The Out of Hunan Theory

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[This is a guest post by Jichang Lulu and Filip Jirouš]

A recent post by Mark Liberman nominated the Association for the Promotion of Research on the Origin of World Civilizations (Shìjiè Wénmíng Qǐyuán Yánjiū Cùjìn Huì 世界文明起源研究促进会) for the prestigious Becky prize, bestowed on those who make "outstanding contributions to linguistic misinformation". The award, named after Goropius Becanus, who claimed all human languages derived from his own, would be fully deserved by an Association promoting a form of Goropism: the contention that multiple languages, including English, are in fact derived from Chinese. While the recent event that triggered Liberman's nomination has been widely reported in English and other Chinese dialects, it is perhaps less known that the Association's chairman has even more Goropian ideas. Just like Goropius saw his Antwerp dialect as the language of Adam and Eve, Professor Du Gangjian of Hunan University claims these languages, and a few other things, in fact come from Hunan Province.

The Association was established last July at a forum in Beijing. Besides setting itself up, the entity used the event to present recent research in historical linguistics ("English and the English originated in ancient China" (Yīngwen, Yīngguoren qǐyuán yú gǔ Huáxià 英文、英国人起源于古华夏)) and the history of civilization ("Western civilization originated in ancient China" (Xīfang wénmíng qǐyuán yú gǔ Huáxià 西方文明起源于古华夏)) titled Western Civilization Originated in Ancient China (Xifang wenming qiyuan yu gu Huaxia 西方文明起源于古华夏) and establish the Association for Promotion of World Civilization Origins Research (Shijie wenhua qiyuan yanjiu cujin hui 世界文明起源研究促进会). (On Xià , half of the name of 'China' used in these titles, cf. the papers by Mair, Behr, Beckwith and others discussed, e.g., in the comments to "Censored belly, Tibetan tattoo".)

A Sina Xinjiang report carries comments by Zhai Guiyun 翟桂鋆, vice chairman and secretary general of the newly created Association, to a puzzled reporter:

Reporter: Professor Zhai, does English really come from ancient China? This really sounds unimaginable, because these are two completely different languages.

Zhai Guiyun: Yes, English truly originated in ancient China. Many people teaching English in China have discovered that you can learn English using the so called "memorizing-through-association" method. Actually, it's because so-called "ideographic" and "implied" meanings [of words] are very close in English and Chinese. The first to research this matter in a systematic way was Professor Li Guofang 李国防, from [Baishui 白水 County, Shaanxi Province, purportedly] the hometown of Cang Jie 仓颉 [the mythical creator of Chinese characters], who has studied this for more than 20 years and discovered that the ideographic and implied meanings of English words, and even their pronunciation, are the same or close to Chinese. For example:

Yellow: It is the color of fallen leaves [yèluò 叶落] in autumn, in English the pronunciation is almost "yeluo (-lu)".

Shop: In English the pronunciation is basically that of Chinese shāngpù 商铺 ['shop'].

Heart, head: These are people's most core [héxīn 核心] organs, so the English pronunciation directly takes its meaning from Chinese: the core's [hé de 核的]… just slightly changing the sound.

(Such core-themed etymology is, incidentally, adequate to the New Era declared by CCP Secretary General Xi Jinping, which has him as the Core (héxīn 核心) of the Party.)

Li Guofang himself was also at the event hyped in the Sina article. While details about his professorship are not immediately available to us, more displays of his etymological erudition are available on the Sinology English (Guóxué Yīngyǔ 国学英语) website, owned by Li's company Henan Cangjie Education Information Consulting Co., Ltd (Hénán Cāngjié Jiàoyù Xìnxī Zīxún Yǒuxiàn Gōngsī 河南仓颉教育信息咨询有限公司), of Xinxiang 新乡, Henan Province. (The term Guoxue, translated as 'Sinology' in the name of the website, literally means 'national learning'; ironically perhaps, the term was borrowed from Japanese (pronounced kokugaku), where it had been used for centuries. Cf. Arif Dirlik, "Guoxue/National Learning in the Age of Global Modernity"; and, on Sinitic terms reentering Chinese through Japanese, Victor Mair, "East Asian round-trip words.")

