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Dayik - the roots of the word "Mother"?

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Rawaz_S's picture
Joined: 1 Sep 2009

A few years ago a Persian frend of mine asked me what "mother" is called in Kurdish. Naturally my reply was "Dayik".
Then he said something that puzzled me a bit: "Kurdish must be the only [Indo-European] language which does not use something like mother, mader, mama etc."

I don't know if this is true but it does at least at a first glance seem like Kurdish stands out a bit on this particular word. Could it be a remnant from Caucasian language or where does it come from?

zimanzan's picture
Joined: 16 Sep 2008

Kirmanjí Kurdish contains a body of common words for "mother"; that, as my memory helps, as follow:

Northern Kirmanjí: da, daye, díya, dé, dayik, dayík

Central Kirmanjí: dayik, dayk, daye

Southern Kirmanjí: dallig, dayg, dayig

They all share a common Proto-Kurdish root "da-" which, as Kak Hesen mentioned, is derived from an Ancient root that is represented in Avesta as "da-" (I use Unified Kurdish letters for Romanizing Avestan words). It, "da-", later receives "-y" in various tenses as a result of the finale "-a" vowel: "da(y)-". This Avestan verbal root means "to care, to watch". Also a cognate of Kurdish "dayik" serves in another meaning in Persian: "dayé" ~ "nursemaid". Seemingly Kirmanjí Kurdish has chosen an exclusive way to define the significance of "mother", while other Iranian languages mostly preserved the Proto-Indo-European root: mat, mader, mar, ma.

Bakhtyari and Luri contain "dayé" for "mother" too, which should be observed within the compass of Kurdish lexical influence on those two speeches.

However "dayik" and its cognates serve in a larg extent in Kirmanjí, but the common Indo-European root for "mother" still lives on: "mak". This word in several Central Kirmanjí subdialects is used instead of "dayik". Also it receives a general usage in the famous words like "zikmakí" and "wirgmakí" ~ "innate, inborn". This, "mak", is combined of "ma" and "-k". The second one is a very renowned Kurdish suffix from Old Iranian "-eke", and the first one is derived from earliest Iranian form "matere" (since Kurdish speeches mainly drop "-ere" from the familial nouns: bira < biratere*, píya < pítere*, ma < matere, xweh < hvehre). According to Zaza "ma" (the final "-y-e" in "maye" is the dialectal feminine marker) and Kirmanjí "mak", the Proto Kurdish cognate of English "mother" would be "ma".

By the way the Kurdish word for "nursemaid" is "dayan".

Blessed Are The Meek

Hesen's picture
Joined: 21 Aug 2008
Here are valuable
Hesen's picture
Joined: 21 Aug 2008
We Zazas use "maye" for

We Zazas use "maye" for "mother" (the -ye ending is a feminine suffix), in Izafe:

maya mi = my mother

But, if we call to the mother in vocatife, we use: dayê!

The "-ik" in "dayik" is only a diminutive suffix as in many other words.

According to Mirzali Zazaoglu the steme "da" comes from Avesta: dā- which means "to nurse" and in Avesta was "daēnu-" like "mother, the person who nurses".

"mader" and "maye" come from Avesta/OP-form "mater" which will be in Pahlavi "mader".