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Sonderdruck aws:

Herausgegeben von
Gabriella Schubert
Norbert Reiter . Gyórgy Hazai
Reinhard Lauer ' Rupprecht Rohr

33/2 (1ee7)

Flarrassowitz Verlag . \fiesbaden

Greek and Albanian: New Evidence for Lexical Connections
Knzyszror Tovrłsz wrrczłr (Łodź)

Both Greek and Albanian belong to the Indo-European family of languages, both
were spoken on the Balkan Peninsula in deep antiquity, both belonged to the
Palaeo-Balkan language league, both influenced each other since archaic times to
present, though Greek as a typical international means of communication in the
incient worldwas known better to the Bessans, ancestors of the Albaniansl, than
the Bessan or Albanian language to the Greeks. Thus the influence of the Hellenic
tongue upon Albanian was considerable2.
In my presentation I would like to discuss a few Greek-Albanian equivalents
that have not so far been taken into consideration. The connection between Greek
and Albanian may be of multiple nature. It is sometimes difficult to assume
whether Albanian items represent cognate words or borrowings from Greek. In
particular cases (see No. IV) the relationship between Albanian and Greek terms
seems to be more complicated and unprecise than it was suspected so far.

I. Alb. 'uerr'white poplar' and Gk. aTyeęoE f. 'black poplar'.

Traditional etymology connects the Albanian aerr (pl. verra)'white poplar'
gzpern 1 '|'rłernos;
with the Celtic term for 'alder' (Ir. fearn, Breton and
Gaulish verna'alder'; Gaulo-Latin vernEtus'alder-bed', hence Fr. aer(g)ne 'id.'),
see MByBn (1891: 467) and FnrponrcH (1.970:1a9). Although it is acceptable from
the semantical point of view, the phonological aspects are in opposition to the
traditional explanation3.
It is a well-known fact that the initial '?zpe- develops into AIb. vje- or even to
r:i- by i-Umlaut, but not 'ue-, e.g.
[1] Alb. vjet and rlit'year', Gk. Dor. fćtoE, Attic 'ćtog n.'year' (< IE. '|''{Dćtos,
'|'zućtes-) (Mnvrn 1,89L: 475_476; Tncrrevrrqt 7937: 282; MłNN 1,977: 96; Huro
t2] Alb. ojetsb 'old' (e. B. tre vjetsh 'three years old') < IE. 't'zaetu.sos 'old',
ochsl. aerbrb adj. 'old', olith. rsetuśasadj. 'id.'' Laty. aecs adj.'id.'.
t3] Alb. rljedh 'steal' (Aor. aodba) < IE. '?wćpbo (lengthened grade '?rucQh-),
cf. Lat. aebo 'carry', Skt. aabami'carry, carry off', OE. zaegan'bring, bear', Lith.

1 The Bessan origin of the Albanians is proposed and discussed in my recent articles
(\Vrrczer 1994;1995).
2 As regards Greek loans in Albanian, A. Trrułrn's article Altgriechiscbe Elemente des
Albanischen (1,909: 1, -20) remains the classic treatment for the ancient period. For recent
literature, see E. Qesrl (964: 83-87; 1981: 51-61); G. LJnrrscn (1964; 1969: 169-175);
H. Orrnnc (1972:33-64) and XH. LrosHr (1991:23-36).
3 I cannot agree with Huro (1983:308) that y'tlb.aerr andzlerrć "are from 'i'wr;ne-, exactly
matching OIr. fern and Welsh gupern'alder"'.

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oeźu'convey' and so on (Mrvrn 1891: 474_475; MłNN 1977:143-144;157; Huro

