“Child” in European languages

by Jakub Marian

Tip: See my list of the Most Common Mistakes in English. It will teach you how to avoid mis­takes with com­mas, pre­pos­i­tions, ir­reg­u­lar verbs, and much more (PDF Version).

The map below shows the word “child” (in the sense of a “young human being”) translated into various European languages. Words that share a common origin are represented by the same colour on the map (but due to a surprisingly diverse linguistic situation, there are so many colours that some of them may be hard to distinguish):

Child in European languages

Some of similarities that are not coincidental are: North Germanic barn, Scots bairn and Latvian bērns and several Sami expressions all ultimately derive from Proto-Indo-European *bʰer-, meaning “to bear, to carry”, and are related to the English word “bear” (as in “to bear a child”).

Irish páiste and Scottish Gaelic pàisde are possibly related to Greek παιδί (from Old French page, via Latin).

Portuguese criança and Neapolitan and Corsican criatura are derived from Latin creatura, “creature”.

By the way, I have written several educational ebooks. If you get a copy, you can learn new things and support this website at the same time—why don’t you check them out?

Enter the discussion 0

Subscribe to my educational newsletter

to receive a weekly summary of new articles
Enter your email address below:
Please, enter a valid email address:
You tried to submit the form in less than five seconds after opening this page. To confirm that you are a human, please, click on the button below again:
Subscribe
I will send you one of my ebooks for free as a little gift.