Moon and Month - Very consistent words in many languages

I notice an odd pattern while studying languages: The words for “Moon” and “Month” tends to be consistent in many languages, are cognates for many languages, and have the same meaning; so now I gave a quick view on Google Translator for the translator of the words “Moon”, and “Month”, and what I found was astonishing. The list will display the translation for “Month”, and “Moon”, respectively, separated by commas, for languages that have those words similar or equal to each other. I forgot to pick and match similarities between words in languages like Marathi, Tamil, Hindi, etc… I was not able to read in Hebrew, so this was dismissed; but I can assure there are interesting patterns in those languages like Tamil and Marathi: The word for “month” tends to start with “m”; not only for those in specific, but for all languages. Also I did not wrote the similarities between the translations
for “Moon” like “Luna” and “Lune”; generally from Latin derived languages. So here is the list:

Afrikaans: Maand, Maan
Azerbaijani: Ay, Ay
Belarusian: Месяц,Месяц
Bosnian: Mesec
Cebuano: Bulan,Bulan
Chichewa: Mwezi, Mwezi
Chinese: 月 (Yuè), 月 (Yuè)
Croatian: Mjesec, Mjesec
Czech: Měsíc, Měsíc
Danish: Måned, Måne
Dutch: Maand, Maan
Estonian: Kuu, Kuu
Filipino: Buwan, Buwan
Finnish: Kuukausi, Kuu
Frisian: Moanne, Moanne
German: Monat, Mond
Hawaiian: Mahina, Mahina
Latvian: Mēnesis, Mēnesis
Kyrgyz: ай, ай
Korean: 달 (dal), 달 (dal)
Kinyarwanda: Ukwezi, Ukwezi
Kazakh: Ай, Ай
Japanese: 月 (Tsuki), 月 (Tsuki)
Indonesian: Bulan, Bulan
Igbo: Ọnwa, Ọnwa
Hmong: Lub Hlis, Lub Hlis
Persian: ماه (I guess it must be pronounced like “mah”), ماه (I guess it must be pronounced like “mah”)
Norwegian - Måned, Måne
Burmese လ (I), လ (I)
Mongolian - Сар (Sar), Сар (Sar)
Maori - Marama, Marama
Malay - Bulan, Bulan
Macedonian - Месец (Mesets), Месечина (Mecechina, as per it seems)
Luxembourgish - Mount, Mound
Lithuanian - Mėnuo, Mėnuo
Tata - Ай, Ай
Tajik - Моҳ (Moh), Моҳ (Moh)
Swedish - Månad, Måne
Swahili - Mwezi, Mwezi
Slovak - mesiac, mesiac
Shona - Mwedzi, Mwedzi
Sesotho - Khoeli, Khoeli
Serbian - Месец дана, Месец
Samoan - Masina, Masina
Romanian - Lună, Lună
Turkish - Ay, Ay
Turkmen - Aý, Aý
Ukrainain - Місяць (Misyatsʹ), Місяць (Misyatsʹ)
Uyghur - ئاي (Must be spoken like “Ay”), ئاي (Must be spoken like “Ay”)
Uzbek - Oy, Oy
Vietnamese - tháng, Mặt trăng
Xhosa - Inyanga, Inyanga
Yoruba - Osu, Oṣupa
Zulu - Inyanga, Inyanga
English - Month, Moon

Why does that consistency happens?

Languages find their origins in a handful of “first languages”. I believe there are about 20 language families, and probably even fewer first languages, so the fact that many languages have similar words is to be expected.

As for the reason a lot of languages have similar words for “moon” and “month”, it is because of the importance of the moon for time. A month basically refers to a full period of the moon, so basically a “month” is just a full moon cycle. The moon was one of the most important time keepers of the ancient world, as it allowed poeple to keep track of the time of year in a handful of “chunks”.

Also if you look at the old germanic names for months, you can actually see this. There are months named after the job they allow for, like for example “harvest moon/month”, or after a characteristic of that month like “winter moon/month”. The name basically explained what the month was like until the next moon cycle.


Another way to put it is that language is always changing. In general, old words fall away and new words take their place, but certain words last much longer.

Those tend to be the words that get used across many generations. Every family has a mother and a father, and most have brothers and sisters. If you look up the word for mother or father in most Indo-European languages and you will quickly see how much they resemble each other.

These are words that were handed down to our language with only slight changes from our ancestor languages.

If you find this subject interesting, you might like to look up Proto Indo-European, which is a hypothesized language that was believed to be an ancestor to all Indo-European languages existing today.

IIRC, the theorists of Proto Indo-European have come up with a number of words that they think may have been part of a Proto Indo-European language spoken by ancestral peoples many thousands of years ago.

I don’t know if they are right, but I find the subject fascinating.