Proto-Indo-European root

Proto-Indo-European root

The roots of the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) are basic morphemes carrying a lexical meaning. By addition of suffixes, they form stems, and by addition of desinences, these form grammatically inflected words (nouns or verbs).

PIE roots are subject to ablaut, and except for a very few cases, the root is fully characterized by its constituent consonants, while the vowel may alternate. PIE roots as a rule have a single syllabic core, and by ablaut may either be monosyllabic or unsyllabic.

PIE roots may be of the following form (where K is a voiceless stop, G an unaspirated and Gh an aspirated stop, R a sonorant ("r, l, m, n, w, y") and H a fricative (either laryngeal or "s")

A root has at least one consonant, in some theories at least two ("Unicode|*h₁eḱ" vs. "Unicode|eḱ" "quick"). Depending on the interpretation of laryngeals, some roots seem to have an inherent "a" or "o" vowel, "*ar-" (vs. "Unicode|*h₂ar-") "fit", "*Unicode|ongʷ" (vs. "Unicode|*h₃engʷ") "anoint", "Unicode|*bʰag" "consume", "Unicode|*aḱ" (vs. "Unicode|*h₂eḱ") "keen".

By "root extension", a basic CeC (with C being any consonant) pattern may be extended to CeC-C, and an s mobile may extend it to s-CeC.

ee also

*Proto-Indo-European language
*Proto-Indo-European verb
*Proto-Indo-European noun
*Indo-European ablaut
*s mobile


* Calvert Watkins, "The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European roots: Second Edition", Houghton Mifflin, September 14, 2000 - ISBN 0-395-98610-9
* Carl Darling Buck, "A dictionary of selected synonyms in the principal Indo-European languages: A contribution to the history of ideas", University of Chicago Press; Reprint edition (June 15, 1988) - ISBN 0-226-07937-6
*Karl Brugmann and Berthold Delbrück, "Grundriß der vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen" (1886-1916).
*Julius Pokorny, "Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch" (1959).
*Gerhard Köbler, "Indogermanisches Wörterbuch" (1980-2005).
*Helmut Rix "et al.", "Lexikon der indogermanischen Verben" (1998, 2001).

External links

* [ American Heritage Indo-European Roots Index]
* [ Vasmer's Etymological Dictionary of Russian language]
* [ Index to the online version of Pokorny's PIE dictionary]
* [ Wiktionary List of Proto-Indo-European Roots]

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