Introduction to The Etymological Dictionary of The Romanian Language

The origin of the Romanian language, and its structure as well, have been poorly understood from the very beginning. There are many reasons for this: (1) The Thraco-Dacian language is almost unknown directly, although Romanian inherited almost two-thirds of its lexicon from Thraco-Dacian. (2) A number of Thraco-Dacian inscriptions and glosses have been uncovered, but they are either too short or they have been given different interpretations over the years. (3) The Romanian language is considered a Romance language, but over 86% of its lexicon cannot be explained through Latin.

The first author of a Romanian etymological dictionary, Alexandru Cihac considers that the Romanian lexicon is composed of the following elements: 20% are of Latin origin, 40% are Slavic, another 20% are Turkish, and the remaining 20% are of other origins. The dictionary was written in French and published in two volumes between 1870-1879. Meanwhile, several other incomplete etymological dictionaries of Romanian were published, but they ignored the so-called non-Latin elements, which represent the bulk of the lexicon. Another etymological dictionary from A to Z was written in Spanish and published in Madrid, in 1958, by Alexandru Cioranescu. Although Cioranescu published his dictionary almost a century after Cihac’s, he transfered almost entirely the non-Latin etymologies given by Cihac. In other words, we do not see any real progress in 140 years. Therefore, the origin of a large number of Romanian words remains either unknown or uncertain, since the comparison was done mostly with Latin or Slavic and, even in these cases, many etymologies are wrongly attributed. For exemple, Cihac based his ‘Slavic’ etymologies on the work of the Slovene linguist Fr. Miklosich (Die Slawischen Elemente in Rumänischen, 1862). Miklosich’s etymologies are extemely flawed, but his mistakes are due to insufficient data. Recently, a couple of complete dictionaries of Old Church Slavonic were published (Blagova et al, 1994, and Djačenenko, 1998), where more than half of the Slavic ’etymons’ of Romanian words found in Cihac’s dictionary and other etymological dictionaries of Romanian are non-existant, to give one simple example. Thus, due to this situation, I realized that the true structure and origin of Romanian language were misunderstood. The Romanian version of my dictionary has about 6600 entries including about 1200 modern loanwords, most of them from French or Latin, found in most modern languages as well, including English, but they will be left out in the English version.

In elaborating my etymological dictionary, in order to solve the multitude of uncertain and unknown etymologies, I used a new method, namely, comparison with Indo-European languages other than Latin, Romance, or the Slavic languages. As a result, the statistics of my dictionary look quite different. Out 5400 entries about 14% of the lexical items are of Latin origin or have close cognates in Latin,  8% of Slavic origin, 3.5% of Turkish origin, 3% Greek, 1% Hungarian, and 1% German. Unlike all other etymological dictionaries, I have found about 15-20 Gothic loanwords borrowed into Dacian (or Proto-Romanian) in the first half of the the first millenium AD. A percentage of 6% (around 280 words) are of imitative nature and about 300 words (6.5%) still remain of uncertain origin. The rest of about 58% are of Thraco-Dacian origin, plus the 6% of imitative origin, will be a total of 64%. The dictionary demonstrates that these lexical items are to be derived from Proto-Indo-European roots through Thraco-Dacian. This breakdown sheds a new light on the structure of the Romanian lexicon, and, at the same time, it solves the etymology of thousands of words which, for a long time, remained of unknown or uncertain origin.

One may imagine three different hypotheses regarding the origin of Romanian language:

  1. Latin origin, with 14% of its lexical elements of Latin origin and 86% of loanwords
  2. Latin origin, with many Thraco-Dacian words, some lexicval items of Slavic or other origin.
  3. Thraco-Dacian origin affected by a beginning of Romanization which was abruptly interrupted and some other later influences.

The first hypothesis is the traditional one and has been the official doctrine in Romanian culture for over 200 years. However, this hypothesis fails to explain how the so-called ‘Vulgar Latin’ spoken in the Roman Province of Dacia, lost most of its lexicon, to be replaced with words of other origins, most of them Thraco-Dacian, the original language of the region.  In this case, the Romanian language would have borrowed many syntactic and morphological aspects as well, and it would have involved a creolization of the language in which most of its morphology was lost. On the contrary, Romanian language has a rich morphology in the declesion of noun, and especially in verb conjugation which would have disapeared almost entirely in case of creolization.

