Questions tagged [proto-indo-european]

Proto-Indo-European (PIE), the reconstructed proto-language for the Indo-European language family

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Chart with audible sounds pronounced, for Proto-Indo-European?

Are there any counterparts like this IPA Chart with Sounds, but for PIE (at least PIE's phonemes)?
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Why is /f/ easier to pronounce than /p/?

[Source:] Assistant Professor of Linguistics Andrew McKenzie, University of Kansas In particular, there is no real reason why certain changes happen while others don't. For instance, the * p ...
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How can a PIE root be a 'pronominal stem'?

i-   |    Pronominal stem.   |   1. This answer explains the possible difference in meaning between 'root' and 'stem', which induced my question in the title above. 2. What does it mean for a stem ...
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Parallels between h₂ and t in PIE and Nostratic, what is the explanation?

In Afro-Asiatic we have the feminine ending -a which has the following evolution history: -a < -aha < -at < et where ha is a glottal fricative. In IE (for instance, in Russian, Greek, Latin) ...
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How do you learn what an old word might have imitated?

psyche (n.)    1640s, "animating spirit," from Latin psyche, from Greek psykhe "the soul, mind, spirit; breath; life, one's life, the invisible animating principle or entity which occupies and ...
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How does the Greek 'legein' relate to PIE *leg 'to collect'?

ENTRY: leg- DEFINITION: To collect; with derivatives meaning “to speak.” Oldest form *le-, becoming *leg- in centum languages. [...] 3. lexicon, logion, –logue, –logy; alexia, analects, ...
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How did 'litotes' evolve from 'plain, simple'?

litotes (n.) rhetorical figure in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of its opposite, from Greek litotes, literally "plainness, simplicity," from litos "smooth, plain, small, ...
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How did the PIE root ghabh- mean both 'to give or receive'?

ghabh-  Also ghebh-.  [=]  To give or receive. My guess is that anything given by one must be received by another, and vice versa. But my guess doesn't explain this surprising dichotomy in ...
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How did the PIE root 'dek-' evolve into the Greek 'dokein' to appear, seem, think' ?

dek- To take, accept. ... [2.] b. dogma, dogmatic; chionodoxa, Docetism, doxology, heterodox, orthodox, paradox, from Greek dokein, to appear, seem, think (< "to cause to accept or be ...
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How did the PIE root *per- (forward, through) evolve into 'para-', to mean 'contrary to'?

[Etymonline :] ... before vowels, par-, word-forming element meaning "alongside, beyond; altered; contrary; irregular, abnormal," from Greek para- from para (prep.) "beside, near, issuing from, ...
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PIE root ked- : 'To go, yield'

ked- = To go, yield. How does 'to go' relate to 'to yield'? Both verbs appear to differ in meaning. Moreover, what precisely does 'to go' mean here? Is this the right diction? I'm confused, ...
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The PIE root *per- “forward, through” : How did it evolve to mean 'private' ?

[Etymonline :] ... privus "one's own, individual," from PIE *prei-wo-, from PIE *prai-, *prei-, from root *per- (1) "forward, through" (see per). ... [AHI :] per1 ... ... from ...
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Is Austronesian the closest relative to PIE?

Austronesian is usually regarded as a separate family, not related to any other. It is never groupped into Eurasiatic or Nostratic. Yet it seems to me that it may be related to PIE. I wonder whether ...
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Recent book on PIE and older proto-languages?

Please recommend a recent book that summarizes and critiques the current state of knowledge and speculation on PIE and older proto-languages. (book, please, I will have no electronic contact with the ...
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What did the PIE prefix *kom- signify in

cumber | Origin and meaning of cumber by Online Etymology Dictionary c. 1300, cumbren, combren, "to overthrow, destroy, probably a shortening of  acombren "obstructing progress," from Old French ...
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How can I check whether 'question' in English, and 'xahesh' in Persian are cognates?

It seems plausible to me, and I would like to know how to verify it. Why I think xahesh might be cognate with question: xahesh (IPA: /xɑːheʃ/) in Modern Persian is a noun meaning "request, plea". ...
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How did 'forth + fasten' evolve into 'propagation'?

