6

I was wondering whether anyone knows the Proto-Indo-European equivalent of the Greek suffixes -ina (-ίνα) or -issa (-ισσα), or whether PIE has any different feminising suffixes that work similarly?

5

The main PIE feminine derivational suffix was -ih2: compare *deiu-o- 'god' with *deiu-ih2 'goddess' (Skt. devī).

Incidentally, this suffix is actually the indirect source of the Greek suffix -ssa: when added to a stem ending in -t or -k, you get e.g. *melit - *melit-ih2, which becomes in Greek *melitya and then melissa (Attic melitta). From cases like these the suffix was reinterpreted as being -ssa and extended to other types of stems (e.g. basilissa 'queen').

| improve this answer | |
1

The feminine suffix in PIE is believed to be -i̯ea̯, though the ablaut grade in nominative is not certain. Traditionally reconstructed as -i̯ea̯ (because of long vowels in Latin), but Beekes hypothesizes that the Nominative form was -ia̯, while in other cases it could become -i̯ea̯. A form -a̯/-ea̯ also can be seen in some words.

The suffix is believed to originate from the suffix -ia̯ for collective number.

Some reconstructed PIE words with the suffix include

a̯oldhia̯ a dugout boat

a̯eua̯ia̯ grandmother

bhrea̯tria̯ brotherhood

colia̯ hiding place, dug-out

e̯rudhia̯ rust

deiu̯ia̯ goddess

e̯sntia̯ being

ma̯eghu̯ia̯ young woman

neptia̯ nephew (fem)

pie̯u̯eria̯ fat woman

preu̯ia̯ lady, mistress

potnia̯ lady

u̯eĝhia̯ track, road

  • Most animals had feminine form

a̯ena̯tia̯ duck

e̯ele̯nia̯ female elk

cu̯nmusia̯ dog-fly

melitia̯ honey-bee

plusia̯ flea

u̯lq̆ia̯ she-wolf

The suffix could be combined with other suffixes as well, to form constructs like -ikea̯/-ika̯/-ikia̯, -tria̯/-tra̯/-teria̯, -nia̯, -u̯ia̯ etc.

| improve this answer | |
  • Zero grade is the nominative seems pretty clear, given Greek -ia and Skt. -i:. – TKR Aug 25 '14 at 23:07
  • 2
    (In case it isn't clear to the OP, this is the same suffix I mentioned in my answer -- just a different transcription.) – TKR Aug 25 '14 at 23:08
  • 1
    @Anixx: I've seen your PIE reconstructions in a bunch of threads and I'm always puzzled by what your notation represents. What are the 'inverted under-breves' meant to be? Semivowels? Do you not reconstruct laryngeals? – jogloran Aug 26 '14 at 7:03
  • @TKR actually tha ablaut grade could be different per word, like the ablaut case in -os/-s, don't you think so? – Anixx Aug 26 '14 at 11:34
  • Also, at of general curiosity, do you use a single source for your PIE facts or do they stem from multiple sources? – Olivier Aug 26 '14 at 12:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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