Polat Kaya

Keywords: Turks, Linguistics, Culture, Asia, Americas, History

“Atam Aliasker ve anam Giilhanim’a hiirmellerimle ithaf ederim".

ABSTRACT: This study tries to show probable linguistic and cultural kinship between the Turkish people in Asia and the Native Peoples of Americas, i.e., the north, central and south Americas. In this study, we have shown that the use of the Turkish words “ata” and “apa” for “father and ancestor” and “ana” for “mother” and their derivatives are quite common in the languages of considerable number of the Native Peoples of Americas. The study shows that these three words, i.e., “ata”, “apa” and “ana” are probably among the oldest living words in the human languages. In addition, this study points out some other words, aspects of languages and cultures of some of the Native Peoples of Americas which seem to be common with the Turkish people of Asia. The purpose of this study was to indicate with evidence the presence of correlation between the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas and the Turks in Asia and hopefully to attract the attention of linguistic scholars to carry out further studies to possibly illuminate past background of both the Native Peoples of Americas and the Turks of Asia.


In April 1985, during our family vacation, I had the opportunity to visit the Heard Museum, in Pheonix, Arizona, USA. We were fascinated with the cultural artifacts and the folklore of the local Indian Nations who are widely distributed in that area. Being Turkish, we were struck with the familiarity of some of the exhibited objects, names of the Native Nations and with some of the ethnological characteristics of the Native Nations as illustrated with audio-visual presentations.

First of all, the names of many of the Native Peoples of the region were very Turkish sounding, i.e., we could see the presence of the “Turkish Vovel Harmony Rule” in most of the written words that we read there. 1 was also stunned not only with the beauty of the carpets produced by the Native Peoples of the region, but also with the apparent similarities of the patterns on some of the carpets to those of the Turkish carpets.

The ancestors of Turks also lived in Asia all throughout the history. Since, the Proto-Indians and the Proto-Turks lived in the same area in the distant past, they could have been the same people or closely related people and speaking the same language or closely related language. While one group stayed in their motherland, other group left Asia and went to North America in waves of migrations.

All languages are dynamic and subject to change in time. Similarly, both the Proto-Turkic and Proto-Indian languages are expected to change throughout 10 ooo or more years of separation from each other even if they were the same or similar structured languages at the beginning. In their present form, it would be difficult to find the same language being spoken by both peoples in two widely find the same language being spoken by both peoples in two widely separated continents. However, if the Proto-Indians and the Proto- I'urks were the same or closely related people and speaking the same or similar languages, there must still exist in both groups of languages some living words which also have the same meaning. There should still be some “living words” which are remanescense of the language that the ancestors of the Native Peoples of Americas and the ancestors of l urks used while they were all living in Asia. This should be so in spite of the fact that the ancestors of the Native Peoples of Americas left Asia more than a minimum of ten thousand years ago. In this study, I try to verify this objective with references.

I would also like to note that in this paper, I have called the Indians of North, South and Central Americas as the “Native Peoples of Americas” and/or “Native Nations of Americas” rather than Indians. In my view, it is more appropriate to call them so, since, they were the Native Peoples or Nations of Americas.


B.1. Tepee and Yurt

The “Tepee”, the mobile and conical tent like dwelling of the Native Nations of North America reminds us the “Yurt” of the Turkish people who also used such portable dwellings when they were in Central Asia and other parts of the world. Historically the “Tepees” and “Yurts" both served the same purpose for both of these people. Thousands of years ago, when these people were living in a so called “Nomadic Life”, they were meeting and following the demands of an economic system which was based on raising “live stock” in a harsh and demanding environment. With their mobile “Tepees” and “Yurts”, both peoples were living in a very practical and harmonious manner with their environment. We know that in modern times, the same concept of mobile living has been enhanced with the means of modern technology by putting wheels and engines to different shaped dwellings serving the same purpose. That is, the modern mobile homes may be considered as the present day descendants of the time old models designed by Native Nations of Americas and the Turkish people of Asia.

T. Y. Oztuna talks about the Tepee like, pointed and conical tents of the Turkish people called Kurikan and living north of Sayan mountains in central Asia, [43, p.J. From his description, it seems that the tents of Kurikans and Tepees of north American Native Peoples resemble each other very closely.

B.2. Spindle for spinning wool

One of the things that I was surprised to learn was the use of a spindle by the Native Peoples of Arizona for spinning wool. It was very similar to the ones that the members of my family and the women folk in my village (named Suhara) used to spin wool in Kars, Turkey.

D. Dedera [4] describes the way the Navajo Indians of Arizona use spindle in spinning wool or cotton. He describes as follows: “The spinning wheel is unknown to the Navajo. In its place is a relic inherited from those days when Navajo travelled light. The spindle is a stick about twenty inches long. Near one end of the stick is a wooden disk which acts as a flywheel when the right hand rubs the spindle against the right thigh. Meantime, the left hand feeds carded wool onto the long pointed end of the spindle. All the w hile the spinner adjusts the tention on the strand to achieve uniform size”.

The spindle that carpet weaving women in my village in Turkey used was made in a similar way. An almost hemispherical wooden disk was attached as whorl to one end of the stick where the whorl was attached. The free end of the stick was pointed. The user would give a fast turn to the stick by either rubbing the stick with the palm of the right hand against the right thigh or by using thumb and the forefinger. The carded wool is attached to the hook on the top of the spindle. As the spindle turns steadily, the carded wool held by the left hand is fed to the spindle until the length of the spun yarn is such that the spindle reaches about the knee level of the user. After the wool is spun as desired, the finished single ply thread is unhooked and put around the body of the spindle that is below the whorl. To continue spinning, the upper end of the thread is again passed through the open eye of the hook and some more wool is spun again. The local Turkish name for the spindle was teshi . I eshi is a portable spinning tool which can be carried anywhere by the user. Turkish carpet weavers also use spinning wheel called “cehre” for spinning wool.

