In Afro-Asiatic we have the feminine ending -a which has the following evolution history:

-a < -aha < -at < et

where ha is a glottal fricative.

In IE (for instance, in Russian, Greek, Latin) we also have the feminine ending -a which has the following history (classically):

-a < aha < eha

where ha is the a-coloring laryngeal.

Can we by analogy suppose that ha < t?

This gives a number of analogies between other PIE words:

haeuhaos <-> teutos (both "grandfather") (also haetos is reconstructed for "father" in PIE -> Russian otets)

(compare Proto-Afro-Asiatic haabbaha "father" here)

haequ- <-> tequ- (both "flowing water")

haecsom <-> tecsom (both "axe")

haecmon "stone" <-> tecsōn "builder"

haeĝos <-> teĝos (both "leader")

haersos <-> tersos (both "dry, e.g., land") (compare also Greek χερσος, "dry land")

How can it be explained?

  • @jknappen all h2/t word correspondencies here are taken from PIE.
    – Anixx
    Jun 19, 2015 at 9:28
  • 4
    You will need to reason why some t's became h2's and others didn't. Jun 19, 2015 at 9:38
  • How about Sanskrit, which casually replaces final -s with -h? It's just some sort of lenition, IMHO.
    – carsten
    Jul 26, 2015 at 17:28
  • 3
    The most probable phonetic value of Indo-European h2 is a voiceless pharyngeal fricative. It is very unlikely that such a sound would develop into, or come from a dental/alveolar stop. On the other hand, h1 is believed to stand for a glottal stop. Shifts of that sort are observed for example in modern English, especially cockney, where [t] is replaced by [ʔ] word internally and finally.
    – czypsu
    Sep 30, 2015 at 8:36
  • 1
    Also, re your latest edit—why do you say the feminine ending became a pharyngeal fricative? I can't think of any AA language that has /ʕ/ (ayin) for its feminine marker.
    – Draconis
    Aug 22, 2020 at 20:42

1 Answer 1


Let’s just take the beginning:

In Afro-Asiatic we have the feminine ending -a which has the following evolution history:

-a < -aha < -at < et

What does -aha mean in an AA context? There are actually lots of real-life laryngeals in Semitic. Which one is ha? Where does “et” come from? Then you write:

where ha is aleph

Aleph is the first letter of the alphabet. Are we talking about phonology or about spelling? Actually, the pausal form of the feminine singular nouns (which is what you are talking about) is spelt with final aleph in Eastern Aramaic, but with he in Western Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic. Which one do you think is more original? And why is this orthographic question at all relevant?

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