Re: Ur- = water and Skur- = shower

From: C. Darwin Goranson
Message: 50272
Date: 2007-10-12

--- In, "fournet.arnaud" <fournet.arnaud@...>
> No, basque ur "water" is absolutely not cognate with
> > IE.
> >
> > Michel
> ======================
> Basque -r- is definitely from -t?-
> which is PIE equivalent to *d.
> these words are cognates.
> ===================

Actually, it's probable Michael is right. You see, Fournet, the two
words we're dealing with, Basque "ur" and PIE *wodr , have a major
barrier in being able make a comaprison: the Basque word is only two
phonological segments long. This makes it easy to compare it with a
LOT of different roots, since it's not hard to manipulate.

This kind of false relation is common cross-linguistically, and is a
dangerous pitfall in linguistic reconstructions.

Why am I so sure of the Basque word not being borrowed? Basque is a
conservative language, enough so that the word for "hammer" still has
the root for "stone" inside it - a Palaeolithic/Mesolithic/Neolithic
carry-over. Moreover - and as a point, more solid - words for basic
concepts are the least likely to change. Water, i.e. H2O, exists in
every culture of the world. The words for it may differ, but there is
always a word that means "water". Why would a language that's still
very much alive borrow a word for such a basic concept?

I admit that Basque has borrowed many words from IE languages, but it
seems unlikely that it would borrow a word so basic as "water". If you
think otherwise, please explain this: where's the impetus for
borrowing this word in particular?