The spindle has been used by the Turkish people probably for thousands of years ever since they were able to weave their world famous carpets, kilims and other textile type articles.

The question comes to mind whether the ancestors of the Native Peoples of Americas and the ancestors of the Turkish people in Asia knew the technique ofspinning wool with a spindle independently of each other or the ancestors of Native Peoples of Americas brought the technique to America directly from Asia when they migrated from Asia to America.

Once the Native Peoples of Americas had left Asia and became native American, it can be said that they were not influenced by the new generations of those Asiatic kins they left behind. It is also known that the Native Peoples of Americas knew the technique of spinning wool with a spindle long before they became in contact with Europeans. P.A. Means [5] (p. 450 to 523), describes in detail the “Art of Loom in Ancient Peru”. The ancient Native Peoples of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, well known for beautiful carpets and textiles, used spindle of the same description as above to spin Llama wool and cotton. Their textiles were made with yarns spun with simple spindle the examples of which have been found in excavations. 11 is clear that “spindle” was not indigenous to the North American Native Peoples alone, but was also known by the native peoples ofSouth America as well. Altough, they could have learned this technique from each other. But then the question remains to be answered whether they brought the technique from Asia. In this respect, the following is quoted from Ref. 34:

“The question of whether or not the advanced techniques used by the higher cultures of America were independent inventions or the result of contact and borrowing from the old world is still debated. No evidence is presently available to document the possibility of old world contact and borrowing from the old world is still debated. No evidence is presently available to document the possibility of old world contact, and until such evidence is forthcoming the possible conclusion is that of independent inventions. Analysis of the known intellectual achievements shows them to be unique. Maya devised position numerals and a sign for zero, but their system of numeration was vigesimal and they were using the system several hundred years before the sign for zero was invented in the old world”, (p. 506, vol. 16, issue 1963).

Although, no evidence is presently available to document the possibility of old world contact other than the fact that the Native Peoples of Americas migrated from Asia to America, however, it is quite likely that they brought with them some of the techniques which already existed at that time in the old world and possibly made improvements on them.


While reading about the cultures of the Native Peoples of Americas, I became interested in knowing whether there were any living words in the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas that not only sounded the same as some words in old and modern Turkish 1 but also meant the same.

In the language of any ethnique group, the first two words that a child learns are probably the ones that correspond to “father” and “mother . These two words are repeated in the life time of a person so frequently that they become permanently rooted in the minds of people. These two words are the most likely ones which may be passed on from generation during the life times of languages spanning thousands of years. In the languages created by humanity during their known and long unknown history, the spoken languages seem to demonstrate this view with living examples. Although, peoples of the same ethnique origine may become separated from each other and live in different parts of the world for long durations of time, yet their languages may still retain these two words either in their original form or in a form which is similar to or a derivative of the original form. In spite of the evolutionary forces acting upon a language and causing changes in the structure of the language and the pronounciation of the words of the language, one can still recognize these two words in the related languages.

In Turkish, there are two words which have been used interchangably for “father”. These words are “ata” and “apa” [ i -3] both of which have been used in Turkish throughout its known history. It should be noted that in various dialects ofTurkish, the phonems “t” in “ata” and “p” in “apa” would tend to change into sounded fricatives “d” as in “ada” and “b” as in “aba” respectively. The Turkish word corresponding to the English word “mother” is “ana”. Derivative words based on “ata”, “apa” and “ana” are used to express various kinship. Table 1 lists some of the possible derivative words based on these three words. Some of these derivative words were used not only in archaic Turkish but also are actively used in modern Turkish.

Each one of these words would readily go through transformations as people use and repeat them from generation to generation in the dialects of the language that they use. For example, in the word “ataata” for “father’s father”, one of the “a” in the middle of the word would tend to be assimilated and the new form of the word would be “atata”. The sounding of this word is very much the same as that of the original sound in “ataata” however shortened. In time, the word would go through further transformations and taking the possible derivative forms of “taata”, “tata”, “tate”, “tati”, “tete”, “tat”. In time, some of these derived words will be used to mean not only the “father’s father” but also to mean “ancesstors”, “father”, and “man”. There are examples of such usage in Turkish. Through search in references 4 to 39, we have found evidence that the words “ata”, “apa”, “ana” and their derivatives as shown in Table 1 are used in a considerable number of languages spoken by the Native Peoples of North, Central and South Americas.


It is known that the ancestors of the Native Peoples of Americas came from Asia [34] more than 10 000 years ago. Particular reference is made to Central Asia. The Ref. 34 explains this fact as follows: “American Indians had their origine in Asia, and are basically Mongoloid in physical type. The earlier incomers to the new world possessed a series of traits that were relatively ancient and were shared with most cultural groups in the old world. These included the use of fire and the fire drill; the domesticated dog; stone implements of many kinds; the spear thrower, harpoon and simple bow; cardage, netting and basketry; crisis rites and shamanistic beliefs and practices. Important traits lacking in the new world but known in the old world included all the significant domesticated animals, plants and artifacts of the latter, cattle, sheep, the goat, pig, horse, camel and reindeer; wheat, barley and rice; the wheel and the plow; iron; and stringed instruments.”, (p. 505, vol. t6 of Ref. 34).

The Native Peoples of Americas migrated from Asia first into North America through the Bering Sea and Alaska. Waves of migration took place during the ice age. Each new wave of migrating Proto-Indians pushed the previous waves of migrated peoples further into the land toward east, west, north and south. Hence, they spread into north, central and south Americas ever since they left Asia. The further they spread, the more they became isolated from their original motherland. Although, their languages went through transformations throughout the ages in their new land and in their new way of life, however, it seems that they were able to retaine some of the basic words of their original mother tongue. Particularly, the very first words that they learned as children, i.e., “ana”, “ata”, “apa” and their derivatives.

