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For teaching purposes only; do not review, quote or abstract.

[References for this review may be found at <Nyland>]


     [Note:  All Basque words are in Italics and Bold-faced Green]









           An ancient language form that originated in the North African area of our most ancient civilizations has been studied by Nyland (2001).  He found that many words used to describe names of places and things in northern Japan seem to be closely related to the ancient language, which is being called Saharan.  It appears that the Basque language is a close relative to the original Saharan.  Following is a discussion of this relationship:


          The language of the Ainu people of Northern Japan has been considered a language-isolate, apparently being unlike any other language on earth. Edo Nyland has noted taht few researchers found a relationship with languages in southeast 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 monocephalic (round) and a few have gray 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 group 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).


          The following summarizes the accounts by Nyland and others on the possible correlation of the two languages:




          Archaeologists 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 bce. 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 bce., 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 forever. 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 to before 100,000 bce., to the days of the Neanderthals. It appears to have been practiced worldwide; 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. However, 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.




          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 traveled 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 forward 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, which they call  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. Nyland 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 was 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 that Ainu and Basque are genetically related. In comparing Ainu with Dravidian, there was no 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 printed mostly in Latin characters. This work provided a wealth of excellent material for 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 from his book):


 Page #       AINU                                 ENGLISH                          BASQUE                           ENGLISH
2/5        tontone                                to be bald                            tontordun                           crested, plumed
2/6        kepsapa                               bald head                            kepireska                            heads or tails
6/38      aspa                                     to be deaf                            aspaldiko                            old, ancient
6/41      papus                                   lips                                        papar                                   breast
6/69      taspare                                to sigh                                  asparen                               to sigh
11/82   aske                                     hand                                     esku                                     hand
12/94   poro monpeh                     thumb                                  erpuru                                 thumb
15/130 nok                                       testicle                                 noka                                    familiarity with women
15/131 pok                                       vulva                                    puki                                     vulva (slang)
16/133 uka'un                              sexual intercourse           seukan                                to possess, to have
16/134 meno kupuri                     to menstruate                     kopor-kopuri                     goblet, quantity
17/136 kema                                   leg, foot                               kemen                                 vigor, strength
17/137 hera                                     to limp                                 herren                                 cripple
18/149 kiski                                     hair                                       kizkur                                  curly, wavy hair
18/152 kamihi                                surface of                           kamisoi                               nightgown, the skin
19/161 tur                                        dirt                                        lur                                        dirt
23/188 hatcir                                   to fall(down)                      atzeratu                               to fall (back)
24/194 hotkuku                              to stoop                               kukutu                                to stoop
24/201 mokor                                 sleep                                     makar                                 sleep
28/1      siko                                      to be born                           zikoina                                stork
28/4      hetuku                                 to grow up                          gehitu                                  to grow up
28/4      sikup                                    to grow up                          siku                                      miserly
29/14   sinki                                     to get tired                          sinkulin                              crying, whining
29/15   yasumi                                to rest                                  jaso                                      to get better
29/16   tasum                                  illness                                   eritasun                              illness
29/16   araka                                   illness                                   arakatu                               to be examined
30/22   ukikosmare                       to sprain                         ukitu                               to touch, to affect
31/34   pirika                                   to recover                           pirri                                     shaky, jittery
31/36   kusuri                                  drug                                      kutsu                                   infection
31/38   shuruku                              poison                                  shurrut                                gulp, drink
34/2      okkai                                   man                                      oka egin                              to eat too much
34/3      meneko                               woman                                eme                                      female
35/7      sukukur                              young man                         sukor                              having a temper
                                                                                                         kuraia                                 strength
35/10   poro aynu                           adult                                     porrokatu                           tired
35/11   onne kur                             old person                           onegi                                   benign
                                                                                                         kurrinka                             moaning
36/12   ekasi                                    old man                               ekarri                                  to contribute, provide
36/13   hutci                                    old woman                          hutsikusle                           fault-finding
36/13   ruhne mah                         old woman                          urrumakatu                                             to sing a lullaby
36/16   pon                                       to be very young               ponte                                   baptismal font
39/12   ona                                       father                                   onartzaile                           authority
40/16   po                                         child                                     poz                                       happiness
42/31   uriwahnecin                      sibling                                  aurride                                sibling
42/31   irutar                                   siblings                                 irutara                                 three different ways
42/35   umatakikor                       to be sisters                                          umatu                             to reproduce
44/52   kok                                       son-in-law                           kok                                       bellyful
45/56   aukorespa                           to be engaged                     aukeratu                          to choose, select
45/58   usante                                 to marry                              usantza                               tradition
45/59   umurek                               married couple                   umotu                                 to have children
47/68   ekkur                                   guest                                    ekuru                                   peaceful, peace of mind
47/73   ipakasnokur                      teacher                                 ikaserazi                             to teach
48/75   kusunkur                            enemy                                  kuskusean                          spying
50/1      kotan                                   village                                  -kote                                    multiplicity, many
50/2      porokotan                           city                                       porrokatu                           to destroy
50/3      sinotusi                               open space                          sinotsu                          strange, unfamiliar
50/8      oiakunkur                          out of doors                        oian                               forest
51/10   ankahpaaki foreigner                              ankapetu                            to trample under foot
51/13   uraiki                                  to make war                                              jarraiki                          to attack
51/17   kotankoro                           tribal chief                           koroa                                   crowned, glorified
52/18   tono                                     official                                 tontor                                  plumed, feathered
52/21   u'ekari                                meeting                                ekarle                                  bringer (of news)
52/21   u'ekarpa                             meeting                                ekarpen                               contribution
52/23   kotan orake to go to ruin                       oraka                              financial ruin
52/23   kiru                                      to die out                             kirru                                    blond
52/23   sikupu                                 to perish                              siku                                      shriveled up
53/32   isocise                                 jail                                        isolamendu                        isolation
56/1      itah                                      language                              itano                                    speaking in second person
57/12   kayo                                     to cry out                            kaio                                      seagull           
58/15   ese                                        to answer                            esetsi                                    to argue
58/15   itasa                                     answer                                 itaun                                    question
58/18   u'uste                                  to pass along                      uste                                      opinion
58/19   sonko                                   information                        esonde                            advice
58/21   senpir                                  backbiting                           senper                                 suffering
58/22   sinititak                               to joke                                 sinoti                                    crazy
58/23   sunke                                   falsehood                            suntsun                               foolish, idiotic
59/26   esina                                    to conceal                           esinguratu                       to surround, to block
59/27   etekke                                  confidential                        etekin                              profit, wages
59/28   eramankorka                    to pretend                           eramankor                        tolerant, enduring
59/28   ennuka                                to pretend                           enulkeria                            weakness, debility
60/40   itokpa                                  to mark                                itoka                                    quickly
64/1      ariki                                     to come                               ariketa                                 assignment, activity
64/2      koman                                 to go                                     komandante                      commander
64/5      eson asin                            to go away                          esonde                                 advice           
                                                                                                         asi                                         to start, to begin
65/11   rutu                                      to move aside                     urrundu                              to move away
65/12   somaketa                            to approach                        somaketa                                              attention, perception
65/14   etaras                                  to stop                                 etapa                                    stage, stretch
66/15   kus                                       to pass through                  kuskusean                          to peek, to snoop
68/33   kaya                                     sail                                        kaiar                                    very large seagull
70/2      ko'ekari                              to encounter                       elkarikusi                           to see each other
70/3      aske'uk                               to invite                               aske                                     free, independent
70/5      ekari arki                           to go out,to  meet              ekarri                               to bring, to provide
70/7      umusa                                 to bow                                 kilimusi                              to bow
72/20   omonnure                          to praise                              omendatu                           to praise
73/24   kokor unpeki                     to scold                                gogor egin                          to scold
73/25   ikohka                                 punishment                        iko                                   hammer
75/35   ukonkep                              strength, contest                ukondoka                           elbowing, forcing a way
75/35   puni                                     strength, contest                puntzet                                sword
75/39   inospa                                 to pursue                             inozotu                                to be intimidated
76/40   oskoni                                 to overtake                         oskol                               armour
76/41   akkari                                  to outrun                             akarraldi                            to anger
76/46   ikasuy                                  to help, assist                     ikastun                                student
77/50   kukocan                              to refuse                              uko egin                             to refuse
77/51   ese                                        to undertake                       esetsi                                    to attack, to debate
80/1      konte                                   to give                                  kontentatu                         to please
80/8      uk                                         to receive                            ukan                                    to have
81/12   ipuni                                    to distribute                                          ipuina                                  to tell a story
81/13   esikari                                 to rob                                   esi                                         fence, enclosure
81/14   iska                                      to steal                                 xiskatu                                to steal
83/29   ikoro                                    money                                 koro                                     money
87/15   pita                                       to untie,loosen                   pita                                       fishing line
87/17   tekkas                                  glove                                    teka                                      pod, covering
88/25   atusa                                    naked                                   atutxa                                  better world
88/26   hantasine                           barefoot                               hankagorri                        barefoot
96/38   seku                                     to suck                                 sikui                                     dry
97/46   cikaripe                               to prepare                           sikatu                                  to dry
97/52   hu                                         raw, unripe                         huruppa                              to swallow
158/21  eraman                            to get used to                     eramanpen                        patience, tolerance
187/59  peko                                                   ox                                      menpeko                          controlled by   

