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Digging tswana roots

When days are numbered
Despite the apparent difference in pronunciation between the Tswana term mashume-[a-ma]-nne (as most likely pronounced originally) and the English word 'forty', they share the same etymology.
By I.M. LETEANE (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Digging tswana roots








 This will naturally surprise most readers. Indeed, top linguists - for example Philip Durkin of the Oxford English Dictionary - believe that there is little commonality between Indo-European and African (Bantu) languages. But I will soon prove them wrong. Yes, as I continue to add protolanguage words to my ever-expanding Dictionary of Protolanguage Terms, the days of this gross misconception are very much numbered. And this is no threat; it is a certainty.

The above two words belong to the same Sumerian roots, which is more-or-less our common universal protolanguage. But unbeknownst to many, Sotho-Tswana diction remains very close to this protolanguage. In fact, so rich is this vein that I mostly limit myself to similar-sounding words between Sotho-Tswana and other language families that, in addition, seem to harbour a similar meaning. In many cases, however, a semantic path needs also be traced. And here, as all linguists know, is where there are caveats; the discerned similarity must not be wishful, thin on facts.

Quite clearly, the number 'four' was initially nne in our protolanguage. Nne in turn is premised on the proto-term nin which, in Sumerian, means 'great [in number or substance]'. Indeed, ningi means 'many' in Nguni languages. Ninne (forty), we can discern, is thus nin-nne ('many fours'), but the double-connotation of 'great' most likely resulted in the following semantic path in English: ninne = mighty>a fort>forty, while Sotho-Tswana evidently followed this path:

ninne>nonne>stout, big>fat, substantial. The link between 'nne/four' and 'mighty' (nin) relates, fundamentally, to the number of sides of a square - which is 'as wide as it is long/tall'. In numerology its uniformity represented balance and stability, hence strength and rigidity.

Anthromorphically (i.e. as relating to a person), it connoted 'stout' or 'fat'.  If to linguists all this sounds a little tenuous, let me further substantiate it.

There was a certain turbulent period in the history of the Sumerian gods - nicely unbundled for my reader in previous articles - where the goddess Inanna was on the rampage as the utterly ruthless 'Warrior Queen'. In those days, her uncle Ninurta was the heir-apparent of Enlil (EN.L'ILLU: 'Lord of the Gods'; 'gods' being the Illu or 'Shining Ones'), but he was clearly nervous of Inanna's ambitions. He thus built a fort called 'E-Ninnu' in his city of Lagash - complete with underground labyrinths for escape purposes.

This was in the days of his 'mortal' protege, King Gudea. Thereafter, all Enlils adopted his clever design - an example of which is Yahweh's Temple in Jerusalem, the capital city of Judah/Judea. 'E-Ninnu' is translated as '[That] of Fifty' (but I say 'Forty'); i.e. it is 'the forti-fied one'. Quite clearly, 'fort' and 'forty' (fort-like) are related, the principal, metaphoric link being the four sides of

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a square. What about shume? It means 'ten' in Bantu languages. As such, a much later king called E-shume (Ishme) was 'he of ten'. In fact, expanding on Zecharia Sitchin's take, 'ten' (which in my protolanguage is TA.EN: 'approaching Lordliness') was the rank of a 'mortal' king (KA.EN: 'like the Lords' [the gods]), and 'forty/fifty' was the rank of 'gods'.

The number of years King David ruled was forty in all. Per my Harmonized Timelines (see my e-book at http://pitoronet.com), David was the pharaoh 'Pasebakheniut' who ruled Egypt from 995 to 971 BC (24 years) before he was ousted by Shishaq/Sheshonq of a new dynasty of Libyan origin. By 988 BC David had replaced Saul as king of the Canaan region (the Promised Land) and the '7 years' in which he reigned in 'Hebron' (2 Chronicles 29:27) were actually the years 995 to 988 BC in which he ruled only Egypt. The next 33 years that David ruled 'Israel' from Jerusalem are from 988 to 955 BC. His son Solomon also reigned 40 years. Now, was there anything behind this round figure of forty? Indeed there was.

Per the Old Testament, David earned the wrath of the Lord when he disgraced himself - including killing Uriah, husband of Bathsheba, just so that he could marry her. 'Beth-Sheba' means 'daughter of Sheba'. In 'my' protolanguage, 'bat/beth' originally meant 'doorway [into]' (le-bati in Tswana, bit in Sumerian/Akkadian) - hence like Bab-Illyon (Babylon), Beth-Elohim (Bethlehem) is, properly, 'Doorway of the Gods'. The analogy between 'doorway' and 'womanhood, birth-channel' is self-evident. Since David was Pa-sheba-ka-EN.AT (Bright Star (se-baha) of the Lord), a writer called Ralph Ellis has detected - with good reason - that there is more to Bathsheba's story than meets the eye...but we won't go there (for even more see my e-book They Came from the Sky; at my website). What matters is that the Lord typically punished by '...the number of days [the Israelites] spied out the [Promised] land, forty days...one year for each day' (Numbers 14:34; see also Ezekiel 4:6).

Solomon was 'worse'. He actually took to the worship of 'strange' (foreign) gods. His days were likewise numbered. The last straw was, however, Jeroboam - whose story we cover in the next article. He triggered what I call 'the Messianic Cycle', which entailed 'the Seven Chastisements of the Jews'. To fully understand this involves revealing at least two layers to the Lord's angry promise in Leviticus 26:18, 28 - and most have detected only one layer.

Properly unpeeled (as in our next article), we will see that this statement was the single most important driver of our real and highly-misunderstood collective history; that it involved layers never meant to be uncovered.

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