Are the Latin words "negative", "nego" and "niger", "nox" are cognates? In accordance to bible, word is a light and its absence is a dark.


A few things first:

  • "Negative" comes from negō; the photography meaning came millennia later and isn't really relevant to the etymology
  • Negō comes from the negater plus the old word for "to speak", which looked something like *agjō—so is what's relevant here

Now, for the three words in question:

  • goes all the way back to PIE without change; it's also the source of English negatives like "un-", "not", "no," and "never" (which accumulated other morphemes through Jespersen's Cycle)
  • Nox comes from PIE *nokʷts, which might come from *n-gʷ- "naked"
  • Niger's etymology is uncertain, but it might come from *nokʷts "night"

So, it's possible that nox and niger are related, but it's not completely accepted. It's pretty clear that isn't related within the timeframe that we can reconstruct; anything before that is pure speculation.

P.S. In linguistics (and most other sciences), the Bible isn't generally considered a reliable source. While you may believe in it, many other people in the world do not, and it can't be backed up with evidence.

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  • The PS seems a gross generalization, and not totally true. There are many things in the Bible that have been documented by historians and archeologists. But overall, the PS seems unrelated to the question and answer. In order to avoid a debate which is clearly off-topic to this post, I suggest deleting it (or make the connection explicit). (+1 anyway) – luchonacho May 1 '19 at 16:20
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    @luchonacho I'm saying that the question is built on a premise that really doesn't hold in linguistics ("word is a light and its absence is a dark"). While the question is perfectly valid to ask, it seems useful to approach the premise as well. – Draconis May 1 '19 at 16:29
  • But you mention other sciences beyond linguistics, where your statement "While you may believe in it, many other people in the world do not, and it can't be backed up with evidence." is not true. So you would need to qualify it. As I said, even if it is true for lingustics (not my realm of knowledge), the generalisation does not hold. – luchonacho May 1 '19 at 16:56
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    @luchonacho Certainly there are some fields (such as theology or anthropology) where the Bible is an excellent source, but in many others (physics, chemistry, biology, neurology, geology, climatology, etc) it's not. If you believe the statement "[the W]ord is a light and its absence is a dark" can be backed up with reliable evidence, I'm happy to be proven wrong; but until then, I don't see it as a reliable source of data on Proto-Indo-European reconstruction. – Draconis May 1 '19 at 17:48
  • I'm not commenting on the Bible informing linguistics. I'm commenting on the wording of your statement, in particular with the phrase "it [the Bible?] can't be backed up with evidence", which is the same as saying "nothing in the [whole] Bible has been scientifically proven by evidence", which is false. Hence my suggestion for clarification/editing. – luchonacho May 2 '19 at 8:37

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