Etymologies in Historical Linguistics

This is an example of a single purported etymology by Alan Bomhard. Keep in mind that according to standard Historical Linguistics, none of these forms across families have anything to do with each other. And Elamo-Dravidian and Altaic supposedly do not even exist, though I think they do. In addition, all of these forms are part of a purported family called Nostratic. The standard view in Linguistics is that Nostratic is some sort of a pathetic joke. But as you can see below, I think there’s something to it. People looking for links between major language families are called “long-rangers” or “lumpers.”

But the field is run by extremely conservative splitters who have set up some difficult standards to prove language families are related to each other that they have effectively made it all but impossible to prove new families or show relationships between existing families. In addition, they don’t want any new families or families related to other families. They want to freeze this enterprise in time exactly where it is. I find that disturbing to say the least! How many sciences have decided, “Ok we’re already proved all there is to prove here so we’re not going to accept any new conclusions in this field. That’s quite disturbing right there.

So the standard view in Linguistics is none of these forms across the major language families delineated by numbers are related. I beg to differ. This does look like a similar form. Problem is that you can cook up lists like this that are entirely spurious. In addition, there is no way to prove much of anything in this field because we weren’t around when these languages were being spoken and most never got written down. So it’s all speculative, even the Indo-European forms. They’re more best guesses than anything else.

Our task is to go through these lists and see if we are dealing with actual related forms here or just mirages.

Thought you might be interested because this is something most of you don’t know about.

Proto-Nostratic root *pʰat’- (~ *pʰǝt’-): (vb.) *pʰat’- ‘to hasten, to move quickly’; (n.) *pʰat’-a ‘foot’

A. Proto-Afrasian *p[a]t’- ‘(vb.) to hasten, to move quickly; (n.) foot’: Proto-Semitic *pat’-an- ‘to be quick, rapid, fast’ > Geez / Ethiopic faṭana [ፈጠነ] ‘to be fast, to be swift, to hurry, to be in a hurry, to be prompt, to speed up’; Tigrinya fäṭänä ‘to be rapid’; Harari fäṭäna ‘to be fast, quick, rapid’; Gurage fäṭänä ‘to be fast, quick’; Amharic fäṭṭänä ‘to be fast, quick’. Egyptian pd ‘foot, knee’, pd ‘to run away, to flee, to hasten’; Coptic pat [pat] ‘leg, shin, knee, foot’, pōt [pwt] ‘to run, to flee’.

B. Elamo-Dravidian: Middle Elamite ba-at, pa-at ‘foot; under’.

C. Proto-Indo-European *pʰet’-/*pʰot’- ‘foot’: Sanskrit pā́t ‘foot’ (gen. sg. padáḥ), padám ‘step, footstep, position, site’; Greek πούς ‘foot’ (gen. sg. ποδός), πέδον ‘the ground, earth’; Armenian otn ‘foot’, het ‘footprint’; Latin pēs ‘foot’ (gen. sg. pedis); Umbrian peřum, persom-e ‘ground’; Gothic fōtus ‘foot’; Old Icelandic fet ‘place, step’, fótr ‘foot’; Swedish fot ‘foot’; Norwegian fot ‘foot’; Danish fod ‘foot’; Old English fōt ‘foot’; Old Frisian fōt ‘foot’; Old Saxon fōt, fuot ‘foot’; Old High German fuoz ‘foot’ (New High German Fuß); Lithuanian pãdas ‘sole of foot’; Hittite pí-e-da-an ‘place’; Cuneiform Luwian pa-ta-a-aš ‘foot’; Lycian pddãt- ‘place’, pddẽn- ‘place, precinct’; Tocharian A pe, B paiyye ‘foot’, A päts, B patsa ‘bottom’.

D. (?) Yukaghir (Northern / Tundra) petnu- ‘to crawl, to go on all fours’, petteŋ ‘crawling’.

E. Proto-Altaic *pʰēta- ‘(vb.) to step, to walk; to hasten, to hurry; (n.) step, pace’: Proto-Tungus *pete- ‘to run quickly, to hurry; to jump’ > Evenki hetekēn- ‘to run quickly, to hurry’; Lamut / Even heteken- ‘to run quickly, to hurry’; Ulch peten- ‘to jump’; Orok potčo- ‘to jump’; Nanay / Gold petēn- ‘to jump’; Negidal χeteχen- ‘to jump’; Oroch χete- ‘to jump’; Udihe χetigen-e- ‘to jump’. Proto-Mongolian *(h)ada- ‘to hurry’ > Mongolian adaɣa- ‘to hurry, to speed, to strive’, adaɣam ‘hurry, speed’; Khalkha adga- ‘to hurry’; Kalmyk adɣə- ‘to hurry’, adm ‘hurry, speed’. Proto-Turkic *āt- ‘(vb.) to walk, to step; (n.) step, pace’ > Turkish adım ‘step, pace’; Azerbaijani adïm ‘step, pace’; Turkmen (dial.) āt-, ǟt-, ǟt-le- ‘to step’, ādïm ‘step, pace’; Uzbek ɔdim (dial. adïm) ‘step, pace’; Uighur atli- ‘to step’; Karaim adïm ‘step, pace’; Tatar atla- ‘to step’, adïm ‘step, pace’; Bashkir atla- ‘to step’, aðïm ‘step, pace’; Kirghiz atta- ‘to step’, adïm ‘step, pace’; Kazakh atla- ‘to step’, adïm ‘step, pace’; Noghay atla- ‘to step’, adïm ‘step, pace’; Chuvash ot-‘to walk’, odъm ‘step, pace’; Yakut atïllā- ‘to step’; Dolgan atïllā- ‘to jump, to hop’.

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One thought on “Etymologies in Historical Linguistics”

  1. Zaidan Jassem has written many articles linking Arabic cognates to European languages:

    Also, here’s a paper from the 1960’s which follows the same idea:

    Such results contradict conservative linguistics, that seems to strictly separate Indo-European from Semitic languages.

    Logically, if the people in the middle east are genetically related to those in Mediterranean (and continuing on, to the rest of Europe), the linguistic history ought to be correlated as well.

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