Like all various other languages, English did no pop into existence one day, it arisen from enlarge languages and dialects. Meanings of words adjusted over time and those meanings are wrapped up in the historic context of when they were very first used and how they were supplied after.

You are watching: Words for bear in other languages

The languages many of united state are acquainted with today, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, etc., share countless similarities.

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These languages every follow the same an easy structure, tho their words might differ.

This is since they, along with many others, stem indigenous a long dead language well-known as Proto-Indo-European or P.I.E., which changed and advanced to other languages that would become the languages us speak today.

An exciting story lies behind the English word because that bear. Spring at part European languages, we view that while they all have actually a comparable word because that bears, English is the weird one out.

French has actually ours, Italian orso, Spanish oso, Portuguese urso, and also Latin Ursus, if English bear.

Upon further investigation, the English word because that bear is quite similar to the german languages.

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Norwegian has bjørn, sweden björn, dutch beer, and also German Bär.

The an initial set of languages (except Greek) are known as romance Languages, named for the truth that they developed from what was spoken in Rome (i.e. Latin).

The 2nd set are referred to as Germanic languages, and also developed amongst the Germanic individuals that occupied what is currently Germany. Just as the romance languages were every Latin at one point, the germanic languages were all when Proto-Germanic.

The romantic Languages take your word because that bear directly from the Proto-Indo-European word, *h₂ŕ̥tḱos. Greek likewise takes this indigenous in the creates arktos and arkouda. The former being whereby the Arctic gets its name, named because the area is in the direction of the Ursa major constellation.

Proto-Germanic, choose Greek and Latin, is also a descendant that P.I.E., for this reason why do the germanic Languages have such different names because that bears?

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(left come right) The Constellation Ursa significant in the north Sky. The Arctic, coincidentally, is whereby there are bears, opposed to the Ant-Arctic, wherein there aren’t

The explanation lies in one old german superstition. The belief went that bears can understand your true name, and upon hear it, they would certainly come to try and injury you. If you were searching it, upon hearing your voice, it would know you to be around and also flee, evading capture.

Because of this, the germanic tribes started referring come it as “The Brown One”, what became Old English bera or brun and contemporary English bear.

This superstition appears to have been widespread, not only did it affect the germanic tribes, but also the Slavs. The Slavic languages are one more branch that the Indo-European tree, and also indeed your words because that bear are unlike the initial P.I.E. Word.

The names because that bear in Russian медведь (medved’), Slovenian medveda, and also Polish niedźwiedź are all much more similar come each various other than to both the romantic or germanic Languages. The Slavic Languages’ systems to the bear-utterance problem, to be to speak to it “Honey-Eater” or medú jed.

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This small difference in modern-day languages’ names because that the same pet hides a history full of meaning. A an easy superstition over the animal-who-must-not-be-named thousands of years ago affects exactly how we and also millions of other speak.


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