Millstone

PIE *gwher-nu-
Gloss: ‘millstone’ (item 28 in Bjørn 2017)

Attestations:
(?)Toch. B kärweñe ‘stone’; Welsh breuan; Goth. qaírnus ‘mill’; OPrus. girnoywis; OCS žrŭny; Arm. erkan; Ved. grávan- ‘stone for pressing soma’

Notes:
The noun is traditionally derived from *gwher– ‘heavy’, and despite some controversy to the provenance of Tocharian it seems best reflected within this bulk (Adams 2013:176); this evidence is accompanied by the question whether ‘millstone’ is a narrowing of original ‘stone’ (Winter 1998: 351) or a broadening of the inherited ‘millstone’. If, indeed, Tocharian represents the second (known) branching of ancient PIE, the former hypothesis seems natural, and consequently preferable.

External comparanda:
Semitic: *gúrn-u ‘threshing floor’ > e.g. Ugaritic grn (examples in Tyloch 1975: 57)
North Caucasian: *χIwĕrV ‘mill, m.’ > e.g. Ingush ħajra ‘mill’, aha ‘to mill’

Discussion:
The Semitic loan etymology is defended by Dolgopolsky (1987: 16 and 1989: 6) and Takács (1997: 374) for their phonetic similarity, while Mallory & Adams (1997: 474) and Diakonoff (1985: 128f.) ascribe the similarity to sheer chance. The latter addresses the semantic gap between an IE ‘millstone’ and a purported Semitic ‘threshing floor’, which may only be bridged through the dialect semantics of Arabic ‘mortar’ (Gamkrelidze & Ivanov 1995: 770f.), but without similar variation in the ancient Semitic languages, this meaning is most probably innovated and without consequence for the present inquiry. Thematically the implement, or facility, belong to the agricultural package and should, if viable, be considered within that same context. All things considered, the Semitic comparandum requires a difficult semantic drift, especially for a purported technical loan, that renders chance resemblance the favorable option. Otherwise semantically attractive is the case for a North Caucasian connection, where a native verbal root seems to constitute the derivational basis for the implement (S. Starostin 2009: 96f.), which is a point of criticism with Matasović (2012: 290). Such a connection would, however, render the PIE system folk-etymologically associated with the root for ‘heavy’ and possibly separate Tocharian from the stock, rendering a transfer into late or late middle PIE the most likely scenario.

Pear

PIE *ĝherd
Gloss: ‘pear’ (item 25 in Bjørn 2017)

Attestations:
(?)Alb. dardhë; Gr. ἂχεδρος ‘wild p.’, ἀχράς ‘id.’; Mac. ἀγέρδα ‘id.’

Notes:
Limited distribution to a very compact geographical region, the Balkan, has very weak bearings on PIE etymology, even more so if Orel’s reservations on Albanian are heeded (1998: 56). Furnée considers it a particular pre-Greek substrate word (1972 :127).

External comparanda:
NW Caucasian: *q(w)a
NE Caucasian: *qcör (Dolgopolsky 1989: 15)
Kartvelian: *msxal– (Fähnrich 2007: 296f.)

Discussion:
Nikolayev & Starostin, scrutinizing the North Caucasian connections, further compare the Kartvelian forms, although they concede the formal difficulties the inclusion entails (NCED s.v. ‘pear’). The linguistic travels of the fruit may be compared to that of the apple (item 42) that nonetheless appear to have wider distribution within IE. If connected, Dolgopolsky’s suggestion of a loan from North Caucasian *qcōrV (NCED *qHǖre, s.v.) or one of its descendants into a dialectically diversifying PIE (1989: 15) best fit the picture (cf. also S. Starostin 2009: 88f.), although the geographic discontinuity poses a serious obstacle (cf. Matasović 2012: 290). Caucasian connections for the Balkan languages are also pertinent in the discussion of *ĝhor-io- ‘pig’ (item 18).

Grain

PIE *dhoHn
Gloss: ‘grain’ (item 14 in Bjørn 2017)

Attestations:
(?)Hit. dannas ‘kind of food’, (?)Luw. tannas ‘id.’; Toch. B tāno; Lith.  dúona ‘bread’; Ved. dhāna-, Av. dāna.

Notes:
Adams considers the earlier suggestion to derive it from the verbal root *dheh1– ‘put, place’, but concedes it as semantically strained (2013: 303). The identity of the Anatolian forms with the rest of the IE stock is tentatively suggested by Watkins (1965: 121), somewhat substantiated by the meaning in Lithuanian, but other, more immediate, alternatives likely reject the comparison (cf. Tischler 1991: 99).

External comparanda:
Semitic: *dúχn– ‘millet’ (Dolgopolsky 1987: 15, 1989: 5)

Discussion:
Orel & Stolbova connects the Semitic root to Central Chadic *dwan– ‘corn’ (1995: 166), adding credibility to an Afro-Asiatic origin. Diakonoff remains sceptical pending further knowledge of the importance of ‘millet’ in the diet (1985: 127), and the comparison may further be questioned by the semantic drift required to fit the IE attestations. The connection is attractive in light of the spread of agriculture, but remains inconclusive.

Earth

PIE *dheĝh-om
Gloss: ‘earth’ (item 10 in Bjørn 2017)

Attestations:
Hit. tēkan, HLuw. takam- (dat.-loc.sg.); Toch. A tkaṃ, Toch. B (t)keṃ; Lat. humus; OIr. ; Goth. guma ‘man’; Lith. žẽmė; OCS zemlja; Alb. dhe; Gr. χθών; Ved. kṣás, Av. zam-.

