So it seems like there’s quite a bit of words in Old Chinese that could have origins in an Indo-European language. There are many more examples, I just listed a couple. Ones I didn’t list, such as 社 and 祇 (earth god, OC *[g.d]e) might be related to gaia, are pretty interesting too.
liquid that’s boiled
Old Norse: kalla. Also 吼、哮、嘷
Meaning old. Root for senator, senior.
OE name of a god. *deiwos also evolved to be Zues, Jupiter
Old Norse: merr
PIE meaning sharp point, i.e. spike
OC meaning brown bear, PIE meaning brown. Bears seems to be sacred to IE speakers, and Huangdi is supernaturally related to bears. One of his tribal names is 有熊
Also 劄. As in document, doctrine, doctor. OC meaning instruction, official announcement. PIE meaning instruction, teach.
Are these mere coincidences? Or could Old-Chinese be a creole with a Burmese-Tibetan substrate and an Indo-European superstrate?
I think some of them are definitely the case, such as 車 and many other chariot related words that I didn’t list. The horse one might be the case as well, as domestication of the horse, invention of the chariot and wheel were all likely of Indo-European invention. It was clear historically that these things were introduced to China from the steppes.
From my perspective, others that really seem to be the case would be 號, 長, 何, 先, 孫 and 羆. Some of them have no real reason of being that way in Chinese, such as using 羆 to refer to brown bears, while it makes perfect sense in Indo-European, as *bher- means brown, and there’s a cultural phenomenon of not calling bears by its real name, *rtko.
The Chinese word for “horse” (ma; Old Chinese mraʔ) and the English word “mare” (which can be traced through Old English mearh through Germanic marhijo- to old Gaulish marh/mark) may have a common central Asian origin. The Mongolian word is mori.
蜜is an interesting Chinese word which is believed to have been adopted via Proto-Tocharian (the Tocharians lived in modern day Xinjiang) from the Proto-Indo-European word médʰu. The Mandarin pronunciation is mi. In Russian we call honey мед myed. French miel. And then there’s English mead. And there are more examples in other European languages I know
If you want to connect Chinese to inIndo-European it makes more sense to find similar words to Indian or Iranian languages. China was almost mythical to Europeans as there were almost no contact before Marco Polo. China doesn’t even exist on most old maps.
Edit: Even Marco Polo’s writings are closer to myth than reality.
While that’s true, and there are plenty of Indic/Iranian loan words in Chinese through Buddhism, those linguistic exchange didn’t take place until Middle Chinese. Most of them are also easy to spot.
During and before the period when Old Chinese was used, Chinese had more contact with the Tocharians. Well, there were also contacts with the Scythians, who spoke Eastern Iranian, during the Han dynasty.