The Greek letter π in .... Chinese?

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Konstantinos

Senior Member
Greek - Athens
I've started learning Chinese Mandarin for business reasons... From the begin I have been wondering, how much is the influence of Greek language to Chinese... Or whether or not there is any kinda influence to this completely remote and different language.

Finally, I noticed that sometimes there is the Greek letter π as symbol in simplified Chinese and in most cases the translation to Greek is a word starting with π. Some examples:

πυρετός - πυρεξία : 发烧
πάρκο: 公园
παίζω: 玩儿

Also these words have pi in English as well: pyrexia, park, play.

So, probably these are coincidences? Or the Greek influence to all human languages is much stronger than we can imagine? Or maybe in the "first language" or in the "pro-language" of humans the sense of pi or π had strong importance that we see today in all languages?
 
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  • διαφορετικός

    Senior Member
    Swiss German - Switzerland
    ... but I can add that in Mandarin it's rare to find letters which represent sounds (as in the Greek and the Latin alphabet), so I find it rather unlikely to find a relation between Greek and Chinese letters.
     

    Konstantinos

    Senior Member
    Greek - Athens
    It looks like there is closer connection between Greek and Chinese. I don't know if it is usual Greek influence like in Indo-European languages or if it comes from the common ancestor that all human languages have.

    The simplified Chinese characters invented in 1940-1950, so it may be considered a modern and indirect western - Greek influence to Chinese, but the combination παίζω = 玩 is also in traditional Chinese.

    From a short research I did, it looks like the Greek influence in East didn't get north-east of Himalaya and Karakoram. So if there is this influence, it should be in a different aspect.

    PS: in my free time I will use some cloud GPUs and TPUs to analyze this with AI and computer vision. It looks like relatively easy. I will find out which Chinese characters have the symbol π (both in simplified and traditional). I feel that there are 10-15 characters - words having this symbol... If the translation of 5-6 of them in Greek starts with π, it will be considered clear influence..
     
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    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    Except for sporadic loan words that Europeans have brought into China since the time of, for example Matteo Ricci, there is no influence from Greek to Chinese, vece versa. Relatedness between languages need be sought in their earliest attested forms. Let's say we compare Homeric Greek or Greek-like languages recorded in Linear B, Luwian cuneiform, and Phoenician alphabet with Chinese recorded in Bone Oracles. I refrain from discussing Chinese grammar in the Greek forum, but I can assure you that Greek and Chinese in their 10-Century-BCE forms are as similar as apples and bubbles, i.e., no relations at all.
     
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