Li's company's site has more etymologies than made it to the Sina article (and thence to various English-language websites), while also including some of those; they were available on Li's website before the now famous Association existed. E.g.,

As another example, the word lǐngdǎo 领导 ['lead; leading; leadership; leader'] [in English] is lead. The initial letter l is the initial of lǐng; the final letter d is the initial of dǎo. Fēi le 飞了, as children say when flying kites, is fly in English [similarly composed of the initials of the two Chinese syllables].

Li also claims some English words are formed by combining semantics and phonetics. This vaguely reminds one of the way most Chinese characters are constructed; moreover, in Li's theory both the phonetic and the semantic channel ultimately lead to China. For example, of the three letters of English hot, the initial and final are taken from Mandarin hǎo tàng 好烫 'quite hot'; the o is simply a pictograph for the Sun, as well as 'fire' under Li's correspondence between the vowel letters and the Five Elements.

Other etymologies provide evidence for the Chinese origins of the culture of Anglophone countries. Full refers to Buddhists (Fójiā 佛家), rule to Confucians (Rújiā 儒家) and door to Daoists (Dàojiā 道家). Thanksgiving is in fact not a Western, but a Chinese holiday, commemorating the birth of Confucius: give is from gěi 给 'give', thank from sān kòu 三叩 'triple kowtow'.

In this vein, one could mention Samuel Wade's proposed etymology for the Party's English name, based on a similar principle: CCP < Xí-Xí pì 习习屁 'Xi-Xi fart'.

These could be taken as simple mnemonics for English words, but they are formulated as part of a revisionist global history meant to provide a channel for these loans. "English is in no way the language of England, but originally the bearer of the wisdom of Chinese characters. You just need to understand the principles of the structure of Chinese characters and Chinese character culture to then look into English vocabulary and grasp it all."

The combination of Sino-centric rhetoric with goropist reverie for advertising English language instruction might be dismissed as a curiosum, particular to Li's business and the extent to which the Association is there to hype it. In fact, a similar combination has been covered on Language Log before. In 2013, a post by Victor Mair ("English tips from Li Yang, noted wife-beater and pedagogue") quoted insights from an advert for Li Yang 李阳 Crazy English (Fēngkuáng Yīngyǔ 疯狂英语):

huānyíng hé Li Yáng lǎoshī yīqǐ fēngkuáng xué Yīngyǔ 欢迎和李阳老师一起疯狂学英语 Welcome you to crazily study English together with teacher Li Yang

zhēngfú Yīngyǔ, ràng zǔguó gèng qiángdà! 征服英语,让祖国更强大! Conquer English to make the fatherland stronger!

Yīngyǔ jiùshì Hànyǔ de pīnyīn 英语就是汉语的拼音 English is spelling for Sinitic

Yīngyǔ shì Hànyǔ xià de dàn! 英语是汉语下的蛋! English is an egg laid by Sinitic!

The Sinic oogeny of English is, as per the poster, evidenced by the striking similarity between English chicken and Mandarin chī kěn 吃啃 'eat-gnaw'. Although Li Yang's etymological lore is nowhere as elaborate as Li Guofen's, he did expatiate on the nationalistic bit when it came to explain why he beat his American (now ex-)wife:

Those who know I hit my wife, raise your hand! I am the spokesperson for domestic abuse!… This is a cultural clash between China and America; it has nothing to do with domestic abuse. One day, the Party and the state will rehabilitate me. I was doing something to educate Americans! My American wife was always criticizing China, accusing our Party of lying. In such a situation, could I not hit her?… Everyday accusing Beijing, saying that AQI (Air Quality Index) is lying. She was lucky I could bear it, in America I would have shot her with a gun!

(Translation from The World of Chinese; original, e.g., here. Li Yang's hope of rehabilitation by the "Party and state" (Dǎng hé guójiā 党和国家) was not entirely unfounded: indeed, news of his wife-beating had already been respun into support for the country's domestic-violence laws, with Li himself as a vocal advocate, by propaganda organs soon after they emerged. For more on Li Yang and the "Crazy English" craze, cf. Language Log since 2007, Evan Osnos in 2008 and 2011, and especially Amber R. Woodward, "A Survey of Li Yang Crazy English". Li Guofang's Sinology English is not, as it happens, entirely disjoint from Li Yang's Crazy English: the latter is mentioned in the bio of one of the teachers at the former.)

The propensity to invoke China's politics and position in the world in situations where they would seem irrelevant, such as advertising teaching foreign languages or beating up their speakers, is perhaps better understood after considering the political role the CCP has assigned to the teaching of Standard Mandarin. Cf., e.g., "The language impact of the Confucius institutes", and the comments.

