Re: marko- = horse non IE ?

From: dgkilday57
Message: 66167
Date: 2010-05-29

--- In, Octavià Alexandre <oalexandre@...> wrote:
> --- In, "Cuadrado" <dicoceltique@> wrote:
> >
> > Hello i would like to come back to topic Marko = Horse
> >
> > * Celtic/Germanic Marko- = Horse
> > * Romanian Murg- = Horse
> > * Romanian Magar = Donkey and Serbo-Croatian Magarac = Donkey =
> > Metathesis Magar->Makar>Mark- ?
> > * Bulgarian MARAPE (cyrillic caracters) = Donkey
> > * Sanskrit Marga/Mrga = Kinf of antilope and Markata = Spider/Monkey
> >
> > * Baltic Marg-/= Ox/Cow/Dog
> > * Turkish Merkep = Donkey/Horse
> >
> > asiatic
> > Mandchou Morin = Horse
> > Japan Ma = Horse
> > Corean Mal = Horse
> > Chinese Ma = Horse
> > Tibetan = Mrah = Horse
> >
> --- In, "Arnaud Fournet" <fournet.arnaud@> wrote:
> >
> > obviously *marko in PIE is borrowed from *mor- and suffixed PIE-way, like por-kos.
> > The change o > a suggests Germanic can be the intermediate between Central Asia and Celtic.
> IMHO, *marko- 'horse' (hardly a PIE word) isn't a Wanderwort from Altaic *mor- 'horse' as in communis opinio but an old (Mesolithic/Upper Paleolithic) substrate item related to Altaic *n^argu 'young male deer/elk'. I call "Paleo-European" the substrate language(s) from which originated this kind of LW.
> Apparently, Paleo-Eurasian (my own version of Russian school's Eurasiatic) initials nasal *n-, *n^- were labialized in Paleo-European as *m- before back vowels /o,u/ (sometimes also before /a/), as in *moro- 'blackberry' ~ Altaic *nur^i- 'a k. of berry, grape' (cfr. Hittite muri- '(bunch of) grapes'), and denasalized as *d- elsewhere, as in Latin da:m(m)a 'fallow deer' ~ Altaic *n^àme 'goat, deer'.

I agree that borrowing of *marko- 'horse' from a non-IE source in the East is implausible. The old attestations are Celtic and Germanic, and it is unlikely that this word could have galloped across the whole breadth of Eurasia without leaving hoofprints in the middle. During historical times it moved in the opposite direction, since Old High German <mar(a)h> is evidently the source of Hungarian <marha> '(head of) cattle'. It is, of course, hardly possible that anyone physically confused horses with cattle. The sense-shift can be understood by postulating an intermediate meaning '(animal used as) medium of exchange', so that OHG <mar(a)h> likely signified 'esteemed horse, valuable horse' as opposed to an old nag or troublesome bronco.

Usually it is assumed that *marko- was either acquired independently by Celtic and unshifted Proto-Germanic, or borrowed from the former by the latter, whence *marxa- following the Lautverschiebung. However, it is also possible that Gmc. *marxa- was borrowed into Gaulish as *marka- (hence the acc. sg. <márkan> cited by Pausanias), later normalized to *marko-, and loaned into the other Celtic languages. As evidence for Gmc. /x/ being fortited to Gaul. /k/ in loans, we have Gallo-Latin <cami:s(i)a> 'linen undergarment, military shirt' (for details see Kluge, EWDS s.v. <Hemd>). For that matter, [x] was already the allophone of Gaul. /k/ before /t/ as shown by orthography. If the borrowing was in this direction, the unshifted PGmc form could be either *márko- or *mórko-.

This is where the Volcae come in. I have previously regarded them as Q-Celts from northeastern Celtiberia, but perhaps their language, while Indo-European, was not Celtic. If the Volcan language prevocalized inherited syllabic liquids with /o/ and dropped the labialization from inherited */kW/, then their name (or the designation of their warrior class) could mean 'Wolves'. The first declension is likely due to Gaulish converting *-o:s of the plural to *-a:s, with this being Latinized as -ae (cf. Belgae, Celtae). Germanic *Walxa- is the regular result of shifting *Wólko-, of course.

Now, if the Volcan language also retracted the accent of inherited oxytones as Gaulish did, the form *mórko- could result from an IE zero-grade oxytone *mr.kó- or *mr.k^ó-. An IE root *merk^- is found in the zero-grade in Sanskrit <mr.s'áti> 'he touches, grasps, handles' and in Greek <brakeîn> 'to come together, meet, assemble', <bráketon> 'crowd', <bráttein> (*brákyein) 'to fill, load heavily' and <dusbrákanos> 'hard to handle'. It is plausible that the normal grade of the same root occurs in Italic with Latin <merx> 'merchandise, wares', <merce:s> 'price, reward', <merca:ri:> 'to conduct trade', <Mercurius> 'god of trade', Faliscan <Mercus> 'god of trade', and Oscan <amiricatud> 'without remuneration'. The basic sense of *merk^- is likely 'to handle'. The development in Italic is then parallel to German <handeln> 'to trade', <Handel> 'traffic, trade'. A similar development in Greek would explain <bráketon> originally as 'market-place', like Latin <merca:tus>, then 'crowd at the market-place, crowded assembly, mass of people, full load', etc. But <dusbrákanos> preserves the original force of the root.

We can thus understand IE *mr.k^ó-, Volcan *mórko- as a passive adjective meaning 'fit to be handled, well-handled, easy to handle'. Applied to a horse, this would denote one suitable for military use. Cavalry units need horses which are easily trained and follow orders without hesitation, not bucking broncos. Thus it is reasonable that Volcan *mórkos would be substantivized as 'easily handled horse' in military usage, then borrowed into Proto-Germanic as 'military horse', *marxaz after the Lautverschiebung. Alternatively, since bucking broncos would be culled out of the breeding stock, *marxaz might have denoted 'horse suitable for breeding, horse with desirable traits'. We do find Old English <mearh> glossed as 'admissarius' i.e. 'stud for servicing mares', and as mentioned earlier, OHG <mar(a)h> seems to distinguish 'valuable horse' from less desirable types.

The explanation presented above is highly tentative, and I may have overlooked serious problems with it. Nevertheless I believe *marko- is best explained by borrowing among the westernmost IE groups, not from an unspecified source thousands of miles to the East, nor from a poorly characterized "Paleo-European" substrate. In cases like this, an adstrate spoken by a historically known people is preferable to the murkiness of a geographically or temporally remote origin.