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Ancient Signs

Ancient Signs

The Alphabet & the Origins of Writing

My new print & ebook
shows that modern alphabets are based on ancient alphabets rooted in syllabic scripts of the ancient world (Sumer, Egypt, Iran, Anatolia, Crete, Cyprus)

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Words for LexiLine? Logo Metal(s)

LexiLine - A Renaissance in Learning

Words for Metals

In the Languages of the World

History  of Metals
Background Material

The prehistoric and historic periods of Man
are first divided into "stone ages", the so-called
Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) and Neolithic (New Stone Age).
The Stone Ages are followed by the Ages of Metal.

The first metal period is the "Bronze Age",
the beginning of which is sometimes called
the Chalcolithic (Copper-Stone) Age:

"Copper was known in east Anatolia by 6500 BC
[some researchers point to
a possible origin in the Vinca Culture]
... by the middle of the 4th millenium ... in Mesopotamia....
by 3000 BC the use of copper
was well-known in the Middle East,
had extended westward into the Mediterranean area,
and was beginning to infiltrate
the Neolithic cultures of Europe ...."
(Encyclopaedia Britannica under "Bronze Age").

The ancient terms for the metals
are discussed by Armas Salonen
Alte Substrata- und Kulturwoerter im Arabischen",
Studia Orientalia, Vol. XVII, Helsinki, 1952).

to Salonen's lists of the ancient terms for the metals in the
Fertile Crescent, LexiLine has added the Baltic comparables
based on P. Schmidt's observation that:

"The ancient indigenous Baltic word for copper
(Latvian vars, Lithuanian varias, Old Prussian wargien)
indicates that it was inherited
from some ancient period
since it is not borrowed either from the
Slavic or Germanic peoples...."

The word vars was not "inherited" at all,
but is indigenous to Baltic viz. Indo-European peoples
as one can see from the terms for "copper" below.


Words for Metals

According to Salonen
Baltic Terms added by LexiLine


Sumerian KAxUD.BAR (or) UDxKA.BAR (or) SI.BAR
Latvian varš (pronounced "varsh"), dim. VARiņš
Lithuanian varis viz. varias
Old Prussian wargien
Latvian svars
"weight" < *sa-VARS
Akkadian SIPARRU Hebrew SEPER
Arabic SIFRun

but here with a different word root
Sumerian URUDU ? ("copper, copper colored?)
Latvian RUDU- "copper colored"
Latvian  RUDVARIS (var. RUDU VARA )


Akkadian ABARU (also magnesite?)
Aramaic 'ABARA
Hebrew 'OPARET
Armenian KAPAR
Arabic 'ABARun

German BERNstein
Hungarian BOROstyŠn

but in "the lands of amber"
Latvian dzintars = AMBER
Lithuanian gintaras = AMBER

whereas we see a "combined" form in

where Lithuanian gin- is surely equivalent to Maltese
and the -bar element thus forms the second half of the word
so that -tar must be a variant of -bar
whence surely the origin of the derived Latvian
tērauds "steel"


Sumerian KU(g).AN.A(k)
Akkadian ANAKU
Hebrew 'ANAK
but also Hebrew NEKOSHET "copper"

Arabic 'ANUK
Armenian ANAG
Old Hindic NAGA
Latvian alva and Lithuanian alvas "tin"
as Latvian ALUOties means to
"apply air to the fire in an oven"
see also
Latvian svins "lead" svērte "plumb" svars "weight"
to which compare Latvian varš "copper"
Lithuanian švinas ("lead, plumb")


Sumerian AN.BAR
Akkadian PAR.ZILLU
Aramaic PAR.ZEL
Hebrew BAR.ZEL
Arabic FIR.ZILun
Lithuanian geležis,
žalvaris (ZHAL.VARis) "bronze"
Latvian DZELS "iron"
Latvian zelts (ZEL.TS) "gold"
zils (ZILs) "blue"
see Indo-European "color words"

of Two Basic Roots
for the Words for Metals

When we examine all of these ancient terms for metals,
we see that TWO basic roots are in evidence:


Metals as products
of smelting processes by fire

There is a first basic root of the form "BAR, VAR, PAR"
and of course this is also the root of FERRO- "iron" in Latin,
which currently has a false etymology.

The correct origin will be as in Indo-European
e.g. Latvian VĀR- "to smelt, boil"

We also see that the current etymology for English "COP-PER"
as allegedly rooted in Greek KUPROS "from Cyprus" is incorrect,
rather, the name of Cyprus surely derives from the word for copper.

Similarly, we see that origin of the English word BRONZE
traced back thus far only to Italian bronzo, has roots which go
back much further in BAR, perhaps in a form such as
Latvian *BARiņš viz. VARiņš > BRONZE.


Latvian ALOties means
"to apply air to the fire in an oven"


Latvian ALVA "tin"
(also ALVS, ALS)

Lithuanian ALVAS = tin
Old Prussian ALWIS = lead
English ALLOY and
Latin ALUM

The Latvian term thus tells us that the above words
derive from higher temperature smelting via the addition of air,
i.e. perhaps via an ancient bellows
or tuyere (a pipe, tube or nozzle, French tuyau),
perhaps related in origin as a word to proto-Indo-European
e.g. Latvian caur "through"
> *tuyere
whence caurums "hole", through which the air was added.
It is the use of multiple air tuyeres ("air conduits")
that allows the higher temperatures found in modern metal forging.


Metals in terms of their color

There is a second basic root variant
which derives from "color words"
comparable to Indo-European
e.g. Latvian DZELzs "iron"

  which is found also combined with BAR
in the terms of the Fertile Crescent
such as
ZIL- with BAR
BAR- with ZIL.

Hence BAR.ZEL "iron" in Hebrew
but SIL.BER Germanic for "SIL.VER".
where the two world elements are simply reversed.

The root element DZEL- viz. ZIL- is found
in the Indo-European, e.g. Latvian color root ZIL-
meaning "blue, dark blue, shiny"
viz. ZEL- meaning "gold" or as DZEL- "yellow".

Beyond those two major roots
there are some other roots....

Metals as "clumps"
(i.e. their physical mass)

Sumerian KUK for "silver"
finds Baltic comparables in idea since
KUK- in most Latvian terms means
"clump, bud, piece".

Metals as "shiny"
(i.e. their physical appearance)

 Latvian SVINS "lead"
relates to words in Latvian meaning "shiny, burn".

SVECE "candle" SVEĶI "candle wax, tallow"
SVIL- SVIN- ("hot, burning, celebrating, fiery"),
SVIEDRI "sweat".

Interesting here is also that Latvian
means the "resin" of trees.

All of the metal terms thus appear to go back
to only a few basic root concepts.

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