December 21, 2012

English and Hindi Cognates

There are several words in English and Hindi that are “cognates” (i.e., “relatives”). Many linguists believe that Hindi and English are descended from a common language.

Observe how similar the following words are:

नाम / “name”
पिता / “paternal”, etc. via Latin “pater” (“father”).
माता / “maternal”, etc. via Latin “mater” (“mother”).
आदमी / “Adam”, i.e., the original man
कटना / “to be cut”
ऊपर / “upper”
घास / “grass”
तोड़ना / “to tear” (“tore”).
दांत / “dental”, etc. via Latin “dentum” (“tooth”)
बांधना / “to bind” (also “bond”)

NOTE: some of these words might not be true cognates. There are many more cognates, but their resemblance is not obvious. This list is not based on etymological research, but on my own observations. Regardless, it’s useful as a mnemonic device.