IE-Semitic connections

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal mcv at
Thu Feb 4 17:18:08 UTC 1999

"Glen Gordon" <glengordon01 at> wrote:

>>The contrast between the initial consonants of the words for "6"
>>and "7" does indeed suggest a NE Semitic origin.  Akkadian, and
>>no other Semitic language, has a contrast between 6 s^is^s^(et)
>>and 7 sebe(tt), i.e. shibilant vs. sibilant.

>I think you mentioned this before, however now it seems more intriguing.
>:) Why would Kartvelian have the opposite however? Is there cause to
>reinterpret the reconstruction?

The Kartvelian forms have plenty of other problems.  It's not
clear to me how (and I sometimes think whether) they are related.
Until somebody comes up with some good ideas about them, it's
probably best to leave them aside.

[ moderator snip ]

>Why do you doubt "uk"'s kinship? Where else could it be from?

Not from *eg-.  I just don't see how e- (or o-) can become u- in
Hittite.  I'd sooner see it as a shortened for of ammuk,
unsatisfactory as that may be.  [Hittite /u/ can also come from
*m., but I don't consider *mg a very credible reconstruction.
Maybe *m-go if <uga> is the old form besides <uk>].

>I've heard
>about this analysis of *eg'oh but it seems awkward to explain it as
>*e-g'e-hwe (or *(H1)e-ge-H3e, if you like).

I prefer *H1e-g(h)o-H2 (o: from o-grade of a:)

>1. The word *e is a demonstrative, not an attested 1rst person on its
>own, no?

>2. Why don't other pronouns like *tu: undergo the same process?
>   Say, **twe-g'e-s? Or **ns-g'e-mes??

In Dutch, <ik> ("I") has an emphatic form <ikke>.  No other
pronoun does something similar.  But Greek has su-ge besides
eme-ge or ego:-ge, and Germanic has mi-k, Ti-k, si-k (mich, dich,
sich).  It's just that the 1st. person pronoun is more prone to
acquire emphatic forms (earlier).

>3. How and why would the pronoun be conjugated like a verb?

Anatolian -mu is not a verbal suffix, but a possessive.  If
*e-g(h)o- is an emphatic deictic "right here", *e-g(h)o-m might
be, in Pokorny's words, "meine Hier(heit)" (what Pokorny, quoting
Schmidt, actually suggests is "(meine) Hierheit", with -om the
nominal neuter ending).

The -H2 that we find in most languages is the old stative 1p. sg.
ending (hi-conjugation, perfect, mediopassive).  We should expect
stative personal endings to be affixed to (pro)nouns in archaic
forms, as that was surely their original function.

>4. Hittite ammuk could just as well be interpreted as akin to *@me, a
>variant of *me. (Perhaps those that are bent-up on *H's will like
>the reconstruction of *H1me or *?me better, preserved
>coincidentally in Greek as such initial laryngeals should be) In
>fact, couldn't *@me explain the plural form *ns "us" (< *@ns <
>*@me-s) just as we find the accusative plural in *-ns (<*-m-s)?

Maybe.  But again, I don't see how to get Anatolian /u/ from *e
in ammu(k).

>   How do we know that the prothetic vowel is honestly from **e-?

>5. The ending -m is found in other pronouns in Sanskrit: aham,
>tvam, vayam, yuyam, etc. and doesn't show that it's specific to the
>1rst person. How do we know IE meant *-m as a first person ending as
>opposed to something else?

That's only in Sanskrit.  Slavic ([j]azU < *e:gom < *egom) has
*-m only in the 1st p. form.  But you're right, I can't prove it
(as Schmidt's alternative suggestion of neuter -om shows).  I
just think that in view of the -H and -mu in other languages, a
connection with 1st p. sg. *-m (despite that it's purely verbal
in non-Anatolian IE) is plausible.

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
mcv at

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