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

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.


PIE *h1esh2-r/n
Gloss: ‘blood’ (item 33 in Bjørn 2017)

Hit. ēsḫar-, CLuw. āsḫar-; Toch. A ysār, Toch. B yasar; Lat. aser, sanguīs; Latv. asins; Gr. ἒαρ; Ved. asnás (gen.).

Notes: An inherited heterokliticon (alternating *-r and *-n– in the casus rectus and obliquus, respectively) and thus grammatically considered part of the oldest strata of PIE, the antiquity of the item is, of course, corroborated by the distribution in all the ancient branches. Latin aser is known only from a gloss, but seems to be continued in the first element of the common form san-guis (the latter part is more obscure, cf. de Vaan 2008: 537f.). According to Mallory & Adams this term signifies the internal ‘living’ blood as opposed to external ‘dead’ *kréuh2-, but this latter form is without reflexes in Anatolian and Tocharian (1997: 71).

External comparanda:
Kartvelian: *zisxl ̥– > e.g. Georgian sisxl-, Svan zisx
Sumerian: úš- ‘b., gore’

Discussion: Although formally hardly a direct match, the Kartvelian form may inform the phonology of PIE, where *h1– should match with *z-, *e with *i, *s = *s, *h2 with *x, and, ultimately, possibly *-r with *-l ̥. But since Gamkrelidze & Ivanov connect Kartvelian by positing voiced reduplication of the root (1995: 774), the resemblance is rendered significantly less transparent. If viable, the item may then be compared semantically with ‘heart’ (item 69) as they find themselves within same technical field, and can thus conceivably have been transferred as technical or cultic epithets, cf. how Latin and Greek technical terms in medicine are used in modern English, e.g. (neo-Greek) rhinoplasty of the (inherited Germanic) nose. Weak circumstantial evidence supporting such a scenario may be found in the fact that it’s the only demonstrably inherited term in Kartvelian, whereas PIE may have distinguished two roots, but note that PIE, then, are more likely to have absorbed an additional term. The directionality proposed by Gamkrelidze & Ivanov (1995: 774) would leave Kartvelian without a native word for blood. Kaiser & Shevoroshkin reject the comparison on typological grounds since “the word for blood is among the first 25 [most stable] words” (1986: 369), but the history of the term in the IE languages attest differently with demonstrable loss in the Celtic, Germanic, and Slavic branches. The simple Sumerian comparandum brings little to the table and may be internally derived (cf. Sahala 2009: 13). This must, at best, be considered a tentative comparison pending further evidence.

to drill

PIE *bherH
Gloss: ‘to drill’ (item 5 in Bjørn 2017)

Lat. forō; ON bora; (?)OLith. barti ‘to scold’; (?)OCS brati ‘fight’; (?)Ved. bhr̥ṇāti ‘to threaten, scold’

Notes: The Germanic and Italic forms are likely denominatives (Kroonen 2013: 85), although an iterative formation may similarly explain the o-grade (de Vaan 2008: 235f.). The rest of the set is disputed as from the same root (LIV2: 80), and none of the ancient branchings is attested.

External comparanda:
Semitic *brʔ ‘to work with a sharp instrument’ (Bomhard 1981: 403)
Uralic: *pura- ‘(to) drill’> e.g. Fin. pura ‘drill’, Proto-Samoyed *pȇrȇ– ‘id.’
Sumerian: bur(u(d)x) ‘breach, depth, hole; to perforate’

As a ubiquitous verb not otherwise expected to be borrowed, an innovative technique could have helped spread the item. There is a semantic link in Uralic with the verb *pure– ‘to bite’ (UEW 405f.) which may be compared to the situation in IE, making an ancient connection more attractive. Further connections may also be found in the Turkic languages, cf. Turkish bur– ‘to drill’, as suggested by Rédei, who proposes onomatopoetic, and consequently chance, resemblance (UEW 405). Not included by Orel & Stolbova (1995), Semitic is seemingly isolated in Afro-Asiatic, although Bomhard suggests two Cushitic forms, both meaning ‘broken piece’ (2008-II: 64). Sahala actually prefers a Semitic origin for the Sumerian comparandum, explicitly Akkadian būrum ‘pit, well, cistern’ (2009: 5), but the semantic side is better matched by the general term. The meaning ‘well’ is secured for Semitic (cf. Tyloch 1975: 56f.).


