IE-Semitic connections

Larry Trask larryt at
Thu Feb 4 09:15:36 UTC 1999

On Mon, 1 Feb 1999, Glen Gordon wrote:

[on Basque <sei> `six', <zazpi> `seven']

> Whoops almost missed that one. Good thing I re-read. Basque? This brings
> up that ugly topic again of where Basque got those numbers from. I
> fathomed that they are perhaps some kind of Late Latin/Romance borrowing
> out of a blind guess. Larry Trask would know but he's probably busy
> battling Bengtson's Dene-Caucasian theory right now :)

I've already commented on <zazpi>.  As for <sei>, a Romance source looks
very implausible.  All the western Romance languages appear to retain
some kind of final sibilant in the word for `six', and hence a loan into
Basque should have produced something like *<seits> or *<zeitz> or maybe
*<seis>, but not the observed <sei>.  Probably a chance resemblance.

Larry Trask
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QH

larryt at

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