t4] Alb. ajel'gather'(Aor. rlola) < IE. 'i'ł.uel-, cf. Arm. gelum 'tear, rend'(MłNN
1977: 157).
[5] Alb. zljell'vomit' (Aor. volla) < IE. '!'welr'llÓ, cf. Lat. ęłolvo'turn' (Mrvrn
1,891,: 475; T nct-rAvrNr 1,937 : 283;Huro 1985: 130).
t6] Alb. vjerr'hang' (Aor. vora) < IE. '?s,tDeryo, cf. Lith. szteriit.'weigh, lever
up, raise' (MłnN 1977:157; Huro 1985: 148).
[7lAlb. Gegh ajehe1ą Tosk. vjeher m. 'father-in-law', f. 'mother-in-law' < IE.
'!'szllekuros (m.), '!'szaebura (f.), cf. Lat. socer m. and socrus f., Lith. śdśwrasm.,
oHG. srpćbwr m. and sruigar f., Gk. ćxupóE m. and ćxuąd f., etc. (MłNN 1'977:
52; 83; Huro 1985: 130- 131 suggests a metathesized form).
The Albanian pe- continues usually IE.'lzuÓ-, "'-oy- or initial '|-4w- 1n POSltron
before a consonant, e. g.
[8] Alb. ve 'egg' < IE. '?(ru)orayorn'egg', cf. Lal ouum,
on. The initial w- is a prothetic phoneme.
[9] Alb. Gegh veni!, Tosk. perć'wine'< IE.'!'woyno-, cf. Gk. olvoE'Lat.ąlInum
'id.' (MłNr'ł 1'977:29;Hvt'o 1985: 126_127).
[10] Alb. rsesh m.'ear' 1IE.'!'auss-'ear', cf.Lat. auris (i-stem), Lith. ausis (i-
stem), ochsl. uxo n. (es-stem) 'ear'' du. wśi'turo ears' and so on (Mrvrn 1891:
467; MnNN 1977: 28,77,81; Huro 1985: 127).
[11] Alb. vetć'self' < IE. cf. Gk. aóróE 'id.' (MaNN 1977:81).
To explain the unexpected vocalism of Alb. r:err, MełłN(1977: 52) tries to
suggest an original '?ruernjo- "to account -e- (not -jr-)".This derivation explains
nothing, because the i-Umlaut produces the development of -je- to -i-, e.g.
[12] Alb. rliq'caIf'< IE. '|'rpetsi- 'yearling', cf. Ir. fćis, oBret. guis, MBret. gzaćs,
Cornish gzais'pig, sow' (all i-stem), but Skt. ad.tsah'calf'and Ossetic wiis repre-
sent o-stem (MaNN 1977:96).
Moreover, the Gheg T.terri, aerrTni and Tosk. aerri, aerriri represent an extended
form of. ,łerr by means of the suffix -Tno- and they demonstrate no traces of
The Albanian ve- may also represent a contracted item, e. g.
[13] Alb. e ae 'widow' ( IE. 'liirpidbćtl:a (f.), cf. Skt. rlidh,źzla f ., Lat. uidua, E.
widoru'id.', Gk. i1i&śrl(MnwN L977: 27).
[14] Alb. vend m. 'place, country' < IE. 'tzaesnt(i)-, cf. Skt. ,uasatib f. 'abode,
stx/', Welsh guent f. 'open space', Bret. gzaenned'Vannes' (MaNN 1977:80; dif-
ferently Huro 1985: 126).
Taking into consideration the development of initial 't'Ar.!)- and the regular loss
of intervocal voiced stops, I am inclined to derive Alb. oerr'(white) poplar' from
original '|-aruigeryos and to compare it with Gk. Att. aTyeąoE f. 'black poplar'. It
is difficult to say whether the Albanian term for 'black poplar' belongs to the
native vocabulary, or whether it represents an old borrowing from a Doric dialecta.

a The latter possibility is suggested in DłNxa/\7rrczłx (L995: I33).

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II. Alb. lajtbi'hazel-tree' and Gk. ),uyór1 f.'poplar'.

