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1.Indo-European Languages | 2.Indo-European Words | 3.Indo-European Nouns | 4.Indo-European Verbs | 5.Indo-European Syntax | 6.Indo-European Etymology

2. Letters and Sounds

2.1 The Alphabets of Modern Indo-European

2.1.1. Unlike other languages reconstructed in the past, Indo-European doesn’t have an old writing system to be revived with. Indo-European dialects have adopted different alphabets during the last millennia, and all of them should be usable today – although the main alphabet for today’s European Union is clearly the Latin one.

2.1.2. This is a summary table of Proto-Indo-European phonemes and their regular corresponding letters in MIE alphabets: Greek, Latin, Cyrillic, Perso-Arabic and (alphasyllabary) Devanāgarī.

A. Vowels and Vocalic Allophones










Α α

A a


Ա ա

А а


Ε ε

E e


Ե ե

E e


Ο ο

O o


Ո ո

О о


Ā ā

Ա ա

Ā ā


Η η

Ē ē


Է է

Ē ē


Ω ω

Ō ō


Ո ո

Ō ō









Ι ι

I i


Ի ի

И и


Ī ī


Ի ի

Ӣ ӣ


Υ υ

U u


Ւ ւ

У у


Ū ū


Ւ ւ

Ӯ ӯ









Ρ ρ

R r

Ռ ռ

Р р



Λ λ

L l


Լ լ

Л л



Μ μ

M m


Մ մ

М м


Ν ν

N n


Ն ն

Н н



B. Consonants and Consonantal Sounds










Π π

P p


Պ պ

П п


Μπ μπ

B b

Բ բ

Б б


Β β

Bh bh


Բհ բհ

Бь бь


Τ τ

T t


Տ տ

Т т


Ντ ντ

D d

Դ դ

Д д


Δ δ

Dh dh


Դհ դհ

Дь дь


Κ κ

K k


Կ կ

К к


Γγ γγ

G g


Գ գ

Г г


Γ γ

Gh gh


Գհ գհ

Гь гь


Κ κ  (Ϙ ϙ)

Q q


Ք ք

К’ к’


Γκ γκ  Omicron

C c

Ղ ղ

Г’ г’


Γχ γχ














Ch ch

Ղհ ղհ

Гь’ гь’









Ι ι

J j, I i


Յ յ, Ի ի

Й й (Ј ј), И и


Υ υ (Ϝ ϝ)

W w, U u


Ւ ւ

У у


Ρ ρ

R r

Ռ ռ

Р р


Λ λ

L l


Լ լ

Л л


Μ μ

M m


Մ մ

М м


Ν ν

N n


Ն ն

Н н


Σ σ ς

S s

Ս ս

С с

2.1.2. The Latin Alphabet used for Modern Indo-European is similar to the English, which is in turn borrowed from the Late Latin abecedarium. We also consider some digraphs part of the alphabet, as they represent original Proto-Indo-European sounds, in contrast to those digraphs used mainly for transcriptions of loan words.

NOTE 1. The Latin alphabet was borrowed in very early times from a Greek alphabet and did not at first contain the letter G. The letters Y and Z were introduced still later, about 50 BC

NOTE 2. The names of the consonants in Indo-European are as follows - B, be (pronounced bay); Bh, bhe (bhay);  C, ce (gway); Ch, che (gwhay); D, de (day); Dh, dhe (dhay); F, ef; G, ge (gay); Gh, ghe (ghay); H, ha; K, ka; L, el; M, em; N, en; P, pe; Q, qu; R, er; S, es; T, te; V, ve; W, wa; X, xa (cha); Z, zet.

2.1.3. The Latin character C originally meant [g], a value always retained in the abbreviations C. (for Gaius) and Cn. (for Gnaeus). That was probably due to Etruscan influence, which copied it from Greek Γ, Gamma, just as later Cyrillic Г, Ge.

NOTE 1. In early Latin C came also to be used for [k], and K disappeared except before in a few words, as Kal. (Kalendae), Karthago. Thus there was no distinction in writing between the sounds [g] and [k]. This defect was later remedied by forming (from C, the original [g]-letter) a new character G. Y and Z were introduced from the Greek about 50 B.C., and occur mainly in loan words in Modern Indo-European.

NOTE 2. In Modern Indo-European, C is used (taking its oldest value) to represent the Indo-European labiovelar [gw] in PIE words, while keeping its different European values –  [k], [ts], [ce], [tch], etc. – when writing proper names in the different modern IE languages.

2.1.4. The Latin [u̯] sound developed into Romance [v]; therefore V no longer adequately represented [u̯] and the Latin alphabet had to develop an alternative letter. Modern Indo-European uses V mainly for loan words, representing [v], while W is left for the consonantal sound [u̯].

NOTE. V originally denoted the vowel sound [u] (oo), and F stood for the sound of consonant [u̯] (from Gk. ϝ, digamma). When F acquired the value of our [f], V came to be used for consonant [u̯] as well as for the vowel [u].

2.1.5. The consonant cluster [ks] was in Ancient Greece written as Chi 'X' (Western Greek) or Xi 'Ξ' (Eastern Greek). In the end, Chi was standardized as [kh] ([x] in modern Greek), while Xi represented [ks]. In MIE, the X stands for [x], as in the Greek and Cyrillic alphabets, and not as in English.

Cuadro de texto: Figure 53. Writing systems of the world today.AlphabetsNOTE. The Etruscans took over X from Old Western Greek, therefore it stood for [ks] in Etruscan and then in Latin, and also in most languages which today use an alphabet derived from the Roman, including English.

2.2. Classification of Sounds

2.2.1. The Vowels are a, e, i, o, u, and ā, ē, ī, ō, ū. The other letters are Consonants. The proper Indo-European Diphthongs are ei, oi, ai, ēi, ōi, āi, and eu, ou, au, ēu, ōu, āu. In these diphthongs both vowel sounds are heard, one following the other in the same syllable.

2.2.2. Consonants are either voiced (sonant) or voiceless (surd). Voiced consonants are pronounced with vocal cords vibration, as opposed to voiceless consonants, where the vocal cords are relaxed.

a. The voiced consonants are b, bh, d, dh, g, gh, c, ch, l, r, m, n, z, and j, w.

b. The voiceless consonants are p, t, k, q, f, h, s, x.

c. The digraphs bh, dh, gh and ch represent the prope Indo-European voiced aspirates, whereas ph, th, and kh are voiceless aspirates, mostly confined to foreign words, usually from Greek. They are equivalent to p+h, t+h, k+h, i.e. to the corresponding mutes with a following breath, as in English loop-hole, hot-house, block-house.

d. The consonants r, l, m, n, and the semivowels j and w, can function both as consonants and vowels, i.e. they can serve as syllabic border or center. There is a clear difference between the vocalic allophones of the semivowels and the sonants, though: the first, i and u, are very stable as syllabic center, while r̥, l̥, m̥, n̥ aren’t, as they cannot be pronounced more opened. Hence the big differences in their evolution, depending on the individual dialects.

2.2.3. The Mutes are also classified as follows:


p, b, bh


t, d, dh


k, g, gh; q, c, ch

2.2.4. The Liquids are l, r. These sounds are voiced. The group rh represents the aspirated [r], mainly in words of Greek origin. Other groups include rr, the alveolar trill, and its aspirated counterpart rrh. There is also lj, the palatal lateral approximant.

2.2.5. The Nasals are m,n. These are voiced. The pair nj represents the palatal nasal (similar to the [n] sound in English onion or canyon).

2.2.6. The Fricatives are s, h. These are voiceless, but for the s before voiced consonants, where it is usually voiced. It is also possible to write – mainly for loan words – voiceless and voiced pairs: labiodentals, f and v; dentals, th and dh; post-alveolar sh and zh. And also the alveolar voiced z, and the dorsal voiceless x.

2.2.7. The Semivowels are found written as i, j and u, w. These are voiced.

NOTE. The semivowels are usually written with i and u when using the Latin alphabet. Only Proto-Indo-European roots and their derivatives have j and w; as in wĺqos, wolf, wérdhom, verb, jugóm, yoke, or tréjes, three. When there is a consonantal sound before a sonant, it is always written j or w; as in néwn [‘ne-u̯n̥], nine. For more on this, see § 2.9.4. 

2.2.8. There are also some other frequent compounds, such as ks, ts, dz, tsh, dzh, ...

Phonet. System





































s , (z)




*h1, *h2, *h3



r , l












NOTE 1. [z] was already heard in Late Proto-Indo-European, as a different pronunciation of [s] before voiced consonants, and because of that it is an alternative writing in MIE, as in PIE nízdos (for -sd-os), nest, which comes from PIE roots ni, down, and zero-grade of  sed, sit.

NOTE 2. The existence of a distinctive row of PIE ‘satemizable’ velars, the so-called palatovelars, has been the subject of much debate over the last century of IE studies. Today the question is, however, usually deemed solved, with a majority of scholars supporting only two types of velars – generally Velars and Labiovelars, although other solutions have been proposed. The support of neogrammarians to the ‘palatals’, as well as its acceptance in Brugmann’s Grundriss and Pokorny’s Lexikon, has extended the distinction to many (mainly etymological) works, which don’t deal with the phonological reconstruction problem directly. For more on this, see Appendix II.2.

NOTE 3. The symbols h1, h2, h3, with cover symbol H (traditionally ə1, ə2, ə3 and ə) stand for three hypothetical “laryngeal” phonemes. There is no consensus as to what these phonemes were, but it is widely accepted that h2 was probably uvular or pharyngeal, and that h3 was labialized. Commonly cited possibilities are ʔ, ʕ, ʕw and x, χ~ħ, xw; there is some evidence that h1 may have been two consonants, ʔ and h, that fell together. See Appendix II.3.

