There are many Chinese etymology dictionaries available in English which focus on the origin of the characters. I haven't been able to locate one on-line which provides information on the etymology of the word as spoken. I.e., the origin of "nǚ" rather than the etymology of 女. Thank you.

  • 1
    – ytlu
    Commented Jan 8, 2021 at 18:31
  • Probably, nobody has studied this, so you won't find much information. PIE protagonists seem only to think from India and to the West. I don't think there is a Sino-PIE incorporating etymology. That said, Chinese for water is shuǐ and Turkish for water is su. Do you think they may be related via an ancient tongue?
    – Pedroski
    Commented Jan 9, 2021 at 8:10
  • Perhaps or, perhaps, via a borrowing that took place when center of Turkic languages/culture was further east than today. In any case, your question is related to my interest in locating a source for Chinese etymology (not necessarily PIE-related). Commented Jan 12, 2021 at 7:05
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    Similarities are not necessarily correlations. Correlations are not necessarily causalities.
    – River
    Commented Jan 14, 2021 at 13:58
  • @Pedroski There exist some studies of Proto-Sino-Tibetan.
    – Victor
    Commented Jan 17, 2021 at 1:27

2 Answers 2


It is at best a coincidence. nǚ and niŋä are not even that close. There is only one common phoneme between the two words. If you count this as close, there will be thousands of words that are as close.

Also, today's pronunciations can't be used to compare, because pronunciations change over time. You can read the basics at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Chinese and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-Tibetan_languages. Basically most scholars agree that Chinese is related with languages like Tibetan and Burmese. There are also a very few scholars who support hypotheses like the "Sino-Caucasian" hypothesis, but these are viewed as doubtful and not widely accepted.


is this what you want?


it's a major in a Master of Chinese Literature

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