The second hypothesis derives from the first one, but it more closely follows the structure of the Romanian lexicon. According to this theory, the Latin origin of the Romanian language cannot be denied, since a part of its core lexicon seems to be of Latin origin. However, most of this core lexicon have many cognates in other Indo-European languages and can be explained easily through Thraco-Dacian as well. In fact, Romanian shares only about 700 of lexical items with Latin and other Romance languages. Out of this number, only around 200 words are really of Latin origin, the other cca 500 are those which have cognates in many Indo-European languages, including Latin.

The third hypothesis considers that the Romanian language is of Thraco-Dacian origin which, over a period of 2000 years was influenced by Latin, Slavic, or other languages. In this context, I have to mention that Thraco-Illyrian dialects were closely related to the Italic languages (dialects), since most Italic tribes migrated from either the Balkan Peninsula, the Middle Danube Valley (today’s Hungary or Pannonia as it was called in ancient times), or from Upper Danube Valley (today’s southern Germany). In other words, many of so-called ‘Latin’ words are not, in fact, of Latin origin, but they belong to a common Thraco-Illyro-Italic heritage. The hypothesis of the Thraco-Dacian origin of the Romanian language was proposed by the Romanian historian Nicolae Densuşianu over 100 years ago and before him by Felix Colson, a French diplomat and writer who wrote a number of books on the history of the Romanian people and its language in the middle of 19th century. In fact, this hypothesis should be refined, saying that there was a beginning of Romanization which was abruptly interrupted in 271 AD, after Roman authorities withdrew all officials, Roman military, and citizens from the province of Dacia, abandoning it entirely, even destroying the bridge over the Danube River to stop further invasions of the barbarians into the provinces situated south of the Danube River.

In a previous book (Vinereanu, 2002), I had shown that the situation in Dacia differed considerably from other Roman provinces. Romans remained in Dacia about 160 years, occupying only a fifth of the Dacian kingdom. On the other hand, it is very interesting that the territory of the the Dacian kingdom coincides roughly with the territory of today’s Romania and Republic of Moldova. In other words, most of Dacians lived outside of the Roman province of Dacia, which was the last European province added to the empire and the first to be abandoned. Furthermore, the military and political situation in Dacia was always unstable, during the 160 years of Roman control. Therefore, Romanization could really not take place in such conditions. There are a few details regarding the political situation in Dacia after the Roman conquest which should be mentioned for a better understanding of the social and political background. In 107 AD, only about 1/5 of the Dacian kingdom was transformed into a Roman province, namely, the territory where there were located the salt and gold mines of the Dacian kingdom, more specifically, the south-western regions (today’s Oltenia and Banat) and the south-western part of today’s Transylvania. In northern Oltenia and southern Transylvania, there were huge salt deposits, while in western Transylvania, there were the largest deposits of gold ore in Europe. Even today, there are still considerable deposits of salt and gold in these regions.

