IE-Semitic connections

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal mcv at
Fri Jan 29 14:59:42 UTC 1999

"Glen Gordon" <glengordon01 at> wrote:

>Well, we have a problem then because there was definitely some kind of
>contact (whether direct or indirect) between IE and Semitic. Both IE
>*s(w)eks "six" and *septm "seven" show painfully clear evidence of that,
>and yet I can't find any language group from which IE could have
>borrowed these words except for North Semitic itself.

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.  We find the same
contrast in Sanskrit ( ~ sapta), Avestan (xs^vas^ ~ hapta),
Welsh (chwech ~ saith), Lithuanian (s^es^i ~ septyni) and Slavic
(s^estI ~ sedmI).  Possibly in Armenian (vec` ~ ewt`n) and Greek
(hex/wex ~ hepta) as well.  The same happens in Etruscan (s'a ~
semph) and Basque (sei ~ zazpi).  (But in Kartvelian it's exactly
the other way around: ekvsi ~ s^vidi, usgwa ~ is^gwid etc.).
No contrast is found in Latin, Irish, Germanic and Tocharian
(Albanian gjashte" ~ shtate" is unclear.  The Hittite for "6" is
unknown).  Germanic additionally lacks the /t/ that is found
elsewhere in *sebm.

>I take the word *eg'oh in IE to be a realisation of
>the North Semitic word *anaku (Hey, does anyone have any better theories
>on that word? I rest my case).

I fail to see much of a connection between *eg^oH ~ *eg^(h)om and
ana:ku.  The word is post-Anatolian (which has *amu-), unless
Hittite uk (besides ammuk) is related, which I doubt.  It appears
to be composed of the pronominal root *(H1)e-, the emphatic
particle *-g(h)e- (as in Greek ego:-ge, eme-ge etc., German mich,
dich, sich, Ven. meXo, Hittite ammuk, tuk, etc.) and the first
person singular marker *-m or *-H(2).  More or less the same
elements as in Hittite ammuk (pronominal a-, enclictic
-mu-, emphatic -k), but ordered and ablauted differently.

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
mcv at

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