I enjoy listening to languages that I don’t understand like French and Arabic. Do you know why?

  • You have an aesthetic appreciation of different phonetics and phonologies. You like those particular sounds.
  • You have positive cultural associations in your mind with those languages.
  • You already know a little of those languages (as OP has indicated), and you enjoy the mental challenge of working out what is being said.

Do onomatopoeias have etymologies?

It’s a very insightful question, OP. If an onomatopoeia is a completely transparent mapping of natural sound to human language, then it is an inevitability, and there’s no point attributing it to one coiner or another, one language or another: the onomatopoeia is just there, a sound ready for humans to imitate, and humans will keep imitating it over and over in the same way.

… Except, well, no. The mapping of natural sound to human language is not inevitable: if the sound isn’t articulated by a human mouth as communicative language, then there’s no single deterministic way of representing it in language. Different languages can come up with different ways of mapping it. See the renditions in diverse languages of cock-a-doodle-doo – Wiktionary.

(And I strongly suspect Middle English had a different version of “cock a doodle doo”, Andrew Dunbar, but I can’t find it: Chaucer’s Nun’s Priest’s Tale has just “Cok! cok!”)

And onomatopoeias can be borrowed between languages too. The Turkish onomatopoeia for sneezing is hapşuu. The Greek onomatopoeia is apsu. Which is exactly what you’d get if you borrowed the Turkish onomatopoeia into Greek as a normal word, and accommodated it to Greek phonology.

Did people in the first century have last names?

Romans had nomen and cognomen, which were inherited names like surnames. Greeks and Jews, like contemporary Icelanders, just had patronymics: John son of Zebedee. (See also the list of high priests of Israel.)

Less often, they had nicknames indicating jobs or characteristics: Simon the Zealot, Judas of Kerioth, Jesus the Nazarene. In narratives, those distinctions would only have been used when felt necessary.