Table 2 represents a list of words in some of the languages of Native Peoples of Americas corresponding to words “father” and “mother” in Turkish. The native peoples of Americas whose names are listed in Table 2 are distributed widely throughout North, Central and South American continents.

D.1. Turkish “ata”, “apa” and “ana” oldest living words

D.1.1. In column 2 of Table 2, under the heading “father”, we find that there are many groups of Native Peoples of Americas whose languages contain words for “father” such that they are correlated to the two Turkish words, namely “ata” and “apa” meaning “father” and in archaic use “ancesstor”. Similarly, in column 3 of Table 2, we have the list of words which mean “mother” and are correlated to Turkish word “ana”.

Table 2 reveals a new enlightenment indicating that the ancesstors of Turks and the ancesstors of a considerable number of the Native Peoples of the Americas were very closely related people and probably, belonged to the same ethnique groups in Asia. They were most likely talking the same or very closely related languages.

Similarly, the Turkish words “ataata”, “ataana”, “anaata” and “anaana” are used in varying formats depending on the local dialect being used.

The derivative words meaning “grandparents” in Table 1 are likely to be used by the new generations to mean not only the “grandparents” as originally meant to be but also the immediate parents. For example, the words “dede” and "nene” which mean “grandfather" and “grandmother” respectively are used in modern Turkish.

Similarly, the native Otchipwe people in the USA use “dede”, “baba”, “papa” and “n’otta” for “father” and the Winnebago Indians of USA use “nane” or “nene” for mother.

It is also likely that the usage of these words may change positions during the long history of the Native Peoples of Americas. In other words, some times the words used to express male kinship may be used for female kinship or visaversa. For example, the native Candoshi people of Peru use the word “ataatam” for “my mother”, [30]. In this case, it seems that there is a reversal of usage of the word which originally may have meant “my father’s father” as it would be in Turkish.

This study indicates that the Turkish words “ata”, “apa" and “ana” and their derivatives as shown in Table 1 have been used and are still being used in varying formats in the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas. In view of these findings, we note that we have probably recognized some of the oldest living words in human languages in the form of Turkish words “ata”, “apa” and “ana” and their derivatives as used in the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas dating back in time longer than 10 000 years. It seems that these words and/or their derivatives lived through the 10000 plus years in time in geographically separated lands without being influenced by each other after they were separated.

D.2. Name and use of domesticated dog

D.2.1. We see that the “dog” is also a migrant from Asia to the new world. In this respect, it may be said that Proto-Indians and Proto-Turks had access to domesticated dog while they both were in Asia.

The generic Turkish word for dog is “it”. The word “tazi” is also used, although, it is a specific name for “greyhound”. In going through dictionaries of some of the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas, the following words are found used as name for dog:

In Cree language which is a member of the Algonkian language family [to], the word “atim” is used for “dog” and “nitim” is used for “my dog”. Similarly, itim is used for my dog in Turkish. In the Mayan languages ofGuetemala [ 11 ], the words “tz’i” or “tx’i” is used for dog where the “ ’ ” in these Mayan words represents the glottoral stop in pronouncing them. In the Aztec language Nahuatl, the word “itzcuintli” is used for “dog” [29], in Aztec calendar “tonalpohualli”. In the Language of Auca Indians of Ecuador, South America, the word for dog is “gita”. Again, there seems to be a correlation between the Turkish word “it” and these words of Aztec,. Mayan and Auca Indians.

D.2.2. In the native Wahtoktata or Oto language [9], dog it called “shong-o-ka-ne” meaning “unmeaning horse”. Also, noting the Cree word atim for dog, could it be that the following scenario is inherent in these sayings’: That the ancestors of the Native Peoples of Americas had access not only to the domesticated “dog” i.e., “it” in Turkish, but also to the domesticated “horse”, i.e. “at” in Turkish when they were in their homeland of central Asia. When the ancestors of the Native Peoples of Americas were migrating over the arctic ice sheet to the new world, they could bring with themselves only the dog, because the dog was better suited to the arctic conditions than domesticated vegetarian animals. It is most likely that the ancestors of the Native Peoples of Americas used “dog” during their journey to the North America not only as a helper in hunting but also like a horse to help them move on the ice and snow covered land. Hence the Cree word “atim” and the Wahtoktata word “shong-o-ka-ne” may be the reminiscence of such utilization of dog by the ancestors of the Native Peoples of Americas.

D.2.3. Edvin James [9] has noted an interesting observation regarding the usage of a word by the native Omaha people with respect to dog. He notes that, “csheh-zt-zt-zt’ or ‘wah-zt-zt-zt’ or ‘oah-zt-zt-zt’ is used by the men for driving dogs out of mischief’. This observation is interesting because of the fact that the Turkish people use the word “osht” for exactly the same purpose regarding the behaviour of dogs. Again, one asks the question: Is this a coincidence or do we have a long living linguistic connection between the way of lives of ancestors of the Native Peoples of Americas and Proto-

Turks? I venture to think that both the ancestors of the Native Peoples of Americas and the Proto-Turks not only had access to domesticated dog in their homelands of Central Asia, but they also used the same or similarly constructed words for “dog”.

D.3. Linguistic connection between Nahuatl and Turkish

D.3.1. In Aztec language, (the Nahuatl), in addition to the Nahuatl words corresponding to “father” and “mother” beign derivatives of the Turkish words “ata” and “ana” respectively, see Table 2, there is the Nahuatl word “tepetl” meaning “hill”. The stem of the Nahuatl word “tepetl” is “tepe” which is the same as the Turkish word “tepe” expressing the same meaning. Aztec named many places with Aztec names ending with “tepee” or starting with “tepe”. For example, the famous name “Chapul- tepec” meaning “Grasshopper hill” [35, 38], would be “Chekirge Tepesi” or “Chekirge Tepe” in Turkish. Such place names are widely distributed in Central and South Americas. The following examples are informative [39]: In Mexico: Agaltepec, Citlaltepec, Coatepec, Ecatepec, Jamiltepec, Oaxte- pec, Ometepec, Quiotepec, Tehuantepec, Tututepec, Tepecoacuilco, Tepetitan, Tepexpan; in El Salvadore: Cojutepeque, Lago de Coatepeque, Igualtepeque; in Guatemala: Jilotepeque, Ixtepequc; Sierra Tepequem in Brasil.

