LINGUIST List 9.1060

Wed Jul 22 1998

Disc: Comparative Linguistics

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <>


  1. Patrick C. Ryan, RE: 9.1032, Disc: Comparative Linguistics

Message 1: RE: 9.1032, Disc: Comparative Linguistics

Date: Wed, 15 Jul 1998 13:30:34 -0500
From: Patrick C. Ryan <>
Subject: RE: 9.1032, Disc: Comparative Linguistics

Dear Ralf-Stefan and LINGUISTS:

The method followed is that correspondence tables have been set up
between hypothesized PL phonemes like P[?]F and its reflex(es) in many
other languages and language-families; then an attempt to identify a
morpheme like P[?]FO, 'leg', has been made by analysis of more complex

In the case of P[?]FO, 'leg', a primary piece of evidence is the
Egyptian hieroglyph for <b>, which portrays a 'leg'; and although
Egyptian does not attest a word for 'leg' in this simple form, I
assume that the employment of a 'leg' for <b> indicates an earlier,
lost morpheme (b+V) for 'leg'.

Unfortunately, the number of simple connections to be made in this
fashion is very limited.

Additional substantiation for P[?]FO as 'leg' has to be obtained from
analysis of more complex forms.

For example, Egyptian attests bT, 'run, abandon, forsake'. IE has
*begw-, 'run away'. From concurrent analysis of other forms, I
hypothesize that PL K[?]O = Egyptian <t> and IE <g>; and though its
meaning is 'neck', its figurative meaning is 'bend back, twist'.

Therefore, I hypothesize an analysis of bT and *beg(w)- as
"leg-bend-back", a simple but expressive figure of speech for 'run'.

I am aware that the Greek reflexes suggest g[w] rather than gw but I
suggest that 1. bheug-, 'flee', is a related form, which shows Greek
<g> (pheugo:).

And Egyptian further offers us bTw, an incurable person, which might
be understood as 'someone who has run away'.

There are scores of examples of similar analyses containing the
element P[?]FO, for which I hope a meaning of 'leg' is semantically
reasonable and somewhat likely --- in a variety of languages and
language families.

I know this is not data in the form that some readers will prefer but
that is the data from which I work.

When one see the proper reflexes of PL P[?]F(O) associated in many,
many examples with words, the semantics of which allow a connection
with 'leg', the multiplicity of examples will, I hope, make such an
analysis plausible.

As for PL P[?]FE, 'foot/digit', one strong consideration for me was
that IE (and many other languages) use reflexes of it to designate
animal-names. I believe this is explained most economically by
assuming a meaning of 'foot' for P[?]FE, with an extended meaning of

So, I would contend, that the "data" is there if one cares to look.

(501) 227-9947; FAX/DATA (501)312-9947
9115 W. 34th St. * Little Rock, AR 72204-4441 * USA
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue