Tagged Questions

The language family covering the majority of the languages of Europe and the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent.

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2
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1answer
109 views

Help me find an early Old Norse dictionary (or even a grammar)

For some time I've been looking for a dictionary of Old Norse that reflects an early situation in the language; this kind of resource has been amazingly hard to find, for some reason. Most ...
1
vote
0answers
38 views

Etymology of Ancient Greek deictic -ī

In Ancient Greek, a deictic particle -ī can be attached to demonstratives to strengthen the "this here" meaning: e.g. houtos "this one", houtosī "this one right here". What is the origin of this -ī? ...
0
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0answers
37 views

Common schemes for learning (Indo-)European languages

The modern European languages of Indo-European ancestry - like in the Germanic, Romanic, and Slavic branch, for example - share a lot of linguistics features. This consists of similar etymologies, ...
4
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3answers
106 views

Has any language ever borrowed an interrogative or relative pronoun?

One of the lexical similarities between reconstructed Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Uralic is in the interrogative and relative pronouns. For the former, in PIE there's a family of interrogatives ...
7
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2answers
96 views

Did Uralic borrow basic vocabulary from PIE, and if so why?

This section of the Wikipedia article on laryngeal theory lists proposed IE-to-Uralic loanwords containing laryngeals. Several of these have quite basic meanings: "woman", "person", "do", "give", ...
3
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1answer
101 views

How is it that such varied sounds (in major European Languages) came to be represented by the same letter “j”?

The letter "j" is pronounced differently in the following major European languages: English: just (just) Spanish: justo (husto) German: junge (yunguh) French: juste (zoost) How is the ...
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3answers
114 views

Pro-Drop Typology in Indo-European Languages

A different question made me wonder what is the norm for Indo-European with regard to pro-drop? I know Italic languages generally do it, while Germanic languages generally don't. What about the rest ...
3
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2answers
111 views

Are Armenian գունդ (gund) and Sanskrit गिन्दुक (ginduka) related?

I was just looking at the words for "ball" in many languages. I noticed that Armenian has a word գունդ gund and Hindustani has a word गेंद / گیند gẽnd. I didn't spot any other language with a ...
2
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1answer
102 views

What's the relation between Germanic suffixes -ly, -lich, -lijk, … and Turkic suffixes -lik -liq

What's the relation between Germanic adjectival/adverbial suffixes -ly, -lich, -lijk, ... and Turkic suffixes -lik -liq that convert nouns/adjectives to nouns
4
votes
1answer
94 views

Is the Proto-Indo-European “ǵenh₁-” (to produce) related to “gʷḗn” (woman)?

I noticed a possible connection between the Ancient Greek "γυνή" and "γένεσις". I think semantically a relation between the two terms is plausible. Unfortunately I don't know enough about PIE ...
2
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0answers
61 views

Sources for etymologies of Ancient Greek proper names and placenames?

There are good etymological dictionaries for Ancient Greek: if you're searching for the origin of a word, you'll probably find information in Frisk, Chantraine, or Beekes. But if you're looking for ...
10
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2answers
187 views

Current status of the controversy on the date of Indo-European dispersion

There are two conflicting theories about the dispersion of the people speaking proto-Indo-European (by which I mean the common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, excluding Hittite and other ...
6
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2answers
239 views

Is “Kent” of Turkic origin or Indo-European?

In Turkish there is this word Kent which means city. Some Turkic city names have this as suffix, like Başkent and Tashkent. In Azerbaijani the same word, with the spelling of Kənd (Kand) means village ...
3
votes
1answer
106 views

Etymology of Latin suffix -ālis

What is the etymology of the Latin suffix "-ālis" (and related forms like "-āris") as in "nātūrālis"? Do we know any corresponding suffix in other Indo-European languages?
2
votes
1answer
146 views

Relics of reduplication in modern Germanic languages

I'm wondering whether some german verbs, like, for example: bibbern plappern lallen ... and as well some similar english verbs of which now only "to giggle" comes to my mind, are indeed relics of ...
3
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2answers
106 views

Germanic comparative grammars?

Can anyone recommend a good comparative grammar of the Germanic languages -- or, failing that, good historical grammars specifically for Old English and Old Norse? Ideally, what I want is a ...
1
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0answers
63 views

Why does the pronunciation of Germanic languages before vowel shift seems to have been more “Indo-European”?