Nor are the Party-state's policies unrelated to the English-as-a-Chinese-dialect theory proposed at the event that motivates this post. While the specific etymologies mentioned there seemed to mainly come from Li Guofang, the most senior personage in attendance was the new Association's chairman, Du Gangjian 杜钢建. Unlike Li Guofang, whose bio makes him a "people's" (mínjiān 民间) rather than an actual professor, Du has been a law professor at Hunan University. Du has repeatedly made news with versions of his 'Out of Hunan' theory, according to which various Western peoples, languages and ideas originated not just in China, but specifically in what is now Hunan province. Ideas originating in Hunan include, according to Du, constitutionalism. While Li Guofang's business might only indirectly reflect Party policy, Professor Du's theories have received a more significant endorsement: a chance to expound them at the recent "Belt and Road" Doctoral Forum. The forum was graced by a senior cadre from the Party's International Liaison Department, an organ which, as Nadège Rolland has shown, is central to the promotion of Xi's "Belt and Road" initiative to foreign academia and 'think-tanks'.

Things from Hunan notably include Mao Zedong, and an idea not quite compatible with the "governance" doctrine of Chairman Xi: Hunan self-government, as advocated by Mao's 1920 call for a "Hunan Republic". On this, cf. Robert Scalapino, "The Evolution of a Young Revolutionary — Mao Zedong in 1919-1921"; Angus McDonald, "Mao Tse-tung and the Hunan Self-Government Movement, 1920: An Introduction and FiveTranslations; Jospeh Lian Yizheng 联乙铮 "Mao used to think like HK young separatists". These ideas from Hunan are perhaps less likely to be promoted in the current New Era than Du Gangjian's latest Association.



25 Comments

  1. Antonio L. Banderas said,

    September 13, 2019 @ 8:54 am

    Diverting implementation

    Analysis on the Ideographic Characteristics of Some English Morphemes
    https://www.cambridgescholars.com/download/sample/61960

  2. Victor Mair said,

    September 13, 2019 @ 9:02 am

    I will be a speaker at this event to be held at The Ohio State University on September 20-21, 2019:

    "US-China Chu Culture Symposium".

    Distinguished scholars and officials from Hunan Province will be present.

    I'm also pleased to announce that a bilingual (actually trilingual — Classical Chinese / English / Mandarin) edition of my translation of the Zhuang Zi (Wandering on the Way) will be published that weekend.

    I will not be mentioning the Hunanesque theories of Professor Du Gangjian 杜钢建 in my remarks before the symposium.

  3. Bathrobe said,

    September 13, 2019 @ 9:20 am

    The 'out of Hunan' sounds like a new spin on an old tendency, the belief held during the Qing and still clinging on in China in some form or another that Western knowledge and science actually had its origins in China and was only being brought back to China by Westerners.

    This idea was given expression in the saying 古已有之 gǔ yǐ yǒu zhī, 'this already existed in ancient times', which according to the Internet originated with the Republican warlord Feng Yuxiang or with Lu Xun. Whatever the origin, it means that the West has brought nothing new; it already existed in ancient China.

  4. Jerry Friedman said,

    September 13, 2019 @ 11:27 am

    So the original language is Proto-Hunan?

  5. John Rohsenow said,

    September 13, 2019 @ 2:56 pm

    "So the original language is Proto-Hunan?"
    Yes, but pronounced "Fulan" ;-)

  6. eurobubba said,

    September 13, 2019 @ 6:11 pm

    Clearly our word 'human' is merely a degenerate form of the name of the mother province.

  7. John Rohsenow said,

    September 13, 2019 @ 6:32 pm

    "So the original language is Proto-Hunan?"
    Yes, but pronounced "Fulan", as they pronounce name of their province down there (AS IN "I was only fu-lan.") ;-)

  8. Julian said,

    September 13, 2019 @ 6:44 pm

    So out of 100,000 words in the Chinese-English dictionary, we can find a dozen pairs matched by meaning that sound similar. And the probability of this happening by chance is?
    Sorry, must fly. Just saw an old school friend get on the other end of the bus. Haven't seen him for years. I didn't even know he was back from overseas. How strange is that!

  9. stephen said,

    September 13, 2019 @ 9:24 pm

    I'm not taking this seriously of course, but I wonder why they didn't mention the large number of Chinese names which are English words?