Notes:
This item harks back to the oldest layers of PIE with representation in most branches, including the decisive ancient Anatolian and Tocharian that further help establish the original sequence of the obstruents (D-G) that underwent metathesis sometime in late middle PIE (to G-D). This item has been mentioned as an argument in favor of Tocharian as the second branch to leave the PIE dialect continuum (cf. Kretschmer 1931).

External comparanda:
Kartvelian: *diɣwam- ‘fertile soil’ > Georgian diɣvam– ‘black earth, sufficiency’ and Svan diɣwam ‘damp low place with f.’.
Kartvelian (alternative): *diqa- ‘clay’ > e.g. Georgian tixa, (?)Svan gim

Discussion:
Klimov proposes the connection with ‘fertile soil’ (1998: 41), which semantically seems a viable loan item due to its specialized meaning and formal triconsonantal quasiidentity (D-G-M), although the vocalism seems somewhat discontinuous; the labial
treatment of the IE velar similarly needs to be explained. These considerations would establish PIE as the provider of the term. Alternatively, Gamkrelidze & Ivanov suggest that the meaning ‘clay’ in Kartvelian may be related to PIE ‘earth’, and that the Svan form represent a simplified stem *ĝhem– < *dhĝhem– (1995: 774) to illuminate internal PIE development as well, but note that Klimov does not include Svan in this cognate set (1998: 72), reducing the reconstruction to Georgian-Zan, while Fähnrich treats it along with Mingrelian gim-e ‘below’ (2007: 107). This Svan form is, moreover, not an exact semantic parallelism, but the connotations in PIE with inherent association with ‘human’, e.g., at least some European languages, Goth. guma and Latin homō (cf. Mallory & Adams 1997: 366), could mend the comparison somewhat. The sequence of the obstruents in either Kartvelian comparandum would surely establish the loan to an early stratum of PIE, i.e. before the metathesis sometime after the presumed split of Tocharian. Kaiser & Shevoroshkin reject the hypothesis on formal grounds (1986: 368), but, all things considered, the connection with ‘black soil’ appears most attractive if the similarity is not merely due to chance resemblance.

Barley

PIE *bhar-(s-)
Gloss: ‘barley’ (item 2 in Bjørn 2017)

Attestations:
Lat. fār; (?)OIr. bairgen ‘bread, loaf’; Goth. bariz-eins ‘of b.’; OCS brašĭno ‘food’, Rus. bor ‘millet’; Alb. bar ‘grass’; (?)Gr. Περσεφόνη ‘Persephone (? = the grain-slayer)’ (PN)

Notes:
It is noteworthy that a bare stem may also exist in Celtic and Slavic (Russian bor ‘millet’) next to the somewhat more prolific extensions. The inclusion of the Greek deity is highly dubious (cf. Chantraine 1968: 889), and, even if accepted, would not introduce significant new evidence to the picture already painted by the more secure attestations. Lehmann proposes that the lexeme be internally derived from a verbal root (1986: 62), but the a-vocalism and the external comparanda treated immediately below demand that the possibility of foreign influence, at least, be entertained (cf. de Vaan 2008: 201f.).

External comparanda:
NE Caucasian: *bVrcị̌nV
NW Caucasian: possibly Adyghe ‘grain’, Abkhaz ‘id.’
Semitic: *barr-/burr- ‘cereal, wheat’

Discussion:
Some objections have been raised to the Semitic loan hypothesis, e.g. by Mallory & Adams who consider a borrowing ‘unlikely’ based on the morphology (1997: 51), while Diakonoff’s rejection of the claim, based on its putative isolation in Semitic (1985: 126f.), has become mute in light of the fact that Orel & Stolbova (1995: 56) connect it to an almost ubiquitous Afro-Asiatic root, *bar-/bur– ‘grain, cereal’, which certainly advocates for Semitic (or related) origins. Gamkrelidze & Ivanov insist that the IE branches representing the item were in direct contact with speakers of a Semitic proto-language (1995: 770), but, as several other instances suggest (e.g. *ghaid– ‘goat’, item 21), the proposition of an agricultural
substrate, possibly even related to Semitic (§ 2.5), blunts the urgency of the claim. Note, too, that the semantic shift from ‘wheat’ or ‘cereal’ speaks against direct contacts. Dolgopolsky introduces the Caucasian comparanda, and questions a Semitic provenance on the basis of its simpler stem that lacks the *-s (1989: 15f.), but, as shown above, a similar IE variant could represent the original state only secondarily derived. The North Caucasian comparanda seems to reflect a higher complexity than either of PIE and Semitic, possibly hinting at greater antiquity, but, more likely, a window to PIE phonetics may be encountered here, seeing that there is a decent argument in the proposition that the desinence *-inV in North East Caucasian reflects the PIE derivational suffix *-in-o-, cf. Slavic *boršĭno– ‘flour’, Latin farīna ‘id.’, and probably also Goth. barizeins ‘of barley’ (ibid., cf. also S. Starostin 2009: 91 and further Matasović 2012: 291). This comparison is also favorable due to identical semantics. A tentative history of the term can thus be schematized as Afro-Asiatic > Semitic & Old European substrate → middle or late PIE → North (East) Caucasian.

Bean

PIE *bha-bh/k-̂
Gloss: ‘bean’ (item 1 in Bjørn 2017)

Attestations:
Lat. faba; OHG bōna; OPrus. babo; OCS bobŭ; Alb. bathë; Gr. φακός

Notes:
Formal inconsistencies and limited distribution suggest a regionalism.

External comparanda:

Old-European: Unattested

Discussion:
This item shows all the hallmark traits of a regional borrowing, quite possibly a loan from an agricultural substrate, to which, e.g., *ghaid– ‘goat’ (item 21) may be compared, cf. Kroonen (2013: xviii,55).