I think the vowels have become "harsher" during the vowel shift and has made them sound very different from Latin, Greek, Sanskrit,... which generally use "soft" vowels. Can we deduce that the vowel ...
7
votes
2answers
220 views

What did the Greeks and Romans believe about language relationships?

The ancient Greeks and Romans had no concept of historical linguistics or of the Indo-European language family. However, it would have been noticeable to anyone who spoke even a little of both Greek ...
4
votes
1answer
159 views

Mine, Yours, Ours, His, Hers, Its, and Don't Forget Theirs

What exactly are the Indo-European predicative mine/yours/ours/his/hers/its/theirs forms, in terms of word class and inflection? Would they be considered the genitive (or even the dative) case of ...
0
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0answers
75 views

Parallels in Celtic and Slavic lexemes?

Some Russian words (including the word "барин" (gentry), the etymology of which is still unclear to most community members) derive from the common IE stock. To list a few, these are the words like ...
-2
votes
1answer
108 views

What is the origin of Russian барин ['bа:rʲin]?

The word (pl. баре, ['bа:rʲe]) is roughly rendered into English as 'gentry' meaning 'a noble person without a position at imperial court'. The boyar is possibly not a cognate. What surprises me the ...
7
votes
3answers
305 views

Discontinuous morphemes in Indo-European languages

Indo-European is not a language family known for discontinuous morphology, but there are occasional examples. I can think of two: The German and Dutch past participle formants, ge-en and ge-t, e.g. ...
5
votes
4answers
166 views

Adverbial free relative clauses, in early Indo-European languages and generally

By "adverbial free relative clause" (maybe there's a better term for this) I mean a relative clause which (a) is headed by an indefinite fused relative pronoun, e.g. English whoever, whatever, and (b) ...
5
votes
1answer
121 views

Origin of *-k- “extension” in (aorist of) some IE verbs?

In Greek, the PIE verbal roots *dheh1 'put' or 'do', *Hieh1 'throw', and *deh3 'give' show up with an unexpected -k- in some aorist forms: ἔθηκα, ἧκα, ἔδωκα. In Latin, the reflexes of the first two ...
3
votes
1answer
436 views

Word-initial consonant clusters beginning with /s/ or /ʃ/, an Indo-European characteristic?

All the cases I've seen of a consonant /s/ (or similar pronunciations) at the beginning of a word occur in Indo-European languages. Can we say that this is a characteristic of this language family? ...
2
votes
1answer
368 views

Why do the sounds [ks] have their own single letter 'X' in European languages?

It seems that the original intent of the letter 'X' was to pronounce the phoneme [k^h] in Classical Greek but evolved over time to be [ks]. My question is: How come there are so many European ...
2
votes
3answers
88 views

What is the most ancient form of Armenian verb 'to be'?

The infinitive form of the verb in Eastern Armenian (provided there are infinitives) is a suppletive 'linEl'. I am surprised to notice its resemblance to most Finno-Ugric words of similar meaning, ...
-3
votes
2answers
195 views

Caucasoid people, Common Genetic roots and Common Proto-Language? [closed]

It is so probable that all Caucasoid people have had a common ancestor. Does The fact that most of Caucasoid people speak a Semitic or Indo-European language not suggest that there has been an ...
0
votes
2answers
181 views

The reason for similarity of Turkic “min” and latin “mille”, Turkic “dil” and dutch “taal”?

What's the linguistic relation between the Turkic words bin or min and Latin word mille meaning thousand Turkic dil and dutch taal meaninge language?
3
votes
1answer
460 views

How many of Latin words have Greek roots?

I was wondering how many of Latin (both Classical and Medieval varieties) words have Greek roots. Is Greek the common root of most IE languages?
2
votes
2answers
125 views

The “close front rounded vowel” mainly used in Germanic, Altaic and far Asian languages

Why is the "close front rounded vowel" /y/ mainly used in Germanic, Altaic and far Asian languages but rare in Latin*, Indo-Iranian and Slavic languages? Can we say that Germanic phonetics is less ...
4
votes
2answers
553 views

Is there any agglutinative Indo-European language?