[Etymonline for 'propagation (n.)'] ... from propago (genitive propaginis) "that which propagates, offspring," from pro- "forth" (see pro-) + * pag-, root of pangere "to ...
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How does PIE root dhē- 'to set, to put', evolve to mean 'thesis'?

[Etymonline for 'thesis (n.)':] late 14c., "unaccented syllable or note," from Latin thesis "unaccented syllable in poetry," later (and more correctly) "stressed part of a metrical foot," from Greek ...
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Why does word-initial upsilon always have a rough breathing?

How did a rough breathing develop before all words starting with an upsilon in Ancient Greek? This is a commonly noted fact about the distribution of these sounds (or rather spellings), but I’m having ...
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Etymology of Old French 'escorgier': How does 'bind' evolve to mean 'whip'?

scourge (n.) c. 1200, "a whip, lash," from Anglo-French escorge, back-formation from Old French escorgier "to whip," from Vulgar Latin excorrigiare, from Latin ex- "out, off&...
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PIE root streig- : How to reconcile 'To stroke, rub, press'?

Source: streig- = To stroke, rub, press. European root I heed the Etymological Fallacy, but what are some right ways of interpreting these three opposing definitions, so that this PIE root feels ...
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PIE root *trep-: 'trepidation' vs 'trope'

[Etymonline for trepidation (n.) :] ... from PIE * trep- (1) "to shake, tremble" ... , related to * trem- (see tremble (v.)). [Etymonline for trope (n.) :] ... from PIE * trep- (2) "to ...
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PIE root *(s)plei-: “to split, splice”?

I was reading Etymonline's entry for splice {verb}: 1520s, originally a sailors' word, from Middle Dutch splissen "to splice" (Dutch splitsen), from Proto-Germanic spli-, from PIE root *(s)plei- "...
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Could “scratch” be derived from the same PIE source as “card” and “chart”?

I found the following entries on Wiktionary (emphasis mine): carte French noun card chart; map menu card English From Middle English carde (“playing card”), from Old French carte, from Latin charta, ...
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When did PIE people split into subject-verb-object — SVO and SOV peoples?

Given that PIE people have present-day descendants in India to Europe, they have divided so starkly: in the given map, most languages from India to middle east upto east Europe are SOV, whereas most ...
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Was there s-mobile in the PIE root for dog?

I have noticed a striking similarity between the French word chien meaning dog and Russian word щенок "puppy", the both words pronounced exactly the same way except the deminutive suffix -ок in the ...
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Why do PIE verbs have suffixes -m-, -s-, -t-, while personal pronouns have m-, t-, s-?

Usually it is assumed that in PIE the verb forms for the singular first, second, and third person are respectively -m-, -s-, -t- (cfr. Latin). The personal pronouns, instead, have the second and ...
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Spelling of laryngeals in Proto-Indo-European

Who introduced the notation e̯ a̯ o̯ (vowels with inverted breve below) for Proto-Indo-European laryngeals and when? Proto-Indo-European has been reconstructed with so-called "laryngeal" consonants, ...
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Does an -es suffix for plurality have Proto-Indo-European roots?

I'm researching proto-Indo-European, and have seen a few remarks which imply that an -es suffix for plural was a likely component of the language (including here on L.SE; Wiktionary). Is this a ...
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Why do neuter nominative and accusative always agree in IE languages?

The question that I have is a simple one. Of every neuter noun, pronoun, or adjective, in any IE language (as far as I know), the nominative and accusative cases agree in all numbers. Why is this? ...
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Is there a PIE feminising noun suffix?

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?
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Were the so-called aspirates of PIE ever aspirated?

In the thread Is unvoiced & unaspirated a category of speech? it was pointed out to me, that the aspirates in Indic languages, notably Sanskrit, are from a truly phonetic perspective not aspirates,...
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Is the Proto-Indo-European “ǵenh₁-” (to produce) related to “gʷḗn” (woman)?

I noticed a possible connection between the Ancient Greek "γυνή" and "γένεσις". I think semantically a relation between the two terms is plausible. Unfortunately I don't know enough about PIE ...
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Why can verbal roots in PIE only contain the vowel e?

Verbal roots of PIE are generally reconstructed as (C5) (C3) C1 e C2 (C4) (C6); with certain phonetical restrictions, especially on the outmost consonants. I wonder why only "e" should be allowed as ...
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Current status of the controversy on the date of Indo-European dispersion

There are two conflicting theories about the dispersion of the people speaking proto-Indo-European (by which I mean the common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, excluding Hittite and other ...
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In PIE are words for two and for hate connected?

