Re: [tied] PIE word for "people"

From: Grzegorz Jagodzinski
Message: 40588
Date: 2005-09-25

Patrick Ryan wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Joao S. Lopes" <josimo70@...>
> To: "Cybalist" <>
> Sent: Saturday, September 24, 2005 8:29 AM
> Subject: [tied] PIE word for "people"
>> Is there any PIE word meaning "people"? Is there any relationship
>> between such word and another non-IE equivalents, meanly in
>> Kartvelian, Afro-Asiatic, Elamo-Dravidic? Was there any attempt to
>> reconstruct a Nostratic word for "people"?
>> Joao SL
> ***
> Patrick:
> Yes, I believe so.
> For PIE, we would reconstruct *ro:m-, seen in Latin Ro:ma: and Gypsy
> rom, 'man'; Old Indian ra:ma-, 'name of people'

Extremally doubtful, I would even say that it is a vulgar etymology.

1) Ro:ma: is probably an Etruscan word, so not IE-an, and thus cannot be
compared with any Indic word. Etruscan ruma meant as if "ford, wading place"
or "bridge", cf. remzna "Pontius" - see Rick Mc Callister's Etruscan
Glossary (

2) Are there towns or villages called just "people"? I am just curious
because it seems highly improbable. Instead, the etymology "bridge" or
"ford" for a town upon a river sounds reliable.

3) Gypsy rom < Sanskrit d.omba- 'a man of a lower caste, musician'. This
word is not IE and has not any r's.

4) I have not found **ra:ma- 'name of people' - if anybody has found, please
cite the source. All I have been able to find is ra:ma- 'dark, black,
pleasant, beautiful', also 'kind of deer' and nomen proprium Ra:ma

> It is also in Egyptian rmT, 'men, mankind';

I have found the following for 'people, men':
rXy.t (X = h with arch)

And rmT = 'man', not 'mankind'

> Burushaski rôm, 'clan, tribe, community'.
> ***

Personally I do not think that a word meaning "mankind" existed in Nostratic
or even earlier. Instead of those improbable stories with Romans = people I
would suggest something different. Just take a look at this:

IE *man-, Uralic *män'c'e, Dravid. *man.-s-, Proto-North-Cauc. *mV:n-xV, Old
Chinese *n@:m, Afro-Asiatic *man ---- all with the meaning 'man' (Egyptian
mnyw 'shepherd')

IE *gWen-, Altaic *kune ~ *gune, North Cauc. *qwa?nV, Burush. Gen- (G =
gamma) ----- all with the meaning 'woman', sometimes 'queen' (+ AA *kVn-
'co-wife', 'sister-in-law')

Much more probable than **ro:m-...

Grzegorz J.

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