Theo Vennemann tvn at
Wed Feb 3 23:11:04 UTC 1999

[ moderator re-formatted ]

>>Well, we have a problem then because there was definitely some kind of
>>contact (whether direct or indirect) between IE and Semitic.

>-- and probably the word for "axe", too.  However, these could equally easily
>be wander-words, or relayed through other languages.  They don't imply
>geographical propinquity in the same way as the much more numerous PIE-Finno-
>Ugrian loans.

Gk. pe'lekus, Skt. paras'u'- is clearly Semitic (root family p-l-K- 'to
split, to divide', which is pretty close to what you do with a battle-axe),
and on account of its meaning is likely to be a wanderwort.  The greater
problem is:  How did folk 'division (of an army)' and plow "divider of the
soil" (from the same family of Semitic roots) find their way into Germanic
(and only Germanic)?  Put more generally: Why do we seem to find more such
correspondences with Germanic than with other Indo-European languages? (I say
"seem" because in this part of the world I appear to be the only one looking,
and I can with a clear professional conscience only look in Germanic.)

Theo Vennemann
3 February 1999

More information about the Indo-european mailing list