Fragment of a discussion from User talk:Rua
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Edited by 2 users.
Last edit: 00:55, 26 January 2016

Thanks for the response!

  1. With "apo" I meant "of", but you maybe know the more correct phrase. Alternatively we can use "aw", btw so I'd have to move the entry "au" I created... The term "prepe" should be the perfect indicative of "prep" ("to catch sight of"). Of "prep" English furbish descended.
  2. Yes, I meant "some" with "sem", I just forgot to decline it... So it'd be "semtis"? Of course, I think all the Germanic with *samaz, as example English "some" or German "-sam".
  3. With "i" I meant the pronoun whence English "yon", Dutch "geen" and German "jene" descended. With "swi" I meant "good" and "kelewi" "way" and "ano" "on". Of "sw" Hindi सुख (sukh) ("delight") comes from. Of “kelew" Lithuanian keliáuju descended.

I'm glad that you analyize my sentences very certain.

Greetings HeliosX (talk) 21:58, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

21:58, 23 July 2012
Edited by author.
Last edit: 22:03, 29 May 2014

I get the feeling you don't really understand all that much about Indo-European grammar and how the cases work. Prepositions really weren't very common in Indo-European because of the case system; the usage was probably similar to that of Finnish. A case was used whenever possible, and prepositions and adverbs were used only to specify the meaning further.

Another thing about PIE that is very important to understand is roots and ablaut. Without knowing how that works you can't really go into the depth of the grammar. To give a very short introduction, every root has a consonantal base consisting of one syllable where a single ablaut vowel e is inserted. That e can be replaced with o, or lengthened to ē and ō, or removed entirely. So, in a root like *bʰer- (to carry), the root itself is really *bʰ_r-, where the _ stands for the ablaut vowel. That means the root can take the forms *bʰer- (e-grade or 'full grade'), bʰor-, bʰr̥-, and also the lengthened grades bʰēr- and bʰōr-, although those are rare (if they occur at all). Suffixes also have ablaut vowels, and the same rules apply. Which grade a syllable has depends on the grammar: some cases have one ablaut pattern and other cases have others, and similarly for verbs. Changes in ablaut vowels are often accompanied by a change in accent as well. Roots are normally cited in the full grade (e-grade), so a root's entry on Wiktionary will always contain e. There are a few roots that apparently did not have any ablaut, but those are very rare. So a root with no e is suspicious.

Roots themselves always begin and end with a consonant. There are some words that begin with a vowel but they are not 'real' roots, usually they form adverbs and particles rather than nouns, adjectives and verbs. So the same applies here: a root beginning or ending with a vowel is suspicious and probably wrong.

One thing I haven't mentioned yet is the vowel a. That is a rather strange vowel in PIE. Several linguists believe it didn't even exist in PIE, while others believe it was very limited. In any case, it is a very rare vowel in PIE, so any word that contains it is again very suspicious and probably needs some close examination.

I looked at the entry 'au' you created. It uses as a reference. Please don't use that site as it is not a reliable source for PIE. The people of that site are creating a conlang out of reconstructions for PIE, but what they have created is not PIE at all. On Wiktionary we follow the scientific reconstruction of PIE only. In particular, their conlang does not have laryngeals, which are a standard feature of reconstructed PIE. The root 'au' that you added probably should be h₂ew- (because a is suspicious, most cases for it really come from h₂e), but I can't be sure.

Now about your new sentences...

  1. I am not familiar with the root *prep-, but judging from its meaning I don't see how it can mean 'learn'. But anyway, we should probably use a simpler word like 'know' or 'speak'.
  2. Instead of saying 'has knowledge' why not just say 'knows'?
  3. I believe the normal term for 'this' was *ki(s) or *kos, but it's uncertain and I don't know its inflection. But even then, the 'general' pronoun *só suffices in this case, there is no need for anything else. 'In a good way' seems unnecessarily complicated when 'well' works too.

Personally I would like to keep the sentences as similar as possible, so we don't need to write three completely different sentences (with more chance of errors).

23:39, 23 July 2012

The website is suspicious, indeed, since the definitions are made in Latin... Does the ablaut system signify that every ablaut "e" in a verb or a noun could be replaced by an "o"? As example "prep" → "prop"? And the roots that have more ablauts, they're irregular then. And with the suffixes change too. dn̥ǵʰwéh₂s → dn̥ǵʰuh₂éy

1. I was in the opinion that "prep" means "to catch sight of", but with the meaning "to appear" it'd use dative.

Só dʰǵʰm̥éney meg séneh₂s dn̥ǵʰwéh₂s ad nū ne prepe. To this human not much of the old language appeared


Só dʰǵʰémō meǵ séneh₂s dn̥ǵʰuh₂és ne wóyde. This human doesn't know much of the old language.

Also rather: Só dʰǵʰémō paw séneh₂s dn̥ǵʰuh₂és wóyde. This human knows a few of the old language. Actually, I'd prefer the second one.

2. We can do it so to keep it similar.

Só dʰǵʰémō sem séneh₂s dn̥ǵʰuh₂és wóyde. This human knows some of the old language.

3. So:

Só dʰǵʰémō mehl séneh₂s dn̥ǵʰuh₂és wóyde. This human knows much of the old language.

4. So then:

Só dʰǵʰémō (sm̥-)ǵʰéslo séneh₂s dn̥ǵʰuh₂és wóyde. This human knows very, very much of the old language.

