How likely is a "Pontic" language family linking languages from Northwestern Caucasus with Proto-Indo-European? The Yamnaya people had a lot of Caucasus ancestry, could some tribe from the Caucasus have brought it's language with it and introduced it to the native Eastern European hunter-gatherers? Is there any good evidence for this connection, or has it been completely refuted?

  • Here are some analogs: Saami languages have a lot of words from Germanic, Persian and Swahili have a lot of words from Arabic. Clearly these languages have a connection. Do you exclude or include such connections in your question?
    – user6726
    Commented Apr 16, 2021 at 18:32
  • No, I don't, is there a list of possible Caucasian loanwords in PIE or PIE loanwords in Caucasian languages? Commented Apr 16, 2021 at 20:39

1 Answer 1


A number of languages: Basque, Kartvelian and Caucasic, have prefixal nominal morphology, especially prefixes a-, ma- and tsa-. None of this exists in PIE. So PIE belongs to another family than Basque, Kartvelian and Caucasic. A family ("Pontic") that would put together Caucasic and PIE does not make sense. Now the issue of crosslinguistic borrowings is another issue.

  • I doubt this has been so thoroughly investigated so as to rule out the existence of such morphemes in PIE. Rather, it just upholds the Null Hypothesis that there is no connection until proof of the opposite--which should go without saying. Anyway, it might be a red herring, because absence of evidence is not evidence of absence; vice-versa, evidence might as well be coincidence, as for Afro-Asiatic ma-, mu-, given that these phones are exceedingly common, cp. Mama.
    – vectory
    Commented May 9, 2021 at 8:54

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