:31 GMT | BBC

Posted on 03/15/2005 2:58:17 AM PST by CarrotAndStick

A BBC journalist is urging helpful linguists to come forward to help solve a mystery - why the Hindi (India's official language, along with English) accent has so much in common with Welsh. Sonia Mathur, a native Hindi speaker, had her interest sparked when she moved from India to work for the BBC in Wales - and found that two accents from countries 5,000 miles apart seemed to have something in common.

It has long been known that the two languages stem from Indo-European, the "mother of all languages" - but the peculiar similarities between the two accents when spoken in English are striking.

Remarkably, no-one has yet done a direct proper comparative study between the two languages to found out why this is so, says Ms Mathur.

"What I'm hoping is that if amateurs like myself - who have indulged in doing a little bit of research here and there - come forward, we can actually do proper research with professional linguists," she told BBC World Service's Everywoman programme.

No coincidence

Ms Mathur explained that when she moved to Wales, everyone instantly assumed she was Welsh from her accent.

"I would just answer the phone, and they would say 'oh hello, which part of Wales are you from?'," she said.

We tend to pronounce everything - all the consonants, all the vowels

Sonia Mathur "I would explain that I'm not from Wales at all - I'm from India.

"It was just hilarious each time this conversation happened."

Her interest aroused, Ms Mathur spoke to a number of other people whose first language is Hindi.

One Hindi doctor in north Wales told her that when he answered the phone, people hearing his accent would begin talking to him in Welsh.

"I thought maybe it isn't a coincidence, and if I dig deeper I might find something more," Ms Mathur said.

Particular similarities between the accents are the way that both place emphasis on the last part of word, and an elongated way of speaking that pronounces all the letters of a word.

"We tend to pronounce everything - all the consonants, all the vowels," Ms Mathur said.

"For example, if you were to pronounce 'predominantly', it would sound really similar in both because the 'r' is rolled, there is an emphasis on the 'd', and all the letters that are used to make the word can be heard.

"It's just fascinating that these things happen between people who come from such varied backgrounds."

The similarities have sometimes proved particularly tricky for actors - Pete Postlethwaite, playing an Asian criminal in the 1995 film The Usual Suspects, had his accent described by Empire magazine as "Apu from the Simpsons holidaying in Swansea".

Proto-European language

But not only the two languages' accents share notable common features - their vocabularies do too.

'Apu from the Simpsons holidaying in Swansea' or Pete Postlethwaite? Ms Mathur's own research on basic words, such as the numbers one to 10, found that many were similar - "seven", for example, is "saith" in Welsh, "saat" in Hindi.

"These kind of things really struck me," she said.

"When I reached number nine they were exactly the same - it's 'naw' - and I thought there had to be more to it than sheer coincidence."

She later spoke to professor Colin Williams of Cardiff University's School Of Welsh, who specialises in comparative languages.

He suggested that the similarities are because they come from the same mother language - the proto-European language.

"It was basically the mother language to Celtic, Latin, and Sanskrit," Ms Mathur added.

"So basically that's where this link originates from."


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: archaeology; cymraeg; cymru; epigraphyandlanguage; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; helixmakemineadouble; hindi; history; india; protoaryan; sanskrit; wales; welsh

Ms Mathur noticed the similarities after moving to BBC Radio Wales

"We tend to pronounce everything - all the consonants, all the vowels."

Sonia Mathur

'Apu from the Simpsons holidaying in Swansea' or Pete Postlethwaite?

1 posted on 03/15/2005 2:58:19 AM PST by CarrotAndStick
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To: All

Maybe Welsh-origin Freepers could help her solve the mystery.


2 posted on 03/15/2005 3:02:20 AM PST by CarrotAndStick (The articles posted by me needn't necessarily reflect my opinion.)
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To: CarrotAndStick

?......so called ancient Indo-European 'Gypsy' spoken cuneiform?


3 posted on 03/15/2005 3:42:26 AM PST by maestro
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To: maestro

I am just reading Peter Beresford Ellis's book, the Druids, and he details direct linguistic ties between various Celtic languages and Sanskrit or Hindi e.g., Druid ==> Dru (Oak) id (Vid) Hindi for wisdom or knowledge. However, the puzzle is the accent. Is the same true for Irish and Scottish Gaelic?
The other, and perhaps simpler, alternative explanantion is that the Indian individuals in question learned their English in an area where Welsh expatriates had taught English to the local population. If true, there are undoubtedly Indians who speak with a Scottish or Irish "lilt". The influence of local accents can certainly survive 300 or 400 years. For example, in parts of Maine, they speak with a distinctly East Anglian or West Country accent reflecting the geographic origins of 17th Century settlers - the famous comedy duo "Bert and I" have accent reminiscent of Cornish or West Country accents.


