Questions tagged [proto-indo-european]

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

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What evidence supports labialized velars in PIE?

Traditional reconstruction gives the following velars in PIE: */ḱ/, */ǵ/, */ǵʰ/ */k/, */g/, */gʰ/ */kʷ/, */gʷ/, */gʷʰ/ I wonder what evidence is there to consider velars */kʷ/, */gʷ/, */gʷʰ/ ...
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Grimm's law: what motivates stop -> fricative sound change?

I am trying to understand the sound change that brought PIE *dent- to P.Gmc. *tanth-. Grimm's law seems to be the culprit for the consonant changes: Initial voiced stop /d/ devoiced to /t/ Terminal ...
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4 votes
3 answers
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Are "fish" and "to swim" related words?

When learning Thai, I was amazed how modern Thai word "fish" is similar to Slavic word "to swim" Thai: ปลา [plaː] "fish" Lao: ປາ [pa᷅ː]"fish" Ukrainian: ...
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Etymology of the word "sport"

I wonder what is the etymology of the word sport. Vasmer says that it is from disport "amusement", a contraction from Middle English disporten from Old French desporter "to take away", "to distract ...
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Word for road in PIE and overlaryngealism?

Lubotsky dictionary gives the word for "road" in PIE as NOM *pónt-h₁-s ACC *pont-éh₁-m GEN *pnt-h₁-ós This looks strange to me because I would expect a thematic vowel instead of the laryngeal. Can ...
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2 votes
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Is PIE "*wank-" the ultimate root of E "wankle"?

wankle From Middle English wankel, from Old English wancol (“unstable, unsteady, tottering, vacillating, weak”), from Proto-Germanic *wankulaz (“unsteady, wavering”), from Proto-Indo-European *...
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How does the initial consonant in "Jupiter" and "Zeus" come from the "d" in PIE "*dyew-"?

Jupiter, is from Proto-Indo-European *dyew- (“sky”) (whence also Latin diēs). Cognate with Ancient Greek Ζεύς (Zeus), Hittite 𒅆𒍑 (sius), Sanskrit द्यु (dyú). The nominative Iuppiter comes from ...
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Could the *-trom ending in PIE be a zero-grade from agent suffix *-ter-/-tor-?

Given the agent suffix -ter- (which exhibited e-grade when meaning a profession or purpose and o-grade when meaning the recent perpetrator), can -trom suffix also be a zero grade from this one plus ...
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Indo-European prepositions: why prepositions?

In a related but different question to Indo-European prepositions: whence did they come?, why do just about all modern Indo-European languages have prepositions rather than postpositions? PIE is ...
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4 votes
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PIE Aspect: (Im)perfective or (Non-)progressive?

According to Wikipedia Proto-Indo-European had four tense-aspects, the first being stative and the latter three being eventive: stative aspect, perfective aspect, and past and present tense of ...
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Is there a known rule of correspondence between Latin and Greek *p and *kʷ - in other languages?

It seems to me that some words that have -p- in stem in Latin have clearly reconstructible -ku̯- based on other Indo-European languages. Some examples include *u̯lpes - *u̯lku̯os ("wolf") *u̯esper - *...
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6 votes
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Would a Proto language be easy to learn?

Since English descends from Proto-Germanic, which descends from PIE, would either of those two languages be relatively easy to learn (compared to, say, Japanese), or has the language changed too much ...
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18 votes
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What language came before Proto-Indo-European?

What is the Proto-Proto-Indo-European?
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5 votes
2 answers
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How is the word for "son" reconstructed in PIE?

How is son reconstructed in PIE, sou̯nus or seu̯nus? Starostin gives contradictory accounts: in Indo-European etymology page he gives the first variant, but on a page for Eurasiatic etymology he ...
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3 votes
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h₂ou̯is or h₃eu̯is

I wonder which variant of reconstruction of this word, meaning "sheep" in PIE is the correct. Beekes gives *h₃eu̯is, Fortson gives *h₂ou̯is. Both are respected scholars, Fortson's source is the later....
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PIE -enk reflexes in Modern English

I recently found out the origin of the verb 'bring' as being derived from bher- (carry) and enk- (to go to) and how they fused together and came into Germanic as *bhrengk- then coming down into ...
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2 answers
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What caused some IE languages to have consonant inventory sizes different from PIE?

The WALS chapter on consonant inventories shows that the distribution of inventory sizes across languages follows a normal curve, with average size inventories (22 ± 3 consonants) being the most ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Agglutination in Proto-Indo-European

Based on numerous sources, it seems clear that Proto-Indo-European was Productively agglutinative with non-root morphemes (and perhaps some specific roots that are also able to act like bound ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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What is the evidence for laryngeal in *méh₂tēr?

Wikitionary shows a PIE word *méh₂tēr but I never seen this word spelled with a laryngeal. There was a long vowel there but how is it correct to analyze it to be *-eh₂- rather than just *ā?
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2 votes
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Origin of *dhvor-

Formerly as I remember I saw somewhere *dhvor- (door, gate, yard, court) connected with the root *vert- (turn) in PIE. This is quite realistic and can be supported with similar Russian words створка (...
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3 votes
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How it happened that evolution of "mater" and "pater" is different despite their similar origin?

With an addition of PIE relatives suffix *-ter-, Eurasiatic *ama, *apa became Old PIE *mā-ter-s, *pa-ter-s (the final -s was later lost in late PIE) But there is a difference: in Old PIE *māters the "...
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6 votes
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What is the origin of feminine ending *-ia in PIE?

I have seen two versions: a) *-ia ending actually derived from the collective number form, which also ends in *-ia. So the collective number first started to represent abstract things (compare Latin ...
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15 votes
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What are the reasons to count Armenian as an Indo-European language?

Often I encounter arguments that Armenian is in fact not an Indo-European language. The claims assert that the regular correspondences between Armenian and PIE are too unrealistic, too rare and too ...
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19 votes
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What is the relationship between the PIE roots *dekṃ and *kṃtóm?

It seems that there is a consensus that the PIE roots for ten and hundred are, respectively, *deḱṃ and *ḱṃtóm. There also seems to be a consensus that *ḱṃtóm is a shortened version of *deḱṃtóm. These ...
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