According to MłNN (1'977:75), Albanian lajthi and lejthi'hazel' is of uncertain
etymology. The relationship with oChSI. lćska'hazeI' or Lat. larix'Iarch' or Skt.
lasabah 'a resinous tree' iy in fact doubtful. Qłnr1 (Studirne Filologjike 1'964, 2:
113) suggested a relation to lak,'sling, tendon' after the slender branches of the
hazel but the phonology of such an equation is imprecise (so Huro 1,983:308). It
is possible, however, to connect the Albanian term with Baltic words for 'hazel',
cf._oPrus . laxde 'hazel-tree', Lith. Iazdż, dia|. Iagzdż.'id.' (FnIrDRICH 1'970: 1'50).
Both the Albanian and Baltic terms seem to represent the same Indo-European
archetype'tlogsda (f .)'hazel-tree'. In the Greek lexicon'we can find a dialectal equiv-
alent, clósely ielated to the Albanian _ Baltic forms, namely 7uyór1f. 'white poplar'.
This Greek appellative, attested only by Hesychius of Alexandria (lóyór1
)"eóxq), showJ i vowel -u- against -o-. In fact, it seems to be a dialęctal form
demonstrating a typical Aeolic development of -o- ż -u-, cf . Aeol. i)oóoE versus
Attic óĘos m. 'branch' (both from '!'ósdos). If so, then the Greek Aeolic term
7uyór1(f.) can be safely derived from IE.'|'Iógsda. The Armenian word for 'alder',
lasteni, if related to this word-family, represents, like Greek, an item with the root
zero-grade vocalism
It may be observed that the alternation of -u- : -o- is a well-known feature of
the Greek vocabulary' see' e. g., Gk. d.nó : Aeol. d.nó, Myc. d-Pu, Lal ab (< IE.
"opo); Gk. )'óyo5 'a kind of willow' : Slavic '!'loza'a kind of willow; vine'' NPers.
raż 'vine' (< IE. 'llópos); Gk. vóĘ (pI. vómeg) : Lat. nox' (pI. noctes) 'night'
(< IE. '?nóh-ts, pI. "nób-res); Gk. óvotrla : óuupa n., Lat. nornen 'name' (< IE.
orópa: orópa n. 'mouth' (< IE. '?stómn) and so on.
The Albanian and Greek terms, although they differ semantically, reflect the
same Indo-European prototype (namely IE.'l Ió gs da f .'hazel_tree').

III. Alb. mi'mouse' and Gk. opivfioE m.'id.'.

Traditional etymology derives the Albanian word for 'mouse' from IE.'t-ntil.s-
'id.' (MnvBn 1891:278; TłcrrłvrNt 1'937:190; Huro 1985: 91-92;Bt-łźBr1992:
89-90). This archetype shows a wide documentation, cf. Skt. nilł-, Gk. piE (gen.
sg. 1luóE), Lat. mils (gen. sg' maris), PoI. mysz and so on (MłNN 1,977: 85). The
gónitive singularis miu occurs as mini (nom. mĄ in the Gheg dialects of the north.
Tosk plural minj, the Gheg length and nasalization seems to imply a n-extentiorT
(Huro 1985: 92). MaNN (1977:85, 88) suggests derivation from Indo-European
acc. sg. 'i'mzusns' cf. Gk. póaE, Lat. rnures. This is doubtful for two reasons. Firstly,
the phoneme 'i.r in position after -it- yields regularly sh in Albanian (Onnr 1985:
140-1,41; 1985a: 280_281). Secondly, the Tosk dialects demonstrate intervocal
-n- not rotacizedinto -r-, which should be derived from the cluster -nd- or -nt-.
The Albanian vocalism -l- is ambiguous and may represent both IE. '?il and "7.
Also initial Albanian m- is of equivocal origin (IE. 'tm- or 't'sm-). What is the
origin of Albanian mi'mouse', if the relationship with IE. mils- is hardly accept-
able because of the unexpected absence of -sb-?
In my opinion, the Albanian word for 'mouse' , mi (pI. minj), can be easily derived
from the prototype 't-smind- or '?srnint- (consonantal stem), and connected with
Greek opl.E (Hesychius) and opivhoE m. 'mouse'5. Both Albanian and Greek terms
in question seem exactly related to each other. Thus there is no reason not to derive

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21,8 KRzYSzroF ToMAsz \rrrczAK

them from IE. dial. '!'srnindb- (or'|'smintó-) 'mous e or amouse-like animal', cf .Latv.
smIcęns' die s cb u; arz e Sp itzmaus ; Was s erspitz rnau.s' (Breźor 1992: 92).