Or also:

Só dʰǵʰémō swa meǵa h₂epo kʷos séneh₂s dn̥ǵʰuh₂és h₁ésti wóyde. This human knows the much of the old language that exists.

By the way, do you know websites which are eligible for to create an entry in Proto-Indo-European with? And if not, do you know a technique to change roots that they are eligible?

Greetings HeliosX (talk) 05:34, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

05:34, 24 July 2012
Edited by author.
Last edit: 12:06, 24 July 2012

Firstly, I wonder where you are finding words like 'paw', 'sem' and 'mehl'. If they are pronouns (which they are used as here) then they ought to have case endings, they can't just be used as bare roots. (If a PIE term ends with - then it is a root, not a full word!)

The ablaut system allows most instances of e to be replaced by o, or to be removed entirely. But the conditions under which that applies are strictly dictated by the grammar, so you can't just say 'let's put o there instead'. One example of how ablaut still survives in modern English is in verbs like sing-sang-sung. From a PIE perspective, the verb has the e-grade in the present aspect (not tense!), the o-grade in the perfect singular, and the zero grade in the perfect dual/plural and perfect participle. However, that is just the rule that was generalised in Germanic verbs, ablaut in PIE was more complex than that.

The system for forming words is like this. Every fully inflected verb or nominal (a nominal is any word that has cases, so a noun, adjective or pronoun) is formed with three pieces: the root (which gives the basic meaning), the suffix, and the ending (for case/number in nominals, or for person/number in verbs). R+S+E for short. R+S together form the stem of the word. Some nominals, but especially a lot of verbs, have no S, so they are just R+E. There are also words with several suffixes, so they are R+S+S+E and so on. Most later IE languages have different declensions like o-stems, ā-stems, n-stems, s-stems and so on. And verbs come in a wide variety like -ā-, -i- etc in Latin. In PIE, verbs and nominals come in just two basic types: athematic and thematic. Athematic stems have no thematic vowel at the end of the stem, thematic stems do. From the perspective of the later languages, o-stems and (most) ā-stems are thematic, all others (including i- and u-stems!) are athematic.

Thematic stems are easier to understand. They have no ablaut and accent variations: the accent is the same in every form, and the ablaut grades of the syllables don't change. Thematic stems all end in the so-called thematic vowel, which is -o- (sometimes -e- in verbs, but only depending on the ending). An example of a thematic nominal is sénos "old", which consists of three pieces, sen-o-s: sen- is the root, -o- is the suffix (which consists of just the thematic vowel in this case), and -s is the ending (for the nominative singular masculine). A thematic verb is bʰéreti "carries", which is bʰer-e-ti.

Athematic stems are much more complex, because they have ablaut and accent variations. So the accent and ablaut vowels may change in different forms. But it doesn't change arbitrarily, there are fixed patterns that the accent and ablaut may follow. In nominals, two types of cases are distinguished: direct (nominative, accusative, vocative) and oblique (the others). In verbs, there are also two types of form: singular and nonsingular. Ablaut and accent changes always happen between direct/singular and oblique/nonsingular forms. For example, the noun dn̥ǵʰ-wéh₂-s "tongue" is athematic, and its genitive form is dn̥ǵʰ-uh₂-és (notice how the suffix went from e-grade to zero grade, and the ending got an e-grade). The verb h₁es- "to be" is h₁és-ti "is" in the 3rd person singular, but h₁s-énti in the third person plural (here, the root went from e-grade to zero grade). One important thing is that if the accent changes between direct/singular and oblique/nonsingular, then the accent is always further to the right in the oblique/nonsingular forms.

Athematic nouns come in four different types, based on the patterns that the ablaut and accent follow. Verbs also have similar patterns.

  • Acrostatic nominals only have ablaut changes, but no accent changes. The accent is always fixed on the root. Examples: Template:termx (gen. nébʰesos), Template:termx (gen. nékʷts).
  • Amphikinetic nominals have the accent on the leftmost syllable of the stem in the direct cases, and on the ending in the oblique cases. Examples: Template:termx (gen. (dʰ)ǵʰmés)
  • Hysterokinetic nominals have the accent on the rightmost syllable of the stem in the direct cases, and on the ending in the oblique cases. Examples: Template:termx (gen. dn̥ǵʰuh₂és), Template:termx (gen. ph₂trés)
  • Proterokinetic nominals have the accent on the second-rightmost (penultimate) syllable of the stem in the direct cases, and on the rightmost syllable of the stem in the oblique cases. Examples: Template:termx (gen. ǵustéws), Template:termx (gen. sh₁m̥éns)

You'll notice that in athematic stems, the syllable with the accent tends to have the e-grade (sometimes o-grade), and the syllable without accent has zero grade, but that's not always true (it is a good rule of thumb though).

Now, concerning verbs, things get very... different I suppose. We're used to verbs having tenses, but PIE verbs didn't have tenses as such. Rather, PIE verbs are based on aspect which is "the flow of time through the event". That sounds like tense but it is not. The present aspect describes events that have some kind of internal structure in time, such as being continuous, habitual, ongoing, unfinished. The aorist aspect describes events that have no internal structure in time, so they just 'happened' and we don't care about the details (they generally have past tense meanings). The perfect or stative aspects describes not events, but certain states of being (which themselves might be the result of something happening earlier). From a historical point of view, the present tense in Germanic derives from the present aspect in PIE (or sometimes the aorist), while the past tense derives from the perfect aspect.