Similarly, in Asiatic countries where Turkish people lived throughout the history, we find similar geographic names such as Aktepe, Kultepe, Kartaltepe, Goktepe, etc.

D.3.2. Although, the Turkish and Nahuatl languages are not comprehensive to each other, not only many of the phonems used by both languages are the same but also there are some striking resemblances between the grammatical structures of both the 1 urkish and the Nahuatly languages. J.R. Andrews, [29], describes the Nahuatly by saying that “sentence-word” is the basic structure of the Nahuatl language. By “sentence-word” is meant a word that contains within itself all the nuclear constituents necessary for a complete sentence. Sentence-word is completed by adding to the verb stem prefixes and suffixes. Similarly, the I urkish use suffixes stringed to the verb stem to complete a sentence. It seems that the ancient common structural background have been retained to some degree. In-fact, this structural commonality between the I urkish and the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas are quite obvious since most of these languages seem to be based on using suffixes and prefixes in sentence constructions. The similarities of the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas to the Turkish have not been spotted by previous students of these languages mainly due to the fact that they were mostly the speakers of the Indo-European languages. Hence, they were using familiar languages such as Latin, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and English as frameworks for the description of all the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas. Since, structurally, the reference languages and the studied languages of the Native Peoples of Americas are almost at the opposite ends of the linguistic spectrum, the descriptions are usually not only misrepresenting the studied languages but also distorting them because of linguistic misconceptions and biases.

D.3.3. J.R. Andrews [p. 30 of 29], describes the formation of one kind adverbial adjuncts of manner in Nahuatl as follows: “One type of derived adverbial of manner is formed from the preterit theme of a verb combined with “-ca”. Such words are translationally equivalent to English adverbs ending in “-ly” ”. In this formation of adverbs in Nahuatl, we notice very close correlation between the Nahuatl and the Turkish. This is so because of the fact that in Turkish, the suffix “-ca” is also utilized in the same way to form adverbs of the same kind. Few examples will be used to illustrate this relation.

Subject is understood from the context of the sentence. We notice that, in considerable number of the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas, “O” or “U” or “NO” is also used to indicate “he, she or it”. For example, the Cree language in Canada use “O”, the Quiche and Achi languages in Guatemala use “U”. The Micmacs of Eastern Canada, use “O-” as prefix for “his/her/its” such as in “Oochul” for “his father” and “Ookwijul” for “his mother” [41]. In this application, the first “O” in these words seems to be equivalent to the Turkish word “onun” in apcopated form meaning “his”.

D.4.2. It is another grammatical rule in Turkish that the personel pronoun for third person singular case is not represented with a suffix or prefix in verb conjugations. This grammatical rule of Turkish seems to be used in a similar way in many languages of the Native Peoples of Americas. As examples, the Nahuatl, i.e. the Aztec language, the Aleutian, the Eskimo and Cree languages may be sited.

D.5. Observation regarding possessive pronoun for 1st person singular

In archaic Turkish [46], the personal pronoun for first person singular is “men” meaning “I”. To make possessive pronoun for first person singular, the suffix “-ing” is added to the word “men”. Hence, the word “mening” means “my or mine” in English. For example, “mening ata” means “my father”.

In modern Turkish dialects, the possessive pronoun for first person singular is in the form of “menim” or “benirn”. In addition to this form of expression, there is the suffix in the form of “-m” added to words ending with a vovel such as in “atam” meaning “my father” and in the form of “-am, -em, -im, -im, -om, -dm, -um or -iim" added to words ending with a consonant in accordance with the I urkish vovel harmony rules.

The word “mening” is made up of two syllables, i.e., “me” and “ning” where the latter is accentuated. Used as a prefix in some languages, the first syllable is likely to be dropped. The word then becomes transformed into the probable prefix forms of “nin”, “ni” or “in”. It is our view that the archaic Turkish word “mening” is related, through transformation and in the form of “nin, ni or in”, to similar prefixes used for first person singular in the languages of some of the Native Peoples of Americas. Examples of this, representing “my father” and “my mother” are given below for languages of various Native Peoples of Americas.

In the above given examples, the word “n’ota” is a combination of “ni” and “ota” where “i” after “n” is dropped off in the combined word.

D.6. Turkish and Aleutian connection

D.6.I. The Aleuts are the native people living on several islands of the Aleutian Chain, the Pribilof Islands and the Alaskan Peninsula [7]. R.H. Geoghegan writes: “The Aleut language is such a strongly differentiated dialect of the regular Eskimo language that it may almost be characterized as a distinct language although its structure is purely Eskimoid” [7]. After a rather superficial search, we were able to locate the following words which are similar to the corresponding Turkish words not only in meaning but also in structure:

The “adgan” comes from “adagan” where “gan” is the post positional suffix [3]. We note that in these two languages, not only the words for “father” are correlated, but also the suffix endings are similar.

D.6.2. Word for bird

In Aleut, the word for “bird”, i.e., a sparrow like small bird, is “cucix” [7], and in Turkish, the word “ciicik” or “cücük” is used to indicate baby birds, i.e., inclusive of hens, geese, ducks, etc..

D.7. Words for “sun” and “day” in Mayan and Turkish

D.7.1. In archaic Turkish, the word “kun” or “gun” in modern Turkish is used to express both the “sun” and “day”. We see that the Turkish speaking peoples of Asia associated the “sun” and “day”, i.e., the daytime, very closely with each other and expressed both of them with the same word. In studying some of the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas, particularly in the Mayan languages, we find that the association between “sun” and “day” is expressed not only in the same way but also with words which are similar to the corresponding Turkish words. Mayans called both the “sun” and the “day” with the word “k’in” or “kin” [41]. In Mayan calender, a year was divided into 18 months and each month into 20 kins. Injacaltec, which is also a Mayan language, the word “tz’ayic” is used for“sun” and “day” [42].

