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Valentyn Stetsyuk (Lviv, Ukraine)

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Common Nostratic Heritage in Vocabularies of Türks and Indoeuropeans


At the present time the phylum of the Nostratic languages consist of Indo-European, Turkic (wrongly with them they include Altaic), Afro-Asiatic (formerly known as Semito-Hamitic), Uralic, Dravidian, and Kartvelian. However, this group may be joined by other languages if searching for Nostratic heritage in different languages will be carried out more thoroughly than is done now. It's not an easy work, because for thousands of years that have passed since the existence of the Nostratic community, original language forms in some languages have disappeared, others have changed their sound structure or basic meaning. On the other hand, later borrowings more complicate the establishment of Nostratic kinship. However, if detected matches in languages of different families, that seem to be at first glance random, study more deeply by inductive method, certain patterns can be set that will allow to work more effectively.

Some linguists still deny the existence of the Nostratic language community, but there is quite strong evidence of its existence. One of them could be the name of a daughter in the Finno-Ugric and Indo-European languages (Veps. t'ütar, Erz. teyter', Est. tütar, Fin. tytür, Ger. Tochter, Gr. θυγαθηρ, OInd. duhitar a.o.). Perhaps, they should also involve Hung. tesvér "a sister, brother". Currently, the largest number of units of the Nostratic fund was found in the Turkic and Indo-European languages. Below are some more or less convincing examples:

PIE *am(m)a – "mother", one of oldest Nostratic words presented in the Indo-European, Finno-Ugric, languages (in Turkic am "vulva").

PIE *ambh- “cloud, rain” (Lat imber, Gr ombros, OInd abhra etc “downpour, gush, cloud, rain” ) – Türkm jagmyr, Chuv çumăr, Tat jaŋğır, Uzb jomğyr, Tur yağmur “rain” etc.

PIE *an- – in the Indo-European languages "ancestor" ("father", "mother"), in Turkic "mother".

PIE *atos, atta- "father", sometimes "mother", one of oldest Nostratic words presented in the Indo-European, Turkic, Finno-Ugric, Abkhaz-Agyghe, Nakh-Degestani languages.

PIE *aulos "ravine, lowland, settlement" (Lat alvus , Gr άυλοσ, Russian ulitsa , and other Indo-European) – common Türkic aul "village".

PIE *bheleg “to shine”, “to burn” (Lat fulgeo, Gr φλεγω, Lit blykšti, Sl blikati, bleskŭ a.o.) – Tur balkir “shine”, Tat balku “to shine” a.o. Perhaps Tur. belgi “sign” belongs here too.

PIE *bher “to bear”, “to take” (Lat fero, Gr φερω, Sl bĭrati, a.o.) – common Turkic be:r “to give” (Turkm bermek, Turvermek, Karach, Balk berirgea.o.)

PIE *bheug “to bend” (Got biugan, OA bugan, OInd bhujati, Sl bŭgati) – Turkm, Turbükmek, Tat bögü, Karach, Balk bügerge “to bend” a.o.

PIE *bhor “to turn” (Lat forare, OA borian, Gr φυρω ) – common Turkic bur (Turkm, Turburmak, Tat boru, Uzb buramoq “to twist” a.o.)

PIE *dek “right” (Lat dexter, Gr δεξιοσ, Sl desnŭ a.o.) – common Turkic dik/dek “strait”, “level” (Turkm dikan “strait”, Turdik “vertical”, Chuv tikěs, Uzb tekis “level” a.o.)

PIE *der- (Gr δερα “skin”, δερω "to scin", Got gatairan, Rus drat’ a.o.) – common Turkicderi “skin”, Chuv tir “шкура, мех”.

PIE *dheub “deep” (Germ tief, Gr βυθοσ a.o.) – common Turkic düjp (Turkm düjp, Karach, Balk tüb, Tat tüp “дно”).

PIE *ghabh “to take, to snatch” (Lat habeo, Got giban, Sl gabati, Lat gabenti, a.o.) – Turkm gapmak, Yak xap “to catch”, Tur kapmak “to snatch”, Tat kabu ”to take” a.o.

