An Ainu–English–Japanese Dictionary/Chapter I/Section IX


But another very interesting question presents itself to us in this place. It it this. Is not the Ainu language connected with Basque? If so it can of course have no affinity with Heblrew, for that language has been adjudged outside the Turanian classification of language, while Basque, being of Tartar origin is included in it. Max Müller in vol. 111, page 429, quotes Bunsen as saying[1]—“I have convinced myself from the grammar and dictionary that Basque is Turanian.” And Borrows is also of opinion that “Basque is of Tartar origin.”

It would not be at all surprising to find that the two are connected, seeing that, as has already been intimated the original Ainu in all probability came through Tartary to Japan. A very curious thing about them is that the ancient Basque and Ainu customs of Couvade, ridiculous as they were, resembled each other to a great degree. Compare Max Müler vol. 11, page 273 with “The Ainu and their Folkore” Chapter XXIII. The following are a few Basque and Ainu words resembling one another. The writer culled them out of a copy of Genesis in the Basque language he has by him. The idea of a possible affinity was suggested to him by Mr. Dodson, of Lisbon, himself a Basque scholar. This gentleman also sent him a list of words resembling Ainu which he has unfortunately quite lost in moving from one place to another. They are given here in the hope that some one who knows Basque will compare that language with this grammar and dictionary.

Basque. English. Ainu. English.
Arima, Soul, life, Ramat Soul, life.
Etche, House, Chisei, House.
Emazte, Wife, woman, Mat,[2] Machi, Woman.
Hastea, Begin, Heashi, To begin.
Hatssa Breath, Hussa, To breath, to blow with the mouth.
Passaia Walk Apkash,
Walk, go.

  1. “Chips from a German workshop.”
  2. Compare also the Russian мать, “mother.”