D.7.2. The general title given to Mayan priests was “ahkin” meaning “he of the sun” [41]. In this word, we again sense the presence of the Turkish words “o” as “ah” for “he” and “kun” as “kin” for “sun”.

D.7.3. In archaic Turkish, the word for the constellation “Ursa Major” is “Yitiken” or “Yeti Kardeshler” meaning “seven brothers”. In the word Yitiken, the first part represented by “yiti” stands for “seven”, i.e. indicating the seven prominent stars in the constellation. The second part of the word represented by “ken” probably stands for“kiin”, i.e., “sun”. Hence, it is very likely that the word “Yitiken” literally may be taken to mean “seven suns”. In this terminology, the concept of “sun” and the concept of “star” would be the same. This could mean that these ancient people probably had the knowledge that stars were actually like the sun of their own world. Probably, they knew much more about their environment than modern men give them credit.

D.8. The Aztec calendar tonalpohualli

D.8.1. The Aztecs used two calendars. One, which was called the “tonalpohualli” meaning the “day signs”, was divinatory, a sacred almanac used forecasting horoscopes and foretelling the future [Appendix E of 29]. The other was a solar calendar. In the tonalpohualli, a year consisted of 260 days. These days were grouped and identified by combining two periodic sets, one nominal, the other numeral. Both sets were locked into one another by means of the cardinal points of the compass, starting with the east and moving around through north, west and south.

The nominal set consisted of the following twenty names: Alligator, wind, house, lizard, snake, death, deer, rabbit, water, dog, monkey, grass, reed, jaguar, eagle, vulture, quake, flint, rain and flower.

An old Turkish calendar system [43], takes its name from the names of twelve animals whose names were used to identify each year of a twelve-year cycle. Turkish people used this calendar since very early times in their history until they accepted the Islamic religion and hence the Islamic calendar system. In this system, the names of the years in each cycle were: Rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, chicken, dog and pig 8. It is very curious that the same animal names should appear in both the Aztec and the Turkish calendar systems which were developed separately in two widely separated parts of the world. This we see when we compare the nouns used in the nominal set for day signs in the Aztec calendar tonalpohualli with the names of the years in the Turkish calendar, we find that five names in both systems are those of the same animals. Namely, snake, rabbit, dog, monkey and tiger or jaguar. Could it be that these names are coming from a common origine? It should be noted that the Nahuatl noun used for “dog” in the Aztec calendar is “itzcuintli” while the Turkish word used for “dog” in the Turkish calendar is “it” which seems to be correlated.

The commonality of some of the animals, although, used to identify consecutive years in one calendar and days in other calendar system, can not be attributed to randomly occuring choices. There seems to be sufficient evidence pointing to an origine which most likely was common to both systems. If this is so, then, the concept of calendar must be quite an old one dating back probably 10 000 or more years.

11 is also interesting to note that the Aztec calendar “tonalpohualli” was divinatory and sacred to Aztecs. This also indicates the ancientness of this calendar system, since when they were in doubt about the origine of the calendar, they would readily attribute it to their ancesstors. The ancestor worshipping has always been one of the beliefs of the Native Peoples of Americas and also of Turkish people.

D.9. The Inca sun god “inti” meaning “my father”

D.9.1. In Inca language Quechua, the “sun god” and hence the “sun” was named “Inti”. Inti, the sun god was the ranking deity in the Inca pantheon. It was represented with a human face on a ray-splayed disk. He was considered to be the Incas’ divine ancestor [EB, 1974, vol. 9 p. 260]. In the word structure of “Inti”, the prefix “in” stands for “my’ and “ti stands for “father”; hence, the word means “my father”. Incas were “sun” and “ancestor” worshippers. Thus, in the word “inti” the sacred gods represented by “sun” and “ancestor” that is “tayta in Quechua are combined in one word.

D.9.2. Again in Quechua language, Incas used to call one of their low order Creator-God as “Ataguju" [57]. It should be noted that the initial part of this word is suprisingly the word “ata” which probably stands for “sacred ancestors”.

D.9.3. In Inca society, unmarried princes of royal blood were called “Augui”. On marrying they became Inca or “Atauchi” [5]. It is only reasonable to call an adult man “ata..” after being married because, it is most likely that he will become an “ata”.

D.9.4. The following is an excerpt from Ref. 45:

“20th century archeology has confirmed that the Andean civilization centering in Peru preceded the Incas by thousands of years and the Inca civilization was built upon and enriched by several pre-existing cultures. The religions of pre-Inca peoples were polytheistic, i.e., believing in many gods, and involved the practice of ancestor worship and included various aspects of magic such as amulets, fertility figurins and apacheta or piles of stones”.

It should be noted that there is a definite parallel between this culture associated with pre-Inca civilization in South America and similar culture practiced by ancient Turkish people of Central Asia. The ancient 1 urks are also known to worship their ancestors and “piles of stones”.

In Turkish spoken in Central Asia, there is the word “oba" or "obo” which has several meanings one of which is “piles of stones at a site designated as sacred”. T urkish people have considered such piles of stones sacred long before they adapted other modern religions and they have carried out rituals around such “mounds of stones at certain times of the year. This culture is still being practiced by some Turkish people in various regions of Asia [19]. It seems that the practice of worship to “piles of stones” by pre-Inca peoples of Andean civilization is very much the same culture as the Turkish “obo” culture.

