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CONLANG  February 2006, Week 2

CONLANG February 2006, Week 2

Subject:

Re: an axe to grind

From:

R A Brown <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 12 Feb 2006 20:46:22 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (49 lines)

Paul Bennett wrote:
> On Sun, 12 Feb 2006 11:22:43 -0500, R A Brown
[snip]
>>
>> The word [pelekus] is held by some to be borrowed - cf. Babylonian: pilakku,
>
>
> Beekes states (about a third of the way down p 37) that:
>
> The old connection with Akkadian |pilakku| is incorrect, because this
> word never meant 'axe'.
>
> He does not, however, expand upon this point. If there are any
> Assyriologists reading, I'd love to hear more about it.

It's all very well saying the word never meant axe, but it would be
helpful if he had said what it did mean.

> I have learned
> to trust Ray's Greek etymologies very strongly,

Thanks :)

Tho note that I said "is held by some", which implies doubt.

I've checked Furnée and am reminded that there are also forms in Greek
where the kappa is doubled: to pelekkon; ho pelekkos. Both have the
same meaning as _pelekus_. Also the verb _pelekaein_ (to hew with an
ax), has an alternative form _pelekkaein_. This is not the sort of
behavior one expects with a word of IE origin.

Furnée, if I've followed his German correctly, seems to suggest that
these Greek words, like the Assyrian _pilakku/pilaqqu_ and Sanskrit
_paraśú_ are all borrowings from a neolithic 'Kulturwort' from the
Caucasus and northern region of the near/mid east.

Thus Furnée does not say that _pelekus_ is borrowed from the Akkadian,
but he suggests that both are independent borrowings of a pre-IE (and by
implication pre-Semitic) neolithic 'Kulturwort'. I imagine that
double-headed axes for tree felling were quite important to neolithic
peoples :)

Ray
========================
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