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For teaching purposes only;

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


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







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           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].