What is confusing at first though is that there is strong evidence that the three aspects in PIE were originally separate verbs altogether. So that means that at one point in time, there was one present verb, one aorist verb, and one perfect verb, and they eventually merged after PIE to form part of a single verb's inflection. In PIE itself, a single verb root may have only one or two aspects instead of all three. The root Template:termx for example only has the present aspect. There are even some verb roots that have the same aspect twice, formed in two different ways! For example, the root Template:termx apparently had two present stems, thematic ǵn̥h₃ské- and athematic ǵn̥néh₃-/ǵn̥nh₃-, and also two aorist stems, ǵnéh₃-/ǵn̥h₃- and ǵnḗh₃s-/ǵnéh₃s- (both athematic). One thing you may notice here is that the inflection of each aspect is separate: one may have a suffix, the other may not, and one may be thematic while the other is athematic. So you really need to treat each verb aspect as if it were a verb by itself, and reconstruct each aspect separately.

12:06, 24 July 2012

Thanks! I doubt that „sh₁m̥éns“ could have either 2 ablauts or 2 vowel insertions aka suffixes or 1 ablaut and 1 suffix? Is there a difference between suffixes and ablauts?

But it wouldn’t matter, if suffix or ablaut, the thing is that it all happens by changing the grade of the Ablaut or Suffix. And the turn of „w“ to „u“ happens also if the ablaut or suffix infront of the „w“ goes to the zero-grade for a case as the dative.

So all irregular forms are made by the suffix or ablaut and make other actions as that with the „w“. The categories only describe in which direction the suffix or ablaut changes at and the aspirative.

That with the verbs I understand how the ablaut is lengthened and so on.







Is there a list of the athematic forms?

Greetings HeliosX (talk) 20:48, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

20:48, 24 July 2012

Sorry, maybe I wasn't quite clear. Ablaut is the changing of the vowels itself. The root is seh₁- which has the basic meaning "to sow". The suffix -men-, when attached to roots, creates neuter proterokinetic nouns. So, seh₁- + -men- results in the noun which has the stem séh₁mn̥- in the direct cases, and sh₁m̥én- in the oblique cases. The 'ablaut' here is the change in the vowels, from seh₁ to sh₁, and from -men- to -mn-.

The change from w to u is unrelated and has to do with the way PIE treates certain consonants. The six 'sonorants' in PIE are l, r, m, n, y and w. They are normally consonants, not vowels. But when the zero grade of a syllable appears, that syllable will have no vowels, and so the sonorants are often changed into vowels according to certain rules. When they are to be pronounced as vowels, they are written as l̥, r̥, m̥, n̥, i, u. So those six letters are just 'vowel forms' of the sonorant consonants. The rules are as follows:

  • A sonorant will be a consonant if it is next to a vowel, or if a vowel and a laryngeal are before it. It will become a vowel if there are only consonants beside it.
  • But if there are two or more consonants before it, a sonorant will change into a vowel even when there is a vowel after it.
  • If several sonorants are next to each other, then start with the last one and apply the two rules above. Then move to the one before it, and repeat.

The inflection of one of the two present aspect stems of the root ǵneh₃- uses a so-called "nasal infix", which is rather unusual but it follows the same rules. The nasal infix is formed by adding it after the vowel of the zero-grade form of the root. The zero grade of ǵneh₃- is ǵn̥h₃-, so it is inserted here: ǵn̥_h₃-. The infix itself also has ablaut and accent changes: it is -né- in the singular forms and -n̥- in the nonsingular forms. So together, you get two stems: ǵn̥-né-h₃- in the singular, and ǵn̥-n-h₃- in the nonsingular (with the accent and e-grade in the ending). The result, with added endings, is:

  • ǵn̥-né-h₃-mi
  • ǵn̥-né-h₃-si
  • ǵn̥-né-h₃-ti
  • ǵn̥-n-h₃-m̥ós - m̥ is a vowel here, not a consonant, because two consonants (n and h₃) are before it
  • ǵn̥-n-h₃-té
  • ǵn̥-n-h₃-énti
21:58, 24 July 2012

Thanks! How do I pronounce l̥, r̥, m̥, n̥?


Só dʰǵʰm̥éney pawóm séneh₂s dn̥ǵʰuh₂és wóyde.

This human knows a few of the old language.


Só dʰǵʰm̥éney semóm séneh₂s dn̥ǵʰuh₂és wóyde.

This human knows some of the old language.


Só dʰǵʰm̥éney mehlóm séneh₂s dn̥ǵʰuh₂és wóyde.

This human knows much of the old language.


Só dʰǵʰémō (sm̥-)ǵʰésloóm séneh₂s dn̥ǵʰuh₂és wóyde.

This human knows very, very much of the old language.

Or also:

Só dʰǵʰémō swaóm meǵaóm séneh₂s dn̥ǵʰuh₂és kʷos h₁ésti wóyde.

This human knows the much of the old language that exists.

Greetings HeliosX (talk) 11:11, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

11:11, 25 July 2012

They are pronounced just like you might expect, as l, r, m and n, except that they are held as if they form a syllable. It's hard to explain, but Czech and other Slavic languages have a syllabic/vowel-like r too. w:Strč prst skrz krk is a Czech phrase that contains a syllabic r four times, the article has an audio file so you can listen.

I don't think we need four levels of templates, as nobody speaks PIE at a near-native level (assuming we even know what it would be like). Even three might be pushing it. Let's focus on the first two for now, and we can add a third when there is a need for it.

