Author Topic: Proto-Indo-European roots  (Read 4904 times)

Offline lingling

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Proto-Indo-European roots
« on: December 25, 2016, 04:38:11 AM »
I'm looking at the PIE roots in and I have some questions.

Why is "w" written in superscript in akw-ā- (Water)?

What does small circle under certain letters mean in‌‌ dn̥ghū- (Tongue),‌‌ euə-dh-r̥ (Udder) and‌‌ wl̥kwo- (Wolf)?

What does ī̆mean in‌‌ lī̆no- (Flax)?

I checked their guide but it doesn't explain these things

Thanks for your help.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Proto-Indo-European roots
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2016, 07:45:19 AM »
Most of your questions can be answered here:
Or maybe a little simpler here:

The superscript w is a diacritic indicating that the consonant is labial (in this case, labiovelar). In other words, it's the "qu" sound in English, rather than a plain k.

The circle indicates a syllabic consonant (like English rhythM).

I'm not sure about the vowel, which looks like it is marking it as BOTH a short and a long vowel, according to general uses of those diacritic marks. It also cites Pokorny, whose work you can read here (in German):
Doesn't look like there's any explanation of the orthography there, though, or in the first volume:

One possibility (just a guess) is that it might mean that it is EITHER short or long (either unknown, or that it varied?) -- maybe because different reflexes are found in different modern branches so it could be either one? That might be entirely wrong though.
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