File:  <ainu.htm>                                                                                                                       <Migrations Index>    <Bronze Age Index>                   <Archeology Index>      <Home>   Next►




For teaching purposes only;

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


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







----Please CLICK on desired underlined categories [to search for Subject Matter, depress Ctrl/F ]:







           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 Nyland called Saharan, and which later was predated by the Igbo Language of West Africa.  Fortuitously, 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):


     Pages    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, kuraia              having a temper, strength                              
35/10  poro aynu                    adult                            porrokatu                    tired
35/11  onne kur                     old person                   onegi. kurrinka          benign. 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                                                                                  
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].