I'm not really comfortable with using a word for 'human' to mean 'person' or even 'user'. It seems very kludgey. I would rather use another word if we can find one.

I did find a reference to the root *paw- in Ringe's book (which I consider reliable), but I wonder about the form *pawós that you used. Presumably it is the origin of Germanic *fawaz, but how do you know it is *fawós and no *fáwos, since the Germanic form doesn't distinguish this?

Finally, although *wóyde does mean "know", it doesn't seem like the proper way to refer to knowing a language, in hindsight. The root *weyd- literally means "to see", and *wóyde is the perfect aspect of that, hence meaning "has seen" and by extension "knows (of/about)". My guess is that the root *ǵnéh₃- is more fitting for this kind of knowing. We can also try to use a root meaning "speak", like the form *wékʷti "speaks" I mentioned above.

Just as a note, distinguishing different kinds of knowing in this way is not at all rare. Even Dutch (one of the closest relatives of English) distinguishes:

  • weten "to know (a fact), to be aware of" from the root *weyd-
  • kennen "to know, to recognise" from the root *ǵnéh₃- (somehow).

In Dutch, weten would sound very strange when used for a language, it would sound like saying "I'm aware that (this language) exists".

16:39, 25 July 2012

In German "kennen" is used as "to know, to recognize" and "wissen" "to know", but you can't say "Er weiß jene Sprache" ("He knows yon language"), since "wissen" is used with conjunctions or an infinitive.

Actually, it'd rather be "pawm" for the accusative of "paw". Hence it'd also be "semm" for the accusative of "sem".

For "to use" we can either use Proto-Indo-European *neud (thematic) ("to use") or Template:termx (athematic, *dʰerə) ("to support"), Proto-Indo-European *rei ("to support") (thematic), Proto-Indo-European *nā ("to help") (thematic). To form nouns we'd need the substantivation suffixes.

Greetings HeliosX (talk) 19:26, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

19:26, 25 July 2012
Edited by author.
Last edit: 22:27, 25 July 2012

But even so, I wonder what grounds there are for such a pronoun. But hypothetically, its accusative would actually be *pā́m, because of a sound rule known as w:Stang's law. The same is also seen in Template:termx whose accusative is *dyḗm, and indeed in Template:termx, whose accusative is also *sḗm (the nominative has a long vowel and loses its -s because of a similar sound rule, w:Szemerényi's law).

Can you name any descendants for those roots (besides the Germanic ones for *newd-, I know about those) that support their existence? (Also, *rei- would be written *rey- by our standards, and *nā- is likely *neh₂-)

22:27, 25 July 2012


Actually, "*rey" is a shortened form of "*rek" ("to pole up"), which has the descendants by an o-grade in Germanic:

  • Germanic:
    • Old English: "roccian"
      • Middle English: "rokken"
        • English: "rock"
    • Old High German: "ruccan"
      • German: "rücken"

The descendants of "*neh₂": (with the typical change of e to a in Indo-Iranian languages)

  • Indic:
    • Sanskrit: "नाथ" (natha) ("help")

The root "*newd" has no other descendants than the Germanic.

The descendants of "*dʰer": " (I've added some to it). Probably this is the most valuable of these.

Greetings HeliosX (talk)

09:08, 26 July 2012
Edited by author.
Last edit: 01:00, 26 January 2016

o-grade in Germanic actually becomes a-grade (we still call it o-grade though), because of the change o>a in Germanic; Proto-Germanic didn't even have a short o. Short u (and in descendants also o) always goes back to a syllabic (zero grade) form of w, l, r, m or n: u stays u, and l̥, r̥, m̥, n̥ become ul, ur, um, un in Germanic. So the o-grade that you mentioned on the page for Template:termx is wrong, and it seems that the Germanic forms that were originally listed (before you removed them) were actually correct. Aside from that, there is no ə in PIE, it is just a way to indicate the sound of a laryngeal between consonants (which we write with the laryngeal letter on Wiktionary). But I don't see why it would appear in some of the verb forms. Personally I wonder what source you have for the verb forms. Does that source specifically mention that the root's present aspect had athematic root inflection?

In any case, a root that is ancestral to 'rock' would have to contain one of those sounds in it somewhere. Since there is no l, r, m, n in the Germanic words, the conclusion is that it must have contained w. By w:Kluge's law this must go back to either rewk/ḱ-, rewg/ǵ- or rewgʰ/ǵʰ-. M. Philippa's etymology dictionary for Dutch suggests h₃ruk-néh₂- from the root h₃rewk- "to dig up, to pull out". She mentions the following cognates: Latijn runcāre (to weed), Ancient Greek ὀρύσσω (orússō, to dig), Sanskrit लुञ्चति (luñcati, to pluck), Latvian rũķēt (to root, to dig).

One note: you say that the change from e to a is typical of Indo-Iranian. While this is true, it does not apply in this particular case. Already in PIE, e was pronounced as a when it was next to h₂, and e was pronounced as o next to h₃ (but we still write e in both cases). So the vowel change in this particular word is actually much older and has nothing to do with the Indo-Iranian change.

11:23, 26 July 2012


But I also think that a-sounds were always welcome for to descend into Indo-Iranian languages. A good example that for is:

ghelh₂ed (ice):

  • Persian: ژاله (zhala) ("hail")

Notes: Change of "g" to "s" (typical for Persian), change of first "e" to "a" (typical for Indo-Iranian).