In PIE we have du̯is twice du̯iteros second du̯oi̯os twofold du̯eiplos double etc, with the root du̯ei̯- At the same time we have: du̯eiros fearful du̯eisos hated with seemingly the same ...
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Loans in Indo-Aryan languages indicating possible migration routes

I am aware of only few Uralic loans into Indo-Aryan languages that show migrations from Eurasia to India, Iran etc. What are typical examples of loan words that are unquestionably a result of a ...
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what evidence suggests that PIE was a tone language?

I have heard this claim stated with confidence, but it's difficult to see how it could be deduced from traditional reconstruction. Same question for ancient Greek.
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Why do mother/father/brother/sister/daughter all end in '-er'? [duplicate]

Is it just a coincidence, or was there a reason why they ended in '-er'? I know that all of them derive from PIE, where they also ended in '-er'. Also, is this '-er' the same '-er' particle, as in '...
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Does “and” come from the PIE word for “and”?

From the etymology of and: Old English and, ond, originally meaning "thereupon, next," from Proto-Germanic *unda (cf. Old Saxon endi, Old Frisian anda, Middle Dutch ende, Old High German enti, ...
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How future tense was expressed in PIE?

It is known that PIE had no grammatical future tense. As such, I wonder how future events were expressed in PIE. Whether they used go-periphrasis, desiratives or a form of the root bheudh- (grow, ...
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Does English “day” really come from PIE *dʰegʷʰ- (“to burn”)?

day From Middle English day, from Old English dæġ (“day”), from Proto-Germanic *dagaz (“day”), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰegʷʰ- (“to burn”). Cognate with West Frisian dei (“day”), Dutch dag (“day”)...
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Solution to a typological problem about PIE phonology: are there any facts that contradict this view?

Traditionally, PIE phonology postulates three voiceless velar/uvular stops to PIE: */ḱ/ (c), */k/ (q), */kʷ/ (q̆) But I made a search for a PIE dictionary with come 11-15 thousand words, and found ...
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What laryngeal should be reconstructed in PIE word for wasp?

I encountered a contradiction between two respectful monographs. Mallory gives the word as h2/3u̯obhseh2 thus excluding h1 while de Vaan gives totally opposite version, h1u̯obhseh2 thus excluding h2 ...
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How does PIE *kʷ in **wĺ̥kʷos change to PGmc. *f in *wulfaz?

wĺ̥kʷos The word *wĺ̥kʷos is a thematic accented zero-grade noun perhaps derived from the adjective *wl̥kʷós ‘dangerous’ (compare Hittite walkuwa ‘dangerous’, Old Irish olc ‘evil’, Sanskrit [script?...
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Did the PIE word for “copper” mean “imitation”?

Michiel de Vaan's Etymological Dictionary of Latin has for PIE: a̯ei̯os copper and a̯eimos imitation, substitute a̯imea̯ image, copy All three words seemingly have the same root a̯ei̯- Are these ...
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Origin of *-k- “extension” in (aorist of) some IE verbs?

In Greek, the PIE verbal roots *dheh1 'put' or 'do', *Hieh1 'throw', and *deh3 'give' show up with an unexpected -k- in some aorist forms: ἔθηκα, ἧκα, ἔδωκα. In Latin, the reflexes of the first two ...
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What is the origin of 't-' and 's-' words for second and third person possesive adjectives?

Many languages associate the t sound with the second person and the s with the third. For example Spanish (tu/tuyo, su/suyo), French (tu,ton/ta/tes,son/sa/ses), Italian (tu,tuo/tua/tuoi,suo/sua/suoi) ...
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Are the words for one and for going cognates in PIE?

We have in PIE: e̯eitr way, pedestrian road e̯imos road e̯iera̯ year e̯eiti goes e̯iteros other, another, next I wonder whether the word for "one" e̯oinos alone, separated connected to the ...
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Origin of PIE cmtom [duplicate]

In all books I have read so far (Beekes, for example), it is assumed that the word for hundred in PIE cmtom came from the word for "ten", decm. They thus postulate that the oldest (non-attested) form ...