PIE *gwṓu
Gloss: ‘cow’ (item 30 in Bjørn 2017)

HLuw. wa/i-wa/i-(i); Toch. A ko, Toch. B keu; Umb. bum (acc.); OIr. bō; ON kýr; Latv. gùovs; OCS go-mĭno ‘threshing floor’; Alb. ka; Myc. qo-u-, Gr. βοῦς; Arm. kov; Ved. gáu-, Av. gāuš.

Albanian shows some irregularity in the exact type of velar (Mallory & Adams 1997: 134ff.), but does not question the PIE reconstruction. The phonetic complements in Hittite (GUD-us, GUD-un) do allow a continuation of this root, but cannot be known for certain (Gamkrelidze & Ivanov 1995: 483), but the Hieroglyphic Luwian attestation appears solidify evidence for the Anatolian branch (Melchert 2003: 195).

External comparanda:
Semitic: *ġi ‘to bellow’ (Schott 1936: 66f.)
Egyptian: gw ‘bull’ (Mallory & Adams 1997: 135)
Kartvelian: *pur (attestations see Klimov 1998: 206)
NW Caucasian: *č’:amə > e.g. Kabardian gwaw ‘bull’ (Nichols 1997: 143)
NE Caucasian: *ʒ ̣̌VW > e.g. Chechen-Ingush govr ‘horse’ (ibid.)
Sumerian: gu4 ~ gud ‘bull’

It is likely that the PIE root originally was generic only for the species (and not also for the gender), denoting both ‘cow’ and ‘bull’, i.e. ‘cattle’ (cf. Gamkrelidze & Ivanov 1995: 482), which is practically demanded by the external comparanda. According to Mallory & Adams the domestication of the cow began during the Neolithic revolution in the Middle East in the 7th millennium BC and had spread through Europe by the inception of the fourth (1997: 137). Considering the rather extensive list of proposed comparanda, the possibility of onomatopoetic homophony may justifiably be argued, but the ostensible motivation is elusive and perhaps best represented by the Semitic verbal connection proposed by Schott, but it is weak compared to all other comparanda that clearly relate a very narrow semantic value to each other; the only possible scenario that could comprise this root as viable would be as the primordial verbal root from which the term was originally derived. Against this notion, the Egyptian evidence stands comparatively stronger denoting the animal itself and seems strengthened by further Afro-Asiatic cognates in West Chadic *warar ‘vicious bull’ (Orel & Stolbova 1995: 527). These forms may gain further credibility through the similarly positive situation in Sumerian (cf. Sahala 2009: 7) that represents the earliest attestation and is perpetuated as Sumerograms in Hittite where it curiously eclipses a word that might ultimately be related. Further suggested borrowings include Old Chinese (Mallory & Adams 1997: 135), but especially noteworthy is the proposed connection to Altaic which includes a demonstrable semantic generalization that allows a shift to other quadrupeds, cf. as a link
Manchurian geo ‘mare; cow; female (of quadrupeds)’ and consequently Classical Mongol gegün ‘mare’ (Gamkrelidze & Ivanov 1995: 491f.), particularly relevant for the inclusion of the NE Caucasian comparandum suggested by Nichols (1997: 143). The NW Caucasian attestation, obviously semantically incompatible with its western neighbors, is formally interesting from a PIE point of view as it retains an initial labiovelar. Labiality is also the proposed recipient rendition of *gw– in Kartvelian, which necessitates either an early borrowing directly from PIE, a centum continuant, or a non-IE language with similar retention of the feature, e.g. NW Caucasian, but the proposed concordance poorly matches ‘to extinguish’ (item 110) where PIE *gw– yields Kartvelian *kw-, and is therefore quite
improbable. All things considered the item may well be foreign in PIE, but it is of
considerable age; it seems to significantly predate the spread of other agricultural terms, e.g. *(s)teuros ‘bull’ (item 118), but may, too, be connected with the same general wave of technological innovation, as widespread borrowings certainly suggest. The somewhat difficult Anatolian material could be secondarily introduced, but there is no imperative to favor such an interpretation.


