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Armenian -k

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal, August 2013



Classical Armenian uses the morpheme -k to mark:

1. The nom. plural of all noun classes:
pl. nom . acc./loc. ins.
o-stems: erg song ergk ergs ergovk
-stems : lezu tongue lezuk lezus lezuawk
i-stems: ay servant k s iwk
u-stems : gah throne gahk gahs gahuk
C-stems: kin woman kanayk kanays kanambk

2. Plural pronouns:
1pl. mek
2pl. duk
3pl. noka (AL nosa, I nokawk)

3. Verbal plurals:
present imperfect subjunctive prohibitive
1pl. -mk -ak -ycemk
2pl. -yk -ik -yceyk -yk

aorist aorist middle subjunctive imperative
1pl. -ak -ak -cuk
2pl. -eyk, -ik -ayk, -aruk -ik -eyk, middle -aruk, -ayk

4. Numerals:
3 erek
4 ork

There is of course no a priori reason to exclude the possibility that Armenian replaced the inherited
plural morpheme(s) with a suffix of a different origin (the collectivizing suffix *-two/*-twa has been
suggested, as well as the enclitic particle -k
w
e and). After all, thats what Armenian itself did after
the Classical period with the plural suffix -k, replaced (in the noun at least) with the collectivizing
suffix -(n)er (< Class. Arm. -(n)ear). Even so, Klingenschmitts observation that -k appears precisely
where PIE had *-(e)s, i.e. only in the 1
st
and 2
nd
persons plural of the verb and not in the 3
rd
pl., and
only in 3 and 4 and in no other numeral, must be decisive: Arm. -k must continue PIE *-(e)s
somehow.

Exactly how is of course not immediately obvious. We do not find -k` in the Armenian reflexes of the
nominal nom sg. *-s, the neuter s-stem nom./acc. sg. ending *-os, or the verbal 2sg. ending in *-s,
*-si. Klingenschmitt opts for a solution with sandhi variants - ~ -k, the former generalized in the
singular forms, the latter in the plural. Possible, but not the immediately obvious correct solution.


The obvious solution, in my view, suggests itself if we consider that Arm. k- is the regular
development of PIE *sw- (e.g. k sister). If we are willing to sacrifice the unity of the
PIE phoneme *s, the Arm. plural suffix -k is simply the regular development of word-final *-s
w
after
a vowel
1
.

Soltas objection that the acc pl. ending -s disproves the notion that -k continues *-s (or *-s
w
) does
not apply. As Olsen says, this argumentation is only valid if it can be proved that the development
*-ns > -s was completed before *-s > -k began. Furthermore, in my solution, *-ns
w
(and *-Cs
w
- in
general) rapidly gave up the labialization, and the solution -ns > -s is completely independent of
both -Vs > - and -Vs
w
> -k. The merger of acc pl. and loc pl. originates in the C-stems, where *-Csu
developed like *-Vns to -s.

We can assume that all the plural endings traditionally reconstructed with *-s continue the phoneme
*-s
w
, not only the nom pl. *-es
w
, but also the acc pl. *-ns (< *-ms < *-ms
w
), the dat pl. *-b
h
(i)os
w

(*-mos
w
), the ins pl. *-b
h
(i)is
w
(*-m(i)is
w
) and the loc pl. -su. In Greek, the loc.pl. ending is -si, which
might suggest the ending -su originates in *-s
w
+ -i, with the same hic et nunc affix as in the loc sg.

The 1pl. and 2pl. verbal endings *-mes
w
> -mk and *-tes
w
> -k as well as the 2pl. middle
ending -uk (< *--d
h
wo-s
w
)
2
can also be reconstructed with *-s
w
, although the *-s
w
is probably
secondary in both 2pl. forms (the PIE forms are better reconstructed as *-te and *-d
h
wom ~ *-d
h
woj).