After the death of Trajan, the conqueror of Dacia, in 117 AD, after only 10 years of Roman rule,  his successor Hadrian faced a double invasion in Dacia by barbarian tribes, and he was about to abandone the province of Dacia, but he was advised not to do so. Although he could not control the situation and abandoned three other provinces: Armenia, Mesopotamia, and Assyria. To protect the Roman province of Dacia, he built the limes alutanus, hundreds of miles of fortifications along Alutus river (today’s Olt river). He did the same thing in Brittania to stop the invasions of the Picts. During the reign of emperor Antoninus (138-161 AD), a rebellion of the Dacians from inside the province took place, coupled with an invasion of Dacians found outside the border of the Roman province. About 20 years later, during the reign of emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD), several revolts took place: revolts of Dacians inside the province, coupled with invasions of those outside the province. In about the same period, the Goths started to attack repeatedly, not only the provinces found north of the Danube river, but also those situated south of this river. After 230 AD, tribes of Goths and Dacians together or separatedly attacked the Dacian province more and more often. During the reign of emperor Galienus (260-268 AD), the Romans could no longer control the situation, loosing control of the province as most ancient historians maintain (cf. Iordanes (18); Ammianus Marcelinus (31. 5-13); Zosimus (1, 13); Aurelius Victor (29)), and the official withdrawal took place several years later in 271 AD. In other words, real language contact could not have taken place only 20-30 years after the conquest of Dacia and after a number of colonists may have settled in the province, but the situation was still very unstable until 160-180 AD, due to numerous invasion and internal revolts. There was relative stability with less invasions and revolts, only between 180 to 230 AD, about 50 years. In other words, just two generations. I should say that the colonists settled only in the cities not in the contryside, let alone in the mountainous regions of Dacia. After 271 AD, the province was abandoned, and the urban life was completely destroyed due to the invasions of Goths and other barbarian tribes.

Although some theories place the so called formation of Romanian language somewhere south of Danube river, there is a lot of archaeological evidence regarding the presence of Dacians north of the Danube River between the 2nd and 12th centuries. Starting in the 50’s and 60’s of the 20th century, many archaeological artifacts were uncovered, indicating the presence of Dacians in this region. The two cemeteries of Bratei, Sibiu county (Southern Transylvania), are Dacian cemeteries (cf. L. Bârzu, 1973). To this one may add the names of all major river-names from Romania which were preserved form the ancient times to present day. These river-names would have been lost if the entire population would have abanoned these  territories as these senseless theories maintain. Cemetery #1 is from 4th-5th centuries, the period right after the Roman withdrawal from Dacia. At this time, the population practiced cremation only, unlike the Romans, who practiced both cremation and inhumation. Cemetery #2 of Bratei (6th-7th centuries) represents an early period of Dridu culture, which could be found on a large territory that includes today’s Romania, Republic of Moldova, Bulgaria, and most of Ukraine. During this time, inhumation rituals appeared, but cremation is still predominant even during 11th and 12th centuries. These are just some of the most important details regarding the situation in Dacia during and after Roman occupation, which gives a picture of the conditions of the so-called ‘Romanization’ in Dacia and explains why the Romanian language has a rather small percentage of Latin words, while about 2/3 of its lexicon is of Thraco-Dacian origin.

Linguists consider that Thraco-Dacian was a satem language, but in fact, it was closely related to the Celtic and Italic languages. The Thraco-Dacian language shares some phonological features with Osco-Umbrian and Continental Celtic. The phonogical features of Romanian words of Thraco-Dacian origin show clear centum evolution. In other words, Thraco-Dacian and Illyrian were centum languages as I will show later. Looking at linguistic and historical data, we may assume that, towards the end of second millenium BC, all these languages emerged as separate dialects. At the beginning of the Iron Age, the Thraco-Dacians, Illyrians, and Celts occupied most of Europe, from Meotic Lake (today’s Azov Sea) to the Pyrenees Mountains. In other words, originally, the Celts emerged as an individual group west of the Thraco-Illyrians. O. Schrader (1890) shows that Pytheas the Massiliotte, a Greek navigator who traveled into the North Sea, mentioned the Celts who were situated west of the Rhine River, while Scythians were situated to the east of it. By Scythians, he meant Dacians. The French historian Arbois de Jubainville (1889-1894), citing the Roman writer Eusebius Pamphilius, shows that Osco-Umbrians migrated from the Upper Danube River into the Italian Penninsula, around 1200-1300 BC. We may assume that at that time the Thraco-Dacian, Illyrian, Italic, and Celtic tribes were speaking similar dialects, judging by some historical and linguistic data. About the same time, the Dorians (a Thraco-Illyrian tribe) migrated into Greece. They became Greek speakers, but kept some phonological features of their original language. The Dorian dialect and other Western and Northern Greek dialects have labialized the Proto-Indo-European labiovelars (as did Thraco-Illyrian, Osco-Umbrian, and Continental Celtic), unlike the Ionian dialect which did not. Thus, PIE *kwetwor ‘four’ > Dorian Greek péttares, Lesbian péttures, as well as Homeric Greek písures, are forms influenced by Thraco-Illyrian, but Ionian Greek téttares. Furthermore, the Roman writer Marcus Antonius, a Celt from Gaul, says that Gaulish and Osco-Umbrian have a common origin (cf. A. de Jubainville, 1894), in other words, Oscans and Umbrians were offshoots of the Celts. He lived in 1st century BC, and he was a native speaker of Gaulish, being able to see similarities between Gaulish and Osco-Umbrian which share some common features that make them different from Latin. Regarding the Latino-Faliscans, archaeological evidence shows that they migrated from the Middle Danube Valley, as the bearers of the Villanovan culture of Italy. Velleius Paterculus (11.100), an officer in the Roman army during the Roman-Pannonian war at the beginning of 1st century AD and Roman historian, tells us that “omnibus autem Pannonis non disciplinae tantum modo, sed linguae quoqoue notitia Romanae” (“all Pannonians have not only Roman (military) discipline, but they have also knowledge of Roman language”). The explanation of this apparently bizarre statement can be simply explained by the fact that the Romans’ ancestors migrated from this region about 1,500 years before.

