Eagle

PIE *h3or-(n-)
Gloss: ‘eagle’ (item 63 in Bjørn 2017)

Attestations:
Hit. ḫāran-, Pal. ḫāran-, CLuw. ḫarran(i)– ‘bird’; (?)Middle Irish irar; Goth. ara; Lith. erẽlis; OCS orĭlŭ; Myc. o-ni-ti-ja-pi ‘of a bird’, Gr. ὂρνις ‘bird’; Arm. oror ‘gull’

Notes: Greek has inverted the inherited words for ‘eagle’ and ‘bird’ (*h2euei-) so that the former means ‘bird’ and the latter ‘eagle’ (Mallory & Adams 1997: 173), while the Luwian shift is without consequence thanks to semantically more conservative inner-Anatolian cognates. Different derivations are required to account for all of the branches, but especially the *-n-desinence appears widespread and old, while Balto-Slavic are alone to extend with the *-l-formant. The appurtenance of the Celtic stock is tentatively questioned by Matasović (2009: 117f.). The distribution suggests early PIE origins, but the lack of Indo-Iranian and Tocharian cognates may indicate a more regionally confined phenomenon, cf. PIE *woin– ‘wine’ (item 133).

External comparanda:
Semitic: *γVrVn > Akk. urinnu, Arab. γaran
Sumerian: erin, (ḫ)u11-rí-in ‘e., standard’

Discussion: The sporadic Semitic evidence could indicate a borrowing from an Anatolian language; Militarev & Kogan, who hesitantly propose this connection, also include Central Chadic ‘white-bellied stork’, that, however, more probably should be considered a later loan from Arabic (2005: 131); it may be added that the item is not included by Orel & Stolbova (1995), and that a connection between Akkadian and Sumerian seems solid (Sahala 2009: 6). Phonetically the value of PIE *h3 is in play and the evidence does seem to point in a direction of ancient affinities, the question, of course, is how old.

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bjorn

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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