One form where, based on internal reconstruction, we might expect -s
w
is the verbal 2
nd
person
singular ending -s
w
, if that is derived from suffixed 2
nd
person pronoun *tu > *-t
w
> *-s
w
. As we
already saw above, there is no evidence for this in Armenian. If anything, there is evidence for a
development -r (is it really sandhi this time
3
?), as I stated in my article on intervocalic *-d
h
-:
There are other verbal forms with -r in Classical Armenian: aorist active 2sg. -er, aorist middle 2sg. -ar,
imperfect 2sg. (also aorist middle imperative 2sg.) -ir, and imperfect 3sg. -yr. The 2sg. imperfect can be
derived from optative *-jeh
1
-s (or *-ih
1
-s with the reduced athematic optative suffix of the plural forms),
with *-i(:)s > *-iz > *-ir as in erkir second(ly), erir third(ly) < *u twice, *tris thrice. The 2sg.
active aorist ending is obscure, but probably also involves *-s > *-z > -r. The remaining two forms seem
to involve the voiceless aspirate *t
h
: middle aorist -ar < *-ah
2
-th
2
a (if the whole form is not analogous
after the 2sg. active aorist), and imperfect -yr < *-jet
h
< *-jeh
1
-t (with pre-aspiration, see Olsen pp. 13,
39f, 43, 64, 82, 108, 167, 180, 207, 442, 470, and 773ff). All of the forms ending in -r seem to suggest a
weakening of the consonant in final position (*-s > *-z and *-t
h
> *-d
h
), which is otherwise unusual in
Armenian. But if we accept the weakening, the forms with *-t
h
> *-d
h
can be seen as further evidence of
the development *-d
h
(-) > -r(-).

The present tense 2sg. ending -s originates in athematic es < *essi you are (in thematic *-esi or
*-es
w
i, the sibilant would have been regularly lost). Where the sibilant is not lost in this position is in
Slavic, where the thematic ending is - (-), as opposed to athematic -si. The shibilant of the
thematic form is an old mystery. If we assume that x ~ is the regular reflex in Slavic of PIE *s
w
, the
mystery is solved, along with a number of other problems, such as Slavic unexpected -x in the loc pl.
of the -stems (although the analogical solution works perfectly fine as well), and the problem of
Slavic initial x- (as well as Indic k-, Avestan x-, Greek s-, see Appendix A).

The Slavic sigmatic aorist marker after a vowel is also -x- ~ --. This means that the aorist marker *-s-
can be reconstructed as *-s
w
-, and therefore also the Hittite 3rd person sg. preterit ending -s. We can
think of a suffixed demonstrative/3sg. pronoun akin to PIE *so.

1
An interesting word is Arm. mukn mouse < *
w
, with loss of aspiration in final -kn, as in akn eye <
*ok
w
- .
2
See my article Armenian intervocalic *-dh-.
3
With Stempel 1994.
In general, all PIE forms where *s alternates with *t can also be assumed to have (had) *s
w
. This
includes s/t-stems such as *meh
1
, obl. *meh
1
n(e)s
w
-, the perfect active participle *-, *-s
w
os,
and the demonstrative pronoun *so < *s
w
-
4
, acc *tom (apparently reflecting nom. **tu, oblique
**ta-).


4
Avestan this is unfortunately not from *s
w
o, but a spelling of /hau/. The nom sg. of the demonstrative
pronoun must have lost all traces of labialization early on (which may be related to the lack of the nom. marker
-s, to the -o, or to both).
Appendix A: initial *s
w
- in Pokorny?

The following words from Pokornys IEW may show reflexes of initial *s
w
- instead of *sw-. The
diagnostic forms are Greek words with s- instead of h-, Indic k(v)- instead of s(v)-, Avestan x(v)-
instead of x
v
-, and Slavic x- (or -) instead of s(v)-. With the exception of the word for 6 and Slavic
*xoditi, these words are not really basic vocabulary, and of course some of these etymologies in IEW
may not even be valid. Still, the pattern Gr. s-, Indic k-, Avestan x(v)- and Slavic x- seems to me to
be real, if marginal.

*

- - pig, swine
su-ko-; - `zum Schwein gehrig'
A. (G. Sg. f u) `S'; g. , , Akk. . `Eb', f. `Su' ( f.
`') b , .; u .; (), .
`Schweinestall' (*-, u , idg. bheu-, oben S. 146 ff.); Sternbild der `Gupp
S'; gl. g. lk.