The descendants by the o-grade I didn't remove, but enhance since I added the Proto-Germanic verb to it. Also, there was no Middle High German verb "tamen", but "tarnen". The term "tarni" was correct but already in Old High German "tarnan" existed, so I replaced it that with. I think my edit in the Germanic descendants on "*dʰer" was good, also since I added the forms of the zero-grade and other descendants.

By the way, so as example Icelandic "drottning" is by the zero-grade, thus: "*dʰr̥" descended "*dur" and so contraction "*dru".

But can Danish "dreng" then have descended of "dʰer"? By the short e-grade and then contraction?

The where I found "dʰer" doesn't thematize the root's inflection directly, but if the second root is that one, I assumed it as the athematic form.

I don't think we can use "*rey" since it has no descendants. And what does this Kluge's law mean?

For the sentences for the language boxes in Proto-Indo-European I suggest that we need the masculine and feminine suffixes for to form a noun of "*dʰer".

Greetings HeliosX (talk) 12:31, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

12:31, 26 July 2012
Edited by author.
Last edit: 13:12, 26 July 2012

You are correct about *dʰr̥- becoming *dur-, but this is rather a problem as there isn't really any reason that it would become *dru-. On the other hand, even Germanic itself has some words that are obviously related to *druhtinaz, most importantly the verb *dreuganan "to serve". So the noun most likely goes back to *dʰrugʰ-ten-os or something similar, from the zero grade of the root *dʰrewgʰ- that the verb also derives from. The verb must derive from such a root, because it is a strong verb; Germanic strong verbs, bar a few exceptions, always derive from PIE verb roots.

There are similar problems with Old Norse drengr. It presumably derives from Germanic *drangiz or *drangijaz, so it would have to derive from an o-grade form of a root, which could be reconstructed as *dʰrengʰ-. Again, there is no reason to assume that *dor- (o-grade of *der-) would become *dro-. The only possibility for a relationship with *der- that I can think of is that *drangi(ja)z actually derives from the zero grade of the root, extended with a suffix: *dr-ongʰ- or the like. But the ablaut and accent relationships of such a noun don't seem to fit what is known about PIE, in particular the appearance of the o-grade. Then again I am not an Indo-European linguist so I don't know for sure, but it does seem like a rather shaky etymology. Deriving it from a root *dʰrengʰ- is far more straightforward and plausible.

Kluge's law is explained in the link I gave you. It explains the origins of Germanic geminated voiceless plosives, -pp-, -tt-, -kk- as resulting from a single plosive followed by -n- which then contracted. The Germanic ancestor of 'rock' is *rukkōnan, which contains such a geminated plosive, and using Kluge's law it can be related to the other words I listed without problems.

One last note... there are a few cases where -ur- is replaced with -ru-, but those cases are all analogical and were 'reverted' based on related words. The most prominent example is the verb Template:termx, which derives from a hypothetical root *bʰreg- (that does not have any certain cognates outside Germanic, so it could be a later coinage). The three grades would have been *bʰreg- (present), *bʰrog- (perfect singular), *bʰr̥g- (perfect nonsingular), which in Germanic would have become *brek-, *brak-, *burk-. It's obvious that the zero grade is anomalous here, since the vowel and consonant have been swapped. Presumably Germanic speakers would have realised the same, and may have metathesised the consonant and the vowel so that they matched the order they have in the other two grades. So this kind of change does happen, but it only happens based on analogy with related words. It doesn't happen 'out of the blue'.

13:12, 26 July 2012

I found out that "dʰre" is another form of "dʰer"; [[1]]. Can the "g" be added in Proto-Germanic just so? The sonorant change doesn't apply on "dʰre", thus: e-grade: dʰre → dre → dren → dren zero-grade: dʰr → dur → dru

I assume that "dru" could have existed, since words meaning "king" and "queen" descended from it.

Kluge's law is meaning, that German "rücken" is not "rücknen" and English "rock" is not "rockn". It is meaning that in Proto-Germanic plosive words have the "n", but in the Germanic languages it has been contracted.

Greetings HeliosX (talk) 19:59, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

19:59, 26 July 2012

Roots can't end in vowels, so *dʰre- is not a root. There is something called 'root extension' where a consonant (not a vowel!) is added onto another root, but I don't really know how that works.

Which words meaning king and queen descend from it?

Kluge's law describes a sound change that occurred in the history of Germanic. It is not convincingly accepted by linguists but there is still some evidence that seems hard to ignore. The change meant that a sequence of any PIE plosive (voiceless, voiced or aspirated) followed by n was converted into a geminate (double) voiceless plosive. For 'rock', the sequence of events according to Kluge's law could be roughly as follows: h₃ruknéh₂- > ruknā- > (by Kluge's law) rukkā- > rukkō- (infinitive *rukkōną).

20:38, 26 July 2012
Edited by author.
Last edit: 16:25, 27 July 2012


In Icelandic "drottin" ("king"), "drottning" ("queen") and "drott" ("people"). It is actually complicated on whether these words descended from "*dʰer".

I recognized so that Kluge's law places a vowel between the plosive and the nasal infix in Proto-Germanic.

I summarize the correct spelling: ə = h₂ a = h₂e u = w

To form a noun from "*dʰer", are there substantivation suffixes that we can use?

