Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/wĺ̥kʷos

This Proto-Indo-European entry contains reconstructed terms and roots. As such, the term(s) in this entry are not directly attested, but are hypothesized to have existed based on comparative evidence.

Proto-Indo-European

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Alternative reconstructions

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Etymology

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The word *wĺ̥kʷos is a thematic accented zero-grade noun perhaps derived from the adjective *wl̥kʷós (dangerous); compare Hittite 𒉿𒀠𒆪𒉿𒀸 (walkuwa-, something negative), Old Irish olc (evil), Sanskrit अवृक (avṛká, safe, literally not wild), वृकतात् (vṛká-tāt, savagery).[1] Stress shift onto the zero-grade is consistent with nominalized adjectives: compare Sanskrit कृष्ण (kṛ́ṣṇa, black antelope) from कृष्ण (kṛṣṇá, black). Alternatively, the word may be a derivative of the verbal root *welh₂- (to tear up).[2] In either case, the word's formation closely resembles that of *h₂ŕ̥tḱos (bear), another thematic accented zero-grade noun whose referent is an animal subject to cultural taboos.[3]

The Latin and Greek reflexes are unexpected (vs. expected Lat. *vulquus, Gk. *álpos, according to the regular progression PIE * > Lat. ol (later o changes to u in some places) , Gk. al). The Latin reflex is a borrowing from Osco-Umbrian (where PIE */kʷ/ regularly gave /p/), and both the Italic and Greek reflexes underwent metathesis pointing to an alternative reconstruction *lúkʷos, possibly as a taboo deformation meant to offset the fear usually associated with the animal. A deformation would explain the metathesis of */w/ and */l/, which also occurred in Greek (*wĺ̥kʷos*lúkʷosλύκος (lúkos)), and also explains the presence of delabialized /k/ per the boukólos rule (regardless of whether it is Proto-Indo-European already or only Proto-Greek). In both cases, the expected forms are so close to the word for “fox” – compare Latin vulpēs, ἀλώπηξ (alṓpēx) – that avoiding conflation of the two words for “wolf” and “fox” may have motivated either alteration or borrowing.

Most of the Germanic reflexes, with */kʷ/ > */g(ʷ)/ > */b/ > */p/ > /f/, also underwent unusual sound changes, as seen in Old English wylf, Middle High German wülpe < *wulbi < *wulgʷī́ < *wl̥kʷíh₂s. But the velar was retained in at least one form, i. e. Old Norse ylgr (she-wolf).

Armenian and Celtic have replaced the word with Proto-Indo-European *waylos (howler) due to taboo; compare Old Armenian գայլ (gayl), Middle Irish fáel.[4] In Celtic, *kū (hound, dog) is also used to designate the wolf.

Noun

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*wĺ̥kʷos (non-ablauting)

  1. wolf

Inflection

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Thematic
singular
nominative *wĺ̥kʷos
genitive *wĺ̥kʷosyo
singular dual plural
nominative *wĺ̥kʷos *wĺ̥kʷoh₁ *wĺ̥kʷoes
vocative *wĺ̥kʷe *wĺ̥kʷoh₁ *wĺ̥kʷoes
accusative *wĺ̥kʷom *wĺ̥kʷoh₁ *wĺ̥kʷoms
genitive *wĺ̥kʷosyo *? *wĺ̥kʷoHom
ablative *wĺ̥kʷead *? *wĺ̥kʷomos
dative *wĺ̥kʷoey *? *wĺ̥kʷomos
locative *wĺ̥kʷey, *wĺ̥kʷoy *? *wĺ̥kʷoysu
instrumental *wĺ̥kʷoh₁ *? *wĺ̥kʷōys

Derived terms

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Descendants

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  • Proto-Albanian: *ulka (see there for further descendants)
  • Proto-Anatolian:
  • Proto-Balto-Slavic: *wilkás (see there for further descendants)
  • >? Proto-Celtic: *ulkos (see there for further descendants)
  • Proto-Germanic: *wulfaz (see there for further descendants)
  • Proto-Hellenic: *lúkos (see there for further descendants)
  • Proto-Indo-Iranian: *wŕ̥kas (see there for further descendants)
  • Proto-Italic: *lukʷos (see there for further descendants)
  • Paeonian: Λυκκ- (Lukk-), Λυκπ- (Lukp-) (< *lukʷos)
  • Proto-Tocharian: *wä́lkʷë

References

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  1. ^ A. Lehrman, “Anatolian Cognates of the PIE Word for ‘Wolf’”, Die Sprache 33 (1987), 13–18.
  2. ^ Tamaz Gamkrelidze and Vjačeslav Ivanov, Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans (Tbilisi: Tbilisi UP, 1984), 492.
  3. ^ Mallory, J. P., Adams, D. Q., editors (1997), “*wolf”, in Encyclopedia of Indo-European culture, London, Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, page 646
  4. ^ Martirosyan, Hrach (2010) Etymological Dictionary of the Armenian Inherited Lexicon (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 8), Leiden and Boston: Brill, page 196.
  5. ^ Lehrman, Alexander (1978) “Essays in Anatolian Onomastics”, in Names: A Journal of Onomastics[1], volume 26, number 3, →DOI, pages 220-230
  6. ^ Dale, Alexander (2015) “WALWET and KUKALIM: Lydian coin legends, dynastic succession, and the chronology of Mermnad kings”, in Kadmos[2], volume 54, →DOI, retrieved 10 November 2021, pages 151-166