    Bai, (Bye); Chin, Fan, Fang, Gong, He, Jin (gin), Song, Shu, Sun Tan, Tang, Thong, Lay, Lei, Lee, Pan, Hung, etc.

  10. jdmartinsen said,

    September 13, 2019 @ 9:51 pm

    @ALB: The letterform analysis in Analysis on the Ideographic Characteristics of Some English Morphemes looks pretty similar to the approach laid out by Yuan Li 袁立 at the beginning of his monograph English说文解字 (中国世界语出版社 Ĉhina Esperanto-Eldonejo, 2000), although the meanings these two works assign to individual letters don't overlap much. Zhang and Hong don't cite Yuan's work; they also seem to propose that the meaning of an English word is invariably constructed from the interaction of the meanings of the letters in its spelling. Yuan proposes a comparatively more sensible framework based on the traditional six principles of Chinese character construction, allowing for phono-semantic compounds and other constructions not so tightly tied to graphical meaning.

  11. Chris Button said,

    September 13, 2019 @ 10:29 pm

    On Xià 夏, half of the name of 'China' used in these titles, cf. the papers by Mair, Behr, Beckwith and others discussed, e.g., in the comments to "Censored belly, Tibetan tattoo"

    Pulleyblank's 1999 article "The Peoples of the Steppe Frontier in Early Chinese Sources" should also be included here due to this comment on p.38:

    Hua 華… which also means "flower", and Xia 夏… which read in the departing tone… means "summer", the season of flowering, are quite likely etymologically related words"

    I suspect the labialization in the former might result from a uvular to give 華 *ʁráɣ and 夏 *gráɣʔ. Elsewhere Pulleyblank had noted ablauting pairs like 丘 and 虛 (虗) for which I would reconstruct 丘 *χə̀ɣ and 虛 (虗) *kʰàɣ

  12. Jonathan Silk said,

    September 14, 2019 @ 2:07 am

    Actually (wink) there may be more of a connetion between Goropius and Hunan than you would have thought! A few years ago in Hangzhou I was helped around by a student with a slight regional accent. After she introduced me as being from the Netherlands, the folks we were talking to were astounded: Hunan?! No, no, what she was trying to say was Hulan, but her accent has an l/n merger, so for those listening to her Hunan and Holland were the same…Little did I suspect at the time the very important historical implications of this ;)

  13. Jichang Lulu said,

    September 14, 2019 @ 5:53 am

    @Chris Button

    Certainly. I meant to refer to the Pulleyblank paper as well, which you cited in "Dung Times". I simply forgot to add that reference. Indeed, the mention of 华夏 made this post a great occasion to ask for your views on the likelihood of 华 and 夏 being related. To clarify, do you see the *ʁ > *g you suspect (in addition to the final glottal stop) a regular derivational process postulated elsewhere in your reconstruction (and thus an argument that the two morphemes might be related)?

  14. Chris Button said,

    September 14, 2019 @ 7:44 am

    @ Jichang Lulu

    As for uvulars, inspired by Pulleyblank's formulations (although my actual application in onset position differs slightly), I go with uvular *q-, *χ- (*qʰ-) and *ʁ-, which parallel *-q and *-ʁ in coda position.

    They are associated with otherwise nebulous inconsistencies in labialization so in this case 華 *ʁráɣ would give Early Middle Chinese
    ɣwaɨ. Incidentally, a nice example I've mentioned elsewhere on LLog is 桂 *qájs "cinnamon, cassia" (becoming EMC kwɛjʰ) which could regularly go back to *qʲáts and is likely associated with Hebrew qetsia "cassia".

    Notably, this approach to uvulars is totally different from Baxter & Sagart who reconstruct plain and labial variants (including unlikely *ɢ- and *ɢʷ-, but no ʁ-) in onset position and don't reconstruct uvulars at all in coda position, which leaves them with a problematic lack of a nasal -wŋ (-ŋʷ) counterpart to -wk (-kʷ) where Pulleyblank's formulation accounts for the lack of uvular nasal on articulatory grounds.

  15. Neil said,

    September 14, 2019 @ 9:15 am

    LOL. Chris Button, Xia 夏 in old Chinese was pronounced similar to Welsh "gwres" meaning heat, this usage eventually lost to the common form of Welsh 'haf' meaning summer. That's why in Vietnamese both "hè" and "hạ" mean summer. The oracle bone script for Xia 夏 shows a menace bug because Vietnamese have a festival "Đoan Ngọ" killing bugs in summer. After our people pointed this out, the Chinese went on wiktionary and changed the pictogram to a fake one depicting someone under the sun.