Returning to the previous discussion regarding the linguistic and historical context towards the end of the 2nd millennium BC, in what follows, I will discuss the relations between Thraco-Dacian and neighboring languages. It is well known that Proto-Indo-European had a series of aspirated stops: voiced aspirated *bh, *dh, *gh, and most probably voiceless aspirated *kh (see infra). In Thraco-Dacian and in other neighboring languages such as Celtic, Baltic, and Slavic, these aspirated consonants collapsed with their non-aspirated counterparts. Furthermore, in Continental Celtic as well as in Osco-Umbrian, the Proto-Indo-European all labiovelars *kw, *gw turned into p and b, respectively. In Thraco-Dacian and Illyrian, the labiovelars turned also into bilabials except for the cases when these sounds were followed by a front vowel such as e or i.

Thraco-Dacian as a centum language. Thraco-Dacian has been considered a satem language, but the Romanian words of Thraco-Dacian origin have centum features. This wrong interpretation can be explained by the fact that some of these words or even some Thraco-Dacian glosses have a sibilant (s, ś) where in Proto-Indo-European is a plain or palatal velar, but this is a later development which affected all velars when followed by a front vowel as I will show below. It is well-known that the Indo-Europeanists divide the Indo-European languages by the way they were treating the Proto-Indo-European voiceless palatal velar *k’, precisely by the way this sound evolved in the two groups of languages. In the centum group this sound was de-palatalized becoming a plain voiceless velar (k), while in the satem it turned into a sibilant (s, ś).

In order to demonstrate this, one should show that the Proto-Indo-European voiceless palatal velar *k’ turned into a plain voiceless velar (k) in Thraco-Dacian

The Indo-Europeanists reconstructed three types of Indo-European velar stops.

Simple velars: *k, *g, *gʰ

Palatal velars: *k’, *g’, *g’ʰ

Labiovelars: kʷ, *gʷ, *gʷʰ

Different linguists may have reconstructed different versions, but for what I need to demonstrate, these differences do not matter.

Therefore, what is important is the fact that the voiceless palatal velar collapsed with its plain counterpart. In other words, this detail includes Thraco-Dacian into the centum group. Until the middle of the second millennium BC, the Proto-Italo-Celto-Illyro-Thraco-Dacian was a single language. After that some phonological change appeared in different dialects of this proto-language. Namely in the dialect from the middle of this group from which evolved the Continental Celtic and the Oscan and Umbrian, the labiovelar (,) turned into bi-labials (p, b). The innovations affects all these languages (one should remember that the forefathers of Oscans and Umbrians migrated from the upper Danube valley into the Italian peninsula) (see ultra).

