These two verbal roots *bʰewg- "flee" and *bʰegʷ- "flee" share the same meaning and very similar forms, the only difference is their ending consonant. I wonder whether they are from a same root or just a coincidence?

  • Could you give examples of words based upon these roots? Interestingly Hindi 'Bhag' means to run or to flee.
    – ARi
    Dec 31, 2016 at 17:08
  • @ARi , Hi, I post them with two wiktionary links listing detailed derived words, please check them.
    – archenoo
    Jan 2, 2017 at 1:39
  • And what do you think yourself?
    – Alex B.
    Jan 6, 2017 at 16:09
  • @Alex B, Hi! I cannot find any book on this, and my first guess is sound change, just like *-wg- > *-gʷ- or the reverse, the second guess is they are influenced by another similar root *gʷem- 'to go', or just originates from an unknown root **megʷ- to *bʰegʷ-, **megʷ- to **mewg- "slimy, to slink?" to *bʰewg-? I hope someone can help support or negate any of them.
    – archenoo
    Mar 6, 2017 at 12:08

1 Answer 1


The reflexes in daughter languages support the reconstruction of separate roots (supported by the simultaneous existence of φεύγω and φόβος), but the semantic and phonological similarity is striking. It is probably coincidental, meaning that systematically deriving the two from a single root is beyond our technical capabilities. It's not uncommon to have multiple similar-looking roots with similar meanings, such as bhlegʷ, bhlew, bhlei, bhrew with meanings "bloat, swell": more examples here.

  • Hi, thanks very much! I found a paper where these roots in question are cognates if a very uncommon solution one can accept, please check the first page of academia.edu/30593791/….
    – archenoo
    Jan 2, 2017 at 1:47
  • Swell is usually reconstructed as bhel- (phallos, bolshoy etc)
    – Anixx
    Jan 3, 2017 at 14:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.