Questions tagged [proto-indo-european]

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

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What is the contribution of Tocharian to the reconstruction of Proto-Indogermanic?

Inspired by this question Which Indo European language best preserves the features of Proto Indo-European?, I want to ask the follow-up question: What did we learn for the reconstruction of Proto-...
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Which Indo European language best preserves the features of Proto Indo-European?

Among all attested Indo European languages, which one best preserves the features of Proto Indo-European? Which is most useful in the reconstruction of PIE?
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Two languages have the same homonym for two meanings but different phonetics [closed]

If they got it from the protolanguage, then why does it have different phonetics? Is it possible that they were developed separately? 'Mañana' in Spanish – means 'morning' and 'tomorrow' 'Morgen’ in ...
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4 votes
3 answers
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How did *h₁l̥h₁onbʰos shift from "deer" to "lamb"?

Browsing the Wiktionary randomly, I bumped into this PIE word, *h₁l̥h₁onbʰos, meaning "deer". Interestingly enough, it evolved into words for "deer" or similar in several languages, but in PG it gave ...
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Why is there no Ancient Greek noun whose stem ends in an "i"-ending diphthong (like "-ai")?

Ancient Greek nouns are cassified into three declensions, and we can say that this is largely based on the ending of the stem of the noun. If a noun's stem ends in -ā (or -ē in Attic when not after r, ...
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13 votes
1 answer
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How would Slavs call a bear if they didn't use euphemism?

Unlike Latin "ursus" or English "bear", the Slavic word "medved" is not cognate to the reconstructed PIE "*Hrtkos". It is believed that this word is a Slavic euphemism meaning "honey-eater". I am ...
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Why does Greek "ναι" mean "yes" while it comes from a PIE root meaning "no"?

According to Wiktionary, the Greek word ναι comes from Ancient Greek ναί, which is a variation of νή, which comes from Proto-Indo-European ne, which means no. Why can a word have the opposite ...
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changes in sounds in Indo-European languages

Forgive me if this question is too simple/repetitive/... as I'm not familiar with technical terms. I'm looking for a good reference that's explained the changes in sounds in Indo-European daughter ...
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Proto-Indo-European phonetic and pronunciation [duplicate]

They say nobody exactly knows how Indo-European words were actually pronounced since obviously there was no Sony sound recorder back then. So, what are these phonetic symbols that they use to ...
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Origin of the word/root 'del'

As I was contemplating the Norwegian word "del," which means "part" or "portion," it occurred to me that there is the same root in Russian, and that it means the same thing. I looked up "del" and "...
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identifying unknown script from artefact [closed]

A friend found these artefacts for sale in Afghanistan, was wondering what the script is? Maybe Avestan? enter image description here
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Do Linguists pronounce PIE roots

I'm assuming the original pronunciation of words in Proto-Indo-European is unknown. How do linguists talk about the reconstructed roots, do they just assume sounds close enough to english or do they ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Did proto-indo-european possess sounds that are not any longer present or rare in modern IE languages?

In the movie Prometheus, David, an Android tasked with maintaining the functions on the space ship while his human comrades are sleeping in cryostatic chambers, is learning PIE during his off-duty ...
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what about ophis Python==ahi Budhnya?

in short : is the equation ὄφις Πύθων == अहि बुध्न्य ahi budʰnya widely accepted by scholars ? Python and Ahi Budhnya/Ahirbudhnya are both a famous serpent, the first one in the Greek mythology, the ...
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How different were Proto-Italic and Proto-Germanic?

It's (generally) accepted that Proto-Indo-European (PIE) evolved into the subfamilies Proto-Italic, Proto-Germanic, and Proto-Iranian among others. English uses a Latin Writing system which evolved ...
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Is there evidence that "proto-" languages actually existed?

I never heard about those (pre-)historical languages before hearing about them in the internet. For instance, proto-slavic would be the ancestor of all slavic languages, and proto-indo-european the ...
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Etymology of Ancient Greek interrogative particle ἆρα

The Ancient Greek interrogative ἆρα is strikingly similar to modern Persian āyā. Both words exclusively signal yes/no questions, and almost always begin the sentence. There is an accent on the first ...
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Origin of gen./abl. "pitur" genitive of "pitā́" ("father") in Sanskrit

How did the Sanskrit gen./abl. singular of pitr-/pitā́ ("father") came to be pitur (and the genitive of the entire noun class as well, of course)? The evolution of all other forms (even pitā́, which ...
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Are PIE *bʰewg- "flee" and PIE *bʰegʷ- "flee" cognate?

These two verbal roots *bʰewg- "flee" and *bʰegʷ- "flee" share the same meaning and very similar forms, the only difference is their ending consonant. I wonder whether they are from a same root or ...
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Understanding the reflexes of PIE *ǵneh3- in Sanskrit, Latin and Greek

Today I was trying to reconstruct some PIE roots by myself and I came across the word for '(to) know' in different indo-european languages. Here are some examples: Eng. (to) know It. conoscere Lat. (...
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(PIE) déḱm̥ vs déḱm̥t (ten)

In short : what's the final -t in déḱm̥t? Full details : The Proto-Indo-European root for ten is traditionally defined as déḱm̥/déḱm̥t(ᵃ). The final -t may be analyzed as a casual ending, e.g. as a "...
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What were the broad meanings of the various (nominal) declination classes in proto-IE?

As everyone (who is familiar with proto-Indo-European) knows, it is an inflectional language with several cases, a few accent-ablaut patterns, and a number of (thematic/athematic) declination classes. ...
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Are the cognates of PIE roots in this paper reliable?