    Try to read ancient Greek documents carefully and you will see that Sina (China) referred to territory of the Viets. North of Sina was Sera (楚, Chu) who were initially gentle blonde red haired, blue green eyes but later were of mix race barbarians always causing troubles to their neighbours. Why do you think the Hmong people claim they were blonde haired, blued eyed and were hunted down by the Chinese?

    If you must know the ruler of the Xia 夏, Dayu 大禹 is known in Welsh as Hu Gadarn and in French as Hugon Fort. The Tibetan language originally was from ancient Welsh then got mix with others later. Tibetan call themselves Bod which means Viet. Where did the word buddha come from, LOL?

  16. Göktuğ Kayaalp said,

    September 14, 2019 @ 9:17 am

    You might also be interested in "Sun Language Theory", a similar, 20th century pseudo-scientific original language theory that claimed Turkish was the Ursprung of all languages. I don't have in-depth knowledge, but the wiki page is a good intro and rabbit hole IIRC.

  17. Peter Hook said,

    September 14, 2019 @ 9:32 am

    Gee! I always thought Sanskrit was the "mother of all languages". Maybe Hunanese is the "father" and English is the result …

  18. David Marjanović said,

    September 14, 2019 @ 2:39 pm

    Why do you think the Hmong people claim they were blonde haired, blued eyed and were hunted down by the Chinese?

    Do they? Since when?

    I always thought Sanskrit was the "mother of all languages".

    It might be the mother of Kashmiri and its closest relatives. That's about it.

  19. Dino said,

    September 14, 2019 @ 8:48 pm

    David Marjanovic, there are still old English books asking why why some Hmong have blonde hair, green eyes, what is their real origin? It might be difficult to find them online these days because of the censorship agenda, a few years back lots of interesting search results would come up. Some of the old Hmong generation still remember and tell their children of how they used to have to hide because they had blonde hair and easily spotted by the hunters, you should try Youtube, I think some Hmong still make videos on Hmong history.

    Please understand this is not an attack on Chinese, Chinese are victims too in this deception by the rulers. Both history of Europe and China have been faked by the rulers, and the rulers have been pumping up China as some ancient civilization superior us, their way of herding us to accept China, the big slave plantation for the elites, as a model for us all. Read old books on China and see it was not rosy like they are teaching us these days. I recommend you check out Tragedy and Hope Media run by Richard Grove as a starter on the politics side and near modern history. But the deception goes much deeper. If this site care about truth, human rights, free speech and debate etc then it should be able to print my comment without problem.

  20. Chris Button said,

    September 15, 2019 @ 8:25 am

    Although it seems Neil meant his post largely in jest, just to be clear Middle Welsh (apparently 12-15th centuries!) gwres cannot possibly be related to Old Chinese 夏 *gráɣʔ not least due to time depth, but also on phonological and semantic grounds!! A possible association of 夏 *gráɣʔ with 華 *ʁráɣ remains conjecture (another reconstruction could be 華 *wráɣ for example) but, as noted above, it is certainly well within the realms of phonological possibility. One interesting question is what the original Chinese character 夏 originally represented…

  21. Chris Button said,

    September 19, 2019 @ 4:56 am

    I'm wondering about a relationship between 夏 *gráɣʔ and 夔 *ʁrə̀ɣ…

  22. Dino said,

    September 22, 2019 @ 12:59 am

    Interesting theory Chris Button. Please read Florin Diacu`s "The Lost Millennium" and see how nothing prior to 1400s in European history match with the astronomical clock.

    Current linguistic paradigm is false in claiming Indo-European languages originated from one parent language. Let us start with the false claim that Hu Gadarn means Hu the Mighty and the Welsh have made it up copying the French novel.

    Hu, [French] Hugon means notable in old Norman it is the masculine form of the word huguetto, it is not the name Hugh, the name Hugh was Huwe. The word Gadarn [possibly the French word `fort` as well] is in the same family with the Hebrew word Gevurah which means strength, and Vietnamese `can đảm` meaning firm, courage and `cường vũ` meaning powerful, brave. So 禹, Yu does match with Welsh Celtic myth, try to triangulate matching points, country of Summer, treating flood, teach plowing, golden plow and the name Gadarn matching with old Chinese pronounciation of 禹 Yu, the old characters for Yu look like two plows. Vietnamese refer to Yu as Hạ Vũ or Tiết Ðế, tiết means being firm, strong spirit.

