Thought to be from Proto-Indo-European *bʰérǵʰos, from the root *bʰerǵʰ-. However, the *g found in Slavic is not the expected outcome of PIE *ǵʰ, which would be *z. Therefore, the word may have been borrowed from another language, such as Germanic or a Venetic-Illyrian language.
Though it is traditionally reconstructed as a hard o-stem, Pronk-Tiethoff suggests that *bergъ was probably a u-stem instead, noting its accentuation and its reflexes found in Russian, e.g. the “second locative” na beregú and the adjective formation beregovój.
- East Slavic:
- South Slavic:
- West Slavic:
- → Albanian: breg
- Vasmer, Max (1964–1973), “берег”, in Этимологический словарь русского языка [Etymological Dictionary of the Russian Language] (in Russian), translated from German and supplemented by Oleg Trubachyov, Moscow: Progress
- ^ Derksen, Rick (2008), “*bȇrgъ”, in Etymological Dictionary of the Slavic Inherited Lexicon (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 4), Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN, page 37: “m. o (c) ‘bank’”
- ^ Olander, Thomas (2001), “bergъ -a”, in Common Slavic accentological word list, Copenhagen: Editiones Olander: “d (OSA 139f.; PR 137)”