Given the agent suffix -ter- (which exhibited e-grade when meaning a profession or purpose and o-grade when meaning the recent perpetrator), can -trom suffix also be a zero grade from this one plus inanimate nomenative ending -om? Especially taking into account internal derivation. Just some examples.

u̯es-tēr (tailor) -> u̯es-tr-om (wear)

a̯ero̯-tēr (plowman) -> a̯ero̯-tr-om (plow)

On the other hand, Fortson lists -tro- suffix along with -tlo- suffix as separate instrumental suffixes. I wonder whether then was a similar agent suffix -tel- (cf Russian prii̯a-tel "friend", Greek aristo-tel)?

  • 1
    Shouldn't you name the language you're asking about? Sep 5, 2012 at 10:57
  • Should be: Greek Ἀριστοτέλης "Aristoteles". They spoke Ancient/Old Greek there, not Modern Russian.
    – Alex B.
    Sep 5, 2012 at 23:55
  • @Alex B. okay, what does it change? -es is an ending. The question is whether there was an agent suffix -tel- to which attested suffix -tl-/-tlo- is a zero-grade.
    – Anixx
    Sep 6, 2012 at 0:00
  • There is no suffix -tel- in Ἀριστοτέλης; the name is a compound whose second member is related to the noun τέλος 'end, purpose, etc.'.
    – TKR
    Sep 12, 2013 at 2:58

1 Answer 1


According to Jean Haudry, Proto-Indo-European *-tr-om indeed is *-ter with zero-grade and neuter ending.

Also according to him, PIE *-tel is an old phonetic variant of PIE *-ter.

Next to PIE *-tr-om, there is also PIE *-tl-om, as in Latin "(ob)staculum" from PIE *stéH₂-tlom.

  • Hello Mara and welcome! You said "According to Jean Haudry"... While it's not mandatory, if you could link the paper/book where this is stated (especially if readable as in Google Books), it would increase the quality of your answer. :D Just a note. :)
    – Alenanno
    Feb 17, 2013 at 14:47
  • It's from Jean Haudry, "L'indo-européen", from the series "Que sais-je". I think, it's this one: (books.google.de/…) Feb 17, 2013 at 15:01

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