4 posted on 03/15/2005 3:58:52 AM PST by bjc (Check the data!!)
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To: maestro

I know that the Romani (AKA "Gypsys") descend from India and have similar parts of their language.


5 posted on 03/15/2005 4:02:26 AM PST by kingsurfer
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To: kingsurfer

bump


6 posted on 03/15/2005 4:37:20 AM PST by japaneseghost
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To: bjc

If I remember my studies, the Gaelic has two main branches Cymric (welsh and breton), and Scots/Irish. There are quite a few disimilarities between the accents etc. I am not sure about where similarities between Irish Gaelic and Sanskrit may lie.


7 posted on 03/15/2005 5:16:04 AM PST by Apogee
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To: Apogee

There are some Welsh that claim Prince Madog was the first European to travel to the Americas in the tenth century (I think) so it might be feasible that they had travelled to India too.


8 posted on 03/15/2005 5:17:28 AM PST by kingsurfer
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To: bjc

Since you are reading a book on druids, there has long been speculation that the early Indo Europeans who moved into India were closely related to the Celts. I have read from several sources that linguistically there was some evidence for this. The druid priest caste had many similarities to the Brahmin's priest caste. The functions of these priests in both Celtic and Indian life were somewhat similar. The druids wrote nothing down but the vague hints about their beliefs even echo some Hindu beliefs. Since Wales was a seat of power for the druids there may indeed be a very distant link between the peoples. The more Germanic European culture groups tended to have a shamanistic approach to religion without any evolution of a special caste of priests. I read that same book, that you are now reading, and believe that there is a link.


9 posted on 03/15/2005 5:19:26 AM PST by dog breath
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To: blam

ping


10 posted on 03/15/2005 5:21:49 AM PST by Jim Noble
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To: CarrotAndStick
She doesn't look Indian...


11 posted on 03/15/2005 5:23:23 AM PST by Jim Noble
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To: kingsurfer

Would you happen to know of any books on that subject? I remember reading about a Welsh/North American link years ago and could never find out more about it.


12 posted on 03/15/2005 5:23:32 AM PST by Eepsy
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To: Eepsy

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Delphi/3579/madog.html

The Forgotten People, published by Gomer Press in 1996. Another source of the legend is Madog: The Making of a Myth by Gwyn A. Williams, Oxford University Press, 1979 (ISBN 019 285 1780).


13 posted on 03/15/2005 5:25:38 AM PST by kingsurfer
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To: kingsurfer

Thanks for the link!


14 posted on 03/15/2005 5:50:17 AM PST by Eepsy
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To: Eepsy

It is a very interesting subject. I read in a Clive Cussler book that vikings may have visited the Americas too, although it was a fictional book so I cannot say how true it is.


15 posted on 03/15/2005 5:51:58 AM PST by kingsurfer
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To: kingsurfer
(Prince) Madoc In America
16 posted on 03/15/2005 7:25:33 AM PST by blam
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To: blam; Eepsy

Cheers,
Eepsy, blam has put up a good link about Madoc/Madog.


17 posted on 03/15/2005 7:27:44 AM PST by kingsurfer
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To: Jim Noble; CarrotAndStick
English And Welsh Are Races Apart
18 posted on 03/15/2005 7:28:03 AM PST by blam
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To: bjc; CarrotAndStick
Celtic Found To Have Ancient Roots
19 posted on 03/15/2005 7:30:20 AM PST by blam
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To: CarrotAndStick; SunkenCiv
GGG Ping.

Genetic Survey Reveals Hidden Celts Of England

20 posted on 03/15/2005 7:34:38 AM PST by blam
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To: blam; FairOpinion; Ernest_at_the_Beach; SunkenCiv; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; 4ConservativeJustices; ...
Thanks Blam.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on, off, or alter the "Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list --
Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
The GGG Digest
-- Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

21 posted on 03/15/2005 12:44:58 PM PST by SunkenCiv (last updated my FreeRepublic profile on Sunday, March 13, 2005.)
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To: Apogee

You forgot Iberian (Spanish) Galatian (French to middle-east) and I can't recall the Russo-Celts, but them as well.

Many of the words are pronounced similarly. My book on Celts is currently at my girlfriends house so I don't have all the info on hand, but words for common things sound ALOT alike.

I'll get back to you on some examples if you remind me later this week. (tomorrow should be fine)


22 posted on 03/15/2005 1:59:25 PM PST by MacDorcha (When I say "democratic" I don't mean "Athenian Mob Rule")
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To: free_european; Fierce Allegiance; Salamander; Cogadh na Sith; Dubh_Ghlase; shibumi; sandbar; ...

Celtic Ping List!