    It is very easy to prove how Vietnamese vocabularies carry large number of Germanic, Celtic, Greek, Romance, Biblical Hebrew etc vocabularies as well as correlating Vietnamese and Miao myth to Celtic, Christian, Hebrew myth. I do not have time to discuss it now but give you a little basic on numbers.

    Number one. Một, [old viet] mon, English mono-, Greek monos [one, first]. Yêu, English uni, one. Nhất [obsolete- nhít], [also y= alike], đan, đơn, độc, Serbian jedan, Swedish etta all related to Austronesian satu, se-, je-; Vietnamese sái, lẻ same root with English solitude, sole, simple etc.

    Number two. Hai, đôi [pair], Indonesian dua, Wesh ddau, English two, duo, pair, bi-, di-. The old sound was ðʊ`o/a/ai. Cặp, English couple. Sênh [pair], nhì [second] related to latin secundus.

    Number three. tam, ba. Indonesian tiga. Basque hiru, English three. Old sound thviru.

    Number four. tư, tứ, Greek tessera, English tetra, Zhuang shrii, seiq. Bốn, old English fower, English four, Welsh pedwar, Hmong plau, Basque lau.

    Number five. Năm, -lăm, Samoan lima, Khmer prum, Welsh pump. English five; from palm old sound pɹm not from Greek penta or latin quinque. Greek penta is literally the same as Vietnamese bàn tay, English hand, Germanic bhandus; note how Danish have two forms hand and mand, you can trace to Wesh mutations of sound for paen [pane]. Note how Welsh cwarel also means pane, that is the first part of latin quinque, in Vietnamese it is quai meaning a wing shape or ring shape handle. The second part `que` is from same root with Vietnamese ké meaning hand, same root with Greek kheir. So Vietnamese ngũ [5] is same root with Latin and Italian. Quinque, other form is quintus, I have explained the `tus` sound before with the word hand and penta. Latin `lacertus` was formed from these stem cells.

    That is enough for today, I hope people open their mind and do proper research and not be trapped by the box they have put you in.

  23. Chris Button said,

    September 22, 2019 @ 6:03 am

    Thinking about this some more, for the sense of 夏 *gráɣs "summer", I would associate 霞 gráɣ via a sense of "(summer) haze, color" and by extension the broader "speckled" word-family of 叚, 瑕, 蝦, etc. It's interesting we also have 假 *kráɣʔ "fake, borrow" here (cf. French farder "disguise, make up (the face)" and German Farbe "colour" from PIE *pərkʲ- "speckled". Very speculatively, I wonder if any of this has anything to do with the oracle-bone form of 夔 *ʁrə̀ɣ (夏 *gráɣʔ) having its hand in front of its face?

  24. Chris Button said,

    September 22, 2019 @ 11:14 am

    @ Dino

    Respectfully, it's not so much a question of time depth as one of proper comparative historical linguistics. That field has many problems, but the basic idea of the comparative method is not one of them.

  25. Victor Mair said,

    September 23, 2019 @ 9:41 pm

    @Dino

    From Steve O'Harrow:

    Linguist Lawerence C. Thompson, late of the University of Hawai'i Dept. of Linguistics, used to receive, on at least a yearly basis, unsolicited MSS from gentlemen proving either that: A) all languages ultimately derive from Vietnamese; or B) Vietnamese clearly derives from, say, Dutch or Marathi, or the like. But that there are occasional examples of Indo-European vocabulary items in VNese is nothing either new, startling or unexplainable. They are a bit rare – one example is the word for "honey" which is "mật"
    – clearly linked to IP *médʰu and the English derivative "mead." And there was clearly a South Asian presence in Northern Viet Nam* in the beginning of the Common Era, so a few vocabulary items are to be expected. A lot more fascinating are other co-incidences such as the tales of the "Magic Sword in the Lake," that occur in both Welsh and Vietnamese legendary histories. But that is another (& probably separate) track that might bear investigation. And one that would appeal to fans of Heine-Geldern's theories. The linguistic track proposed in Dino's comment is so full of holes as to have come from a Swiss cheese factory. 'Nuff said.

    * "Men of Hu, Men of Han, Men of the Hundred Man"

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