2.3. Sounds of the Letters

2.3.1 The following pronunciation scheme is substantially that used by those who spoke the Proto-Indo-European language within Europe in the end of the so-called III Stage, at the time when the phonetic trends usually called satemization were probably spreading.

NOTE. MIE cannot permit dialectal phonetic differences – like the palatalization of velars in the Satem group –, because systematization in the pronunciation is especially needed when targeting a comprehensible language.

2.3.2. Vowels:

[]  as in father

[a]  as in idea

[]  as in they

[e]  as in met

[]  as in meet

[i]  as in chip

[]  as in note

[o]  as in pot

[]  as in rude

[u]  as in put

NOTE 1. Following the laryngeals’ theory, Proto-Indo-European knew only two vowels, e and o, while the other commonly reconstructed vowels were earlier combinations with laryngeals. Thus, short vowels a < *h2e, e < *(h1)e, o < *h3e and (h1)o, long vowels ā < *eh2, ē < *eh1, ō < *eh3 and *oh. The output of *h2o was either a or o, after the different schools. Short and long vowels and are just variants of the semivowels *j and *w.

NOTE 2. The sonants may have been lengthened too (usually because of compensatory lengthenings), especially in the conjugation of verbs, giving thus [r̥], [l̥], [m̥], [n̥], written as r̥̄, l̥̄, m̥̄, n̥̄. The semivowels can also have a prolonged pronunciation, giving allophones ij and uw. For more details on this see § 2.7.2.

NOTE 3. It is recommended to mark long vowels with a macron, ¯, and stressed vowels with a tilde, ´, and reduplicated stems without an original vowel are represented with an apostrophe, ‘ (as in Greek q’qlos, see qel).

2.3.3. Falling Diphthongs and equivalents in English:

i  as in vein

u   e (met) + u (put)

i  as in oil

u  as ow in know

i  as in Cairo

u  as ou in out

NOTE. Strictly speaking, j, j, j, as well as w, w, w (the so-called rising diphthongs) aren’t actually diphthongs, because j- and w- are in fact consonantal sounds. Nevertheless, we consider them diphthongs for syntax analysis; as in Eu-rō-pa-io-, where the adjectival ending -io /i̯o/ is considered a diphthong.

2.3.4. Triphthongs:

There are no real triphthongs, as a consequence of what was said in the preceding note. The formations usually called triphthongs are ji, ji, ji; ju, ju, ju; or wi, wi, wi; wu, wu and wu; and none can be named strictly triphthong, as there is a consonantal sound [i̯] or [u̯] followed by a diphthong. The rest of possible formations are made up of a diphthong and a vowel.

NOTE. Triphthong can be employed for syntax analysis, too. But a semivowel surrounded by vowels is not one. Thus, in Eurōpáiom, [eu-r-‘pa-i̯om], European (neuter noun),  there aren't any triphthongs.

2.3.4. Consonants:

1. b, d, h, k, l, m, n, p, are pronounced as in English.

Cuadro de texto: There are several ways to generate breathy-voiced sounds, among them: 
1.  To hold the vocal cords apart, so that they are lax as they are for [h], but to increase the volume of airflow so that they vibrate loosely. 
2. To bring the vocal cords closer together along their entire length than in voiceless [h], but not as close as in modally voiced sounds such as vowels. This results in an airflow intermediate between [h] and vowels, and is the case with English intervocalic [h]. 
3. To constrict the glottis, but separate the arytenoid cartilages that control one end. This results in the vocal cords being drawn together for voicing in the back, but separated to allow the passage of large volumes of air in the front. This is the situation with Hindustani.
2. n can also be pronounced as guttural [ŋ] when it is followed by another guttural, as English sing or bank.

3. t is always a plain t, never with the sound of sh, as in English oration or creation.

4. g always as in get. It had two dialectal pronunciations, simple velar and palatovelar. Compare the initial consonants in garlic and gear, whispering the two words, and it will be observed that before e and i the g is sounded farther forward in the mouth (more ‘palatal’) than before a or o.

5. c is pronounced similar to [g] but with rounded lips. Compare the initial consonant in good with those of the preceding example to feel the different articulation. The voiceless q has a similar pronunciation to that of c, but related to [k]; as c in cool.

6. j as the sound of y in yes, w as w in will.

7.  Proto-Indo-European r was possibly slightly trilled with the tip of the tongue (as generally in Romance or Slavic languages), but other usual pronunciations of modern Indo-European languages have to be admitted in the revived language, as French or High German r.

8. s is voiceless as in sin, but there are situations in which it is voiced, depending on the surrounding phonemes. Like the aforementioned [r], modern speakers will probably pronounce [s] differently, but this should not usually lead to misunderstandings, as there are no proper IE roots with original z or sh, although the former appears in some phonetic environments, v.s.

9. bh, dh, gh, ch are uncertain in sound, but the recommended pronunciation is that of the Hindustānī's “voiced aspirated stops” bh, dh, gh, as they are examples of living voiced aspirates in an Indo-European language (see note). Hindustānī is in fact derived from Sanskrit, one of the earliest attested dialects of Late PIE.

10. x represents [x], whether with strong, ‘ach-laut’, such as kh in Russian Khrushenko, or ch in Greek Christós, or soft, with ‘ich-laut’, such as ch in German Kirche or Lichtenstein; but never like ks, gz, or z, as in English.

11. z, v, f, sh, are pronounced as in English.

12. zh is pronounced as in English leisure.

13. tsh corresponds to English ch in chain, and tzh to j in jump

14. The aspirates ph, kh, th are pronounced very nearly like the English stressed p, c, t.

15. There is also another value for th, which corresponds to English th in thing, and for dh, which sounds as th in this.

16. rh, rr and rrh have no similar sounds in English, although there are examples of common loan words, such as Spanish guerrilla, or Greek rhotacism or Tyrrhenos.

17. The pronunciation of nj is similar to English onion or canyon; and that of lj to English million.

18. Doubled letters, like ll, mm, tt, etc., should be so pronounced that both members of the combination are distinctly articulated.

2.4. Syllables

2.4.1. In many modern languages, there are as many syllables in a word as there are separate vowels and diphthongs. This is not exactly so in Modern Indo-European. It follows, indeed, this rule too:

Eu-rō-pa-iós, wér-dhom[4], -wās6, ju-góm[5].

NOTE. The semivowels [u̯] and [i̯] are in general written i and u, as we already said, when they are used in the formation of new words, i.e., when they are not derived from PIE roots. That is why the adjective European is written Eurōpaiós, not Eurōpajós, and so its derived nominalized inanimate form, n. Eurōpáiom, the European (language), or Itália, Italy and not Italja. In Proto-Indo-European stems and in words derived from them they are written with j and w; as, tréjes155, three, néwos6, new, ghuwes [’dn̥-ghu-u̯es], languages, etc.

2.4.2. Indo-European has also consonant-only syllables. It is possible to hear a similar sound in spoken English or German, as in Brighton [’brai-tn̥] or Haben [’ha-bn̥], where the final n could be considered vocalic. In this kind of syllables, it is the vocalic sonant (i.e. [r̥], [l̥], [m̥] or [n̥]) the one which functions as syllabic centre, instead of a vowel proper:

bhrgh128 [bhr̥gh], bury; wĺqos23 [’u̯l̥-kwos], wolf; dékm155 [’de-km̥], ten; nmn19 [’no()-mn̥], name.

NOTE 1. Words derived from these vocalic consonants differ greatly in modern Indo-European languages. For example, ghwā [’dn̥-ghu̯a:] (see dńghū-) evolved in Proto-Germanic as tungō(n), and later English tongue or German Zunge, while in archaic Latin it was pronounced dingwa, and then the initial d became l in Classic Latin lingua, which is in turn the origin of Modern English words “linguistic” and “language”.

NOTE 2. We maintain the old, difficult and somehow unstable vocalic sounds in search for unity. As such a phonetic system is not easy for speakers of modern Indo-European languages, the proposed alternative pronunciation is to add, if needed, an auxiliary schwa [ə] before or after the sonant. The schwa we are referring to is an unstressed and toneless neutral vowel sound. There are usually two different possible pronunciations, depending on the position of the schwa; as in wĺqos, which can be pronounced [’u̯ əl-kwos], the way it probably evolved into Proto-Germanic *wulfaz, and [’u̯lə-kwos], similar to Proto-Greek *(w)lukos. Other possible examples are dékm [’de-kəm] (cf. Lat. decem, Gmc. tekham), and nmn [’no()-mən] (cf. Lat. nōmen, Gmc. namon).

2.4.3. In the division of words into syllables, these rules apply:

1. A single consonant is joined to the following vowel or diphthong; as -wos[6], -dhjos[7], etc.

2. Combinations of two or more consonants (other than the vocalic ones) are regularly separated, and the first consonant of the combination is joined to the preceding vowel; as ók-, eight, pén-qe, five, etc. but á-gros[8], field, s--los[9], squalus.

3. In compounds, the parts are usually separated; as Gmc. loan-translation aqā-léndhom (áqiā[10]+léndhom[11]), island (“water thing+land”), as Gmc. aujō landom (cf. O.E. igland, ealand), or Celtic ambh-ágtos (ámbhi[12]+ag[13]), ambassador (“about+lead”), as Lat. ambactus, “servant”.

2.5. Quantity

2.5.1. Syllables are distinguished according to the length of time required for their pronunciation. Two degrees of Quantity are recognized, long and short.