In addition to the Turkish “obo” culture, we should also note that in Altaic mythology, there is the reference to a culture in which a particular stone was considered as sacred and was worshiped by ancient 1 urkish people. This magical stone, which was called “Yada Tashi”, was possessed by the I urkish people [43, p.93]. They believed that it was due to the magic of this stone that they were always successful in their wars with their neighbors. Whenever they did not posses this magical stone, they would loose their strugles with their neighbors and environment. Misfortunes would befall on them.

Here, again we have an ancient Turkish culture which bears resemblance to the worshiping of Inca ancestors to piles of stones.

D.10. The Inca administrative structure

D.10.1. In Inca administrative system, the administration of the Inca people was based on household units of 10, 50, too, 500, 1000, 10 000 and 40 000 [5]- Each unit had an official assigned to be in charge of the unit. The official in charge of one of the four-quarters of the Inca Empire was called “Apu-Cuna” or “Hatun Apu-Cuna” 9. At the top of the administrative pramid was the Emperor called “Sapa Inca”.

In this organization, we note two aspects: one was that the system was basically decimal like the Turkish military system which has always been based on units having to, 50, too, 1000, 10 000 soldiers and/or horse-mounted cavalry. The names of the officials were “onbashi, ellibashi, binbashi and tumen begi” respectively. In this context, there seems to be a definite similarity between the two administrative systems.

We also observe some correlation between the Turkish word “apa” for “father or ancestor” and the names of the supreme administrators of the Inca system. Again question is whether these similarities are purely due to random events and/or choices or they exist because of real commonality existed between the Native Peoples of Americas and the Turkish people of Asia 10 000 or more years ago. Since, we do not know the history of these peoples well enough, we are likely to underestimate the capabilities of these ancient people and to deny their past achievements in their social, economic and administrative structure.

D.11. Turkish word “Ötüken” and Chorti word “Uteq’uin”

B.11.1. The archaic Turkish word “Ötüken” is frequently mentioned as a “divine place” in Turkish epic writings of “Kül Tigin”, “Bilge Kagan” and “Tonyukuk” and also in Kutatgu Bilig [ 18]. It seems that the “divine place” attribute as expressed by this word may be a much older concept than the one meant in these epic writings. For example, in Chorti language, a Mayan group in Guatemala, Central America, the word “Uteq’uin” means “heaven” [i i, p. 287]. It should be noted that the last part of this word, i.e., “q’uin”, by itself means “sun” in Chorti. The same may be said about the last syllable in the Turkish word “Ötüken” where the Turkish word “kun” for “sun” seems to appear as “-ken”. The “sun” itself has always been a force worshiped by many ancient peoples almost everywhere on earth. We also note from Ref. 47 that “according to D. Banzarov, the word “Utigin” or “Itügen” in Mongolian is the name given to a “god of a certain place”. It seems that the Chorti word “Uteq’uin”, the Turkish word “Ötüken” and the Mongol word “Utegin” are related to each other and may have a common original meaning used and understood by the ancestors of these peoples some 10 000 or more years ago when they were in Central Asia. In Turkish mythology, the “Kok Tenri” meaning the “Sky God” was one of the primary gods worshiped by Turks. It is likely that the place of residence of the “Kok Tenri” may have been considered to be the divine place “Ötüken” which could be the same as the word “Otekiin” meaning “beyond sun” in Turkish. In this conjectured concept, the word “Ötüken” and the Chorti word “Uteq’uin” would refere to a divine place in the sky beyond sun where the “Sky God” lived. Historically, such places have always been called “divine place” or “Heaven” almost in all existing religions.


This preliminary study was born out of curiosity. It is hoped that the linguistic, cultural and historical kinship between the Turks and Mongols of Asia and the Native Peoples of the Americas will be studied further and in depth by scholars. In the mean time, this study has found preliminary evidence that:

The native words meaning “father” and “mother” in the languages of some of the Native Peoples of Americas are definetely correlated to the Turkish words “ata”, “apa” and “ana”. Considering the fact that the Native Peoples of the Americas left Asia 1 o 000 or more years ago, it can be deduced that these words are probably among the oldest living words in human languages, that is if they are not the oldest ones.

