PIE *w(ó)ih1-no
Gloss: ‘wine’ (item 133 in Bjørn 2017)

Attestations: Hit. wiyana-, HLuw. wi(y)ana; Lat. vīnum; Alb. vẽnë; Myc. wo-no, Gr. οἶνος; Arm. gini

Notes: An internal IE derivation has been proposed for this root, rather transparent even, from *ueih1– ‘to wind, twist’ with o-grade (de Vaan 2008: 680), and great antiquity is, indeed, conceivable with relative wide distribution, including Anatolian. Forms in Germanic, Baltic, Slavic, and Celtic forms are usually assumed to be through Latin, but the relative simplicity of the root renders any clear separation difficult, even of the cognates included above. The absence in the Central Asian branches of Indo-Iranian and Tocharian is noteworthy, see further under discussion. For a thorough treatment of the reconstruction and the overall likelihood of internal derivation, see Beekes (1987b).

External comparanda:
Semitic: *wajn
Kartvelian: *ɣwin- (Nichols 1997: 143 and Smitherman 2012: 505)
Kartvelian: Georgian-Zan *wenaq ‘vineyard’

The point of dispersal of the technical aspects of winemaking is of some pertinence to the current inquiry as viticulture may be traced to the Caucasus in the 6th millennium BCE (Fortson 2010: 42), but there need not be a contradiction when Zohary concludes that grapes, along with olives and dates, were only domesticated between 3700-3.500 BCE in modern day Israel and Jordan (1990: 39), since the fermentation of grapes, obviously, could have been done with wild species. The important lesson here, of course, is that the entire region, from the Caucasus mountains in the northeast, to the eastern Mediterranean in the west, were areas of possible early winemaking. Favoring a Semitic origin, Dolgopolsky notes that the root-final consonantal cluster is otherwise uncommon for PIE (1987: 16), but the donor language can hardly be Semitic since the internal cognates are only relevant in the western languages in immediate contact with the Mediterranean trade network, while the southern forms are considered secondarily borrowed (Lipiński 2001: 573). There is no trace of the root in any other Afro-Asiatic branch, which precludes a more ancient origin within that particular language family. Proof is an elusive phenomenon in historical comparative linguistics, so a strong conclusion like the one Dolgopolsky reaches on this term, i.e. that PIE and Semitic necessarily were in close proximity to one another (1993: 244), is bordering on tendentious. Diakonoff prefers a late borrowing from Mycenaean (1990: 59). The same term appears to be continued also in Hattic windu– (Chirikba 1996: 427), but due to the problematic nature of the language, the consequences of its presence here are difficult to evaluate. In Kartvelian Fähnrich (2007: 486) prefers an internal derivation, not much unlike the formation in PIE, to the verb *ɣun- ‘wind, bend’. The traditional explanation for these forms is a later loan from early Armenian that developed g- from PIE *w- via *gw- (Matasović 2012: 288 and Gippert 1995: 117ff.) and thus in formal accordance with the Kartvelian forms, but this still fails to account for the internal verbal connection. Consequently, both a loan from PIE → Semitic and Kartvelian, and, in the opposite direction, a loan from Kartvelian → PIE and Semitic, with subsequent folk etymological reinterpretation, are both viable trajectories. Otherwise a wholesale borrowing of the entire complex, i.e. with verbal root and nominal derivations, is required, but this scenario is hardly conceivable. A third option is a calque that coincidentally resembles the external proto-type. The fact that Fähnrich accepts the loan etymology for Georgian-Zan ‘vineyard’ (2007: 159) thus introduces another layer of confusion; Dolgopolsky similarly deduces that the Kartvelian forms were borrowed directly from PIE *-ah2 due to the *-q that he considers a reflex of the PIE laryngeal (1989: 12f.). A peculiarity of the IE distribution is its complete absence in the eastern and likely also northern branches, and thus, conversely, presence only in the languages historically attested in the Mediterranean region in contiguous geographic relation with Kartvelian, Hattic, and Semitic. All things considered, a Kartvelian provenance seems more likely, emanating from the Caucasus throughout the region. [Add. See now also Gorton (2017) for an adamant defense of Proto-Indo-European origins. I remain skeptical, but welcome the level of detail brought forth in the article. See also Pereltsvaig & Lewis (2015: 193-194) for a positive assessment of a Kartvelian provenance.]

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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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