The root clearly has *s-, but the Greek forms with s- may point to an inner-Greek variant with *s
w
-

* - to laugh
Gr. `, p', `l'; . u, . ,
mbret. huersin `lachen'.

Greek s- points to *s
w
ard- .

* - - to hiss, whistle (Schallwort)
-; ital. und germ. -
g. Al u . k, k `u, bu, u' ( k-
Sllkug u l ); . - `( u)
bl', . fu `u uk g', . f `blu', . f ` l' (),
. f `ful', . u `wehen, (ein Instrument) blasen', chwyth `das Blasen',
ll `Pff' (b ., Kuug pb `Pff' u l. pp), . ,
, b. 'u `bl'; kl. , `bl' (k u l.
sein); g. `', A. (, ` Z') l Sllblug l.
k .; b l. bl, - `, pff', blu `; Z', ku fl,
flu, gl. uuf. g. gl ` Fl bl, pff', . gl ., gl
`Fl' (u gl-);

Indic k-, Greek s-, but Slavic s-. Perhaps *s
w
ei-sd-.

*

- to bend, turn, swing


-- -mo- `Drehung'
G. `uf gbg, upfg, p' (u `kl, ll l');
ll u `Gub' (Ebgug);
. `lbf ug, Kugff', l ` K , lg',
`ll, flg, bl'; . (u -smo-) `Bewegung, Antrieb', Adj. `schnell', f .
`gug' (u --, gl. u g.

-), f `', b. fl, gl `


bewegen, rhren';
. `gug', l (u -l-) ` ll '; l u l (u -lo-, -l
vgl. norw. svil) `Wendung, Lauf', corn. wheyl `Arbeit', air. sel `Wendung, Drehung, Zeitraum',
mir. des-sel `Wendung nach rechts', tuath-bil `Wendung nach links';
. , ` g'; l P. l. . ` Gl', (u -to-), svaa
`gleiten', ags. swaian `(ein)wickeln', engl. swath(e), mnd. mhd. swade `Reihe von gemhtem
Gras, Schwaden';
. `k, ul', . .; g. . `Sl, O',
l. , l. j .; . l, l `Sl'; l. ., veim n.
`Getmmel, Tumult', sveima `umherziehen', mhd. sweim m. `das Schweben, Schweifen,
Schwingen', sweimen `sichschwingen, schwanken'; norw. svil n. `Spirale; der krause
Sbul g F'; . `Sug, Dug, ul', `ch
schwingend bewegen, umherfliegen, in Saus und Braus leben'.
- . x -- ` P g', x- `flink'; got. midja-sweipains
`Sflu' (g. `Fgug '); l. p `f, ull', g. p `g,
fg, b', . p `fg f', . f `g, f, ', f
`Umschwung, Schwanz' = aisl. sveipr `Band, Schlingung, gekruseltes Haar', aisl. svipa
`Peitsche'.
- l. , l. `f', Fu l. , l. `l
lu'; b l. `lb, ' (u u u -) hierher?
- g. u `gb, l' ( u - `schwinden' ausgegangen) `(listig) etwas
drehen, ausweichen, Trug' u. dgl. . , g. `f, , bg',
l. k k (u -P.), kj `bg, ', g. `l, betrgen', poet.
`fg, ', . . `'; . `, l, l',
. . `Zluf', - `l Fgg', `'; l. k .
`Verrat, Betrug', ags. swic n. ds., ahd. biswih m. ds.;
l. g `Sl bk', g

`lg uk', u. g'


`herumtreiben';
. A ku `glg', k `Lg'.
- l. g `bg', . `bg Sgl', . l. g, g `bg',
Kaus. aisl. sveigja `biegen', Pass. svigna `sich beugen, nachgeben', svigi m. `biegsamer Stengel';
ahd. sweiga `Viehstall' (*Geflecht).
- l. f `g, , uf, b', g. f `, fg,
wenden (engl. swift `schnell'), schwenken', aisl. sueifla `schwingen', mhd. swibeln, swivelen
`ul', . b `b, g', b `b'.
l. p `p', p(k ) `fu, Zbgl'.