NOTE. In syllables, quantity is measured from the beginning of the vowel or diphthong to the end of the syllable.

2.5.3.  A syllable is long usually,

a. if it contains a long vowel; as,  -tr[14], mother, -ghūs3, language

b. if it contains a diphthong; as, Eu-r-pā, Europe, léuk-tom[15], light

c. if it contains any two non-syllabic consonants (except a mute with l or r)

2.5.4. A syllable is short usually,

a. if it contains a short vowel followed by a vowel or by a single consonant; as, cwós[16] [gwi()- ‘u̯os], alive, or  léusō[17], loosen.

b. if it contains a vocalic sonant; as, ŕtkos[18] [‘r̥t-kos], bear, nōmn[19] [’n-mn̥], dékm [’de-km̥].

2.5.5. Sometimes a syllable varies in quantity, viz. when its vowel is short and is followed by a mute with l or r, i.e. by pl, kl, tl; pr, kr, tr, etc.; as, ágrī8. Such syllables are called common. In prose they are regularly short, but in verse they might be treated as long at the option of the poet.

NOTE. Such distinctions of long and short are not arbitrary and artificial, but are purely natural. Thus, a syllable containing a short vowel followed by two consonants, as ng, is long, because such a syllable requires more time for its pronunciation; while a syllable containing a short vowel followed by one consonant is short, because it takes less time to pronounce it.

2.6. Accent

2.6.1. There are stressed as well as unstressed words. The last could indicate words that are always enclitic, i.e., they are always bound to the accent of the preceding word, as -qe[20], and, -r[21] [r̥], for; while another can be proclitics, like prepositions. The accent position can thus help to distinguish words.

2.6.2. In Modern Indo-European, each non-clitic word has one and only one accent. The possibility of secondary accents depends on the pronunciation.

Verbs in Main Sentences, as well as Vocatives, appear to have had also different, not fixed accents.

NOTE 1. The attested stress of Indo-European dialects shows a great diversity: Germanic and Old Irish stressed the first syllable, Slavic and Greek had a ‘semifree’ accent, Latin and Armenian (as Albanian) stressed usually the penultimate, etc.

NOTE 2. Baltic and Slavic dialects still show a Musical accent, while Greek and Sanskrit vocabulary seems to show remains of an old Musical accent. In Proto-Indo-European (as in Latin) there are clear traces of syncopes and timbre variations of short vowels near the accentuated ones, what suggests that Indo-European maybe changed a Musical accent for an Intensive one.

2.6.4. The Stress is free, but that does not mean anarchy. On the contrary, it means that each word has an accent, and one has to know – usually by way of practice – where it goes.

NOTE. Unlike Latin (which followed the ‘penultimate rule’), or French, in which the last syllable is usually accentuated, or Polish, Finnish, etc. Indo-European stress is (at least partly) unpredictable. Rather, it is lexical: it comes as part of the word and must be memorized, although orthography can make stress unambiguous for a reader, and some stress patterns are ruled out. Otherwise homophonous words may differ only by the position of the stress, and therefore it is possible to use stress as a grammatical device.

2.6.5. Usually, adjectives are accentuated on the ending; as in Eurōpaiós, European, Angliskós[22], English, etc., while nouns aren't; as, Eurōpáios (maybe ‘purer PIE’ Eurṓpaios, with root accent), European, Ángliskos, English(man). There are some other rules to be followed in the declension of nouns and in the conjugation of verbs, which will be later studied.

2.7. Vowel Change

2.7.1.  Syllable creation is the most common of the various phonetic changes that modern Indo-European languages have undergone all along these millennia of continuated change. Anaptyxis is a type of phonetic epenthesis, involving insertion of a vowel to ease pronunciation. Examples in English are ath-e-lete, mischiev-i-ous, or wint-e-ry. It usually happens by adding first a supporting vowel or transition sound (glide or  Gleitlaut). After this, in a second stage, the added vowel acquires a fix tone, becoming a full vowel.

2.7.2. The sonants form unstable syllables, and thus vowel epenthesis is very common. For example, -ghwā becomes tun-gō- in Germanic and din-gua in archaic Latin, while -qos[23] was pronounced wul-qos (later wulfaz) in Proto-Germanic and wlu-qos (later lukos) in Proto-Greek.

The semivowels [i̯], [u̯] are more stable than sonants when they are syllable centres, i.e. [i] or [u]. But they have also some alternating pronunciations. When they are pronounced lento, they give the allophones [ii̯] and [uu̯], always written ij and uw.  Alternating forms like médhijos (which gives Lat. medius), and médhjos (which gives O.Ind. mádhjas or Gk. μέσσος),  probably coexisted already in Late Proto-Indo-European.

NOTE. With the creation of zero-grade stems, vocalization appears, as the original radical vowels disappear and new ones are added. That happens, for example, in the PIE root bhr[24]- [bhr̥], carry, (cognate with English bear), which can be reconstructed from IE languages as bher-, bhor- or bhr-. The same can be said of the semivowels [i̯] and [u̯] when they are syllable edges, being syllable centres [u] and [i] in zero-grades.

2.7.3. Laryngeals were probably aspirated phonemes (reconstructed as three to nine different sounds) that appear in most current reconstructions of Middle Proto-Indo-European – i.e. the one including the Anatolian subbranch. Some laryngeals are apparently directly attested in the Anatolian inscriptions. In the other Indo-European dialects known – all derived from IE III –, their old presence is to be seen mostly through the effects they had on neighboring sounds, and on patterns of alternation that they participated in.

NOTE. Because such phonemes weren’t probably heard in Late Proto-Indo-European, and because their original phonetic values remain controversial, we don’t deem it useful to write them in a Modern Indo-European language system, but for the explanation of some alternating Late PIE roots or stems.

2.7.4. Another vocalizations appear in PIE dialects in some phonetic environments, as two occlusives in zero-grade, impossible to pronounce without adding a vowel; as e.g. skp, which evolved as Lat. scabo or Got. skaban. Although the dialectal solutions to such consonantal groups aren’t unitary, we can find some general PIE timbres. As a, i with a following dental (especially in Gk. and Bal.-Sla.) or u, also considered general, but probably influenced by the context, possibly when in contact with a labial, guttural or labiovelar, as in Greek reduplicate q’qlos[25] [‘kw-kwlos], circle, wheel, from qel, move around, which is usually pronounced qúqlos.

2.7.5. Vocalic prothesis (from Gk. προ-θεσις, pre-putting), is the appending of a vowel in front of a word, usually to facilitate the pronunciation. Prothesis differ, not only among PIE dialectal branches, but also frequently within the same language or linguistic group. Especially before [r̥], and before [l̥], [m̥], [n̥] and [u̯], more or less systematically, a vowel is added to ease the pronunciation; as, ŕtkos18 (maybe originally ŕtgos), bear, which gives Lat. ursus (cognate with Eng. ursine), Gk. αρκτος (as in Eng. Arctic) or Welsh arth (as in Eng. Arthur). The timbre of the added vowel is related neither to a linguistic group or individual language, nor to a particular phonetic or morphological environment.

NOTE 1. It is therefore not a good practice in Modern Indo-European to add such vowels in front of words, but, as seen in §2.4.2., an additional auxiliary schwa [ə] could be a useful way to facilitate pronunciation.

NOTE 2. The different dialectal evolution of old difficult-to-pronounce words (like ŕtkos or wĺqos) can be explained without a need for more phonemes, just accepting that phonetic changes are not always due to an exact pattern or ‘sound law’.

2.7.6. Syllable losses are often observed in Indo-European languages. Syncope refers to the loss of an inner vowel, like brief vowels in Gothic; as, gasts from ghóstis[26]. Also after [u̯], long vowel, diphthong or sonant in Latin; as, prudens for prowidens, corolla for coronala, or ullus instead of oinolos.

Haplology, which consists of the loss of a whole syllable when two consecutive (identical or similar) syllables occur, as Lat. fastidium instead of fastitidium, or Mycenaean aporeu instead of apiporeu.

2.8. Consonant Change

2.8.1. The so called s-Mobile (mobile pronounced as in Italian; the word is a Latin neuter adjective) refers to the phenomenon of alternating word pairs, with and without s before initial consonants, in stems with similar or identical meaning. This “moveable” prefix s- is always followed by another consonant. Typical combinations are with voiceless stops (s)p-, (s)t-, (s)k-, with liquids and nasals, (s)l-, (s)m-, (s)n-; and rarely (s)w-.

For example, Proto-Indo-European stem (s)táuros[27], perhaps originally meaning bison, gave Greek ταυρος (tauros) and Old English steor (Modern English steer), both meaning bull. Both variants existed side by side in Late PIE, but whereas Germanic (aside from North Germanic) has preserved the form with the s mobile, Italic, Celtic, Slavic and others all have words for bull which reflect the root without the sibilant.

Such pairs with and without s are found even within the same language, as Gk. (s)tégos, “roof”, (s)mikrós, “little”, O.Ind. (s)tṛ, “star”, and so on.


