PIE *ghel-u(H)-
Gloss: ‘tortoise’ (item 24 in Bjørn 2017)

RusCS želvĭ; Gr. χέλυς ‘t., chest cavity’

Notes: While Vasmer considers the Slavic forms derived from a verbal root ‘to bend’ (1955: 414f.), the Greek forms are significantly more contested (cf. Frisk 1966: 1086f.), and Beekes even prefers substrate origin (2010: 1623ff.).

External comparanda:
Kartvelian: *γl-az1– ‘crocodile’

The scattered yet very concretely matched IE evidence does lend credibility to external origins, but the Kartvelian comparandum does not match semantically. The comparison, suggested by Smitherman (2012: 510), is unfocused and draws on a proposed common verbal root ‘twist, turn’ (cf. Fähnrich 2007: 488f.) that would render the animal derivations secondary anyhow. Further circumstantial evidence may bolster future attempts, but the connection seems quite improbable.

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MA in Indo-European Studies (2017) from the University of Copenhagen. Graduated with the thesis "Foreign elements in the Proto-Indo-European Vocabulary" that forms the basis of my blog. Particular fields of interest are the formation and dissolution of PIE with reference to Uralic and Caucasian languages.

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