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Hungarian and Irish - links?

asked 2016-12-10 07:43:04 -0400

Zoltan gravatar image

Has anyone else noticed that the female and male toilet signs in Ireland, Mná and Fir, are quite similar to the Hungarian words, Nó and Férfi, meaning woman and man

I can't let myself believe this to be a coincidence, but realise that there are no obvious links between the two languages. Can anyone point me in the right direction in order to find a definitive answer to the question - are the two languages linked in any way?

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answered 2017-01-24 16:47:15 -0400

charshey gravatar image

There is no link between the two languages genetically. They are from two different language families, Indo-European and Uralic.

The words for "woman" do not appear to have any connection.

  • Irish bean, meaning "woman", has the genitive singular form mná, and both are descended from the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) *gʷḗn, also meaning "woman".

  • Hungarian , "woman", is descended from Proto-Uralic *näxi, also meaning "woman".

However, I was not able to find an origin for the Hungarian for "man":

  • Irish fear, meaning "man", has the genitive singular form fir, and both are descended from the PIE *wiHrós, also meaning "man".

  • Hungarian férfi: ??? It's possible that this word was originally a loan word from an Indo-European language nearby. Hungarian has loan words from Iranian, Germanic, Slavic and other languages (as well as some non-Indo-European languages).

I would say that they are probably not related in any way, but you never know. Let us know if you find anything else about the etymology of this word!


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The Hungarian word "FÉRFI" = FÉRJ (husband) + Fi /fiú (boy). The word "FÉRJ" = FI/fiú (boy) + ERJ (man, male), The "-ERJ" comes from the Finnugric. Mari:ERGE, Finish:YRKA, Hungarian:-ERJ The FI/fiú comes from the FU word meaning boy. Votják:Pi, Mari:Pi, Mordvin:PIYO, Finish:POIKA, Hungarian:FI

alkaz gravatar imagealkaz ( 2017-02-15 16:06:05 -0400 )edit

So the Hungarian word "férfi" includes triply the word "man" The first component FER can be found in the Hungarian word -EMBER- (human being) = Em + Ber (em from Finno-ugric meaning female and ber (from the fer) meaning "man,male". Magyar Etimológiai Szótár (Hungarian Etymological Dictionary.)

alkaz gravatar imagealkaz ( 2017-02-15 16:19:05 -0400 )edit
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Asked: 2016-12-10 07:43:04 -0400

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Last updated: Jan 24 '17