A friend of mine said that the Chinese language and the fruit are called so because the officials and governors of the Chinese Empire (initially, counselors) were called "mentors". This happened because the Chinese and Portuguese words for the counselor coincided. In Portuguese it was "mandar" from Latin "mentor", in Chenese from Hindi "mantar" which meant the same. And the both came from Proto-Ibndo-European menter/mentor.

And the word for the fruit is so because mentors wore orange uniform, and the word for language is because the mentors spoke the capital's dialect.

Is he correct?


1 Answer 1


Yes, state officials throughout East and South Asia were called this way.

In Malay the word for minister is menteri.

Confusingly enough there was even a position of Minister Mentor in Singapore from 2004 to 2011 which in Malay looks like a tautology: Menteri Mentor. Given that the both parts came from PIE mentēr/mentōr (advisor/adviser), one via Sanskrit, the other via Greek, it is indeed a tautology.

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