IE stem


Example with -s

without -s



Gk. skeparnion

Lat. capus



Ger. Schielen

Gk. kolon


cut, scrape

Eng. scab

Lat. capulare



Eng. shear, sheer

Lat. curtus



Eng. shrink

Lat. curvus



Ger. schließen

Lat. claudere


big fish

Lat. squalus

Eng. whale



Eng. slack

Lat. laxus



Eng. slime

Lat. linere



Ir. smeach

Lat. maxilla


small animal

Eng. small

Gae. mial


tendon, sinew

Gk. neuron

Skr. snavan



Ger. Specht

Lat. pica


spy, stare

O.H.G. spehon

Alb. pashë



Eng.  split, splinter

Eng. flint



O.Eng. spearwa

Lat. parra



Lat. sto, Eng. stand

Ir. ta



O.H.G. donar

O.Sla. stenjo



Eng. storm

Lat. turba

NOTE 1. For (s)ten, compare O.Ind. stánati, Gk. sténō, O.Eng. stenan, Lith. stenù, O.Sla. stenjo, and without s- in O.Ind. tányati, Gk. Eol. ténnei, Lat. tonare, O.H.G. donar, Cel. Tanaros (name of a river). For (s)pek, cf. O.Ind. spáśati, Av. spašta, Gk. skopós (<spokós), Lat. spektus, O.H.G. spehon, without s- in O.Ind. páśyati, Alb. pashë. For PIE (s)ker, cf. O.Ind. ava-, apa-skara-, Gk. skéraphos, O.Ir. scar(a)im, O.N. skera, Lith. skiriù, Illyr. Scardus, Alb. hurdhë (<*skrd-), without s- in O.Ind. knáti, Av. kərəntaiti, Gk. keíro, Arm. kcorem, Alb. kjëth, Lat. caro, O.Ir. cert, O.N. horund, Lith. kkarnà, O.Sla. korŭcŭ, Hitt. kartai-, and so on.

NOTE 2. Some scholars believe it was a prefix in PIE (which would have had a causative value), while others maintain that it is probably caused by assimilations of similar stems – some of them beginning with an s-, and some of them without it. It is possible, however, that the original stem actually had an initial s, and that it was lost by analogy in some situations, because of phonetic changes, probably due to some word compounds where the last -s of the first word assimilated to the first s- of the second one. That helps to explain why both stems (with and without s) are recorded in some languages, and why no regular evolution pattern may be ascertained (Adrados).


2.8.2. Before a voiced or aspirated voiced consonant, s was articulated as voiced, by way of assimilation; as, nízdos[28] [’niz-dos], nest, or mízdhos [’miz-dhos], meed, salary. When s forms a group with sonants there is usually assimilation, but such a trend is sometimes reversed by adding a consonant; as Lat. cerebrum, from kerésrom[29].

2.8.3. The s between vowels was very unstable in PIE, evolving differently in individual dialects; as, snúsos[30], daughter-in-law (cf. Lat. nurus, O.H.G. snur). The most common examples of these phonetic changes appear in PIE s stems, when followed by a vowel in declension; as nébhōs[31], cloud, which gives O.C.S. nebesa, Gk. nεφέλη, or génōs[32], race, stock, kind, which gives Lat. genus, generis.

2.8.4. A sequence of two dentals – as *tt, *dt, *tdh, *ddh, etc. – was eliminated in all Indo-European dialects, but the process of this suppression differed among branches, some earlier dialects (as Vedic) showing no change, some others an st or sdh, and others ss. This trend began probably in Middle PIE, and thus Late PIE speakers knew such evolutions, which we sum up into a common intermediate stage *st, *sdh, which was followed in early IE dialects, and probably known to the rest of them.

Examples in MIE are e.g. forms derived from PIE root wéid[33], know, see, (cf. Lat. vidēre, Gmc. wītan, Eng. wite); as, p.p. w(e)istós, known, seen, from *w(e)id--, (cf. O.Ind. vitta-, but Gmc. wīssaz, Lat. vīsus, Gk. -(ϝ)ιστος, Av. vista-, O.Pruss. waist, O.Sla. věstъ, O.Ir. rofess, etc.), which gives e.g. Latin ad wístom, advice (Lat. ad visum), or wístion, vision (Lat. vīsiō), in turn giving qēlewístion[34], television; Greek wistr, wise, learned (man), from Gk. στωρ (hístōr) or ϝστωρ (wístōr), which gives wistoríā, history, from Gk. στορία (historía); imperative wéisdhi!, see!, as O.Lith. weizdi (from *wéid-dhi, cf. O.C.S. infinitive viždo), Sla. eghwéisti, certainly, as O.C.S. izvěstъ, etc.

2.8.5. The manner of articulation of an occlusive or sibilant usually depends on whether the next phoneme is voiced or voiceless. So e.g. voiced ag[35], carry, gives voiceless ágtos [‘akt-os] (not reflected in MIE  writings), cf. Gk. ακτος (aktos) or Lat. actus. The same happens with voiced aspirates, as in legh[36], lie (cognate to Eng. log), giving Gk. λεκτρον (lektron), Lat. lectus, O.H.G. Lehter; also, compare how voiceless p- becomes -b, when pōds[37], foot, is in zero-grade -bd-, as in Gk. επιβδα (epibda).

2.8.6. Some difficult consonantal compounds may be so pronounced in Modern Indo-European as to avoid them, imitating its modern use; as, klus(sk)ō[38] [‘lu-s(k)], listen (cf. Gmc. hluza, O.Ind. ś́ṣati, O.Ir. cluas, Arm. lur, Toch. A klyoṣ, Lith. kláusît, O.Bul. slušati, etc.), from IE klew, hear; psūghologíā[39] [s-gho-lo-‘gi-], psychology (as Gk. ψυχολογία, from Gk. ψυχ, MIE psū-gh, for some IE *bhs-ū-gh-), smwīdikós[40] [s-u̯-di-’kos], sovietic (O.Rus. съвѣтъ, suvetu, for some *ksu-, loan-translation of Gk. συμβούλιον, sumboulion), gntiōn[41] [n-‘ti̯n], nation (as Lat. natio), prksk[42] [prs-‘k/pors-‘k/pos-‘k], ask, demand, inquire (cf. Skr. pcchati, Av. pərəsaiti, Pers. pursēdan, Lat. poscere, O.H.G. forskōn, Lith. реršù, O.Ir. arcu, Toch. pärk), etc.

NOTE. Verbs like *klusinā, a loan translation of English ‘listen’ (from IE klu-s-, listen, from klew, hear), should be avoided if possible in Modern Indo-European, for the sake of proper communication, if there is another common PIE verb with the same meaning; in this case, the verb is cognate with other IE verbs derived directly from klus(sk)ō, and therefore it is unnecessary to use the English tertiary formation shown. Such forms are too derived to be considered an Indo-European term proper; it would be like using Romance *māturikāmi, get up early, loan-translating Spanish “madrugar”.

2.9. Peculiarities of Orthography

2.9.1. Indo-European words may show a variable orthography.

2.9.2. In many words the orthography varies because of alternating forms that give different derivatives; as in dmos[43], house, but demspóts[44] [des-‘po-ts], master, lord, despot, as Gk. δεσπότης (despótēs), Skr. dampati, Av. dəṇg patōiš, (with fem. demspótnia, [des-‘po-nia]) or démrom, timber, as Gmc. temran, all from PIE root dem-/dōm-, house.

NOTE. The forms shown, Greek dems-pót-ā, as well as Indo-Iranian dems-pót-is, are secondary formations derived from the original Proto-Indo-European form; compare, for an original PIE ending -t in compounds, Lat. sacerdōs<*-ōts, O.Ind. devastút-, “who praises the gods”, etc.

2.9.3. In other situations, the meaning is different, while the stems are the same; as, gher[45], enclose, grasp, which gives ghórdhos/ghórtos, garden, enclosure, town (cf. Gmc. gardon, Lat. hortus, Gk. khortos, Phry. -gordum, O.Ir. gort, Lith. gardas, O.C.S. gradu, Alb. garth, etc.), and gher[46], bowels, fig. like, want, giving ghrdhus, hunger, etc.

2.9.4. In some cases, however, the grammatical rules of Modern Indo-European affect how a word is written. For example, the word Spániā140, Spain, could have been written Spánjā, or Brittániā, Britain, Brittanjā; but we chose to maintain the letter -i when possible. We write -j or -w only in some specific cases, to differentiate clearly the Proto-Indo-European roots from its derivatives:

NOTE. Modern English Britain comes from O.Fr. Bretaigne, in turn from L.Lat. Britannia, earlier Lat. Brittania, itself from Brítton, Briton, from Lat. Britto, Brittonem, from the Celtic name given to the Celtic inhabitants of Great Britain before the Anglo-Saxon invasion, MIE Britts, Briton. A more Germanic noun in Modern Indo-European would be Brittonléndhom, as it was known in Old English, Breten-lond, similar to the MIE term for “England”, Angloléndhom, v.s.

1. In PIE roots and its derivatives; as, tréjes (possibly from earlier tri-), three, jugóm5 (from jeug), yoke, swel68, sun, néwos, new, (probably from nu, now), etc.  Therefore, PIE roots with different articulations of the semivowel [u̯], [i̯] can be written differently; as, neu-/nou-, shout, but part. now-ént-announcing” (not nouent-), giving nówentios [‘no-u̯en-ti̯os], messenger, or nówentiom, message (from Lat. nūntius and nūntium); also cei[47], live, with variant cjō- (not ciō-), giving cjiom [‘gwi̯-i̯om], being, animal, as Gk. ζώον (zōon); it also gives variant cio- (and not cjo-), as in cíos, life, from Gk. βιος, and hence ciologíā [gwi̯o-lo-‘gi-a], biology, (in compound with lógos134, from Gk. λόγος), and not cjologíā.

NOTE. This rule is also followed in declension; as, Nom. ówis149, Gen. owjós or Nom. pék150, Gen. pékwos.

2. In traditionally reconstructed stems with a semivowel; as serw, protect, (possibly from ser-[48]), which gives extended sérwā, keep, preserve, and sérwos, slave, servant, or cei(w), live, from which zero-grade cwós, alive, living; but cf. man[49], man, which gives common mánus, and Gmc. mánuos, man, not manwos, and adjective manuiskós, human; or Latin sítus, place (possibly but unlikely from PIE suffixed *tki-tus77), is situā, locate, situate, and not sitwā, etc.

