Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:


Still Needed:


Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington

Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

Ask-A-Linguist Message Details

Subject: Why did some PIE people start using different words for 'give'?
Question: In English and many other languages, we use the word ''to
give''. However, many other European languages use a form
of ''dar'' for ''give'', like Russian and the Romance languages.

Latin: dō
Italian: dare
Portuguese: dar
Romanian: da
Spanish: dar
French: donner

Old Church Slavonic: ''dan'''
Russian: ''dat'''

I see that the origin of the Latinate ''dare'' (to give) is *deh₃-
''to give'' in PIE.

I see the Proto-Indo-European etymology of ''give'' is gʰab(ʰ)
(“to grab, to take).

The Latinate/Romance descendant of gʰab(ʰ)is ''habere''
This seems to indicate that at some point the word ''to
grab/take'' became ''to give''! How the heck did this happen to
us Germanic PIE people?

If the Slavic/Romance PIE tribes maintained ''*deh₃- to give'',
why did Germanic PIE people lose *deh₃- and start using
gʰab(ʰ) differently?

From: Greg Anderson
Date: 15-Jan-2013
  1. Re: Why did some PIE people start using different words for 'give'?    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (15-Jan-2013)
  2. Re: Why did some PIE people start using different words for 'give'?    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (16-Jan-2013)

Back to Most Recent Questions