Greetings HeliosX (talk) 16:13, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

16:13, 27 July 2012

Like I said, the root of *druhtinaz in Germanic is the verb *dreuganan, and this must have been a root at some point because it is a strong verbs. Strong verbs are always descended from 'primary' underived verbs in PIE, whereas weak verbs are secondary/derived verbs (and some of them were originally strong). So this means that an Indo-European root *dʰrewgʰ- almost certainly is the ancestor of this verb, implying that *dʰer- cannot be the ancestor.

Kluge's law has nothing to do with vowels or with the nasal infix. It affects only sequences of a plosive followed by -n-. Please don't confuse a nasal infix with a nasal suffix. The nasal infix was special; it occurred only in some verbs as a way to form the present stem, and was not used anywhere else in the entire language.

16:24, 27 July 2012


Yes, but Kluge's law placed a vowel between the plosive and the nasal suffix.

So because "*dreuganan" is an irregular verb it did not descend from "*dʰer", but it descended from "*dʰrewgʰ".

Can we find some nominalization suffixes for "*dʰer" ("to support")?

Greetings HeliosX (talk) 17:21, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

17:21, 27 July 2012
Edited by author.
Last edit: 17:31, 27 July 2012

No it didn't place a vowel there, where did you get that from?

  • dreuganan is not an irregular verb, it's a class 2 strong verb like many others. Strong verbs always derive from verb roots. Some strong verbs have suffixes, but there is no suffix -ewgʰ- in Indo-European, so it's clear that this verb was not suffixed. Therefore, the Germanic root must have also been an Indo-European root in origin.

There are two suffixes, Template:termx and Template:termx, which can be used to form agent nouns from verb roots. When attached to *dʰer- the result is *dʰértōr and *dʰr̥tḗr.

17:31, 27 July 2012


I just call irregular verbs what you call strong verbs.

I've created the category: .

Greetings HeliosX (talk) 12:02, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

12:02, 28 July 2012

Hmm...what don't you propose on the templates?

Do you know what suffixes in Proto-Indo-European used that for:

  • Adjective → Adverb
  • Adjective → Noun
  • Adjective → Verb
  • Noun → Adjective
  • Noun → Verb
  • Verb → Adjective
  • Verb → Noun

By the way, I saw an entry in Proto-Indo-European which contains some Anatolian descendants. Shouldn't we find a way to display the Lycian script and how do I request in entries? And same to Tocharian?

Greetings HeliosX (talk) 15:52, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

15:52, 30 July 2012

There were several suffixes for each of those in use, just like in English. I don't know any specific ones, and it is hard to reconstruct their meaning because the meaning and usage of suffixes can often change. Even if you compare English and Dutch (two closely related languages) you'll notice that where English uses the suffix -ness, Dutch prefers -heid, even though both languages have the 'other' suffix as well: English -hood, Dutch -nis.

There are some things that I know about PIE word derivation, mainly because it is similar in later languages. Adjectives could be used alone, without any noun. This still happens in German too, like 'ich möge den großen nicht'. In PIE this was even easier because nouns and adjectives were inflected the same. Sometimes, such 'substantivised' adjectives could become nouns. There are some linguists who believe that PIE, in earlier times, did not even have a real difference between nouns and adjectives, but that they formed a single common word class.

To convert nouns or adjectives into adverbs, specific cases were often used instead of suffixes. This still happened in Latin. A well-known example is how the suffix -mente was formed in the Romance languages. In Latin, there was no instrumental case, but the ablative case was used with an instrumental meaning (so it was an ablative-instrumental case). The noun mēns (mind) was feminine, and its ablative form was mente (from a mind, with a mind). The ablative could be combined with an adjective like rapidus (quick), used in the feminine ablative form rapidā; the result was rapidā mente meaning "with a quick mind" or "quick-mindedly". This kind of phrase became very widespread as the Romance languages evolved, and this particular example still exists: Italian rapidamente, French rapidement.

There are also some examples in English of an 'instrumental' (if you can call it that) being used with a noun to create an adverb: with haste means more or less the same as hastily. Other cases were also used to create adverbs. In the Germanic languages, the genitive case was particularly popular, and resulted in words like German einerseits, ebenfalls, mindestens and so on.

I don't really know anything about the Lycian script. You would have to ask in the Grease Pit.

16:26, 30 July 2012
Edited by 2 users.
Last edit: 01:05, 26 January 2016

Yes, in German you can substantivate adjectives easily into nouns, also the present participle! Also with the gerund form of verbs!

But a note to your text, "mögen" is also present irregular, "möge" is the subjunctive 1 first person singular of "mögen", so you need an additional phrase like "Er sagt, dass ich den großen möge" or you say the present indicative first person singular "mag".

The word "mögen" is a modal verb, other modal verbs in German are:

In German there are determinative compoundings (a way to make new words in German) with a genitive, but when making new words in German, the genitive is optional.

Essen ("meal”) + -s ("'s") (optional, but good) + Tisch ("table") = Essenstisch (provisional)

Meaningly: the meal's table.

Here is a Lycian font, but you have to register to download it, anyways the download is free. But the Lycian font is also in the unicode, so we can use it.

So I suppose to try to display the Lycian terms in Template:termx, cuz I don't have to register there because I already can display it.

Greetings HeliosX (talk) 21:21, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

21:21, 31 July 2012

So, *pā́m is the accusative of *páw? Or is it *péwh?

05:12, 13 January 2013

I'm actually not sure what it is, HeliosX kind of invented it.

