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Origins of the English word Red, its Indo-European counterparts and Sumerian word for Copper

By Mehmet Kurtkaya, First Published on October 22, 2018

The word for Red is known to be the only color word that spans across Indo_European languages, and has an agreed-upon Proto-Indo-European etymology: -reudh

This word and others meaning "Red" in Indo-European languages derive from Sumerian term for copper "Urud" as suggested by Robert James Forbes in Metallurgy in Antiquity: A Notebook for Archaeologists and Technologists.

He had used -roudhos instead of (-reudh) adding the Indo-European Greek -us suffix.

It makes sense, copper is red and the Sumerian sound corresponds perfectly to the estimated Indo-European root and fairly well to the words for red in European languages. This is quite something because it actually points to a common origin of Indo-European speakers and near or within Sumerian people. The area of Sumerian influence goes beyond the limits of Mesopotamia since Sumerians migrated from Central Asia and beyond but this word establishes close relationship of Indo-Europeans to Sumerian Turks.

The word for red in modern Turkish is "kirmizi" or "kizil" deriving from the word for girl, "kiz". As a side note, English words "girl" and "her" relate to the Turkish word for girl "Kir" "Kiz" and the Ugur Turkish language Chuvash word "her" is exact same as the English her.

Interesting to note that English word for "red" is based on Sumerian word for copper, "urud", while Turkish languages follow another path, the word for "girl" her / kir / kiz.

In his book "The History of Civilization: A Complete History of Mankind from Prehistoric Times" published on 1924, Kay Charles Ogden compares a few Sumerian words to Indo-European ones, mentions archaeological links of Turkmenistan/Central Asian Anau site to Sumer, Caucasus archaeological finds to Minoan and Troy finds. About 100 years later genetics reconfirmed Minoan Caucasus relationship.

What is the original word "copper" derived from?

English word copper is said to derive from Latin cuprum which in turn derives from Greek Kyprios. (The name of the island, Cyprus, is generally connected to cypress tree).

Wiktionary says Greek word Kyprios is of unknown origin..

Per above wiktionary article:

"Georges Dossin suggests that the roots of the word are in the Sumerian word for copper (zubar) or bronze (kubar), from the large copper reserves on the island, but Beekes states the similarity is accidental."

Beekes suggests it is from a substrate language (a language prior to Greek). Which language would that be?

Sumerian word for copper worker is ta-ibira. Ibira is merchant, worker.

The Origin of Cuprum, Bakar and Var has very interesting information, though there seems to be chronological mistakes.

It is more than likely that the Turkish word Bakir / Bakar and Sumerian Bakur is the origin of the Latin word cuprum via a metathesis.

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Discover groundbreaking revelations on the roots of modern civilization in one short book. How did we arrive to where we are? How ancient civilizations a world apart, Sumer and Maya were connected. An overview that covers a wide range of topics from human migrations 50000 years ago to Gobeklitepe, the first temple in history, the first matriarchal society with written records, Elam, and to the Sun Cult of the Hattis. Their origins and influence on other ancient civilizations including their neighbors, distant relatives: Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Hurrian, Scythian, Oguz, Kassite, Gutian, Hyksos and more. (Many of my articles on this website included)

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