Chickpea

PIE *ker̂ -(ker̂ -)
Gloss: ‘chickpea’ (item 67 in Bjørn 2017)

Attestations: Lat. cicer; Alb. thjer ‘lentil’; (?)Gr. κριός; Mac. κίκκεροι; Arm. sisəṙn

Notes: De Vaan rejects the Greek comparandum as a chance resemblance and tentatively posits the verbal root *kerh3– (2008: 113). The widespread reduplication points to an old phenomenon (Greppin 1981: 6f.), and the Greek form, if connected, may thus be a simplified variant. The distribution is very centralized in the circum-Pontic area, especially the Balkans, which may provide lexical evidence of an ancient Armenian presence in that particular region (cf. Solta 1960: 331f.).

External comparanda:
NE Caucasian: *qarhV

Discussion: Dolgopolsky bases his loan trajectory (PIE → NC Caucasian) on paleobotanical arguments (1989: 16), but the linguistic side certainly does not warrant a reconstruction for PIE. A similar root is visible in NW Caucasian with the meaning ‘pea’, and a pan-North Caucasian phenomenon is substantiated by similar items in all branches, of which Abkhaz and Kryts show reduplication (Mikić & Vishnyakova 2012). A further comparandum is suggested in Burushaski gərk ‘peas’ and thus shows hallmark signs of a wanderwort scenario. A reconstruction for PIE looks more like an example of biased science than a valid inference of the scattered and inconsequent IE data, unfortunately prompting an indefensible conclusion on directionality.

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bjorn

PhD stud. at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (Jena) 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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