It seems like Indo-European languages are always stuck between throwing away complicated fusional grammar (like English) or retaining most of it (like Russian). Are there any Indo-European languages ...
5
votes
3answers
665 views

Origin of articles in European languages

I read that PIE, Latin, old English, and even old German did not use articles, yet current English, German and Romance languages all use articles. Is it true that articles developed in all these ...
4
votes
0answers
192 views

Cellar door and Indo-European languages

Where I grew up (UK) there was a pub called The Drysalters. I always liked this name without having any idea what a drysalter was, or having any association or emotional connection to the pub itself. ...
2
votes
2answers
913 views

Are there any languages that are more analytic than English other than Afrikaans in the Indo-European family?

Are there any languages that are more analytic than (or as analytic as) English other than Afrikaans in the Indo-European family?
5
votes
1answer
335 views

What rule governs the vowel alternations in Latin caput/capit-/-cep(t)-/-cipit-/-ciput?

In different forms, the Latin root caput "head" appears with different vowels: a-u: caput (nominative singular); a-i: capitis (genitive singular), capitī (dative singular), capita (nominative ...
1
vote
1answer
649 views

What is the proper way to write Hindi phonetically in English?

I've noticed that when Hindi is I guess transliterated phonetically transcribed to the English Alphabet many of the letters are doubled to represent the correct sound that one would make if you were ...
7
votes
1answer
194 views

What is the sound law to describe the etymology of “helix” and “vulva”?

What confused me is the transition from "w" in PIE *wel- to "h" in E. helix . And what's the sound law applied to the word E. "vulva",which has the change from "w" to "v"? helix "a spiral ...
5
votes
1answer
347 views

Indo-European prepositions: why prepositions?

In a related but different question to Indo-European prepositions: from whence did they come?, why do just about all modern Indo-European languages have prepositions rather than postpositions? PIE ...
4
votes
1answer
337 views

Indo-European prepositions: whence did they come?

What manner of theories are there on the origin of Indo-European case-like prepositions (usually; they were originally postpositions, and a handful of languages still have postpositions)? They seem ...
3
votes
1answer
318 views

Why is the number of grammatical cases in Germanic and Romance languages decreasing?

There is a tendency in Germanic and Romance languages that the number of the grammatical cases is decreasing. The Indo-European proto-language should have 8 grammatical cases, in Latin we already ...
4
votes
1answer
253 views

Deceangli and Angles: are these two tribe names etymologically related?

In pre-Roman times, there was a Celtic tribe in Britain, called Deceangli. To a layperson, this name bears an interesting resemblance to Angles, the name of another (Germanic) tribe that lived in the ...
2
votes
2answers
370 views

What caused some IE languages to have consonant inventory sizes different from PIE?

The WALS chapter on consonant inventories shows that the distribution of inventory sizes across languages follows a normal curve, with average size inventories (22 ± 3 consonants) being the most ...
7
votes
2answers
287 views

Is there a comprehensive account of the development of laryngeal theory?

The laryngeal theory proposes that Proto-Indo-European contained a number of consonants that are absent in (almost) all daughter languages. Their existence was proposed (by Saussure, under the term ...
10
votes
4answers
958 views

What are the reasons to count Armenian as an Indo-European language?

Often I encounter arguments that Armenian is in fact not an Indo-European language. The claims assert that the regular correspondences between Armenian and PIE are too unrealistic, too rare and too ...
10
votes
5answers
673 views

Are the Finnish pronouns related to their Indo-European counterparts?

Although not belonging to the Indo-European family, Finnish has personal pronouns that resemble (to a layperson, at least) the corresponding pronouns in Indo-European languages. For example, the ...
11
votes
3answers
972 views

What is necessary to decide if Lusitanian is a Celtic language?

The Lusitanian language was almost certainly an Indo-European language, but whether or not it was a Celtic language is still uncertain. Some features, as the presence of the initial p- (as in porcom ...
24
votes
2answers
519 views

Are there any non-Indo-European languages with go-periphrasis?

Some Indo-European languages have a construction called go-periphrasis, by which some form of the verb go is used in conjunction with the main verb to mark tense. Most languages that have this feature ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the origin of non-natural grammatical genders in Indo-European languages?

What is the origin of non-natural grammatical genders in Indo-European languages? (assuming that there is a single origin, if there are many, what are they) How and for what purpose did it develop? ...
8
votes
3answers
329 views

Do some Indo European languages reflect noun class types other than gender?

In the comments of another question about animate as noun gender in some Slavic languages an interesting point was raised. Many if not most Indo European languages exhibit grammatical gender for ...