Two Balkan Indo-European Loanwords

In: Dispersals and Diversification


When investigating the internal phylogeny of a language family like Indo-European, the value of loanwords is often understated or completely neglected. It may be argued that a loanword shared exclusively by several languages is an important shared innovation when this lexeme can be traced to a common reconstructed form. Such a shared innovation may carry even more significance than one based on inherited lexical material. In the latter case, it is often hard to distinguish innovations from archaisms. This article examines two lexemes that may have been borrowed into the proto-language of the hypothesized Balkan Indo-European subgroup including at least Greek, Armenian, Albanian, and Phrygian. If the proposed etymologies are accepted, they will contribute to the already existing evidence for this subgroup, which hitherto has not been universally accepted.

Dispersals and Diversification

Linguistic and Archaeological Perspectives on the Early Stages of Indo-European