  • Many living languages of the world use the words “papa” and “baba” for “father” and/or for “grandfather” which, most likely, are transformed versions of the Turkish word “apapa” meaning “father’s father”.
  • Similarly, the words “tata”, “dada”, “dede”, “tat” and “dad” are transformed versions of the Turkish word “ataata” and the word “nana”, “nene”, “nine”, “nane” and “nan” are transformed versions of the Turkish word “anana”.
  • The Turkish word “tepe” meaning “hill” has a one to one correspondance in the Aztec language Nahuatl. Hence, it is also one of the oldest living words.
  • The Turkish word “kiln” for “sun” and “day” seems to have definite relationship to the Mayan word “kin” or “q’uin” for “sun” and “day”. Hence, it is also one of the oldest living words.
  • Although, transformed considerably, the Turkish word “it” meaning “dog” seems to be present in the languages of some of the Native Peoples of Americas. It seems that the ancestors of both the Turks and the Native Peoples of Americas had access to domesticated dog at the same time in the past and had similar association with it.
  • Like the Turkish language, considerable number of Native Peoples of Americas languages not only use suffixes and prefixes in sentence construction, but they also seem to follow, to some degree, the Turkish “vowel harmony” rule and some suffixing rules similar to those in Turkish. These characteristics would make them kins to Turkish language.
  • There are cultural and/or mythological beliefs among the Native Peoples of Americas w hich seem to be very similar to the cultural and/or mythological beliefs of Turkish people of Central Asia. Particularly, worshiping to ancestors, natural forces, sun and stars and even to some stones considered to be magical.
  • The word “Ötüken” in Turkish, “Utigin or Itugen” in Mongol- Buryat and “Utiq’uin” in Mayan Chorti languages are likely related to each other due to fact that they not only sound the same but also have some “divineness” feature attributed to them in both cultures. These words also are probably one of the oldest living words.
  • All these apparent kinship between the languages and cultures of the Native Peoples of the Americas and the Turkish people of Asia point to the existence of a common historical background between the ancestors of all of these peoples. This common historical background must have existed some io ooo or more years ago in Central Asia where the ancestors of both peoples lived there and shared their culture. In this common culture, they had access to domesticated dog, horse, cattle and sheep and therefore, they had an economic system based on raising such animals. The probably developed techniques such as spinning wool with a spindle and making woven material using some of the by-products of this economic system. Most likely they knew the technique of making felt, carpet, kilim, etc. by then.
  • There is a vast linguistic heritage in terms of the Turkish and the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas. I believe that the study of these languages by linguists, with the care and interest of an archeologist, will hold additional light to not only the relationship between these languages, to the way of life of these people, but also to the relationship and kinship that may have existed between those people who spoke these languages thousands of years ago.
  • Western linguists have spend tremendous efforts to study and document the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas. In recent times, their efforts in this field are even greater. A vast wealth of linguistic material have been produced by them and the work done is admirable.
  • However, inspite of the well intentions of all those scholars who have studied the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas, the tool they have used in the past and are still using at present is not exactly the right one for the purpose. Almost all of those who have studied the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas seem to have used the Indo-European languages and the sound system of these languages as the yard sticks to study and evaluate the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas. Yet, the sounds and structures of the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas are totally alien to the speakers of the Indo-European languages. Hence, immediately there is a conflict between the observer and the observed. Distortion, although unintentionally, is introduced into the representations of the studied languages when the Indo-European speaking linguist tries to transcribe sounds of the observed language. I believe, in studying the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas, the knowledge of Turkish would be not only the right tool to use, but also very handy in understanding and representing the studied Native Peoples of Americas languages. Scholars having a tuned ear to Turkish would be right at home when studying the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas. Presently, there seems to be considerable amount of inconsistency in the representation of these languages. I believe that most of the confusion that exist in the available studies which try to represent the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas in some of the Indo-European languages would be eliminated by using Turkish and its alphabet. Turkish phonems as represented in Latin characters could give a truer representation of the sounds of the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas. Finally, I believe that the Turk Dil Kurumu (TDK), i.e., Turkish Linguistic Society, of the Republic of Turkey is one group which is in the best position to carry out studies regarding the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas. I think that the outcome ofsuch studies by TDK would hold additional light not only to the roots and the antiquity of the Turkish language and the languages of the Native Peoples of Americas, but also to the history of Turks and the Native Nations of the Americas.


