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Wednesday 20 July 2016

King . Some Observations on an East-West Archaism (Draft)

Michael Weiss
Department of Linguistics, Cornell University

The word for king in Inner-Indo-European *h3rḗĝs was originally
a verbal abstract ‘rule’, reinterpreted as a personal
noun specifically in a “formula of ruling” which finds direct
reflexes in Vedic and Old Irish. The n-stem word for king is
an internal derivative of a delocutive neuter n-stem *h3rēĝ-én
‘in the rule’ (Ved. rājáni). The relationship between the masculine
*h3rḗĝs and the feminine *h3rḗĝnih2 derived from the nstem
was the basis for the creation of the feminine suffix
*-nih2 and thus wherever we have evidence for this morpheme
we must suppose that the pair *h3rḗĝs : *h3rḗĝnih2
once existed.1
 4. Conclusions and Inferences
Finally in this case we can be sure that the intermediate languages
that no longer have this king word, and indeed the whole morphological
complex I have reconstructed. For it is only the pair *h3rḗĝ-s
‘king’ : *h3rḗĝ-nih2 ‘queen’ that provides the model for the additive
feminine *-nih2 seen in Gk. πότνια, OLith. viešpatni, Alb. zonjë ‘lady’
~ zot ‘lord’, Goth. Saurini ‘Syrian-ess’ ~ Saur ‘Syrian’, OCS bogyńi
‘goddess’ ~ bogŭ ‘god’.
7 I know of no evidence for this suffix in
Armenian, but it must have lost it.
On the other hand, TB e-petsa*, obl. sg. e-petso “fiancée”
identified by Pinault 2009:307, which must be at least ProtoTocharian
because it formed the basis for the remodeling of the
masculine in TA pats, could well be an archaism. In order to explain
-petsa* as a innovation one would have to take the form as
remodeled on the masculine, but the markedness relationships
seem to go the other way, at least in the reconstructable history of
In this case we can on the basis of a consideration of the
formal, formulaic, and semantic issues construct a case for a true
East-West archaism that must have been present in the other Inner
IE languages and has only been preserved at the edges of IE world.


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