Re: [tied] PIE mustelids and seals

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 4464
Date: 2000-10-21

"Salmon" is indeed tricky, but I'd say that the meaning 'birch' for *bHerxg- is hardly controversial. The word means 'birch' in Germanic, Slavic and Baltic. Old Indian bhu:rja- (< *bHrxgo-) is the name of a birch-like tree. Latin fra:xinus, while probably related, is not really the same word, and can't be the original 'ash-tree' term either; it's quite clearly an innovation. To conclude, *bHerxg- may be dialectal but is quite unambiguous as a tree-name.
Why *kek'- for 'weasel'?
----- Original Message -----
From: petegray
Sent: Friday, October 20, 2000 8:11 PM
Subject: Re: [tied] PIE mustelids and seals

João asked:

Is there PIE names for
weasel (Mustela nivalis and alike)  ?
stoat (Mustela erminea)  ?

Remember the lesson of the Salmon and the Birch.  Although these words are
widely shared among IE languages, it is not clear what precise fish or tree
they referred to in PIE.   Even if you find words likely to be a
stoat-weasel type creature, we cannot project back into PIE the precise
meanings they have in attested languages.

Given that caveat, I can suggest *kek' for weasel.

I would be surprised to find a word for "seal" (the animal) given that there
is no word for sea.