PIE *h1ék̂w-os
Gloss: ‘horse’ (item 32 in Bjørn 2017)

HLuw. azu(wa), Lyc. esbe-; Toch. A yuk, Toch. B yakwe; OLat. equos; Gaul. epo-; ON jór, Goth. aíhwa-; Lith. ašvíenis ‘stallion’; Myc. i-qo, Gr. ἳππος; Arm. ēš; Ved. áśva-, Av. aspa

Only the Slavic and Albanian branches miss this lexeme, and the horse can safely be ascribed to the earliest strata of PIE on internal evidence alone, despite Dolgopolsky’s attempt to discredit the inherent nature of the Anatolian forms (1993: 240). The root gives valuable insights to the intricacies of the velar series with the co-occurrence of the palatal *– with the labial element *-w-: While satəm languages retain the independence of the labial element, basically [+pal] + [+lab], the centum languages fuse the phonemes into one, [+vel, +lab], and subsequently follow the rules governing the inherited labiovelars. The Greek forms remain, although clearly related, problematic, probably reflecting some kind of dialectal borrowing (Beekes 2008: 597f.), although Sihler suggests that at least the geminate may be a regular outcome of the inherited palatal-labial cluster (1995: 159f.). Internal derivation has been proposed from a root ‘swift’ attractive due to a common Graeco-Aryan collocation, ‘swift horses’, Gr. ὠκέες ἳπποι, Ved. áśvāḥ āśávaḥ, but the connection is formally difficult (Mallory & Adams 1997: 273), if not impossible (Beekes 2008: 597f.).

External comparanda:
Kartvelian: e.g. Georgian ačua (children’s language)
North Caucasian: *ɦɨ[n]čwĭ
NW Caucasian: *cʷ̣̌́ ǝ > e.g. Abkhaz, Ubykh ačy (pl.)
NE Caucasian: Avar, Lak ču, Akhvakh ičwa, Andi iča, etc.
HU: Hur. eššǝ

The domestication of the horse represents a central pillar in Anthony‘s archaeological location of the PIE speakers on the Pontic Steppes (2007: 193-224), and intense and selective exploitation of the horse was widespread from around 4.500 BCE in the region from southern Ukraine through to Kazakhstan (Mallory & Adams 1997: 273ff.). It is thus noteworthy that Uralic did not borrow the PIE word. A common Proto-North Caucasian reconstruction has been posited, *ɦɨ[n]čwĭ, without convincing internal derivation, although the authors do not explicitly make the connection with PIE (NCED s.v. ‘horse’). Such a reconstruction, however, gives depth of time comparable to PIE, and invalidates Colarusso’s intricate and very idiosyncratic analysis of NW Caucasian and PIE with the aim of uniting the phyla in Proto-Pontic (2003: 41ff.). The Hurrian form is proposed as a loan from the satəm Mitanni-Aryan superstrate that brandished a particularly specialized equestrian vocabulary, especially owing to the assibilated geminate (Gamkrelidze & Ivanov 1995: 809). A similar origin has been suggested for Semitic, cf. Akkadian sisū and Ugarit ssw (despite confounding factors, cf. Militarev & Kogan 2005: 261ff.), Sumerian sí-sí (Sahala 2009: 10), some NE Caucasian languages (Dolgopolsky 1987: 19) as well as Abkhaz (Mallory & Adams 1997: 274), but these latter can just as well be explained from the bulk of Caucasian attestations treated below. According to Nikolayev & Starostin the sporadic Kartvelian forms can be ascribed to intra-Caucasian loan relations (NCED s.v. ‘horse’), and are thus considered secondary and beyond the scope of the present paper. The evidence presented by Dolgopolsky to substantiate the entry into Caucasian languages as an early Proto-Indo-Iranian loan rests solely with the palatal treatment of the internal velar in the Daghestanian dialects (1987: 19), but the argument is mute because palatals are reconstructed for PIE and there is no evidence to suggest that a proposed Proto-North Caucasian recipient language would not have treated them as such (§ Indeed, if horses were a trademark of ancient PIE culture (predating the split of Anatolian) with concomitant mercantile prowess, and the PIE speakers interacted intensely with the North Caucasian linguistic area at an early date, it is very likely that the ‘horse’ represented a sufficiently valuable item to be transferred from PIE and subsequently thrive in the Caucasus (cf. Matasović 2012: 291). Tantalizing both in the initial laryngeal PNC *ɦ– to mirror PIE *h1– and the internal sequence of palatalized velar plus labial glide, the only aberrant element in the North Caucasian stock is the nasal found in the Lezgian branch of NE Caucasian (reconstructed *ʡɨnšʷ [~ħ-], see NCED s.v. ‘horse’), but the circumstances are internally unclear. Alternative solutions, albeit less attractive, are chronological adjustments either (1) further back into prehistory and approaching Nostratic, or (2) later as a dialectal PIE loan, as suggested by Dolgopolsky (1987: 19).