PIE *gieu “to chew” (OE ceowan, Germ kauen, Sl žĭvati, Pers j’ävidän, Gil j’avəstən a.o.) – Tur gevelemek, Uzb kavšamoq, Karach, Balk küüšenirge “to chew” a.o.

PIE *k’es “to cut” (Lat castrare, κεαζω, Sl kosa, kositi, Lit gabenti, a.o.) – common Turkic kes- “to cut” (Turkm, Tur kesmek, Karach, Balk keserge, Kaz kesu a.o.)

PIE *kai-ur-t “cave”, “pit” (Lat cavea, Gr καιατα, OInd kevata a.o.) – Turkm govak “cave”, Tur kovuk “hollow”, “burrow”, Chuv xăvăl “hollow” a.o.

PIE *ker “hoarfrost” (Arm saŕn, Sl sernŭ, Lit šeŕkšnas, OIs hjarn a.o.) – common Turkic qyraw “hoarfrost” (Turkm gyrav, Kaz, Karach, Balk qyrau, Kyrg kyroo a.o.)

PIE *kers “dark” (Gr καρυμον, Sl čĭrnŭ, OInd kŕsna a.o.) – common Turkic qara- “black” (Tur, Gag, Tat kara, Karach, Balk, Kaz qara a.o.)

PIE *kes “to scratch, scrape” (Gr κεσκεον, Sl česati, Lat kasyti a.o.) – Turkm gašamak, Tur kaşımak, Karach, Balk qašyrğa “ to scratch, scrape ” a.o.)

PIE *reuĝ “ro roar, neigh” (Gr. ἐρυγόντα "roaring", Lat. rūgīre "to roar", Rus. rzhat' etc.) – Tat., Bash. ükür-, Kaz. aqyru, Karach., Balk. ökür- “to roar” etc. – Est. röökima "roar", Saam. rēgke "to cry", rokmaltaš "to neigh" etc.

PIE *skel “to cut, split” (Gr σκαλλω, Got skilja, Lit skelti a.o.) – Turkm čalmak, Karach, Balk čalyrğa “to mow, cut”, Tat čalgy , Kaz šalgy ”scythe” a.o.

PIE *skep/kep “to hit, hack” (Gr σκηπτοσ, σκοπτω, Lat scapula, Lit kapoti a.o.) – Tur çapa “mattock”, Chuv çap “to hit”, Tat čabu “to cut” a.o.)

PIE *ster “dung” (Lat stercus, Sl stĭrvĭ, Nor dial. stor a.o.) – Tur çirkef “mud, dung”, Gag čürük “mud, dung”, Karach, Balk čirirge “to rot” a.o.)

PIE *tek “to weave”, “to plait” (Lat texere, Gr τυκοσ, Sl tŭkati, арм. t’ek’em a.o.) – common Turkic doqa- "to weave" (Tur dokumak, Turkm dokamak, Kaz toqu a.o.)

PIE *ual “strong” (Lat valeo, Got waldan, Sl vlastĭ, a.o.) – Turkm, Kaz uly, Tur, Gag ulu, Karach, Balk oly “great” a.o.

PIE *udh- “udder” (OInd udhar, ουθαρ, Germ Euter a.o.) – Old Turk udh “cow”.

PIE *uegu- (at Pokorny – maybe, false) or *uksōn (at Kluge) “bull, ox” (OInd uksā, Got auhsa, Germ Ochse, Toch okso, a.o.) – Tur, Turkm, Gag, Karach, Balk öküz, Kaz ögiz, Chuv văkăr – „ox”. Kluge mind possible loaning of Indo-European word out some unknown language.

PIE *uel "to turn" (Lat volvo, Arm. gel-u-m, Gr ειλεω) – Tat ejlenderu, Tur ayla(n)mak, Uzb ajlantirmoq “to turn”, Karach, Balk ajlanyu “turning”.

Perhaps some of the parallels cited here are casual, but the author considered as his duty to take also doubtful cases, it is better to take into consideration all the possibilities, rather than just throw something interesting or even important.