(Same stuff here as all the other ping lists)


23 posted on 03/15/2005 2:02:50 PM PST by MacDorcha (When I say "democratic" I don't mean "Athenian Mob Rule")
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To: Apogee

Actually, remaining Celtic languages are divided into two categories, Gaelic and Brythonic. Irish, Max and Scots Gaelic are in the Gaelic category; Welsh, Cornish and the language spoken in Brittany are in the Brythonic. Gaelic is thought to be the more ancient of the two divisions.


24 posted on 03/15/2005 2:38:13 PM PST by DGray (http://nicanfhilidh.blogspot.com)
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To: CarrotAndStick; blam

The IE language, if it was a single language, is lost to history. It is a reconstructed language. Those linguists who are on the Internet have found the Internet to be a most powerful tool for linguistics research since graphics and sound files can be shared instantly and throughout the community. Progress is coming quickly. If Blam posts an image of an ancient starchart or inscription just discovered in China or Egypt, the whole linguistics industry has it immediately, so that if one scholar recognizes something, he can pass the knowledge on to everyone right away. So now the attention of all linguists on the Internet, which is nearly all linguists, have their attention drawn to Welsh-Hindi right now.


25 posted on 03/15/2005 3:03:33 PM PST by RightWhale (Please correct if cosmic balance requires.)
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To: CarrotAndStick

If after paying I walk out of a pub in Cardiff and say 'dyanevaadh' and they all know what I mean, I'll be quite interested!


26 posted on 03/15/2005 3:04:55 PM PST by AmericanInTokyo (Illegal Aliens "Those Wonderful People" in Jail Now Are $1.4 Billion A Year For California Taxpayers)
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To: RightWhale
"So now the attention of all linguists on the Internet, which is nearly all linguists, have their attention drawn to Welsh-Hindi right now."

If you read about any 'break-throughs', let us know.

27 posted on 03/15/2005 3:22:43 PM PST by blam
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To: blam

Wouldn't be me. I never got past the first month of Linguistics 101. Terminal boredom, like in Econ 101. I read an article by an actual linguist that said the Internet is now and suddenly one of their most powerful tools. It is good that the Internet is getting some productive use.


28 posted on 03/15/2005 3:25:36 PM PST by RightWhale (Please correct if cosmic balance requires.)
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To: blam

I found your old thread on the genetic tests quite interesting. Male members of my mother's family have been participating in DNA testing to determine whether there is any relationship between two branches of a family here that bear the same name -- one family originally from Sweden and one family originally from Switzerland. Apparently there is no relationship -- both families happened to Anglicize their original name to the same name, which sounds English, if you don't know the story behind it.

But the DNA testing was very clear about the relationships, and it was amazing all the different nationalities that were included in the various subjects, even though the original Swedish genes (my family) were quite clear.


29 posted on 03/15/2005 4:20:52 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: CarrotAndStick

I am glad they got to Celtic, even if it is at the end. Celtic was the mother language of Latin, therefor that should make their digging a little easier >). I was surprised with the gals looks - send her to the US.


30 posted on 03/15/2005 4:49:34 PM PST by -=Wing_0_Walker=-
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To: Jim Noble

No, she does't look Indian, but why run her over?


31 posted on 03/15/2005 4:50:30 PM PST by -=Wing_0_Walker=-
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To: Jim Noble

She is not from the state of Assam, India.


32 posted on 03/15/2005 4:57:01 PM PST by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (When you compromise with evil, evil wins. AYN RAND)
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To: CarrotAndStick

I am told that Basque is unlike all other languages with a few possible connections to Japanese and that may be mere coincidence. Basque is thought to be the indiginous language of Europe going back to the neolithic.


33 posted on 03/15/2005 5:09:42 PM PST by muir_redwoods (Free Sirhan Sirhan, after all, the bastard who killed Mary Jo Kopeckne is walking around free)
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To: muir_redwoods
"I am told that Basque is unlike all other languages with a few possible connections to Japanese and that may be mere coincidence. Basque is thought to be the indiginous language of Europe going back to the neolithic."

Here you go.

The Relationship Between The Basque And Ainu

The Jomon - Ainu were the original Japanese.

34 posted on 03/15/2005 5:21:29 PM PST by blam
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To: muir_redwoods
Another you may find interesting.

The Samurai And The Ainu

35 posted on 03/15/2005 5:23:50 PM PST by blam
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To: Apogee

This chart might help. According to it, Cornish, Breton and Welsh all derive from 'Brittonic', whereas Gaelic (Scottish, Irish, Manx) derives from Goidelic:

http://www.bartleby.com/61/indoeuro.html

Language origins are fascinating. I need to do more reading to catch up on recent ideas.


36 posted on 03/15/2005 5:33:10 PM PST by Betis70
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To: DGray

Maybe that chart I linked to in post 36 is a little out of date. It is a neat way to show the language explosion though, and the relationships between modern, ancient, and inferred languages.


37 posted on 03/15/2005 5:40:22 PM PST by Betis70
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To: bjc; dog breath; blam; Apogee
Is the same true for Irish and Scottish Gaelic?