13:02, 13 January 2013
Edited by 2 users.
Last edit: 03:10, 26 January 2016

Sorry, I meant possibly [[Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/péwh2|*péwh2]]. I noticed HeliosX tends to use a ton of *a's, of which I am very skeptical. In certain cases, you can see his reasoning; [[Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/péwh2|*péwh2]], for example, seems to reflect Latin paucus (few), and *ad seems to reflect the Latin preposition. Nevertheless, if you're going to take the Latin term and apply what you know of sound rules to guess a PIE form, I would imagine you would guess something like *pewkos, *pewḱos, or even *pewkʷos, the latter by the boukolos rule, with a root *pewk-/pewḱ-/pewkʷ-.

By the way, I imagine myself fairly familiar with PIE, but looking back on the thread, you seem to have much more knowledge about it than I do. So forgive me if I make errors.

17:39, 13 January 2013

Assuming that there is some kind of form *páw-s then *pā́m would indeed be the accusative form of that. But I don't know of any evidence for those forms. I am skeptical about a's too, but I don't know enough about Latin to explain why it has so many a's in forms such as this. In Germanic, Indo-Iranian and Balto-Slavic all a's could plausibly come from o, so it is never that much of an issue there. Germanic indicates *powos or *pawos, although plausibly it could also reflect *pogwhos or *pagwhos since Germanic often changed gwh to w. *pHgwhos is also a possibility, going by Germanic alone.

17:45, 13 January 2013
Edited by 2 users.
Last edit: 03:11, 26 January 2016

So, is that *gwh a representation of *gʷʰ ? Or is it *gwH? Most Latin words containing a's for which I know the PIE etymologies derive them from *e or [[Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/h1|*h1]] (confer quattuor < *kʷetwóres (four) and pater < [[Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/ph1tḗr|*ph1tḗr]]), so perhaps a more consistent reconstruction would be approximately [[Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/ph1wgʷʰos|*ph1wgʷʰos]]. But then how would it be used to function as an adverb? Would that involve the instrumental case?

04:32, 14 January 2013

I meant *gʷʰ yes. Sorry, the liquidthreads thing doesn't have the special character tools at the bottom like other pages have. "quattuor" is kind of interesting. Does e change to a because of some regular sound change? The combination -wgʷʰ- isn't possible though, because in PIE labiovelars were delabialized next to w (or u), so it would have become -wgʰ- already, which in turn does not account for the Germanic form (it would have become *faugaz). It doesn't account for the Latin form either, which would have been *paugus I think. I think the root probably ended in -w-, and the -c- found in Latin must be a later extension, because Germanic does not have it.

04:37, 14 January 2013
Edited by 2 users.
Last edit: 03:11, 26 January 2016

Oh, my liquidthreads box has the toolbar at the top. I'm not sure why the *-e- occasionally changes to Latin -a-. I'm pretty sure that it isn't a regular sound change for all *e's in certain positions. I didn't know that the boukolos rule which you're describing occurred in PIE proper, I thought it was an isogloss in some of the branches. I'm liking the idea of an Italic extension, but it's still interesting that both Germanic and Italic came up with velar extensions.

04:52, 14 January 2013

I apologize, from what you said, Germanic probably did not extend the root like Italic or Latin did, but I mistakenly assumed that that bit about *gʷʰ was certain in this case. Anyway, assuming a PIE form *ph1wos (accent?), would this likely carry the function of an adverb?

05:20, 14 January 2013

Probably not because -s is the nominative singular ending. Adverbs are not nominals so they would not have such an ending.

13:51, 14 January 2013

Oh, that's right. I'm not very familiar with PIE adverb(ial)s. Can you inform me of what you know of them? Am I correct in saying that the instrumental case of nominals can be used to function like an adverb?

19:30, 14 January 2013

Sometimes, yes.

19:31, 14 January 2013
Edited by another user.
Last edit: 21:54, 28 May 2014

I've noticed that, in terms of the Proto-Indo-European demonstratives, only the masculine and feminine nominative singular forms begin with *s (*só and *séh2, respectively) and that all other forms begin with *t (e.g. the corresponding accusatives *tóm and *téh2m). Could these forms have possibly derived from earlier **stó and **stéh2, which came from original *t- forms via s-mobile?

19:38, 21 January 2013

I doubt it, but I am not an Indo-European linguist so I can't really say more. I do know that a form like *stó would not have lost its s-, and so it really just shifts the problem rather than solve it: if those two forms had *s- why didn't the other forms, and if all of them had *s- why did those two forms keep it while the others lost it? I think the more likely explanation is suppletion, which isn't an uncommon thing with pronouns. The modern Slavic pronouns for example have exactly the same kind of suppletion, with derivatives of *onъ in the nominative but descendants of *jь in all the other cases. This suppletion didn't exist in early Proto-Slavic but developed during the late Common Slavic period, and is still attested in an incomplete way in OCS, so we know it was an innovation and not an archaism. And presumably if this could happen in Slavic 1500 years ago, it could happen to PIE 5000 years ago too.

19:46, 21 January 2013

I was thinking that the two forms with *s would have triggered s-mobile because of their frequency. Alternatively, the original onset could have been *st-, and then only the forms which most frequently occurred at the beginning of the sentence (thereby having no legatamente preceding *-s) preserved this fricative onset, while the rest became deleted (similar to *h1es-si > *h1esi). However, this is just my guess. Also, I don't think I fully understand suppletion. Could you explain how it affects pronouns?

