When I first started studying the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, I knew Anti-Mormons were always trashing on Joseph Smith's numerals saying that they are just made up. I knew they were wrong, because I knew in my gut that some of them had patterns that I knew of from other languages from Europe and Asia. And I am also a martial artist since age 14, and knew how to count in Japanese. And I knew that the Japanese number two was Ni. And I knew that was more than a coincidence. Joseph Smith would not have just threw in the Japanese number for two for nothing. Japanese was the last thing on Joseph Smith's mind when he was doing what he was doing. So I knew that this had something more to do with an ancient convergence of language families in some region. And I knew intuitively that the language family that the Japanese numerals ultimately belonged to had something to do with the puzzle.
Here is my post on the Sino-Tibetan Ni form for the number two, to which the Sino-Japanese numeral vocalizations belong:
You also may want to look at this link:
And I also knew that other people had no clue, so there was some complexity behind this. It was a puzzle to be deciphered, not a crazy man's idea to be dismissed. Hugh Nibley again and again showed us the necessity for a wide-ranging comparative study. And so, I needed to nail down patterns and cognates (similar sounding words from other languages). Little did I know at the time that I would actually end up having to scan through cognates from all the world's language families to narrow this down. And, so, I knew in my gut that if Japanese still testified that Ni was a real numeral in some languages, that the rest of the cognates would show up somewhere, and we could nail this thing down. Thankfully comparative charts are found at http://www.zompist.com/numbers.shtml.
The surprise is the geographic area where these cognates converge. It is not Egypt. It is the Himalayas. I know that is strange, but stay with me here, because if the language is not classic Ancient Egyptian that is represented by these numerals, then it had to belong to some language family, didn't it? And if the Lord is allowing the Anti-Mormons to hang themselves with things like this, it would have to be real and true without being obvious.
This article narrows down the language families of the number vocalizations in the Egyptian Counting Section of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers to Indo-Iranian (a sub-group of Indo-European) and Sino-Tibetan (i.e. Chinese/East Asian/Japanese family) rather than from Ancient Egyptian. As I showed in a different article, the numeral characters are also strangely from the Indo-Arabic numeral family, while being closely tied to hieratic numerals. This points to a origin for these vocalizations and numerals from the Tibet/India/Persia area where Indo-Iranian and Sino-Tibetan numeral vocalizations geographically overlap. Only further research can show why Joseph Smith would have produced this, and what it has to do with the Book of Abraham. What we can say at this point though is that he did NOT make these numerals up, because they do actually belong to existing language families.
Here are the Ancient Egyptian Numerals that have been Egyptologically reconstructed. These are NOT the same as in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers:
1 = W' ("Oua")
2 = Shnwai ("Shinway")
3 = Khmt ("Khamta")
4 = Fdw ("Fda")
5 = Diw ("Diyaw")
6 = Sis ("Seis")
7 = Sfkh ("Safakha")
8 = Khmn ("Khamana")
9 = Psd ("Pisida")
10 = Md ("Muda")
A cognate comparison to Hebrew, Akkadian and African languages shows that these vocalizations are clearly from the Afro-Asiatic language family. In contrast to those, here are the vocalizations/pronunciations for the numerals in the Egyptian Counting section of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers:
1 = Eh
2 = Ni
3 = Ze
4 = Teh
5 = Veh
6 = Psi
7 = Psa
8 = A
9 = Na
10 = Ta
Trying to get these to fit in the Afro-Asiatic family is to jam a square peg in a round hole. These simply have no relation whatsoever to "Ancient Egyptian" numerals as Egyptologically reconstructed. Ancient Egyptian is related to other languages of the region, such as Akkadian and Hebrew, and other African languages in the Afro-Asiatic family. The numerals in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers are simply not from the same language family, at all, and do not relate to Egyptologically reconstructed Ancient Egyptian, nor do they relate to later Coptic cognates. They are simply something else. It is true that the numbers 6 and 7 are somewhat similar, but the rest are simply not related at all, to the degree that it is quite apparent they are clearly not even in the same language family. As with all the rest of Joseph Smith's reconstructions, this is not surprising. Anti-Mormons would stop here and declare victory and call Joseph Smith a fraud without actually doing anything else, but of course, that is a lazy mindset. This type of thing has never stopped us before, and it has never meant that they are not actually Egyptian. It just means they are a different system, from a different language family, and need a different explanation. And by actually doing our homework, and taking Joseph Smith at his word, we will see that they are actually real, and actually belong to some family of numerals. Just because they are different does not mean they are not what they claim to be. We will see that they are indeed "Egyptian," just not "Ancient Afro-Asiatic Egyptian."