I can't speak to the matter of accent but presumably if the dialects are similar the accents would be also. Berresford Ellis in his book "The Celts" points to a direct link between Vedic Sanskrit and Old Irish. He writes:

"When scholars seriously began to examine the Indo-European connections...they were amazed at how old Irish and Sanskrit had apparently maintained close links with their Indo-European parent. This applies not only in the field of linguistics but in law and social custom, in mythology, in folk custom and in traditional musical form."

To illustrate similarities in language of the Vedic Laws of Manu and that of Irish legal texts, the Laws of the Fenechus aka the Brehon Laws, he cites (the first in Sansrit, the second in Old Irish): arya (freeman), aire (noble); naib (good), noeib (holy); badhira (deaf), bodhar (deaf); minda (physical defect), menda (a stammerer); names (respect), nemed (respect/privilege); raja (king), ri (king); vid (knowledge), uid (knowledge), etc.

Here's a clue to the ancient location of the Indo-Europeans. Danu, sometimes anu in old Irish and Don in Welsh (also surviving with the Continental Celts) was the 'divine waters' which gushed to the earth in the time of primal chaos and nurtured Bile the sacred oak, from whom the gods and goddesses sprang. Her waters formed the course of the Danuvius (Danube). Of course there's the pesky problem of the River Don in Russa: which was named first? There's also a Don River in Scotland and probably elsewhere too, derived from the original root name.

38 posted on 03/15/2005 6:14:22 PM PST by Bernard Marx (Don't make the mistake of interpreting my Civility as Servility)
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To: Myrddin

Ping!


39 posted on 03/15/2005 6:27:07 PM PST by Domestic Church (AMDG.....)
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To: CarrotAndStick
This one is a NO BRAINER. At the time the Raj really got organized, this created a tremendous demand for English instructors in India.

Wales, as usual, was busy having a really serious economic recession in that period. This resulted in far more than their fair share of young Welsh men and women departing for India to teach English.

The Scots were right behind them!

Educated, English speaking Indian people ever since have spoken with a brogue (for one thing), and I suspect the Welsh provided an "accent" useful in Hindi to indicate "far higher than you're ever gonna' believe social status".

It probably took less than half a century for the Welsh intonations to spread throughout the entire Hindi speaking population.

Note that this happened to the English language itself in the 15th and 16th Centuries. It's called "The Great Vowel Shift". Here a major language change started out with the budding capitalist class in London. You had to talk like them to demonstrate sufficient juju to be a player, FUR SHUR.

40 posted on 03/15/2005 6:54:30 PM PST by muawiyah (gonna' be like with the anthrax thing ~ find a guy, harass him, let the terrorists escape)
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To: Domestic Church
Diolch yn fawr! Dwi'n mynd i Pueblo, Colorado yfory.
Pob hwyl!
41 posted on 03/15/2005 8:27:15 PM PST by Myrddin
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To: Betis70
Thanks,
I couldn't remember the fancier names, been a while since I studied the stuff. It is interesting to me, particularly the revival of the language.
IIRC the first public schools were those provided by the British to their Celtic cousins essentially in order to ensure that the Gaelic was wiped out. To my mind, public education is still in the business of destroying culture, mostly - but that is another topic.
42 posted on 03/16/2005 6:32:37 AM PST by Apogee
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Just updating the GGG information, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
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43 posted on 09/24/2006 1:27:51 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (updated my FR profile on Saturday, September 16, 2006. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic · subscribe ·

 
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Graves
Glyphs
Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

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44 posted on 06/16/2010 7:07:16 PM PDT by SunkenCiv ("Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others." -- Otto von Bismarck)
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To: James C. Bennett

Thanks James C. Bennett for the link back here.


45 posted on 06/20/2012 7:17:22 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: CarrotAndStick; blam; SunkenCiv; odds

What is strange is that Celtic is from the Centum/Western branch of Indo-European (along with Germanic, Italic) and Hindi is from the Satem/Eastern branch of Indo-European (along with Iranic, Slavic, Greek, Persian, Tocharian languages)


46 posted on 10/10/2012 2:34:45 AM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Cronos
"What is strange is that Celtic is from the Centum/Western branch of Indo-European (along with Germanic, Italic) and Hindi is from the Satem/Eastern branch of Indo-European (along with Iranic, Slavic, Greek, Persian, Tocharian languages)"

Stephen Oppenheimer mentions the same thing in his book Origins Of The British, I can't remember what he said though.

47 posted on 10/10/2012 5:41:26 AM PDT by blam
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To: Cronos; blam; oh8eleven

This is one of those “hey, neat topic”, and I was in here four months ago, the last time it was revived. :’) Thanks Cronos.


48 posted on 10/10/2012 6:54:20 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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