IE-Semitic connections

Theo Vennemann tvn at
Wed Feb 3 23:09:48 UTC 1999


>>In particular, you receive an elegant solution for Germanic and
>>Etruscan (and Basque)...

>In retrospect, I forgot about Basque "zazpi". Hmm, but I wonder what the
>mainstream theory is on that word. Larry Trask mentioned that Latin "s"
>becomes "z" in Basque borrowings. Latin, at least Vulgar Latin, as far
>as I am aware, reduced /m/ before vowel to a nasal vowel. I can't see
>how "zazpi" can be related to a t-less Semitic form because of the
>second -z- which has to be a soft representation of a previous /t/ (what
>else could it possibly be??) Hence zazpi might actually come from a late
>version of Latin septem which perhaps was pronounced /sept(s)@~/ at the
>time (@~ = nasal schwa).

>To be honest it probably can't be explained as a Classical Latin
>borrowing (cf. Lat apta- > hauta- "choose") but couldn't this be a late
>Latin borrowing? It's definitively not from a t-less Semitic form. Maybe
>an _m-less_ one at most and then we have to explain why Semitic *b
>becomes Basque /p/!

>Glen Gordon

I carefully put "Basque" in parentheses. I should not have mentioned it at
all. (But the zp part is too suggestive ...) The fact remains that Etr.
semph and Goth. sibun have a straightforward derivation from a borrow-
ed *sebm, as opposed to the *septm of all non-Gmc. IE languages. I com-
pared this pair of forms to Akkadian sebum (circumflex on the u) /
sebettum in my 1995 GinkgoBaum article but was told on the Net that
that was old hat (viz., had been proposed long ago in the Russian lin-
guistic literature). The latter fact at least makes it possible for me to talk
about the hypothesized connection, because the culture I am operating in
pretty much forbids saying in public what you have already published.


More information about the Indo-european mailing list