  1. A. Vahid Moran, “Türk^e-tngilizce Sozliik (A Turkish-English Dictionary)”, Published by the Turkish Ministry of Public Instruc­tion, Istanbul, 1945.
  2. Sir Gerard Clauson, “An Etymological Dictionary of Pre-Thirteenth Century Turkish”, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1972 (Ref Pi 183. Q>)-
  3. Gunnar Jarring, “An Eastern Turki-English Dialect Dictionary”, 1964 (Ref. PL26J37).
  4. Don Dedero, “Navajo Rugs”, Northland Press, 1982.
  5. Philip Ainsworth Means, “Ancient Civilizations of the Andes”, Gordian Press, Inc., New York 1964 (F3429 M53).
  6. Arthur Thibert, O.M.I., “English-Eskimo, Eskimo-English Dictio­nary”, Canadian Research Centre for Antropology, Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Canada, 1972.
  7. Richard Henry Geoghegan, “The Aleut Language”, edited by Fredericka I. Martin, United States Department of Interior, 1944.
  8. George F. Aubin, “A Proto-Algonquian Dictionary”, National Museum of Canada, Ottawa, 1975 (Ref PM 605 A92).
  9. Edwin James, “Account of an Expedition from Pitsburgh to the Rocky Mountains”, vol 2, 1823 (F592. J3 1823 a).
  10. H. Christoph and Janet F. Carrol, “Meet Cree a Guide to Cree Language”, University of Alberta Press, 1981.
  11. Marvin K. Mayers, “Languages of Guatemala”, Mouton & Co., The Hague, 1966 (PM3361 M3).
  12. Catherine A. Callaghan, “Lake Miwok Dictionary” (P25. C25, vo. 39)­
  13. Jesse O. Sawyer, “English-Wappo Dictionary”, 1965, (P25. C25, vo. 43)­
  14. Washington Matthews, “Grammer and Dictionary of the Language of the Hidatsa”, New York Cramoisy Press, 1873 (Ref. PM1331. M4).
  15. H. Jakob Seiler and Kojiro Hioki, “Cahuilla Dictionary”, Malki Museum Press, 1979, Morongo Indian Reservation, Banning, California (PM731 Z5 S44).
  16. R.R. Bishop Baraga, “A Dictionary of Otchipwe Language”, Reprinted 1966 from 1878 original, Ross & Haines, Inc., Minnea­polis, Minnesota, 1966 (Ref. PM853. B28).
  17. George Gibbs, “Alphabetical Vocabularies of the Challan and Lumni Languages”, Shea’s Library of American Linguistics, vol. XI, AMS Press Inc., New York, 1863. Cramoisy Press, New York 1863 (PM 102. S4).
  18. Abdulkadir tnan, “Yusuf Has Hacib ve Eseri Kutatgu Bilig Uzerine Notlar”, Turk Kultiirii, sayi 98, Arahk 1970, p. 1 14-115.
  19. Abdulkadir, “Oba ve Obo Sbzleri Hakkinda”, Azerbaycan Yurt Bilgisi, Eylul-I.Te§rin, 1933, sayi 21-22, sahife 377-379­
  20. George Gibbs, “Alphabetical Vocabulary of the Chinook Lan­guage”, Same Press as Ref. No. 16.
  21. Rev. F. Felipe Arroyo De La Cuesta, “A Vocabulary or Phrase Book of the Mutsun Language of Alta California”, Shea’s Library of American Linguistics, vol. VIII, Same Press as Ref No. 16.
  22. Mauricio Swadesh, Ma. Cristina Alvarez and Juan R. Bastarrachea, “Diccionario De Elementos Del Maya Yucateco Colonial”, Mexico, 1970 (Ref. PM3966. S9).
  23. Dean Saxton, Lucille Saxton and Susie Enos, “English-Papago/ Pima Dictionary”, University of Arizona Press, Tuscon, Arizona, 1983­
  24. Berard Haile, “A Stem Vocabulary of the Navaho Language”, St. Michaels Press, Arizona, 1951 (Ref. PM2008. H26).
  25. J.O. Dorsey and J.R. Swanton, “Dictionary of the Bloxi and Ufo Languages”, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1912.
  26. Ann Anderson, “Plains Cree Dictionary in the Y Dialect”, Edminton, 1971.
  27. John Asher Dunn, “A Practical Dictionary of the Coast Tsimshian Language” (Ref. PM831 Z5 D8).
  28. Durbin Feeling, “Cherokee-English Dictionary”.
  29. J. Richard Andrews, “Introduction to Classical Nahuatl” The Aztec Language, University of Texas Press, Austin & London (PM 4063 A66).
  30. Benjamin F. Elson, Editor, “Studies in Peruvian Indian Languages: I”, A Publication of the Summer Institute of Linguistics of the University of Oklahoma (PM527I S8).
  31. Mildred L. Larsen, “Ernie Classes Which Manifest the Obligatory Tagmemes in Major Independent Clause Types of Aguaruna (Jivaro)”, first article in Ref. 30.
  32. G. L. Piggott and A. Grafstein, “An Ojibwa Lexicon”, National Museum of Man Mercuri Series, Ottawa, 1983.
  33. Albert D. DeBlois and Alphonse Metallie, “English-Micmac Lexi­con”, National Museum of Man Mercuri Series, Ottawa, 1983.
  34. Encyclopaedia Brittanica, 1963 Edition.
  35. Edna Nunez de Rodas, Directora de Insttuto de Antropologia e Historia de Guatemala, private communication dated 13 August >985-
  36. Arthur J.O. Anderson, “Rules of the Aztec Language Classical Nahuatl Grammar”, University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, Utah, ’973 (PM4063 A6).
  37. Encyclopaedia Brittanica, 1974 Edition, vol. 1 and 13.
  38. Bart McDowel and B. Anthony Stewart, “Mexico’s New Museum, Window on the Past”, the National Geographic Magazine, Vol. 134, No. 4, October 1968.
  39. “Archeological Map of Middle America” idem.
  40. John Gilmary Shea, “French-Onandaga Dictionary From a Ma­nuscript of the Seventeenth Century”, Cramoisy Press, New York i860.
  41. Encyclopaedia Brittanica, 1974 Edition, vol. 13, p. 719-722.
  42. Christopher Day, “The Jacaltec Language”, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA.
  43. T. Yilmaz Oztuna, “Ba§langicindan Zamamrmza Kadar Türkiye Tarihi”, vol. 2, Hayat Kitaplan Serisi, 1963.
  44. 44 J.F.H. Adelaar, “Tarma Quechua Frammar, Texts, Dictionary”, The Peter De Ridder Press, 1977.
  45. Encyclopaedia Brittanica, 1974 edition, vol. 9, p. 259.
  46. A. Dila^ar, “900. Yildonurnii Dolayisiyle Kutatgu Bilig tncelemesi”, Turk Dil Kurumu Yayinlan, No. 340, Ankara Universitesi Basimevi, 1972, p. 61.


  1. In this study, the term “Turkish” is used to mean all forms and/or dialects of Turkish, archaic and modern as spoken by Turks every where in Asia rather than the limited meaning attributed to it in some text books to indicate Turkish spoken by Turks in Turkey.
  2. 2 “ADA” and “ANA” are the stems of the words "ADAQ” and “ANAQ” respectively.
  3. 3 Lower case printing within brakets represents the reference word from TABLE 1.
  4. 4 after a vowel indicates a long vowel pronounciation.
  5. 5 “NOHTAWE” represents “NI OHTAWE = my father” where prefix NI is combined with the second word and “i” is dropped.
  6. 6 Tarma Quechua is (he native language of the province of Tarma which is north of the capital city Lima of Peru. This language is a variety of the Inca language QUECHUA.
  7. 7 In Tarma Quechua of Peru, the following words are interesting to note since they arc related to the Turkic word "ana” and "ata”: "nana = a woman’s sister; nanachikaq = sisters"; “taytanci = grandfather; taytacha = young gentleman; tayta inti = father sun"<br>In Onandaga language, in USA [40], the word "kchiotaa" is used for "my grandfather". In this word, “—otaa" is the word for "grandfather".<br> It may be of interest to some historians and linguists to note that the Basques of Spain use “aita" for “father” and "ama" for "mother". This supports the view that they went to Spain long time ago from Caucasia. Here again, we meet the Turkish words "ata" and "ana" in an insignificantly different format.
  8. The animal names used as the year names in Turkish calendar system are the same as or similar to those used in a Chinese calendar system. Turks and Chinese have influenced each other considerably in the history.
  9. The Inca (Quechua) word “Hatun” means “great; big” and is added as adjective to the names of Inca leaders to describe their greatness. Similarly, in Turkish, the word "Hatun” as well as the word “Katun" is the name given to the wife of “Great Hakan", i.e., the empress, of the Turkish people. It is interesting to note that one of the highest ridges of the contemporary Altai mountains in Asia is known by the T urkish name of “Katun", (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1974, Vol. 1, p. 640) towering more than 4 000 meters. Could it be that the Inca word “Hatun" and the Turkish word “Hatun" derive their meaning from the loftiness of the towering “Katun" mountain ridge in the Altai mountains’ After all, the ancestors of both the Turkish people in Asia and the ancestors of the Native Peoples of Americas were from Central Asia.

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