NOTE. This rule is followed because of a) scarcely attested roots, whose origin is not straightforward – as serw-, which could be from PIE ser-, but could also be just an Etruscan borrowing, and b) Indo-European tradition.

3. In metathesized forms; as PIE neu[50], tendon, sinew, which gives stems neuro-, and nerwo-, i.e. néurom, neuron, from Gk. νερον (as in abstract collective neur), and nérwos, nerve, from Lat. neruus, possibly from Italic neurus.

NOTE. Following these first three rules, semivowels from Proto-Indo-European roots (whether inflected or not) should be clearly distinguished from the semivowels of derivatives extended in -uo-, -io-, -nu-, and so on.

4. When there is a consonantal sound before or after a sonant, whether a PIE root or not; as, néwn, nine; stj[51], fat, pw[52], fire, pr̥̄wós155, first, perwtós[53], rocky, etc. Also, in vowel+glide; as in bháwtos [‘bhau̯-tos], a Greek loan translation (also as loan word phtos), whose original IE (genitive) form is bhauesós->bhau(e)tós->phōtós), hence Gk. φς, φωτς (phōs, phōtós).

NOTE. Graeco-Latin loans like bháwtos, photo, pórnos, porn, from pornogrbhós, pornograph, from porn, prostitute; rewolútion, revolution, from O.Fr. revolution, itself from L.Lat. reuolutiō, for which Latin had originally res nouae; or ghostlis, hotel, from Fr. hôtel, from L.Lat. hostalis, “guest-house”, from hostis, “guest”, for which Latin used deuersorium; etc. Such loan words are common to most modern IE languages, especially within Europe, and may therefore be left so in MIE, instead of trying to use another common older Proto-Indo-European terms.

5. When the semivowel -i- is followed or preceded by another i, or the semivowel -u- is followed or preceded by another u; as, dréuwos[54], confidence, léuwā[55], lag, bolijós[56], big, etc.

NOTE. This happens usually in inflected forms of nouns and verbs ending in [i:] or [u:]; as, dńghuwes, languages, bhruwés, of the brow, etc.

6. As a general exception, none of these rules should be followed in compounds, when the semivowel is the last sound of the first word; e.g., for trithlōn (from Gk. athlon, “contest”), triathlon, we won’t write trjthlōn. Also, more obviously, Sindhueurōpáiom, and not Sindhweurōpáiom.

NOTE. In Modern Indo-European, compounds may be written with and without hyphen, as in the different modern Indo-European languages; for Sindhueurōpaiom/Sindhu-Eurōpaiom, compare Eng. Indo-European, Ger. Indoeuropäisch, Fr. Indo-européen, It., Sp. indoeuropeo, Gal.-Pt. Indo-européu, Cat. indoeuropeu, Du. Indo-Europees, Pol. indoeuropejski, Lit. indoeuropiečių, Ir. Ind-Eorpach, Russ. индоевропейский, Gk. ινδοευρωπαϊκή,  Ira. هندواروپایی, Hin. हिन्द-यूरोपीय, etc.

2.9.5. What many old PIE books reconstruct as [ə] or schwa is generally written and pronounced in Modern Indo-European with a simple a; as, patr[57], father, for *ph2ter-, bhátis[58], appearance, for *bhh2tis, or ána[59], breath, for *anh2 – from which derivatives MIE ánamālis, animal, as Lat. animalis (affected by Ablaut because of the ‘penultimate rule’ of Classic Latin), MIE ánamos, wind, as Gk. νεμος, MIE ánati, he breathes, as Skr. aniti, and so on.

NOTE. Academic works use traditionally this Schwa Indogermanicum to represent vowels of uncertain quality (and not neutral vowels) in Late PIE. It was observed that, while for the most part [a] in Latin and Ancient Greek corresponded to a in Sanskrit, there were instances where Sanskrit had [i] while Latin and Greek had [a], such as Skr. pitar vs. Lat. pater and O.Gk. πάτερ. These findings evolved into the theory of the so-called laryngeals. Most scholars of Proto-Indo-European would now postulate three different old phonemes rather than a single indistinct schwa. Some scholars postulate yet more, to explain further problems in the Proto-Indo-European vowel system. Most reconstructions of *-ə- in older literature would correspond to *-h2- in contemporary notation, and usually to -a- in Modern Indo-European simplified (Northwestern dialectal) writing and phonological system. See Appendix II.3 for more details on the reconstructed PIE laryngeals.

2.9.6. The forms with the copulative -qe20, and, and disjunctive -w, or, are usually written by adding it to the preceding word, as in Latin -que, but with a hyphen.

2.9.7. The capital letters are used at the beginning of the following kind of words:

a. the names of days[60], months[61], seasons[62] and public holidays; as, Januários, January, Sem, Summer, Newóm Jrom, New Year, etc.

b. the names of people and places, including stars and planets; as, Swel, Sun, Djus, God[63], Teutiskoléndhom, Germany (loan-translated O.Ger. Diut-isk-lant, v.i. Compound Words §4.10).

c. people's titles, as Prōbhastr[64], Professor, Kolumnélis[65], Colonel, Disrēgtr[66], Director, etc.

d. with Nŕtos or Skéuros, North[67]; Súntos or Déksinā, South[68]; Áustos, East[69] and Wéstos, West[70] and its derivatives. Also adjectives Nrtrós, Northern, Suntrós, Deksiós, southern, Austrós, eastern, Westrós or Wesperós, West.

e. in official or well-established place names; as Kolossom, Coliseum (from Lat. Colossēum, in turn from kolossós, Gk.  κολοσσός), Pláteiā[71], the Square (from Lat. platea, from PIE pel, flat), etc.

2.9.8. The vocallic allophones [r̥], [l̥], [m̥], [n̥] may be written, as in Latin transliterations of Sanskrit texts, as , , , and , to help the reader clearly identify the sonants; therefore, alternative writings ṇmṛtós, inmortal, kṃtóm, hundred, wódṛ, water, etc. are also possible.

2.10. Kindred Forms

Compare the following Proto-Indo-European words and their evolution in Germanic dialects and in Latin, with their common derivatives in Modern English.






English (Lat.)






father (paternal)






seven (September)






thorp (trabecula)






lip (labial)






brother (fraternal)






bear (infer)






-ward (versus)






three (trinity)






ten (decimal),






eat (edible)






do (factor),






dare (manifest)






light (lucid)






heart (core)






eke (augment)






can (notice)




gæst, giest


guest (hostile)




burg, burh


borough (force)






lend (relinquish)






why/what (quote)






to come (venue)






quick (vivacity)




līht, lēoht


light (levity)






burn (furnace)




3. Words and their Forms

3.1. The Parts of Speech

3.1.1. Words are divided into eight Parts of Speech: Nouns, Adjectives (including Participles), Pronouns, Verbs, Adverbs, Prepositions, Conjunctions, and Interjections.

3.1.2. A Noun is the name of a person, place, thing or idea: as, Angloléndhom, England (cf. O.E. Engla land, “land of the Angles”); wérdhom[72], verb; márkiā[73], mare, baktriom[74], baktria.

Names of particular persons and places are called Proper Nouns; other nouns are called Common.

NOTE. An Abstract Noun is the name of a quality or idea. A Collective Noun is the name of a group or a class.

3.1.3.  An Adjective is a word that attributes a quality; as, patrióm57, parental, bhel[75], bright, Teutiskós[76], German, entergnationālís[77], international.

NOTE 1. A Participle is a word that attributes quality like an adjective, but, being derived from a verb, retains in some degree the power of the verb to assert.

NOTE 2. Etymologically there is no difference between a noun and an adjective, both being formed alike. So, too, all names originally attribute quality, and any common name can still be so used. Thus, Rgiā66 (or Cénis[78]) Elísabhet  II, Queen Elizabeth II (or Elízabhet, as Gk. Ελισ(σ)αβετ, from Hebrew Eli-sheva, “God is an oath”), distinguishes this Elizabeth from other Elizabeths, by the attribute expressed in the name Rgiā/Cénis, Queen.

3.1.4. A Pronoun is a word used to distinguish a person, place, thing or idea without either naming or describing it: as, eg161, I; twos163, your; wéi162, we.

Nouns and pronouns are often called Substantives.

3.1.5. A Verb is a word capable of asserting something: as, bhérō, I carry, bear; bhti, it shines.

NOTE. In English the verb is usually the only word that asserts anything, and a verb is therefore supposed to be necessary to complete an assertion. Strictly, however, any adjective or noun may, by attributing a quality or giving a name, make a complete assertion; as, wros[79] dwenós[80] (ésti), the man (is) good, unlike dwenós wros, the good man; or áutom[81] ghōdhóm (ésti), the car is good, unlike ghōdhóm áutom, the good car. In the infancy of language there could have been no other means of asserting, as the verb is comparatively of late development.

3.1.6. An Adverb is a word used to express the time, place, or manner of an assertion or attribute: as, per[82], in front, épi[83], near, ánti[84], opposite.

NOTE. These same functions are often performed in Indo-European by cases of nouns, pronouns and adjectives, and by phrases or sentences.

3.1.7. A Preposition is a word which shows the relation between a noun or pronoun and some other word or words in the same sentence; as, e.g., ad[85], at, to, al[86], beyond, de[87], from, kom[88], with, eghs[89], out, upo[90], up, and so on.

3.1.8. A Conjunction is a word which connects words, or groups of words, without affecting their grammatical relations: as, -qe, and; -w[91], or, -ma, but, -r, for.