In the eastern vicinity of this group there was the Thraco-Illyrian group which did the same thing, but only to the labiovelars followed by  back vowels (*a, *o), while the labiovelars followed by a front vowel (e, i) were palatalized along with regular velar sounds. One may conclude that in Thraco-Illyrian the phenomenon of palatalization before a front vowel took place in about the same time as the one of the bi-labialization of the labiovelars. I should emphasize that bi-labialization of labiovelars did not reach the peripheral dialects such as Insular Celtic, Latino-Faliscan and Epirote dialect (from which Proto-Albanian evolved) (see ultra). I should also mention that the palatalization of velars followed by a front vowel affects all velars (and dentals) and it has nothing to do with the distinction centum/satem.


The PIE velar *k’ turned in Thraco-Dacian into its non-palatal counterpart (and inherited as such in Romanian).

Thus, the noun cârd ‘herd, flock’ is derived from  PIE *kerdho, *kerdha-. Therefore, in this Romanian noun (*k’) was de-labialized turning into a simple velar as in any centum language.

Cognates in the  centum group: Greek κόρθυς ‘heap’, Old Irish crod ‘wealth, cattle’, Welsh cordd ‘group, crowd’, Gothic hairda ‘herd, flock’, Old Scandinavian hjord ‘id’, OHG heord ‘id’, as well as Lithuanian  kerdžius ‘shepherd’ from a *kerda ‘herd’.

Cognates in the  satem group: Sanskrit śardha ‘herd’, Avestan sarəda ‘tribe, kind’, OCS čreda ‘herd, flock’.

On the other hand, there are in Romanian two more nouns which are derived from the same root:  ciurdă and cireadă with close meanings, each of them used in different dialects of Romanian. Older etymological dictionaries consider these last two forms to be of Slavic origin, namely from OCS čreda, but ciurdă does not show the metathesis of the liquid (r) as in Old Church Slavonic. In other words, it is derived rather from a Thraco-Dacian *kerda > *cirda, while cireadă may be or may not be influenced by the Old Church Slavonic form. Thus, cârd is derived from a little different form *kerd > *kǝrd, where the PIE *e turned into a schwa which stopped the further palatalization of the velar k.

Another example is the noun coasă found in some Slavic languages as well, but this lexical item has a centum evolution, not a satem one; cf. Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Russian kosá, Serbian kosa, as well as Albanian kosë and MoGreek κόσσα.

The form is derived from PIE *kes– ‘to cut’ (IEW, 586).

Cognates in the satem group: Sanskrit sasti, sasasti ‘to cut, to kill’, çastram ‘knife’.

Cognates in the centum group: Greek κεάζω ‘to cut, to split open’, Latin castro, castrare ‘to cut, to castrate’,  Middle Irish cess ‘sword’, Old Norse he, as well as Lithuanian kasù, kàsit ‘to dig’ and Albanian korre ‘harvest’, korr ‘to harvest’. One may see that Lithuanian and Albanian forms exhibit a centum evolution as well. Pokorny is asking why  PIE *k’ did not turn into a sibilant in the Slavic languages: “k statt s durch Dissimilation gegen das folgende s?” (k instead of  s, by dissimilation from the following s?), but he leaves the question unanswered.  On the other hand, Albanian and the Baltic languages need more investigation to establish their centum or satem status.

There are, in Romanian, a couple of more words which are derived from these Proto-Indo-European root as coasă where PIE *k’ turned into its simple counterpart k: namely cosor ‘hook, pruning knife’ and custură ‘the blade of a knife or other cutting instrument, knife’.

They are derived from the nominal form *kestrom ‘knife, cutting instrument’ (IEW, 586) of the same verbal form. While cosor has correspondents in the Slavic languages, custură does not. A number of Slavicists have shown that the Slavic languages have a series of words of centum type along with words of the satem type deriving from the same Proto-Indo-European root (see ultra).

From the same PIE root *kes– ‘to cut’ is derived the Romanian verb cresta ‘to notch, to make an incision on’ which has a cognate in the Latin castro ‘to castrate, to thin out (plants)’.

This verb is derived from the nominal form *k’estrom where the liquid r underwent metathesis over the consonantal group st.