If you remember, in the first part of this series of posts, we mentioned that in Greek, forms such as Tessera for four start with "te" just like in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers numeral set. (Compare for example, the English word Tesseract, the name of the hypercube in geometry/mathematics, which derives from the Greek word--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesseract).
Also, we see that in Germanic, we have A forms for 8, N forms for 9, and T forms for 10. In the EAG, we have this "a, na, ta" triplicate for 8, 9 and 10. Forms that are similar to this triplicate occur in things such as the Pashto variants of Indo-Iranian languages. In the following examples, the parts that are the most similar are in bold. For example, in the Wakhi Pashto variant, it is "at, na:w, dhas." The Proto-Indo-Iranian reconstruction is "*ashta:, *nawa, *daca." In Proto-Germanic (the reconstruction), these are "*ahto:,*niwun, *tehun." The Indo-European reconstructions are "*okto:, *newn, and *dekm."
For 6 and 7, we have a pair that is "psi, psa", which is essentially an "S, S" pair. These types of pairs for 6 and 7 occur in families such as Germanic, Italic, etc. In Italic, we have "Si, Sa" variants, such as in Dalmatian, Franco-Provencal, and even in Germanic such as in English with "Six, Seven" and so forth. The West Frisian is "seis, sân." The Proto-Indo-European reconstruction is "*sweks, *septm."
In the EAG, the numeral for 5 is "veh," a bi-labial fricative. For the number five, in Greek we have "pente." Other Indo-European forms for bi-labial fricatives such as this are Cypriot "bende." The Indo-Iranian Pashto variants have forms such as "panj" or "penj." Rimella is "venve." Proto-Celtic-Gaulish (reconstruction) is "pempe."
Scanning through the other variants throughout language families, it is clear, based on these comparisons that the language family that most of Joseph Smith's EAG numerals belong to is the INDO-EUROPEAN Language Family. But not all. So what does this indicate? We shall see.
Now, to proceed further on zeroing in further on the sub-language groups that these numerals belong to, we will focus in on the number three. In the EAG, Joseph Smith's numeral for three is "Ze." In a search among Indo-European variants for a Z or an S form for the number three, we find it in the Indo-Iranian variants. Such as the Pashto Parachi variant "she" and the Pashto Ormuri variant "she." It is however, particularly in the Western Iranian Variants that we find most of them. We find the "se" form in the Yazdi, Natanzi, Khunsari, Gazi, Sivandi, Vafsi, Sangisari, Gilaki, Mazanderani, Talysh, Baluchi, Rakhshani (Western), Kermanji (S) Kurdish and Zaza (N) Kurdish, and others that are very close, such as Bajalani which is "sa."
Note in particular, the Kurdish variants here. We will come back to this to focus on it in later posts, because it is very important. But "se" forms also exist for Southwest Iranian forms as well such as in variants like Farsi, Isfahani, Tajik, Tati, Fars, Lari, Luri. So, based on the number three "Se" variants existing exclusively in Indo-Iranian variants, we can surmise that most of Joseph Smith's Egyptian numeral vocalizations belongs to the Indo-Iranian sub-family of Indo-European, with Western Iranian forms being very similar. However, we will also take notice of a Sino-Tibetan triplicate later on in this article, where that triplicate is very close to Joseph Smith's "outlier" numerals (i.e. those that do not fit with Indo-Iranian).