3.1.9. Interjections are mere exclamations and are not strictly to be classed as parts of speech, and may vary among IE dialects; as, hej, haj, (á)hoj (greeting), hállo, hólla, (on the telephone); ō (vocative); oh (surprise); ha ha (laugh); áu(tsh) (pain); etc.

NOTE. Interjections sometimes express an emotion which affects a person or thing mentioned, and so have a grammatical connection like other words.

3.2. Inflection

3.2.1. Indo-European is an inflected language. Inflection is a change made in the form of a word to show its grammatical relations.

NOTE. Some modern Indo-European languages, like most Germanic and Romance dialects, have lost partly or completely their earliest attested inflection systems – due to different simplification trends –, in nominal declension as well as in verbal conjugation.

3.2.2. Inflectional changes sometimes take place in the body of a word, or at the beginning, but oftener in its termination:

bhábhā[92], the or a bean; snichés[93], of the snow; (eg) wéghō[94], I ride; trātóme[95], we crossed over; dáte[96], give! (pl.)  

3.2.3. Terminations of inflection had possibly originally independent meanings which are now obscured. They probably corresponded nearly to the use of prepositions, auxiliaries and personal pronouns in English.

Thus, in bháres-m[97], the barley (Acc.), the termination is equivalent to “the” or “to the”; in bhléti[98] [bhl̥-‘e-ti], it blooms (Indicative), and bhlti [bhl̥-‘-ti] (Subjunctive), the change of vowel grade signifies a change in the mood.

3.2.4. Inflectional changes in the body of a verb usually denote relations of tense or mood, and often correspond to the use of auxiliary verbs in English:

(tu) déresi[99], (thou) tear or are tearing; dóre, he tore; ()gnōsketi[100], he knows, gégona, I knew (see Verbal Inflection for Reduplication and its meaning)

3.2.5. The inflection of Nouns, Adjectives, Pronouns and Participles to denote gender, number and case is called Declension, and these parts of speech are said to be declined.

The inflection of Verbs to denote voice, mood, tense, number and person is called Conjugation, and the verb is said to be conjugated.

NOTE. Adjectives are often said to have inflections of comparison. These are, however, properly stem-formations made by derivations.

3.2.6. Adverbs, Prepositions, Conjunctions and Interjections are not inflected, and together form the group of the so-called Particles.

3.3. Root, Stem and Base

3.3.1. The body of a word, to which the terminations are attached, is called the Stem. The Stem contains the idea of the word without relations; but, except in the first part of compounds (cf. Niteroléndhom[101], the Low Land or Netherland, klaustrobhocíā[102], claustrophobia, etc.), it cannot ordinarily be used without some termination to express them.

Thus the stem ka(u)put[103]- denotes head, hence also “main”; káput (without ending) means a head or the head, as the Subject or Agent of an action or as Vocative, as well as to a head or to the head, as the Direct Object; with -os it becomes kaputós, and signifies of a head or of the head, and so on.

NOTE. In inflected languages like Indo-European, words are built up from Roots, which at a very early time were possibly used alone to express ideas. Roots are then modified into Stems, which, by inflection, become fully formed words. The process by which roots are modified, in the various forms of derivatives and compounds, is called stem-building. The whole of this process is originally one of composition, by which significant endings are added one after another to forms capable of pronunciation and conveying a meaning.

3.3.2. A Root is the simplest form attainable by analysis of a word into its component parts. Such a form contains the main idea of the word in a very general sense, and is common also to other words either in the same language or in kindred languages.

NOTE. The reconstruction of the Proto-Indo-European language looks for a very old language, and this has an obvious consequence on the general assertion that roots don't mean anything. In fact, many reconstructed PIE roots mean something, even without adding a single ending. So, for example, the English word ‘special’ has a root *spec (also root of words like speculate or species) which expresses vaguely the idea of looking. In Modern Indo-European, however, the (Latin) adjective spekiālís, special, coexists with its original PIE root, the verb spek(), observe. Language evolution blurs the original meanings, and many roots had possibly ceased to be recognized as such before IE III - although less so than in modern languages. Consequently, sometimes (not very often) the reconstructed PIE roots which we use as independent words in Modern Indo-European actually lacked a proper meaning already in Late PIE; they are used because sometimes a common IE form is needed and only different words from the same root have been attested.

For example, the root of verb démō, domesticate, is dem-[104] (or strictly *demh2), which does not necessarily mean to domesticate, or I domesticate, or domesticating, but merely expresses vaguely the idea of domesticating, and possibly cannot be used as a part of speech without terminations – in fact, dem- (strictly [dem]) is another PIE root which means house, but is unrelated to the verb, at least in this IE III stage. With the ending -ti it becomes démeti, he/she/it domesticates.

3.3.3. The Stem may be the same as the root; as, sal-s[105], salt, bhlig-e-ti[106], he/she/it shines; but it is more frequently formed from the root.

1. By changing or lengthening its vowel: from root bhēl[107], blow, swell, bhl-os, ball, or bhól-ā, bullet, and bhĺ-os, bowl. Also [108], divide, gives dái-mōn, demon (from older Gk. daimon, divider, provider), and d-mōn, time, period (from Gmc. tīmōn, which gives O.Eng. tīma, O.N. timi, Swe. timme; unrelated to Lat. tempus, MIE loan word témpōs).

2. By the addition of a simple suffix; as, bhér-ā[109], bear, lit. “brown animal”, líno-m[110], flax.

3. By two or more of this methods: chn--s, (chen[111] in zero-grade, with participial ending -to, and masculine ending), beaten, gón--s, angles (genus[112], knee, in o-grade with ending -io-,  feminine in -ā, plural in -s).

4. By derivation and composition, following the laws of development peculiar to the language, which we will see in the corresponding chapters.

3.3.4. The Base is that part of a word which is unchanged in inflection: as, cherm-[113] in chermós, warm, eus-[114] in éusō, burn; noch-[115] in nochetós, naked, etc.

a. The Base and the Stem are often identical, as in many consonant stems of nouns (as cer- in cers[116], mount). If, however, the stem ends in a vowel, the latter does not appear in the base, but is variously combined with the inflectional termination. Thus the stem of cus[117], cow, is cou-; that of ármos[118], arm, is armo-.

3.3.5. Inflectional terminations are modified differently by combination with the final vowel or consonant of the Stem, and the various forms of Declension and Conjugation are so developed.

3.4. Gender

3.4.1. The Genders distinguished in Modern Indo-European are three: Masculine, Feminine (both are referred to as Animate) and Neuter or Inanimate.

3.4.2. The gender of Indo-European nouns is either natural or grammatical.

Cuadro de texto: The masculine functions as the negative term in the opposition, i.e. when the gender is not defined, the masculine is used. This is a grammatical utility, one that is only relevant for concordance, and which has to do with the evolution of the language and its inflection.
The earliest PIE had probably no distinction of gender; when the inanimate appeared, it was marked by a different inflection, and the animates remained as the negative term in the opposition. After that, probably at the same time as the thematic declension (in -e/o) appeared, the feminine was differentiated from the remaining animates, with marks like the different stem vowel (usually -a) or vowel length (as -ī, -ū). Therefore, the feminine is the positive term of the opposition within the animates, because when we use it we reduce the spectrum of the animates to the feminine, while the masculine still serves as the negative (non-differentiated) term for both, the general and the animates, when used in this sense, i.e. when not differentiating the masculine from the other genders.
a. Natural Gender is distinction as to the sex of the object denoted: bhrtēr[119] (m.), brother; cénā[120] (f.), woman, wife.

NOTE. Many nouns have both a masculine and a feminine form to distinguish sex: as, eurōpáios, eurōpáiā, European (nominalized adjectives), or ékwos, ékwā, horse, mare. [121]

NOTE 2. Names of classes or collections of persons may be of any gender. For example, ármatā (f.), army; from PIE ar, fit together (as in ármos, arm, upper arm, shoulder, cf. Gmc. armaz, Lat. armus, Gk. ρμς); also ghóros (m.), choir, chorus, dancing ground, from PIE gher, grasp, enclose – loan translated from Gk. χορς, originally “an special enclosure for dancing” in its origin, cf. Gmc. gardaz, ghórdhos, or Lat. hortus, ghórtos, both meaning garden, yard, enclosure.[122]

b. Grammatical Gender is a formal distinction as to sex where no actual sex exists in the object. It is shown in the form of the adjective joined with the noun: as swādús[123] nóqtis[124] (f.), a pleasant night; mreghús[125] kántos[126] (m.), brief song (“singing”). The gender of the adjective is simply a gender of concordance: it indicates to which noun of a concrete gender the adjective refers to.

3.4.3. The neuter or inanimate gender differs from the other two in inflection, not in the theme vowel. The gender of the animates, on the contrary,  is usually marked by the theme vowel, and sometimes by declension, vocalism and accent.

3.4.4. The neuter does not refer to the lack of sex, but to the lack of liveliness or life. Sometimes, however, animates can be designated as inanimates and vice versa.

While the distinction between masculine and feminine is usually straightforward, sometimes the attribution of sex is arbitrary; thus, different words for “ship[127] or “war[128] are found as feminine (as nus or wérsā), masculine (as bhóids, or Greek loan pólemos), and neuter (wáskolom or cr).