Greek s-, Av. x-, but Slav. sv-. Perhaps *s
w
eih
1
-.

* d- milk
A. k, k (ubl.) ` fu'; . x- . `l', ll u l.
`', l. ., l. `u', l. (k) .

Indic k-, Av. x-. Reconstructable as *s
w
eid-.

* x
A. (u ), . x; . ( `u `' u uglu); g. , l.
(k `lg G', ll u ); lb. gj; l. x; . `',
` ', -f `gu u, ', . u. `'; g. , l. x,
. ; l. flk ; kl. ( . -); . A k, k; gl. l. .
(. x- `der 16.').
Ordinal . -, . x-; . ; g. ; lb. -gj, -gj; ll. Su;
l. xu, u (Su, k. , ub. u `xu'; g. l
(u )k , L. u G. Eg u Gul); gll. ux, . ,
. ; g. , . , , l. ; l. , p. . fuf u,
gl. l. u `b' (p. L.), l. . kl. ; . A k, k.

Av. x-, Slav. -, but Indic -, Arm. v-, Gr. h-, ks-, Lith. -. A difficult word, perhaps borrowed from
Semitic, PS * > Akk. , Ugar. (), Hebrew . An Indo-Europeanization of Early Akkadian
*(at) may have been *s
w
ets
w
, then with dissimilation of the consonant cluster and of the
labialization, *s
w
eks or *weks.

* - to move; to swim
A. -- `flg' (u -d-ne-), Verbalnomen tofunn, wohl zu:
norw. svamla `phantasieren', svamra `umherirren, schwrmen'; aisl. svim(m)a, j (P.
uu u u) `', . . g. .; Ku. .
swemmen `schwimmen lassen', nhd. schwemmen; afries. swammia, mhd. swamen
`schwimmen', isl. norw. svamla, sumla `pltschern', got. swumsl n. `Teich'; aisl. sund n. `das
Schwimmen; Meerenge, Sund' (d. i. `*noch berschwimmbar'), syndr `schwimmfhig', ags.
sund n. `Schwimmfhigkeit', poet. `See, Wasser', mnd. sunt (-d-) `Meerenge' (nhd. Sund);

Only Goidelic and Germanic here, which are not diagnostic. However, if this root had a variant
*s
w
ed
h
-, that could be the origin of Slavic *xoditi, etc. to go. The usual link with *sed- sit is
impossible because of the short vowel (Winters law).

* - 4 to cut, pierce
A. x - m. `Wunde, Verwundung';
air. serb, cy. `b' (u -u -), upgl. l `b, '; .
f. `D' (u );
ahd. sweran st. V. `schmerzen, schwren, schwellen', swero `leiblicher Schmerz, bes. Geschwr',
nhd. Schwre, Geschwr, ahd. swer(a)do `leiblicher Schmerz', ags. sweornian `gerinnen'; ahd.
swert `Schwert', ags. sweord, aisl. sver aus *swer-a- `stechende Waffe';
ul. u - `kkl' u. j, . , blu. u . u kl.
`Gebrechlichkeit'; vielleicht hierher serb.-kl. l `', ul. l.

Slav. ch(v)-, but Av. x
v
-. Probably plain *swer-.

* bh- (auch -?) to turn; to sweep
Verbalnomen bhom
Cymr. chwerfu `das Wirbeln, Umdrehen', chwerfan `whirl for a spindle'; chwyrn `schnell
()' u u b--; g. f-, b-b `b', l. f . . `fl', f .
`Abfll b Fl', g. f ., f. `k', . `b', .
suuerban `extergere', suuarp, swirbil `gurges, vortex', mhd. swerben `sich wirbelnd bewegen';
aisl. svarfa `umherschweifen', aschwed. svarva `drechseln, (Lgen) ersinnen';
l. b kl. b (u kl. b `'); blu. l. b, b
`juk' u. b, b u.; gl. l. p . `' (u b-sta-);
ll u g. ., . `K', , - `Kehricht der Menschheit,
Gl'; gl. u `fg' (u ), ., . `, K' u (Fu.
) `, lpp, fg, ', . ` , Eb', f.
`l', . `Slppkl, K', . `Zugl', , - f. `Sbk'.