Iv. Alb. sbpń"Iime, tartar' and Gk. tirauog (f.) 'gypsum, chalk, lime'.
The connection between the Albanian and Greek terms for'lime' is not direct.
Albanian sbpń', sbpini'lime, tartar' belongs to a number of nouns in which proto-
type't'-n- disappears in the nominative and accusative singularis, and reappears in
genitive and dative singularis as Gheg -ni,Tosk -ri, with nasal palatalism through-
out the plural (MaNN 7977:92_94).It resembles the Thracian word ońvog denot-
ing'a kind of stone, which blazes when water touches it'(GEL 1628). According
to George Sorrnorr (1'963: 110), the description of oniuoś given by Aristotle (Mir.
$2b 29) and Theophrastus (L"p. 13) demonstrates clearly that it refers probably
As far as the etymological aspects are concerned, we can hardly agree with
NBnozNłr (1978: 54_55) that the Thracian word in question remains still unclear
("nejasnoe slovo'')ó. DłNre points out that Thracian sp- continues not only IE.
"_sp-, but also IE. '|'kuł-^. Consequently, he derives Thracian OxriyoE from the Indo-
European archetype '|'kr'tlnHos, connecting it with My.. kw-zpa-no-, Greek xóauog
'dark-blue enamel; lapis lazuli; blue copper carbonate' (GEL 1004), Hittrte k.u-
wannaś'copper; a precious stone'' Iranian '!-s(p)ana- 'iron; steel' (e. g. Shughni
se/ón, Sarikoli s2in, Sogdian'9n, Mun)ani2isąin'iron', ossetic afsan'an iron part
of the plow; plowshare'and so on), Lith. śainas'Iead',Latv. svins, Russ. srlinćc,
Slovenian sainac'lead' (DłNrł-\7rTczAK1'992: 84; DłNrn 1995.).
It cannot be excluded, howev er, that the Thracian word for 'lime' is related to
Gręęk t'utcrvog \l.) 'u -wYrrte ęartH , probab\y 'B)PSum' c\ra\k, \me' , a\so 'marb\ę-
scrappings' (GEL 1,799). Hesychius notes also two dialectal forms tfuavog and
(Doric) xfutauo; fi xovruxĄ ńtauog, meaning undoubtedly 'lime'. The Greek
words are usuaTly derived from the archetype 'thzaitnHos in an etymoTogical rela-
tion to the Germanic and Indo-Iranian adjectives denoting 'white, whitish' (cf.
oFris. b,,.pitt'white'; olnd. śrlitnabadj. 'whitish'; Pashto sptn, fem. spina adj.
'white, clear'). It is obvious th_at the Thracian and Greek terms, if related, go back
to the primitive archetype "L.ztsitnHo.r denoting 'a white or whitish su6stance'
(Dvno 1'974: 74; HorIrłłNN ElwG 367; MnxRHoFER KEwAi III 405; PoronNy
rEw 628 f.).
It is not impossible to assume that the development of "-tn- to -n- was realized
not only in Pashto, but also in Thracian. If so, then there are no obstacles to
derive Thrącian onivoE'a stone that burns when ^water is poured upon it; lime'
from IE.'?LutittpHos. Because the original cluster *Lzp- is refiected by Albani an s-7
(and IE. "sp- yields Alb. f-), i, is ciźar that Alba nian sbpk, shpkni 'lime, tartar'

s According to Servius, the term srninthos was also used by the Phrygians ("sminthos
mures vocari a Phrygibus").
6 Similarly DunIołNov (1985: 10):
,,ohne Deut}'ng bisher."
Jorr (1937: 133-134, 146) argues that IE. 't'ku- and "&(b)u- before any vowel yield
Albanian s- and z-, respectively. This is due to the labialization of the intermediat e affri-
cate and coalescence of this with the alveopalatal affricates that arose from fronted labio-
velars (see Huro 1984: 134).

zfB,33 (1ee7) 2

represents not a native word, but probably a borrowing from a Thracian source.
Greek rfuauoE is, however, a straightforward reflex of the Indo-European appella-
tive kzuittgHos. In other words, both Albanian and Greek words are related to
each other as descendants of the same Indo-European protoform. However, the
relationship between them is of secondary origin.
The range of the descendants of IE. 'tkzuitt2Hos may then be schematized as

noun: "a whitish substance, lime





Thracian Attic
ottivog vtvavoq

/\- \r

Albanian Greek
sbp,ź onivoq,
"lime,'tartar" "a stone that burns
when water touches it"

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