3.4.5. The animate nouns can have:

a. An oppositive gender, marked:

I. by the lexicon, as in patr-mātr, father-mother, bhrtēr119-swésōr[129], brother-sister, súnus[130]-dhúg(a)tēr[131], son-daughter, etc.[132]

II. by the theme vowel, as in ékwos-ékwā121, horse-mare, wĺqos-wĺqia23, wolf-she-wolf.

III. by both at the same time, as in wros79-cénā120, male-female.

b. An autonomous gender, that does not oppose itself to others, as in nus (f.), ship, pōds (m.), foot, egnís (m.), fire, ówis (f.), sheep, jéwos[133] (n.) or lēghs (f.), law.[134]

c. A common gender, in nouns that are masculine or feminine depending on the context; as, dhesós, god/goddess (cf. Gk.Hom. θεός), cus, cow or bull (cf. Gk. accompanied by táuros, as Scient. Eng. bos taurus),  náutā, sailor, djousnalístā, journalist, stúdents[135], student, etc.

d. An epicene gender, which, although being masculine or feminine, designates both sexes: as the feminine sūs[136], pig, or masculine kákkā[137], shit (as an insult).

3.4.6. The gender of a noun can thus be marked by the stem vowel (or sometimes by inflection), or has to be learnt: it is a feature of a word like any other. In its context, concordance is a new gender mark; a masculine noun has a masculine adjective, and a feminine noun a feminine adjective. However, not all adjectives differentiate between masculine and feminine, a lot of them (those in -i-s, -u-s, -ēs, -ōn, and many thematic in -os) are masculine-feminine: only the context, i.e. the noun with which they agree, helps to disambiguate them. This happens also in nouns with a common gender.

3.4.7. Most endings do not indicate gender, as in patr and mātr. Only by knowing the roots in many cases, or by the context in others, is it possible to determine it. Some of the suffixes determine, though, totally or partially if they are masculine or feminine. These are the following:

1. -os marks masculine when it is opposed to a feminine in -ā or -ī/-i, as in ékwos-ékwā, wĺqos-wĺqi, djḗus-djéwī, etc. This happens also in adjectives in the same situation, as in néwos-néwā. In isolated nouns, -os is generally masculine, but some traces of the old indistinctness of gender still remained in the third stage of the Proto-Indo-European language, as in the names of trees (among others). In adjectives, when the ending -os is not opposed to feminine, concordance decides.

2. -ā marks the feminine in oppositions of nouns and adjectives. It is usually also feminine in isolated nouns, in the first declension. But there are also traces of masculines in -ā, as, ōsá (or as Latin partial loan ōr), charioteer, driver (from ōs116, mouth, and ag13, drive), Lat. auriga; náutā, “sailor”, as Gk. νατης; or slúgā, servant, as O.Sla. slŭga, Lith. slaugaservice”, O.Ir. sluag, “army unit”, etc.

3. -ī/-i, is systematically feminine. It is used in nouns, and often in adjectives.

4. Finally, the roots ending in long vowels -ī and -ū are always feminines.

3.5. General Rules of Gender

3.5.1. Names of Male beings, and of Rivers, Winds, Months, and Mountains are masculine:

patr57, father, Kárlos1, Charles, Réin[138], the Rhine, Áustros69, south wind, Mágios61, May, Uráles, the Urals.

NOTE. The Urals’ proper name is Uralisks Cors, Lat. Uráles Móntes, “Urals’ Mounts”, Ural Mountains, cf. Russ. Ура́льские го́ры (Uralskiye gory).

a. A few names of Rivers ending in -ā (as Wólgā), and many Greek names ending in -ē(s), which usually corresponds to IE -ā, are feminine; others are variable or uncertain, generally retaining their oldest attested IE gender in MIE.

NOTE. The Russian hydronym Во́лга is akin to the Slavic words for “wetness, humidity” (cf. Russ. влага, волога), maybe from the same root as PIE base wed, wet, easily borrowed in MIE from Slavic as Wólgā.

b. Some names of Mountains are feminines or neuter: as, Álpes (f. pl.), the Alps

NOTE. Álpes, from Latin Alpes, may have been related originally to the source of adjectives albhós[139] (white, cf. Hitt. alpas, v.i.) or altós (high, grown up, from IE al79), possibly from a Celtic or Italic dialect.

3.5.2. Names of Female beings, of Cities, Countries, Plants, Trees and Gems, of many Animals (especially Birds), and of most abstract Qualities, are feminine:

mātr14, mother, Djówiliā63, Julia, Fránkiā[140], France, R, Rome, pnus[141], pine, sanipríjos, sapphire (Gk. sáppheiros, ult. from Skr. sani-priya, lit. “sacred to Saturn), wērós128, true.

a. Some names of Towns and Countries are masculine: as, Oinitós (from óinos, one, or ‘purer’ IE Jugtós, “joined”) Gningodhmos[142], United Kingdom, Montinécros[143], Montenegro; or neuter, as, Sweorgiom[144], Sweden, Finnléndhom[145], Finland.

b A few names of Plants and Gems follow the gender of their termination; as, kmtáuriom (n.), centaury, ákantos (m., Gk. κανθος), bearsfot, úpolos (m.), opal, from PIE upo, up from under.

NOTE. The gender of most of the above may also be recognized by the terminations, according to the rules given under the different declensions.

3.5.3. Indeclinable nouns, infinitives, terms or phrases used as nouns, and words quoted merely for their form, are neuter:

preso[146], traffic in, sell, Eurōpáio, european (n.n.), néhīlom, nothing, kómmi/gúmmi, gum.

NOTE 1. Latin nehilum, “nihil, nil”, comes from hīlumsmall thing, trifle” hence “not even a small thing, nothing”, of unknown origin, therefore MIE hlom.

NOTE 2. Eng. gum comes from O.Fr. gomme, from L.Lat. gumma, from Lat. gummi, from Gk. kommi, from Coptic kemai, hence MIE loans Lat. gúmmis, or Gk. kómmis.

3.5.4. Many nouns may be either masculine or feminine, according to the sex of the object. These are said to be of Common Gender: as, eksáliom[147], exile; cus117, ox or cow; párents[148], parent.

NOTE. Several names of animals have a grammatical gender, independent of sex. These are called epicene. Thus, sūs136, swine, and wĺpēs23, fox, are always feminine.

3.5.5. Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives and Participles are declined in MIE in two Numbers, singular and plural – PIE had also a possibly dialectal dual – and up to eight cases, Nominative, Vocative, Accusative, Genitive and Oblique - which is found subdivided into combinations of Dative, Locative, Instrumental and Ablative.

NOTE 1. European dialects show around six cases, but most of the oldest attested ones (Ind.-Ira., P.-Gk., Ita.) and Balto-Slavic show remains of up to eight original cases, although the situation has evolved differently due to migrations and linguistic contacts. Traditional theories maintain that the original common PIE situation is a complex system of eight noun cases. On the contrary, a five-case system is for other scholars the oldest situation (of Middle PIE, as Anatolian dialects seem to show), later changed by some dialects by way of merging or splitting the five original cases. It would have been, then, an innovation of individual dialects, just as the phonetic satemization. It is thus a general opinion that in IE III both dialectal trends (split and convergence of Obliques) coexisted. In this Grammar we follow the general Northern trend, i.e. a general six-case inflection, presenting also the other two cases as they are usually reconstructed for Late PIE, when common endings exist.

NOTE 2. In the number we use singular and plural, and not dual, not only because of its doubtful existence in IE II and the objections to its reconstruction for Late PIE, but because it is also more practical in terms of modern Indo-European languages.

I. The Nominative is the case of the Subject of a sentence.

II. The Vocative is the case of Direct Address.

III. The Accusative is the case of the Direct Object of a verb.  It is used also with many prepositions.

IV. The Genitive may generally be translated by the English Possessive, or by the Objective with the preposition of.


V. The Obliques might be found as:

a. The Dative, the case of the Indirect Object. It may usually be translated into English by the Objective with the preposition to or for.

b. The Locative, the place where.

c. The Instrumental, the thing with.

d. The Ablative, usually the Objective with from, by, with, in or at. It is often found with prepositions.

NOTE. The oblique cases appear in the English pronoun set; these pronouns are often called objective pronouns; as in she loves me (accusative), give it to me (dative) or that dirt wasn't wiped with me (instrumental), where me is not inflected differently in any of these uses; it is used for all grammatical relationships except the genitive case of possession and a non-disjunctive nominative case as the subject.

3.6. Vowel Grade

1. The vowel grade or Ablaut is normally the alternation between full, zero or lengthened grade vocalism. Proto-Indo-European had a regular ablaut sequence that contrasted the five usual vowel sounds called Thematic, i.e. e/ē/o/ō/Ø. This means that in different forms of the same word, or in different but related words, the basic vowel, a short /e/, could be replaced by a long /ē/, a short /o/ or a long /ō/, or it could be omitted (transcribed as Ø).

NOTE. The term Ablaut comes from Ger. Abstufung der Laute, “vowel alternation”. In Romance languages, the term Apophony is preferred.

2. When a syllable had a short e, it is said to be in the “e-grade”; when it had no vowel, it is said to be in the “zero-grade”, when in o, in “o-grade”, and they can also be “lengthened”. The e-grade is sometimes called “full grade”.

