[tied] Re: IE right & 10

From: Richard Wordingham
Message: 33925
Date: 2004-08-30

--- In cybalist@yahoogroups.com, enlil@... wrote:
> Petusek:
> > Well, the semantic motivation might be opposite. Do you think, we
> > could start with *dek^- , "to reach" [...]

> There is
> no suffix *-m except for the accusative and this just doesn't make
> sense on a numeral at all, especially when undeclined. I think
> just have to accept that *dekm can't be broken down in IE itself...

Should I take it from this you're confident that the superlative
suffix (PIE *mo) always had the precursor of the thematic vowel in

> Oh-oh, but then that would cause people to consider that mesolithic
> bands weren't so dumb afterall and actually did have a word
for '10'
> many millenia beforehand.

A transparent set phrase might do the job.

It seems that *penkWe originally meant 'fist' or 'palm'. There are
Nostratic cognates:

Uralic *peyngo 'fist, palm'
Altaic *p'aynga

I wonder if *dek^ should be glossed as 'attain', with a sense of
attaining the correct standard. Then *dek^ without any extra
consonants might once have meant 'right (as opposed to left)'.

My biggest problem with this idea is then whether it is reasonable
to assume that counting on fingers starts on the left hand. It
seems to be widespread, but not universal.