It's a really nice one, and I don't think the fact that linguists regard Basque and Dutch as unrelated will discourage a truly dedicated lookalike-hunter :-). I have long suspected that Dutch is replete with Basque elements, but there is a conspiracy of orthodox linguists who are trying to suppress the truth.
I still remember my own surprise when, in the course of learning Old English, I realised that <sorry> and <sorrow> were unrelated. The former _is_ related to <sore> (OE sa:r < PGmc. *sair-a-), the latter (OE sorh, sorg < PGmc. *surg-o:) derives from the PIE root *swergH-with such cognates as Alb. dergjem 'lie down suffering'.
Sometimes the folk-etymological feeling that similar words MUST be related is so strong that it leads to their formal convergence, reflected e.g. in spelling changes and semantic shifts. English <cinder> (from OE sinder 'slag') had originally nothing to do with French <cendre> 'ashes' (from Lat. cinis, ciner-), but the similarity of sound and meaning led to the Frenchification of the spelling of the English word and influenced its main sense.
Another well-known pair of false cognates is <isle> (from OFr. isle < Lat. insula) and <island> (ME yland < OE i:eg-land- 'water-land, river-land', where the first element is a relative of Lat. aqua). The modern spelling of <island> owes its <-s-> to the association with <isle>.
----- Original Message -----
From: Ainintz Loinaz Sagastibeltza
Sent: Monday, September 16, 2002 6:31 PM
Subject: [tied] Re: Pseudo-cognates

> words so spectacularly similar in form and meaning that anyone but
a linguist (who can _prove_ that they are not related) would take a
connection for granted.
> The condition is that the pseudo-cognacy should be due to pure
chance (which excludes onomatopoeia, nursery words and the like).

  I didn't think I should have any interesting thing to say in such a
specialized forum as this (just reading your posts is more than
enough for me); but maybe you may find this 'pseudo-cognate' rather
funny (though the fact that Basque and Nederlands have non genetical
relationship excludes any idea of connection even for the non-

  Basque: ELKAR  ---  Nederlands-Dutch: ELKAAR

  Both of them meaning 'each other' (Basque one is the'accusative'
form, others being 'elkarren', 'elkarri', 'elkarrekin',...)

  * Basque ELKAR (in fact it is Gipuzkoan and Navarrese, and also the
accepted standard form; others are: Western ALKAR and Eastern
ALKHAR / ALGAR, and Northern literary standard ELKHAR) most probably
has its origin in *hark har (kinda "he him", without gender).

  As for Dutch ELKAAR, I suppose the first element to be ELK 'each'.

  I was really impressed by this similarity the first time I got a
Dutch grammar, but maybe nobody else will :-))