The only outlier out of all the numerals is the number two, which is Ni. However, throughout many Indo-Iranian and Indian forms, the numeral is either "di," "dvi," "dwi" or "dwa." These are one-syllable particles, very similar to Ni, with the consonant only being slightly different. And as I pointed out in the previous post, the "Ni" variants in Sino-Tibetan languages are well-attested as in almost a majority. It can be explained as being something that was an interpolation inherited from or influenced by Sino-Tibetan forms, which overlap geographically in the same part of the word as the Indic forms of Indo-Iranian, across the Himalayas into the Indian-Sub-Continent.
The numeral one, in many forms in Indo-Iranian, is just simply "i", just like Joseph Smith's "eh" for the number one.
Here are examples for comparison from this language family that ranges from Persia to India. Take note of general patterns, not getting hung up on particulars (the parts most similar to Joseph Smith's Egyptian are highlighted):
Talysh i(1) du(2) se(3) cho(4) penj (5) shash(6) håft(7) hasht(8) nav(9) då(10)
Kermanji (S) Kurdish yak(1) du:(2) se:(3) chwa:r(4) pe:nj(5) shash(6) hawt(7) hasht(8) no:(9) da(10)
Zaza (N) Kurdish e:k(1) dô(2) se:(4) cha:r(4) pe:nj(5) shash(6) haft(7) hasht(8) na(9) da(10)
Gilaki yek(1) du(2) se(3) chår(4) penj(5) shish(6) haf(7) hash(8) noh(9) da(10)
Banjari (Lamani) ek(1) di(2) tin(3) caar(4) paanc(5) cho(6) saat(7) aaT(8) naw(9) das(10)
Marathi ek(1) don(2) ti:n(3) char(4) pac(5) seha(6) sat(7) ath(8) neu(9) deha(10)
Lahnda hikk(1)do:e:(2) träo(3) cha:r(4) pañ(5) ch`e:(6) satt(7) att`(8) nå~(9) da:h(10)
Even though some of the forms of Indo-Iranian 7, there is a "ha" form, it is still essentially a match, because even in Ancient Egyptian to Coptic, some of the numeral pronunciations shifted from "kha" to "sa" and so forth. The shifting of the sounds sometimes like this is immaterial. Other closely related cognates show the presence of "sa" in the group.
In some of these Indo-Iranian forms, the number 4 is a ts, c form or ch which are close to a T. Now, once again, we show the EAG numerals for comparison:
Eh(1), Ni(2), Ze(3), Teh(4), Veh(5), Psi(6), Psa(7), A(8), Na(9), Ta(10)
Now, as an example of how these two language families intermix geographically in this region (Sino-Tibetan and Indo-Iranian in the Himalayan area), I give two examples here, that both have the A, Na, Ta (8, 9, 10) triplicate with a Ni form for the number two, and a b form for the number 5. This is the Central Himalayan language called Magari (Again, the closest forms to Joseph Smith's Egyptian are highlighted.):
kat(1) nis (2) som(3) buli(4) ba-nga(5) ch`a(6) sa:t(7) a:th(8) nau(9) das(10) (http://www.zompist.com/sino.htm)
Just like the Banjari and the Lahnda Indo-Iranian forms, this Magari counting has a ch form for the number six.
Even though the Magari numeral for one has no initial vowel, it still starts out with a K, which is found in several of the the other Indo-Iranian forms that we have shown. Interestingly also, it is found in a number of Sino-Tibetan forms for the number one as well.