          It is easy to find hundreds more like the ones above, all it takes is time, but there is little reason for doing that. 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 since 5-7,000 bce. 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 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 memory professionals 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 (memory professionals) of all the tribes and regions met to reinforce and standardize their language and knowledge.


          The Pacific sea peoples settled on hundreds of islands, they scattered over the entire 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, around 5,000 bce., 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 bce., 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 (See Eskimo).





          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 seafarers to keep up contact with their home base that 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 to fish. 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 not hostile.  The ocean was their life and joy, and an indispensable 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 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 guard of the Pacific migration. The desertification of the Sahara (See Climate) had probably forced these groups to flee that region. 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.


          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. Also,  "Rapa Nui" (Easter Island), arra-apa ' nui, erraldoi (giant) aparta (far, far away), nui (enormous, in Hawaiian): "Enormous giants, far, far away". "Hawaii", ha'u-ahi: ha'u (this one) ahigarri (exhausting): This one is exhausting! It still is. Finally,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!






For further detail, please refer to:


          Nyland, Edo.  2001.  Linguistic Archaeology: An
               Introduction.   Trafford Publ., Victoria, B.C., Canada.

               ISBN 1-55212-668-4. 541 p. [ see abstract & summary]


          Nyland, Edo.  2002.  Odysseus and the Sea Peoples: A

               Bronze Age History of Scotland  Trafford Publ., Victoria,

               B.C., Canada.  307 p.   [see abstract & summary].