22:41, 21 January 2013

Suppletion is when a single paradigm consists of several roots. An example would be English good, better or be, is, was.

22:49, 21 January 2013

Ok, now I understand. So, do you think there were two Pre-Indo-European demonstratives *só/séh2/sód and *tó/téh2/tód that came to form a single paradigm?

23:04, 21 January 2013

I don't know. *só is kind of odd to begin with because it doesn't have the normal animate nominative ending -s. Some other pronouns also lack it. It's likely that it is a very old word, maybe a holdover from a time before the nominative case existed in its later form. But what the language was like at that stage is anyone's guess.

23:06, 21 January 2013

That's another point; I often wonder where inflectional languages get their inflections, and I tend to convince myself that they developed from more ancient, agglutinative languages. For example, it could be that, in Pre-Indo-European, *só and the nominative ending *-s both contained the morpheme *-s- (e.g. in Ubykh (agglutinative) the same morpheme indicates the first person singular).

00:03, 22 January 2013

I think that the case endings were formed at different times, but the nominative and accusative are probably very old. There is a hypothesis called the Nostratic theory, which doesn't really have much support among linguists, that suggests that the Indo-European and Uralic nominatives are cognate, since they both end in -m.

There are also some possibilities for internal reconstruction, though. It is often suggested that the accusative plural ending -ns was formed from the singular -m with an additional plural ending -s, in which -ms was assimilated to -ns. The ablative ending -ead is thought to have been formed from the thematic vowel -e followed by an adverbial particle *ad (modern English at). Other case endings may have similar explanations, but the more "basic" cases seem harder to explain.

Finnish has a very rich set of endings but some of them are clearly related:

  • partitive -(t)a
  • essive -na
  • inessive -ssa
  • elative -sta
  • adessive -lla
  • ablative -lta

It is generally believed that the latter four were formed from an infix -s- or -l- of some origin, suffixed by the old partitive and essive cases, which originally were ablative and locative in meaning: -s-na > -ssa, -s-ta, -l-na > -lla, -l-ta.

00:18, 22 January 2013

(Did you mean: "that suggests that the Indo-European and Uralic accusatives are cognate, since they both end in -m."?)

Yep, I've heard all about macro-language-family theories, though I don't believe nearly any of them are true. My personal favorite (the one I find most interesting) is Dené-Caucasian, combining Basque, Sino-Tibetan, Dené-Yenisian, and many others. As for Nostratic/Eurasiatic, I believe that the following language families were for a time in very close contact, even when grammatical elements were forming:

  • Proto-Indo-European/Proto-Indo-Hittite,
  • Proto-Pontic/Proto-Northwest Caucasian,
  • Proto-Caspic/Proto-Northeast Caucasian,
  • Proto-Kartvelian,
  • Proto-Lyndian, and
  • Proto-Uralic.

However, I believe that none of them are genetically or fundamentally derived from a single proto-language. I have heard of, and I do follow, the internal reconstructions you mention, both in Finnish and in PIE.

03:50, 22 January 2013

Hi again (sorry for bothering you so much), Can you give me some examples of third-person singular neuter pronouns in some Germanic languages (preferably more ancient ones)? Thanks,

01:49, 29 January 2013

You mean like those in *sa, *iz and *hiz?

02:32, 29 January 2013

Yes, but I forgot to add "personal" to my classification. It seems that *iz is the only one out of those widely used as an "animate" or "personal" pronoun. Is this correct?

02:39, 29 January 2013

The personal pronouns have four sources. West Germanic used *iz and *hiz, Gothic used *iz, while Old Norse used a combination of *sa/þ- and *hanaz which is unattested anywhere else.

02:55, 29 January 2013

Ok, so if you had to guess (or if you know), what would be the hypothetical reflexes of the masculine declension of *iz into Old English (and then to Modern English)?

03:06, 29 January 2013

Well if *hiz became hē, then presumably *iz would have developed into just ē?

03:08, 29 January 2013

I was thinking the same thing, but I thought that if such forms existed side by side then they would develop phonological changes to better distinguish them than the sole presence of the *h would have.

03:11, 29 January 2013

Either that or one or the other would have fallen out of use. Which is... well, what happened. :P

03:14, 29 January 2013

Unfortunately, yes :)
But as for the former, do you know what that process is called? I'm having trouble thinking of known examples.

03:21, 29 January 2013

I'm not sure if I know of any examples. When two words fall together and can no longer reliably distinguished, then either that single word takes on the meaning of both, or the old meaning is retained and new word is used to cover the gap. I'm not aware of a name for instances where another word was changed to make it less similar to another.

03:28, 29 January 2013

Can you give me an example of when a new word is used to cover the gap?

03:37, 29 January 2013

An example would be when the old Latin demonstrative ille became a definite article. New words like Catalan aquest were introduced to create new demonstratives.

03:40, 29 January 2013

I see. So, if a phonological change happened to **ē to make it dissimilar, could you guess what it potentially would become?

03:44, 29 January 2013

Phonetic changes almost never take such considerations into account. They are kind of at a lower, more basic level, and are not normally affected by the meanings of words. It does sometimes happen, though, that when sound changes make certain words too similar, a language borrows an alternative form from another dialect or even another language. they was borrowed from Old Norse in that way, to replace the original word which had become too similar to he.

03:50, 29 January 2013

Okay. Thank you for the insight; I learned a lot.

03:52, 29 January 2013