Two items with the meaning ‘pig’ have proposed external relations.

PIE *súH
Gloss: ‘pig’ (item 119 in Bjørn 2017)

Toch. B suwo; Lat. sūs; Welsh hwch; ON sýr ‘sow’; OPrus. swintian; OCS svinū; Alb. thi; Gr. ὗς, σῦς (var.); Ved. sūkará-, Av. hū-.

Only lacking in Anatolian (possibly hiding behind Sumerograms) and Armenian, the word has old status in PIE and has been proposed connected to the verbal root *seuH– ‘to bear, bring forth’. Although Mallory & Adams criticize that it appears not to be restricted to the sow (1997: 425), semantic widening may well have rendered the term more general already before the breakup of PIE. More problematic is the fate of the laryngeal that is missing, formally inadmissibly, in some derivational forms, and a more onomatopoetic origin may alternatively be posited (e.g. Mańczak 2000: 232f.), a notion which Beekes denies (2010: 1425).

External comparanda:
Kartvelian: *(h)ešw– > Georgian ešw– ‘tusk’, Mingrelian o-sk-u ‘pigsty’
Sumerian: šáḫ(a)

The semantics of Kartvelian are marked by great dispersal, but Klimov seems right to connect ‘tusk, fang’ and ‘pigsty’ under a common denominator ‘(wild) boar’ (1998: 48), according to Fähnrich also attested in Old Georgian (2007: 152), which suggests an early transfer to account for the divergence that nonetheless cannot directly be honored since the item is lacking in Svan and thus, conservatively, may only be secured for Georgian-Zan; a loss in the Svan language is, of course, conceivable, and must be posited for the relation to be of PIE date as Gamkrelidze & Ivanov suggest (1995: 774). Kaiser & Shevoroshkin prefers common heritage from Nostratic with the common meaning ‘to give birth’ (1986: 369), but this scenario requires that Kartvelian independently innovated the same meaning, which is hardly preferable to a loan from early middle PIE where the meaning already had been attained. A borrowing in the opposite direction, i.e. from (an antecedent of) Kartvelian is theoretically possible, and may be corroborated by the archaeological data (Anthony 2007: 285f.). The Sumerian comparandum is semantically unproblematic, but likely requires the reconstructed PIE laryngeal questioned by some. The item may well be the same in all three families (cf. Sahala 2009: 10) and have travelled from a Middle Eastern origin at an early date, although the exact origin, possibly related to the spread of agriculture, remains elusive.


PIE *ĝhor-io-
Gloss: ‘pig’ (item 18 in Bjørn 2017)

Alb. derr ‘pig’; Gr. χοῖρος ‘piglet’.

Notes: Slight irregularities in Albanian does not challenge the ultimate adherence to the Greek form (Demiraj 1997: 131f.), but the uniqueness of the two Balkan forms cause Beekes to suggest an unspecified substrate origin for the term (2010: 1640f.). Possibly derived from the noun *ĝher- ‘bristle’ (Mallory & Adams 1997: 425), this word is obviously an innovation and cannot be projected back onto PIE proper.

External comparanda:
Kartvelian: Georgian-Zan *γor– > Georgian γor-, Mingrelian, Laz γeǯ– (Fähnrich 2007: 491f.)
Afro-Asiatic: Chadic *γr

Discussion: Tentatively posited by Gamkrelidze & Ivanov as a mutually dialectal loan relation (1995: 774 fn.15), this connection suffers from sporadic attestations in both IE and Kartvelian. An ostensible connection must consequently be assigned to a late stratum, likely dialectal, which is geographically difficult. Alternatively, Kaiser & Shevoroshkin suggest ancient relations to Afro-Asiatic, notably without Semitic cognates (1986: 378 fn.8), but the lack of PIE continuation makes a tentative connection to agricultural substrate preferable.


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).