I came across a long paper with many cognates of PIE roots, some examples: *weid- "to see" and *sueid- "to shine" < *weid-es-weid-, *h₂ǵ- "to drive" and *sh₂ǵ- "to seek" < *h₂ǵ-es-h₂ǵ-, where *...
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Proposed binary divisions of Proto-Indo-European

One well-known division of Indo-European languages is Centum - Satem. However, my wikipedia-induced understanding is that due to the existence of Tocharian it is at best unclear whether it corresponds ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Balto-Slavic Infinitive and PIE 3rd p., sg, present endings

I'm curious to ask if the suffix -tī for the infinitive in Balto-Slavic is related to the PIE third person, singular, present suffix -ti? Although there is no reason (from a functional point of ...
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How many vowels and how many consonants did the Proto-Indo-European Language have?

I am interested in development paths of Russian and English sound systems. At present the situation is as follows: according to WALS, the consonant inventory of modern Russian is classed as "...
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4 votes
1 answer
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How strong was the r/l distinction in Proto-Afro-Asiatic?

The East Asian languages do not distinguish r and l. The PIE had r/l alternation in suffixes: -tlom/-trom, -dhlom/-dhrom, -ter/-tel, -ros/-los. What can be said in this context about Afro-Asiatic ...
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Is there a LaTeX package for Proto-Indo-European laryngeals?

I'm including some PIE examples in my Latex-formatted thesis. What font package or predefined symbols will help me?
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4 votes
2 answers
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Does the Slavic word rā́dъ have cognates in Indo-iranian?

I found a source which gives the PIE origin: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/lrc/ielex/X/P1589.html But it only lists Slavic reflexes. Are there related words in Persian or Sanskrit? Wikipedia ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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History of Preverbs in Indo-European

As you may know, quite some of the IE languages know preverbs, who may modify the meaning of a verbal root. I would like to know more about the interrelation of the various preverbs found in these ...
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1 vote
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What's the function of the PIE suffix *-lo-?

I've seen it used sometimes, what was its purpose? Was it used to make adjectives describing relations to nouns as in Latin (where it transformed into -ālis, which works that way), or was it different?...
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-4 votes
2 answers
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What is the underlying meaning of the English 'of'? [closed]

TL;DR: What is the semantic field or the big picture behind the English 'of'? I seek an explanation like this which exposes the underlying semantic field of ‘tally’. Addendum: of (as a ...
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10 votes
2 answers
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Did PIE *h3 cause voicing in any other words than the "drink" word?

The Proto-Indo-European "third laryngeal", *h3, is often assumed to have been a voiced sound based on the fact that some reflexes of the "drink" root *peh3- appear to show voicing assimilation of p to ...
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Are these Kazakh words considered borrowings (from Russian?) or onomatopoieias?

These three words are very similar in English, Russian and Kazakh. At least the Russian set is considered inherited from PIE. English - Russian - Kazakh crush - крушить (krushitь) - қырш (qyrsh) ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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Manifestation of negation in proto-indo-european? [closed]

Does anybody know when and how linguistic negation was manifested in proto-language (anyone, for example, proto-indo-european)? What is meant by "linguistic negation" is these patterns of language ...
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Did the Latin '-que' mean "any, also, ever'?

ubiquity (n.) [...] + que "any, also, and, ever," as a suffix giving universal meaning to the word it is attached to, from PIE root * kwe "and." Did Etymonline err? I know that -que is an enclitic, ...
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11 votes
2 answers
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Difference between "Leiden school" and "mainstream" Indo-Europeanists?

Recently, I've been asked what the difference between the "Leiden school" and "mainstream" Indo-Europeanists is. The asker is planning to study in Leiden and has been concerned with the many vague ...
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4 votes
3 answers
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Is there a website where you can find cognates of certain word in other IE branches?

Just as in the title :) I wonder if there is a tool on the internet which would help in finding cognates of certain word in as much branches as possible. Say I want to find find all the cognates in ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Possible connection between PIE Ablaut and Semitic vowel alternation

Since I started to read about language typology and then got a hint about PIE ablaut system I have been wondering if there might be any prehistorical connection between these families at least ...
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10 votes
2 answers
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Is the prefix "proto-" reserved only for unattested languages ?

I'm not sure if there's a consensus in linguistic nomenclature about using the aforementioned prefix in naming the reconstructed languages. As we all probably know, in linguistics, there's a custom ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Why was 'thwart' assigned to PIE *terkw- "to twist"?

thwart (adv.) [...] c. 1200, from a Scandinavian source, probably Old Norse þvert "across," originally neuter of thverr (adj.) "transverse, across," (cognate with Old English þweorh "...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Where are PIE phonemes transliterated as IPA?

Where can I find each PIE phoneme (which I don't know how to pronounce) transliterated and represented as IPA? Afterword: (Delightedly but fortuitously) Searching 'Grimm's Law' on Youtube directed ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
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Was sanskrit first complex language [closed]

I believe a complex language in necessary for a religious ideology involving man, mind, awareness, material world, immaterial world and such to be passed on. Was sanskrit the first language that was ...
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2 votes
0 answers
246 views

The origin of "ba" particle

In French, Italian there is a particle ba(h) which is used for exclamation of contempt, excitement, surprise etc. There's pretty similar particle բա in Armenian which is used for expressing amusent as ...
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1 answer
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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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1 vote
1 answer
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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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2 votes
1 answer
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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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0 votes
1 answer
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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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1 vote
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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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