Ie, I am assuming that they are both ultimately deriviative of PIE *sem-/*som-.

So, how are they derived from this, in terms of morphemes, and their meanings?

I have skimmed through both Ringe and Beekes. Excellent books, that I want to go through properly in the near future, but this question has been bugging me - the etymology at a later point in time was asked as part of a paper, and it annoyed me that I could not give a full explanation.

Would these two books be the best for getting a coherent understanding of theorised derivation processes and, in particular, PIE verbs? I've had some trouble wrapping my head around what can be said to be diachronic and what synchronic at times, fex when what processes were actively occurring, how salient the underlying analysis of x was, and the like.

Feel free to add sources/references/bibliographical details, I've read around a lot of related literature but not a lot on PIE qua PIE.

Many thanks.

  • 1
    Would you mind giving a derivative from each of your reconstructed PGmc roots? For example, I don't know a root *suma, but I do know *sumaz (> ME some); is that the root you're thinking of, or do you mean a separate one that I'm not familiar with?
    – Draconis
    Jan 2, 2019 at 4:03

1 Answer 1


They are indeed both from the same PIE root, which however is reconstructed with a laryngeal, *semH-.

PGmc *sama- "same" is a thematic derivative from the o-grade of this root, *somH-o-, found in many other IE languages (Gk. ὅμος, Skt. sama-).

PGmc *suma- "someone" is a thematic derivative from the zero grade of this root, *smH-o-, also with cognates e.g. Gk. ἁμο- "any".

ETA: presumably this *semH- is the same root as the *sem- "one" you mention; the *-H- appears to be a "root extension", which is basically a way of saying there's an extra consonant at the end of the root that we don't know how to explain.

Source: Kroonen, Proto-Germanic Dictionary.

  • You can find that as PIE sem- "one, together" whence also semi-, syn- (as in symbol), simple (cp. Ger einfach "simple, easy" ein "one"+*fach* "-fold"), AGr hapax. Cp also swe-~sew- "self"; dʰyeh₂- "to notice" > sema "sign" (which I find hard to believe due to sem-; but cp to do); sek-~sekw "to cut" > sign (again, but cp note, mark); sed- "sit" > set (swe-+dheh1-?); *su-~sew- "juice" > to suck; su- "to be" (IIRC, but cp es~h1es, h1em, "I am"); stigma, to stick (PIE steyg, teg?). Could the laryngeal H come from prosody, stop after prefix?
    – vectory
    Jan 2, 2019 at 10:49
  • @vectory, I'm not sure what this comment is getting at -- other than the first, none of these roots are related to the one in question (and even there the relationship of syn- is very doubtful). But you're right that the added laryngeal is somewhat mysterious, as such "root extensions" usually are.
    – TKR
    Jan 2, 2019 at 19:34
  • The senses "self" and "one, together" are perfectly comparable and I'd venture a guess that *w can can color *e to become *u. The other -ma words suggest there might be a suffix. the *-m may be from *med- "measure, sign somewhat stands out unless we also look at sigma. Taking up the note on note, mark, either *me-, se- or both may be roots meaning "cut", by analogy. e.g. via "to get ones cut, half, alloted destiny" (cp. most, mead Ger. maß?). muse has perhaps PIE *me "temper, will" suggested (cp. mad). Meadow has *h₂met- "to mow, reap”, englargement of *h₂meh₁-.
    – vectory
    Jan 2, 2019 at 21:54
  • 1
    @vectory All these supposed connections strike me as far too conjectural to be substantiable in any way, but it's probably not worth arguing about that; but note that *me-, *se- are not possible verbal roots by any theory of PIE root structure that I know of.
    – TKR
    Jan 2, 2019 at 23:34
  • 1
    @vectory The problem with this method of mass comparison within reconstructed PIE is that it's unfalsifiable. With imagination you could connect any two roots that show a bit of phonetic similarity in this way.
    – TKR
    Jan 4, 2019 at 20:49

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