A classic example of the five grades of ablaut in a single root is provided by the following different case forms of IE patr, father, and patr, fatherless (possibly originally PIE Nom. ph2ter-s > ph2tēr):

Ablaut grade




e-grade or full grade





lengthened e-grade















lengthened o-grade





3. Late PIE had ablaut differences within the paradigms of verbs and nouns that were probably significant secondary markers. Compare for example for an original PIE pértus, passing, passage, (from IE verb pérō, go through):


root (per-)

suffix (-tu)

















4. Some common examples of different vowel grades (including their lengthened form) as found in Proto-Indo-European are the following:

Vowel Grade

Full (F)

Zero (Ø)

Lengthened  (L)

e/o - Ø - ē/ō

ped, dom

pd, dm

pēd, dōm

ie/io - i -/




ue/uo - u -/




ei/oi - u/i - ēi/ōi




eu/ou - u/i - ēu/ōu

bheud, ous

bhud, us

bhēud, ōus

ā/ē/ō - a - ā/ē/ō

bhle, bha, oku

bhla, bha, aku

bhlē, bhā, ōku

au/ai - u/i - āu/āi

bhau, aik


bhāu, āik

ēi/ōi - ū/ī - ēi/ōi




3. There are also some other possible vowel grade changes, as a-grade, i-grade and u-grade, which usually come from old root endings, rather than from systematized phonetic changes.

NOTE. The alternation e/Ø was apparently in older stages of PIE dependent on the accent. Compare kléwos/klutós, eími/imés, patérm/patrós, etc., where the unaccented morpheme looses its vowel. This happened only in the oldest formations, though, as IE III had probably already lost this morphological pattern, freezing the older alternations into a more or less stable vocabulary without changes in vowel grade.

3.7. Word Formation

3.7.1. Word Formation refers to the creation of new words from older ones. Indo-European scholars show an especial interest in Derivational Affixes (most commonly Suffixes), i.e. morphemes that are attached to a base morpheme, such as a Root or a Stem, to form a new word. The main affixes are:

A. Athematic suffixes,

a. The most simple is the zero-ending, i.e. root nouns like dem-s (Gk. des-), house, in consonant, as neq-t-s (Hitt. nekuz), night, or men-s (Av. maz-), mind, in -r, as ghés-ōr (Hitt. kiššar), hand, with apophony, Ac. ghes-ér-m (Hitt. kiššeran), Loc. ghés-r-i (Hitt. kišri, Gk. kheirí), with ending -n, as or-ōn (Hitt. ara[š], stem aran-, from PIE *h3or-o-, cf. O.H.G. aro, Eng. erne, Gk. or-n-[is]), eagle. Common examples include rgs, as Lat. rex, Cel. ri, Gmc. rīh, Skr. rāt, cus, as Lat. bou, Cel. , Gmc. ko, Skr. gáu/go, mūs, Lat. mūs, Gk. μς, Gmc. mūs, Sla. mys, Skr. , etc.

b. Also, the stem r/n, with -r- in ‘strong’ cases (Nom-Acc.) and -n- in the Obliques, is well represented in Anatolian; see Variable Nouns in the next chapter for more on these heteroclites.

c. An old stem in -u- appears e.g. in the words gón-u, knee, dór-u, wood, and ój-u, “lifetime”, cf. Av. zānū, dārū, āiiū, Skr. jnu, dru, yu, Gk. góny, dóry, ou(), “no”, etc. Apophonic variants are found as full-grade génw-, dérw-, éjw-, cf. Hitt. genu-, Lat. genu-, Sla. dérw-o, Gk. ai(w)-, etc., and as zero-grade gn-éw, dr-éw, (a)j-éw-, as in Goth. kniu, Av. yaoš, Hitt. ganu-t, etc. Such zero-grades are found within Declension, in Composition (cf. Skr. jñu-bādh-, “kneeled”, Gk. dru-tómos, “timber-cutter”), and in Derivation, as e.g. ju-wén-, vigorous, young (cf. Skr. yuván-, Lat. iuuen-is).

d. A suffix -it-, which refers to edible substances, as mel-it, honey (cf. Gk. mélit-, Hitt. milit, Luw. mallit, Gmc. mil-), sép-it, wheat (cf. Hitt. šeppit, Gk. álphit), etc.

B. Feminine and Abstract (Collectives),

a. A general suffix *-(e)h2 is found in Feminine, as in sénā-, old (*senah2, cf. Gk. hénē, Skr. śanā-, Lith. senà), swekrū́s, husband’s mother (*swekrúh2-, cf. O.Sla. svekrŭ, Lat. socrus, O.H.G. swigar), in Abstract Collectives, as in Gk. tom, cut, or neur, rope made from sinew (IE néurom), etc., and in the Nom.-Acc. Neuter singular of the collective that functions as Nom.-Acc. Plural (cf. Skr. yug, Gk. zygá, Lat. iuga, Goth. juka, “jokes”, Hitt. -a, Pal. -a/-ā, etc.).

b. It is also very well attested a Feminine and Abstract Collective -ī, PIE *-ih2, with variant -i,  PIE *-jah2/-jeh2, cf. Skr. dev (Gen. dvyās), “goddess”, vkīs (Gen. vkías), “she-wolf”, etc.

C. Thematic Suffixes, the most abundant affixes found in Nominal and Adjectival derivation,

a. A simple -o-, which appears in some primary and secondary old formations, as wĺq-o-s, wolf, ŕtk-o-s, bear, neuters jug-ó-m, joke, wérg-o-m, work, adjectives sén-o-, old, néw-o-, new, etc.

NOTE. The Distinction into primary and secondary is not straightforward, unless there is an older root attested; compare e.g. éku-o-s, horse, which is usually deemed a derivation from quick, IE ōkús.

Accented -ó- is deemed a secondary suffix which marks the possession of the base, as well as adjectives in -ó- with lengthened grade root, cf. IE cj, bow’s string, as Skr. jyá, but cjós, bow (< “that has a bow’s string”), as Gk. biós, or swekurós (> swékuros), husband’s father, from swekrū́s, husband’s mother, deiwós, from djus, etc.

b. About the Root Grade, o-grade roots are found in two thematic types, barytone Action Nouns (cf. Gk. tómos, “slice”), and oxytones Agent Nouns and Adjectives (cf. Gk. tomós, “who cuts, acute”), both from IE tem, cut; zero-grade in neuters jug-óm, joke, from jeug, join, and in second elements of compounds like ni-sd-ós, nest, from sed, sit, or newo-gn-ós, “newborn”, as Gk. neognós.

c. Adjectival suffixes -jo- and -ijo- have a relational sense, as in cow-jós, “of a cow/ox”, from cow-, cow, ox, as in Av. gaoya-, Skr. gavyá or gávya, Gk. hekatóm-boios, “that costs a hundred cows”,  Arm. kogi (<cow-ijo-), “derived from the cow”, O.Ir. ambuæ (<-cow-ijo-, as in Skr. ágos, Gk. aboúteō), “man without cows”, or e.g. patriós, paternal, pediós, “of the foot”, etc. As a nominal suffix, cf. Lat. ingenium, officium, O.Ir. cride, setig, Skr. vairya, saujanya, Sla. stoletie, dolia, etc.

d. Verbal adjectives in -- (Ind.-Ira. --), with zero-grade verbal root, are common in secondary derivation, as in klu-tós, heard, famous, from kleu, hear, cf. Skr. śrutá-, Av. sruta-, Gk. klytós, Lat. in-clitus, M.Ir. rocloth, O.H.G. Hlot-, Arm. lu, etc. They were incorporated to the Verbal inflection as participles and gerunds. For nouns in -to-, -no-, -ti(j)-o-, -ni(j)-o-, -tu(w)-o-, -nu(w)-o-, etc. cf. Skr. svápn(i)ya, prāvīnya, Lat. somnium, dominium, O.Ir. blíad(a)in, Sla. sunie, cozarenie, etc.

e. Other common thematic suffixes include --, -ro-, -mo-, and diminutives in -ko-, -lo-, -isko-, etc. which may also be participial, ordinal or adjectival (from nouns) lengthenings. They are usually preceded by a vowel, as in -e/onó-, -e/oro-, and so on. Compare for example from cher, warm, adjective cher-mós, warm, cf. Skr. gharmá, Av. garəma-, Gk. thermós, Toc. A. särme, Phryg. Germiai, Arm. jerm, Alb. zjarm, or o-grade Gmc. warmaz, Lat. formus (<chor-mos). -bhó- gives names of animales, as e.g. Gk. éribhos, “kid”.

f. A secondary suffix -tero-/-toro- marks the opposition of two notions, and is found in Anatolian (cf. Hitt. nun-taras, Adv. gen. “from now”), en-terós/al-terós (or anterós), “the other (of two)” (cf. Goth. anþar, Skr. ántaras, Lat. alter, etc.) opposed to a simple “other”, aliós (cf. Skr. anyás, Lat. alius, Gk. állos, Goth. aljis). This suffix is also found in some syntactic formations, as Gk. deksiósaris-terós, skaiósdeksi-terós, both meaning “right-left” (Benveniste 1948).

g. The suffix -- is particularly found in words for “alive”, as c-- (cf. Skr. jīvás, Lat. uīuos, O.Ir. béo, Welsh buw, Goth. qius) and “death”, as mr-- (cf. O.Ir. marb, Welsh marw, and also Lat. mortuos, Sla. mĭrtvŭ, where the -t- was possibly inserted influenced by mr-tós, “mortal”).

h. There are some instrumental suffixes, as -tro-, -tlo-, -klo-, -dhro-, -dhlo-, as Lat. -trum, -c(u)lum, -brum, -bulum, etc.; e.g. ára-trom, plough, cf. Gk. árotron, Lat. aratrum, O.Ir. arathar, Welsh aradr, Arm. arawr, Lith. árklas, etc.; also, Gk. báthron, O.Ind. bharítram, Goth. fōdr, etc.

i. Other common suffixes (also participial) are -mn-, -mon-, -mn-, with secondary -mn-to-, -men-o-, -men-t- (and -wen-t-), etc., cf. Lat. augmentum, or Goth. hliumant, equivalent to O.Ind. śrómatam, both meaning “reputation”, from klew, hear, and so on.