Greek s-, but Slav. sv-. The Greek forms may go back to a root in *s
w
-.

* -, -g-, -k-, -p- to fade, weaken, etc.
erweitert -p-?
Al. `l'; , . `b, '; . u
`ohnmchtig werden, verstummen'.
-k- . g, . g, g. g, ug, u `schweigen'.
-g- f. ` Sg', `g' (gl. ., . . ).
-p- g. b `uf, l', l. fk ` uk,
l', . gf `', . `n, nachlassen, zum Schweigen
bg', l. `', . (u N.) bg (u p.
);
dazu * -p- g. `g' u -p- g. Su
Dpplk , (P.) u .

Greek s-. Perhaps *s
w
ih
3
-?

* -s porous, spongy
G. `g, p' g. b- . p, -b . `S';
b g. pu- (g. u bu-) u - l. upp `Smm; Ball
(nach der Gestalt)', mnd. swamp, -pes `Schwamm, Pilz' und got. swamm Akk.
`(Wasch-)Schwamm', ags. swamm m. `Pilz', mnd. svam, -mmes `Schwamm; Pilz'; von
schwammigem Boden: engl. swamp `Sumpf'; westfl. swampen `auf- und niedergehen, von
schwammigem Boden', ablautend mhd. sumpf `Sumpf' = aisl. soppr `Ball', norw. auch `Pilz'.

Greek s- points to *s
w
omb
h
-.

*kseip-, kseib- to throw, be thrown
A. kp `f, lu', Ku. kp, kp- `ll'; kl. b-j, -t
` b', u. b `f', bkj `ll', b `blg', bj `
irren'.

Indic k-, Slavic -. Possibly *s
w
eip-?

*kseubh- to sway, swing
A. kb, kb (kub, -

) `k, ', kb ` gug',


kb- . `Sk, Eug'; . xb- ` Aufgug g' (xuf), p. -
uf, -f ` gug ', -b `ug, uul';
pl. b `ukl, u bg'; bk `b, '; kl. b `fl,
ulg ', b (kb) `gl, Fl' u.

Indic k-, Av. x-, Slavic x-. *kseub
h
- or *s
w
eub
h
-?

*kseud- to grind in little pieces
A. k `pf, l', k- m. `Sto, Stampfen, Zermal; l, Pul, Pu',
ku- `kl; g, g', Kp. k-; ku- n. `Stubchen';
bg. u `kl; gg, l', Kp. uj ( . k-).
k (Sl , 4) l upgl. uug `g' (. u `g'),
u . ku `ug', k-uka- `hungrig' stellen mchte.

Indic k-, Slav. x-. I would agree with Machek, so perhaps *s
w
eud
h
-

References
Beekes, Robert, 1988, A grammar of Gatha-Avestan, Leiden.
Carrasquer Vidal, Miguel, 2013, Armenian intervocalic *-dh-.
Godel, Robert, 1975, An introduction to the study of Classical Armenian, Wiesbaden.
Klingenschmitt, Gert, 1982, Das altarmenische Verbum, Wiesbaden.
Lipiski, Edward, 1997, Semitic languages: Outline of a comparative grammar, Leuven/Louvain.
Olsen, Birgit Anette, 1999, The noun in Biblical Armenian, Berlin-New York.
Pisowicz, Andrzej, 2001, Gramatyka ormiaska, Krakw.
Pokorny, Julius, 1959, Indogermanisches etymologisches Wrterbuch, Bern.
Solta, Georg Renatus, 1963, Die armenische Sprache, in: Handbuch der Orientalistik. Armenisch und kaukasische
Sprachen, Leiden-Kln.
Stempel, Reinhard, 1994, Final IE *-S and the Old Armenian Plural Marker *-K, AAL 15, 1-19.