We have:

English     PIE         Burushaski

brown       bʰerH-om    baard-um
tongue      dn̥ǵʰwéh₂s   juŋus
warm        gʷʰer-om    gar-um
pair        kʷeth₂      kaat
fire        péh₂wr̥      pʰu

Some sources give fooh for fire in Burushaski. The endings in Burushaski are also given as -um or -om.

  • 9
    this is methodologically backwards. The null hypothesis is that any similarities are coincidental, and the burden of proof is on the person arguing for a relationship to demonstrate that they cannot be
    – Tristan
    May 5 at 12:19
  • 5
    This are just 5 random words not showing any regular correspondence at all (all exhibiting different initial segments, to start with). May 5 at 12:20
  • @SirCornflakes endings seem the same in 3 cases.
    – Anixx
    May 5 at 12:21
  • 5
    Given Burushaski’s geographic location, it would hardly be surprising if at least some of these were borrowings from Indo-Aryan languages (or other Indo-European languages in the area) – we know that there are many such loans in Burushaski. Garom in particular looks suspiciously close to forms like Sanskrit gháram. Also, if Wikipedia’s list of Burushaski vocabulary correspondences is anything to go by, some of these are just plain wrong. ‘Tongue’, for example, is given as [juˈumus] in all variants, which looks completely unrelated. And what is *kʷeth₂? I’ve never seen that before. May 5 at 12:54
  • 1
    You’re right, I missed that one. Still, given that all the other forms have [m], Occam’s razor would assume that that is the original phoneme. I don’t know what your ⟨đ⟩ is supposed to represent, but [j] in the Wikipedia article represents IPA [j], the semivowel found in English yes. May 5 at 13:30

2 Answers 2


A genetic relation between Burushaski and IE has been argued by Ilija Çasule (Macquarie University). This is not as yet widely accepted, but it is worthy of serious discussion and not simply rejected on dogmatic grounds. The question is complicated by the fact that B. has lots of loanwords from Indo-Aryan and Iranian.

  • Do these particular words (for instance, the word for tongue) belong to his hypothesized cognates or they are I-A borrowings?
    – Anixx
    May 5 at 13:00
  • @Anixx: Look up his article in Joutnal of Indo-Europesn Studies, Volume 40, Number 1 & 2, Spring/Summer 2012.
    – fdb
    May 5 at 13:06
  • Found this: academia.edu/44781358/Burushaski_etymological_dictionary He apparently outright argues that Burushaski is an IE language, which seems too much for me (for instance, totally different numerals (except for one) exclude this possibility for me).
    – Anixx
    May 5 at 13:13
  • Well, yes, he links all the proposed words except the one for pair to PIE, and exactly to the ones I suggested. But his PIE reconstructions are uncommon (no laryngeals etc), so I think, this is not mainstream.
    – Anixx
    May 5 at 13:31

It's the semantics of "tongue" that make this liable for transmission by oral tradition.

  • "brown" is too general. You need to know what brown connotes, to exclude connections with eg. bear.

  • One could by the same tokan compare Dolgan per se, a Turkic language related to Yakut, comparing tell, Dutch taal "language" etc.

    For example, Tocharian has kom "sun" as Turkic isogloss, eg. Yakut күн (kün).

  • θερμός et al. don't make for the simple kind of soundchange that would make gar-um the most likely expected outcome. /g/ is prevalent in Indo-Iranian reflexes only, so this indicative of a loan, one-way or another.

    A pro-pos FIRE I won't miss a beat to remark on Blažek's treatment of IE Smiths. Suffice to say it begins with Indic karaman vel sim.

  • Is *kʷeth₂ maybe related to i. Lat. quatro ii. TochA. kät (to spread, scatter, sow), or thematically simpler to compare from PIE *wi- "apart, separate"?

  • In *péh₂wr̥, *-wr̥ may be regarded as a suffix, but then it's not clear what the root would symbolize. It contrasts as common noun with the root of ignite, but not so for example in English. As a loan it might belong either to culture, religion and industry, or the household.

    It is remarkable that final does not match at the syllable end while rounding should indicate presence of the tail end if it was related.

  • In*péh₂wr̥ the suffix is -r.
    – Anixx
    May 7 at 8:40

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