As you can see with these language forms, the numerals for 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10, are practically identical with the Indo-Iranian forms above, yet there is a Ni form for the number two. It is in very deed a hybrid between the two language families. And that, contrasted with another (called Chepang) in the same region that obviously has more classic Sino-Tibetan roots:
Chepang jat-zho?(1) nis-zho?(2) sum-zho?(3) plaj-zho?(4) po-nga-z'o(5) kruk-(6) chana-(7) prep-(8) te-ku0(9) gjip-(10)
Kanashi: idi(1) ñish(2) shum(3) pu(4) nga(5) tso(6) saot(7) ath(8) nou(9) das(10)
Thami: diware(1) nis(2) tin (3) cha:r(4) pa:nch(5) ch`au(6) sa:t(7) a:t`(8) nan(9) das(10)
Bhramu: de:(1) ni(2) swo:m(3) bi(4) ba:nga:(5)
Just like the Banjari and the Lahnda Indo-Iranian forms, and the Central Himalayan Magari, the Thami has a ch form for the number six. And the Kanashi form has a ts, which is very close to ch. However, it also manifests that it is essentially similar to an S form, which is what other Indo-Iranian forms have for a number six.
The Kanashi number 5 has a nga form, which is the second syllable in these other forms. It shares this in common with many Sino-Tibetan forms of the number five.
Instead of a K in the number one, these forms consistently have a D form where the K form was in the Central Himalayan forms that are related to Indo-Iranian.
And now, we contrast those from others in the same region that are more true to the Sino-Tibetan forms:
Chitkuli i(1) nisi(2) homo(3) pä(4) nga(5) tu(6) tish(7) rE(8) gui(9) sE(10)
Kanauri it(1) nish(2) sum(3) pli(4) nga(5) tug(6) stish(7) raj(8) zgui(9) sej(10)
Manchati (Pattani) icha(1) jut(2) sumu(3) pi(4) nga(5) trui(6) nhizi(7) re(8) ku (9) sa(10)
Chamba i:tti(1) jur.(2) shum(3) pi(4) nga:(5) tru:i:(6) hni(7) hre:(8) ku:(9) sa:(10)
Rangloi (Tinani) ica(1) ngizi(2) sumu(3) pi(4) nga(5) trui(6) ngicce(7) gyeidi(8) ku(9) sa(10)
Now, there is one more point that I want to make about Sino-Tibetan. And that is, in a lot of these forms, it is mostly the first three numerals that have any similarity at all to Joseph Smith's Egyptian. In some Sino-Tibetan forms, we have something similar to the "eh(1), ni(2), ze(3)" triplicate as is found in Joseph Smith's Egyptian. A more obvious example is Sino-Japanese (the usual way of counting in Japanese--once again similarities to Joseph Smiths Egyptian are highlighted):
ichi(1) ni(2) san(3) shi(4) go(5) roku(6) sichi(7) hachi(8) ku(9) ju(10)
Now, reconstructed Old Chinese:
*?jit(1) *njis(2) *sum(3) *s(p)jij/ts(4) *nga?(5) *C-rjuk(6) *tshjit(7) *pret(8) *kwju?(9) *gjip(10)
And Yangzhou Chinese:
ie?(1) â(2) se~(3) si(4) u(5) lo(6) chie(7) pa(8) ciôi(9) se(10)
And Suzhou Chinese:
je(1) ñi(2) sæ(3) si(4) ng(5) ly(6) tshi(7) py(8) tsiöy(9) ze(10)
Anyway, you probably get my point I think. There is something going on here. All the "components" for these numerals are present in Indo-Iranian forms, and Indo-European in general, except for the Ni outlier, which is present in Sino-Tibetan languages, which are geographically in the same region as many of the Indo-Iranian languages. If there was nothing to this, these patterns would not have manifest themselves with a geographical region to match them. This is where the evidence leads. We have identified an area of perhaps Tibet or the Himalayas where two language systems cross over that are evident in the Egyptian counting vocalizations of the KEP. What the true reason is for this is only something that can be guessed. But at the very least, this shows there is some sort of very early connection between the Himalayas and Egypt.
Since I wrote this article, more evidence has presented itself and I presented it in another post:
This shows that the MOST ANCIENT Egyptian language spoken by the original inhabitants of Egypt would have been Indo-European in origin, before the seed of Noah got to Egypt, perhaps even from the area in question of the Himalayas.