The noun colibă ‘hut’ is derived from PIE *kel– ‘to hide, to cover’ with the nominal forms *koliā, *keliā-, *kēlā (fem.), *kelos– (neut.) (IEW, 553). This noun seems to be derived from the nominal form koliā. The form is attested at Pausanias, in northern Greece (4th century, AD) as Καλύβη a form similar to present Romanian Colibe. The form is not Greek, since Greek has the form καλιά ‘hut, nest’ (see colibă). From the same root is derived the noun cuib (Aromnaian cul’bu, Megleno-Romanian, Istro-Romanian cul’b) ‘nest’, namely from the nominal form kelos. One may notice that both these Romanian nouns have the bi-labial b added to the Proto-Indo-European root, meaning that they have a similar origin.

Finally, the noun crai (crăiasă) ‘king (queen)’ is derived from PIE *krei– ‘to be in front, to excel’ (IEW, 618) or PIE *kreiH– ‘splendor’ ((EDG, Beekes, 1, 774), with cognates in Sanskrit, Avestan and Greek: Sanskrit śri, Avestan sri ‘sovereignty, wealth, splendor’, Greek κρείων ‘king, prince’, found in Homer, a few times referring to Agamemnon, as well as κρείουσα ‘queen’, also, in Homer, referring to one of  Priam’s wives (Iliad, 22, 48: cf. Lidell). Beekes shows that the term is inherited from Indo-European poetic language. As we have seen the term in seldom used by Homer and it refers only to some individuals.

There is not any secret to the native speakers of Romanian that the form crai and crăiasă, belong to the poetic language of the Romanian fairy tales and folklore in general. Also the greatest Romanian poet, Mihai Eminescu used them with great success.

The list may continue, but I think there is enough evidence to conclude that Thraco-Dacian was a centum language.

As I mentioned above, later on, in Thraco-Dacian language all the velars turned into affricates or sibilants when were followed by a front vowel.

According to Reichenkron, Romanian țep is derived from PIE *koipo-, *keipo– ‘stake, sharp wooden or stone object’, with a multitude of derivatives: țepuș, teapă, țepușă, a înțepa, înțepătură, Țepeș. Albanian thep is a cognate. Romanian linguists Poghirc and Brâncuș consider it to be a substrate element, but they did not identify the Proto-Indo-European root mentioned above.

In what follows, I will discuss some words where the Proto-Indo-European simple velars remain unchanged when followed by a back vowel or turn into an affricate when followed by a front vowel.

The noun cârlig ‘hook’ is derived from PIE *(s)ker– ‘to bend’ (IEW, 935), kept the original Proto-Indo-European vowel, since the vowel *e turned into a schwa and later into the central mid-vowel â, cârd, while ceaţă ‘fog’ is derived form an older *ketia, itself form PIE *ked– ‘to smoke, to steam’ (IEW, 537). In this case, the Proto-Indo-European *k was palatalized, since the front vowel *e remained unchanged. In other words, the transformation of the velars into affricates or sibilants is a later Thraco-Dacian phenomenon.


The Relationship between the Thraco-Illyrian, Italic, and Celtic Language. Indo-Europeanists divide the Celtic and Italic languages into two major groups: the Q-dialects and P-dialects. The Q-Celtic dialects were those which were separated earlier from the main group such as Proto-Irish and Proto-Celtiberian, according to the treatment of Proto-Indo-European labiovelars in these languages. The P-dialects turned the labiovelars into bilabials, while Q-dialects turned the labiovelars into simple velars. Instead, east of the Pyrenees, the Celtic dialects have turned the Proto-Indo-European labiovelars into labials, like in Osco-Umbrian.

