I’m trying to mix this protolanguage with another one by overlapping them, and none of the search results are being helpful. I doubt the many articles would either. I’d also like to know if the adpositions were derived from nouns, verbs, or both.

  • Proto-Indo-European had no prepositions. It used adverbs instead.
    – Anixx
    Commented Jun 11 at 6:36
  • 1
  • An interesting question, probably unanswerable as every verb has a verbal noun. Consider a different question - what are English prepositions derived from - the answer seems to be: OE prepositions (of); adverbs (before); nouns (in front of). We can tell this because we know historic versions of English. We don't know the foregoers of Indo-European so in many cases any answer is guesswork. The only thing we can be certain of is that some are developed from nouns ('ḫ2enti') but only because the nouns still exist or at least are recorded (English 'end'; Hittite 'ḫants'='forehead').
    – Ned
    Commented Jun 13 at 10:13

1 Answer 1


PIE did not actually use prepositions, but rather it used adverbs or even noun roots (for nouns like "front", back", "middle", "end") in locative case to describe relative locations of objects and actions.

Still, this is a good summary of PIE "prepositions".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.