Re: The meaning of life: PIE. *gWiH3w-

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 52636
Date: 2008-02-11

On 2008-02-11 09:54, tgpedersen wrote:

> The Germanic words for "rice" clearly have no initial/w/ either.
> Therefore they shouldn't be confused with all those pre-IA
> *vrijhi-, Pashtu wriZE, Greek o'ryza, o'ryzon etc?

We know when and how this word found its way into English etc., and how
to account for its shape, including the loss of the original initial.
What I'm arguing against is, in the first place, the reconstruction of
an IE *wrugHjo- for 'rye', as proposed by Pokorny. The _only_ reason why
he posits an initial *w is the existence of Thrac. briza. He doesn't
offer any comments on the absence of *w- in Germanic. A wanderwort like
*wrij^Hi- might of course explain the form (but not the meaning!) of the
Thracian word quite nicely, but it wouldn't work so well for
Balto-Slavic and Germanic (to get *rugHi- one would have to admit an
irregular treatment of both the initial cluster and the vowel, and if
the word got into Europe via the Iranian languages, why do we have a
reflex of *gH, not *g^H, in Balto-Slavic?). There's also a semantic
problem: why 'rice' --> 'rye'? Rye is not a recent import into Eastern
and Central Europe. It's been widely cultivated here at least since the
Bronze Age as one of the main crops and THE bread cereal (not to mention
vodka :)). Why borrow a word for it from peoples who did not cultivate
rye at all? I find it safer to assume, until proven otherwise, that
*rugHi-/*rugHjo- is a separate term.