The IE "water" word

From: Glen Gordon
Message: 7154
Date: 2001-04-19

Me (gLeN) questioned:
>>Why does *akWa- keep popping up? Is that really an IE word for
>>water? Isn't *wodr a safer bet?

>Compare Germanic: Anglo-Saxon (ea) (long vowel, fem.) = "river", from
>Prim.Gmc. *{axwo:}; and German "Aue" = "water-meadow" or >similar. It could
>be that *{akWa} was the old root-word for water and *{wodr} was a
>derivative word "that which is wet" or "that which wets things" from root
>*{wod}, and its root-word survives now as English "wet".

... Or perhaps it's more likely that since /watar/ is the word for
"water" even in Hittite (an Anatolian language which appears to
represent the most ancient stage of Common IE) and since *wodr
demonstrates a most ancient heteroclitic declensional pattern
(NOM-ACC *wodr, GEN *wednes), *wodr is _indeed_ specifically
used to mean "water" in Common IE and **akWa, which isn't even a
valid IE form, is something created much later in a few western
IE languages derived from the verbal stem meaning "to drink",
also attested in Anatolian languages. Thus your **akWa means
"something drunk" and is probably a non-IE word in the end.
There is another water word, IE *xepos (H2epos), from which
Sanskrit gets its own word, but it doesn't relate to Latin /aqua/.

While I agree that *wodr probably fundamentally means something
like "that which is wet", it is my experience that stems ending
in *-r were created during an early stage of IE, while forms with a
derivational *-x (*-H2) suffix are likely to be formed later.

- gLeN

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