I was studying some Ancient Greek, and found out that the declination of some irregular nouns are very similar.

I started wondering if there is actually a language that is mother of Altaic languages and Indo-European languages that we can partially reconstruct by finding other languages that have this feature, or these are just some borrowed words as a result of some peculiar ancient migration.

Is there another Indo-European language that has this "-den", "-de" postfixes for declensions of nouns?

Ev (house)
Ev-den (from house)
Ev-de (in house)

Ancient Greek:
οἴκα (house)
οἴκο-θεν (from house)
οἴκα-δε (towards house)

  • 1
    a) cp town? den? London? b) cp than, then, so then go home, I will go home then [now] c) Ger fig. unten "the valley" (unter ~ under), oben, etc, a few weird semantic shifts like above > below, but the -n is quite ubiquitious and regular d) likewise Norden, Süden, Osten, Westen, Gestern, significant symbolism, analogical leveling from *-trom, *traz?
    – vectory
    Dec 31, 2019 at 6:33
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    e) Sumerian E "house, temple", the first google hit gives: "the landlord of a pub is written as lú, determinative for a profession, followed by é, determinative for a house, followed by the logogram kash for `beer'.", I doubt it meant precisely beer, sounds funny though f) Incidently, Ger Ökonomie (oikos + ...; modern coinage?) is synonymous with Wirtschaft "economy", also "establishment; pub, restaurant", perhaps comparable to En worship, Ger Wertschöpfung "value creation" and then it get's dark; if oikos reflect *weyk-, whence OHG wih, En wick, wich, cp Rat, *wih-rat*?
    – vectory
    Dec 31, 2019 at 6:41
  • 1
    g) Garden Eden ... h) Ger arch. Arbeiter Kotten "worker house, ie. no stables and such" or should that be [house of servants] of the house?
    – vectory
    Dec 31, 2019 at 6:42
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    Re: b) As for comparative than (equiv. Ger arch. denn), cp "As others have said, in Greek the true ablative collapsed with the genitive. Hence the use of the genitive in comparisons ("greater starting from ...) and with 'from' words.". i) There's also Ger dannen "away", now chiefly in von dannen ziehen "to go away, retreat", attested since 9th century OHG ("fona thanan"). j) wiki/ablative has western Armenian dun "house", danen "from the house" (east. tun ~ tnic'), Finnish -ta ~ -tä, Hungr. -tol.
    – vectory
    Dec 31, 2019 at 15:28
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    Re: i) compare dahin "to there", also "away, broken, dead", hin und her "to and fro"; cp perhaps En yon-, yonder. j) Anatolian also had ablative, what does that look like? What about Etruscan? I'm sorry for the spam, so sorry.
    – vectory
    Dec 31, 2019 at 15:44

1 Answer 1


On the one hand, οἴκα-δε seems to have an IE pedigree as a postpositional demonstrative "towards". However, Ringe "The Accent of Adverbs in -θεν: A Historical Analysis" (Glossa 1977) discussed the origin of this item in Greek, noting that it is not from Indo-European (citing Lejeune, Les Adverbes grecs en -θεν for "exhaustive discussion"). Ringe notes that it is not clearly attested in Mycenaean.

  • Where does Ringe (or Lejeune) say it comes from if it's not IE? Is there phonological evidence for it being pre-Greek or something like that?
    – Draconis
    Dec 31, 2019 at 5:36
  • Are you contrasting -de with -then, or giving two separate opinions for each of them? At least according to Wikipedia, -then is also derived from PIE
    – b a
    Dec 31, 2019 at 14:42
  • The opinions regarding the two cases differ, which I'm reporting. I did not know of that Wiki page for θɛν ← dʰe and can't proffer an opinion of the merits of Ringe / Lejeun vs. Wiki. Might be able to get pages from Lejeune in a week.
    – user6726
    Dec 31, 2019 at 16:46
  • Wiki references Georg E. Dunkel, Lexikon der Indogermanischen Partikeln und Pronomina, 2014. The same reference is made by Cyril Brosch in *Untersuchungen zur hethitischen Raumgrammatik, who further references Dunkel 1997. So the ref is legit, I wasn't sure. Brosch's bibliography is not in G-books, Dunkel is a terribly difficult to search name, and I can't find it in G-scholar either. At least other parts of the book are accessible: once submitting Hitt. appan "hinter, hinten", from an ablative-instrumental *-om (p.p. 356) also ...
    – vectory
    Dec 31, 2019 at 17:59
  • but explicitly not so for kattan "unter, unten" nor andan "in, (dr)innen". On p. 419 They also note that some "Formantien" can be seen as postpositions, like "direktivisches *=de", that recharacterized direction-accusatives in Greek (cp Dunkel 2007: 335-339), and by the way that *-d(h)i were locative, *-ti, *-tos ablative; the treat three different kinds of abl. in ch. 2. etc etc. All the detail and uncertainty at the same time is staggering.
    – vectory
    Dec 31, 2019 at 18:14

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