IE-Semitic connections

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal mcv at
Thu Feb 4 12:21:27 UTC 1999

"Glen Gordon" <glengordon01 at> wrote:

>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??)

There is no sound law ti > zi in Basque itself, so if a
hypothetical *zapzi comes from something like *sapti, the source
of the borrowing must be some language that tended to assibilate
dentals before front vowels.  Or the *-ti was changed to *-zi
under the influence of zortzi "8" (just like bederatzu "9" became
bederatzi in W & C Basque under the influence of the word for
"8").  All of this assuming zazpi was metathesized from *zapzi,
as indeed we must if we want to relate the Basque word to the
Mediterranean Wandernumeral.  Larry may rightly object that there
is no evidence for metathesis in this word.

>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?

No.  Latin septem > sEpte~ > sEtte > sEte > sEt (Occ.) or siete

>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/!

Basque b automatically becomes p when it meets <z> (which is
voiceless, remember).

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
mcv at

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