Specializations > Historical Linguistics

PIE cognate across all / most European languages


Is there a word that can be seen in virtually all daughter languages of PIE?
I think it'd be interesting to see if there was some sort of tree diagram that could be made, maybe grouping language families together, just to see in one diagram the scope of one word's multiple travels down from PIE to the languages of today, maybe being able to visually see sound changes. Of course there will be the odd few cases where the etymology is doubted and it is not possible to say if there was a borrowing and that specific form wasn't exactly an organic descendant, but for the wider picture, it'd still be interesting. Has anyone ever seen anything like this before?

The one I've seen the most used is the word for 'two' - I believe it's a cognate in a really wide variety of indo-european languages.

Allowing for semantic shift:

* numbers less than five?
* family words? (mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter)
* passage of time? (day, night)
* observing the sky? (sun, moon, star, sky, shine, bright)
* immediate environment? (water, wood, fire, earth, food)
* basic verbs? (have, be, go, see, give, eat, take)

This should help you quite a bit :)


What do you mean "all daughter languages"? All branches or all ~200 extant languages?

The word for "wheel" (kwe-kwlo) is relevant historically and present in the major branches, I believe, with some problematic details.

In general you will find a lot more shared roots if you don't mind having significant semantic shift in some cases.

Ironically some of the most widespread shared words might be more recent borrowings like "television", but that's not very interesting.

I've always noticed that new is somewhat recognizable in many IE languages, even oddball ones like Ossetian.


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