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Paul Kekai Manansala
From: "Francesco Brighenti"
Date: Sat Sep 3, 2005 10:08 am
Subject: IE *g(h)rebh- vs. Uralic *kir- (was Re: NOSTRATIC AND ...) frabrig
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--- In Nostratic-L@yahoogroups.com, glen gordon
> > *nau-. For some reason cognate with the word for > > corpse, as
if the prime purpose of a boat was to > > cross the underworld river.
> No, *nexu- (or traditional *neh2u-). It has a > laryngeal.
Sorry to jump into this discussion, which as a matter of fact
concerns other topics, but I am particularly interested in the
hypothesized connection between the PIE word for `boat' and that
for `death; corpse'.
(posted by George Thompson -- N.B. Pokorny's own phonetic
transliterations of the terms derived from PIE *na:u- `death;
corpse' mentioned in George's post can be seen at
to a series of IE words for corpse: Goth. naus, Old Icel. na'r, OE nE
(o), ORuss. nav', and OCzech. nav [grave, netherworld, afterworld],
Latv. nAve [death].
Generally, these are not considered to be related to the boat word
[cf. Pokorny, Watkins, Buck, Vasmer].
G & I also cite a Goth. verb: ga-nawistrOn = `bury' (etymologically
= `send off by boat').
The section title of their discussion is "Water as the boundary
between the world of the living and the world of the dead". >>
Watkins reconstructs the history of Pokorny's reconstructed PIE word
*na:us- `boat' as follows:
<< *na:u- `boat'. Oldest form *neh2u-, colored to *nah2u-,
contracted to *nau- (before consonants) and *na:w- (before vowels).
Any thoughts on the cultural origin and meaning of the postulated
semantic relatedness of the PIE terms for 'boat' and 'death;
Thanks and best regards.
Date: Sat Sep 3, 2005 6:28 pm
Subject: IE *g(h)rebh- vs. Uralic *kir- (was Re: NOSTRATIC AND ...) etherman23
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--- In Nostratic-L@yahoogroups.com, "Francesco Brighenti"
> Any thoughts on the cultural origin and meaning of the postulated
> semantic relatedness of the PIE terms for 'boat' and 'death;
> corpse', anyone?
It reminds me that in Greek mythology the dead were ferried across the
river Styx to get to the underworld.
Date: Mon Sep 5, 2005 2:55 am
Subject: IE *g(h)rebh- vs. Uralic *kir- (was Re: NOSTRATIC AND ...) tgpedersen
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--- In Nostratic-L@yahoogroups.com, "etherman23"
> --- In Nostratic-L@yahoogroups.com, "Francesco Brighenti"
> > Any thoughts on the cultural origin and meaning of the
> > semantic relatedness of the PIE terms for 'boat' and 'death;
> > corpse', anyone?
> It reminds me that in Greek mythology the dead were ferried across
> river Styx to get to the underworld.
Yup. Also dead Viking heroes were sent off by ship.
My take on it is this:
Some cultural or ethnic package travelled the world originating in
the present Iskland South East Asia. It included the binary division
of world and society in two, symbolically and actually reprsented by
settlements opposing each other on either bank of a river, the idea
of agriculture, and with it a concept of the dichotomy of life/dead
matter (or the extension of the predecessor of that concept ion
hunter/gatherer socities to include the life of plants, plus the
alignment of that concept with the binary organisation across the
river, so that one bank became the bank of life, the other of death.
Since society's two moietie lived on eiother side, you'd have to
cross the river to marry. As the land sank, rivers turned into ever
wider straits, and the journey ever more dangerous. As society kept
pushing back the departure, the crossing of the river was the thing
you had to do after you died, across the river that was drowned
somewhere on the bottom of the Ocean.
The central phenomenon of the concept of life was that of non-caused
self-replication, multiplication. Therefore rashes, pustules etc
were seen as manifestations of (bad) life, in the same way that
grain, seed was, or for that matter things that were boiling or
fermenting. That is the principle behind the idea of supplementing
the idea of "river, water"
with all sorts of examples of concrete crossings of river and
abstract crossings by agents of thought and movement
Also bear in mind that many natural phenomena, like lightning, would
also seem to be causeless, and therefore as originating on the other
These things, since they moved and multiplied with no external cause
or motor, were thought to have somehow arrived, or be caused, from
the other side, since their cause or motor was obviuously not on
this side. The thing that arrived from the other side was termed a