As I mentioned above, Thraco-Dacian (and Illyrian) treated the labiovelars differently, according to the phonological environment. Thus, those followed by front vowels (a, o, u) lost their velar feature, turning into a labial (p or b), while those followed by e or i turned first into simple velars, which later, perhaps in Late Thraco-Dacian (preserved as such in Romanian), turned into affricates or sibilants (see infra). This second phonological aspects brings Thraco-Dacian and Illyrian closer to the Balto-Slavic group. Regarding the treatment of labiovelars in the Italic languages, the situation is identical to the Celtic group, namely, Latin and Faliscan, which migrated earlier into the Italian Peninsula, kept the labiovelars, unlike Oscan and Umbrian, which have the same treatment of labiovelars as Continental Celtic. The relationship between Latin on one hand, and Osco-Umbrian on the other hand, was discussed by a number of linguists such as G. Devoto, R. S. Conway, M. S. Beeler, and others. Thus, Devoto states: “The separation of  Latin from Osco-Umbrian is not an Italic fact, but an Indo-European dialectical one, since the Indo-Europeans came to Italy in two different waves” (cf. Tagliavini, Le Origine…, 2, p. 67), while Beeler comes closer to the historical and linguistic facts: “I don’t think that any of the innovations found in Latin and Osco-Umbrian is strong enough to be a irrefutable argument for an “Italic phase” conceived as a distinct linguistic community, separated in time and space since Indo-European. I would suggest Proto-Latin and Proto-Osco-Umbrian may have occupied neighboring areas in a still undivided Western Indo-European community” (Language, 28, p. 443).

In other words, the ancestors of the Osco-Umbrians migrated to the Italian Peninsula from the Upper Danube Valley around 1200-1300 BC, while those of the Latino-Faliscans came to Italy around 1500 BC, 200-300 years before. Latin and Faliscan kept the Proto-Indo-European labiovelars, unlike Osco-Umbrian.

The Relationship between Thraco-Dacian, Illyrian, and Albanian. As I mentioned already, Thraco-Dacian and Illyrian were dialects of the same language, although most linguists believe that they are different languages. On the other hand, Ancient and Medieval historians consider Illyrian as Thraco-Dacian (Strabo), while Suidas Lexicon (10th century AD) states that “Illyrians [are] Barbarian Thracians” (illírioi barbároi thrákoi). Today, there is a general confusion regarding the relationship between these languages. Some linguists believe that they are related languages, while others believe that they are different since Illyrian was a centum language, while Thraco-Dacian was a satem language. However, a comparison between Thraco-Dacian and Illyrian glosses indicates that they were dialects of the same language or very close related languages. Although Albanian has a series of common phonological and syntactic features with Romanian, there are some important differences as well. The Epirotes of ancient times lived where Albanians live today. Thucydides shows that the Epirotes were Illyrians, and they were speaking two different dialects. Strabo (7, 7) also shows that they lived south of river Shkumb and Illyrians to the north. The Romans used to make a clear distinction between Illyrians proprie dicti (proper) and Illyrians in general. In their understanding, Epirots were not Illyrians proper. Illyrians proper were those from Illyria, Dalmatia, and the two Pannonias. In modern Albanian, there is no labialization of Proto-Indo-European labiovelars as in Thraco-Dacian, Illyrian, Osco-Umbrian, and Continental Celtic. Thus, PIE *kwetwor ‘four’ > Albanian katër ‘id’ or PIE *wl̥kwos ‘wolf’ < Albanian ulk ‘id’ since it was peripheral as it was the case with the Q-dialects of the Italic and Celtic groups.

The Relationship between ThracoDacian and the BaltoSlavic Group.  It is very important to know the real relationship between Thraco-Dacian and Proto-Slavic in order to understand properly the Slavic segment of the Romanian lexicon. Thraco-Dacian and Proto-Slavic were considered to be satem languages and, according to this theory, it was difficult to see the differences, although, as I mentioned above, Thraco-Dacian was a centum, not a satem language. In what follows, I will discuss some of the specific features of these languages. It is not an easy task to distinguish what it is original in these languages and what may be attributed to reciprocal borrowings and influences, since speakers of the two languages were in contact long before the arrival of Slavic tribes to the Danube and in the Balkan region. On the other hand, all kinds of assumptions were made already regarding the relationship of the two languages and, therefore, it is difficult to get people to break their preconceived ideas.

  1. B. Bernstein (1964) shows that most Slavicists believe Common Slavic lasted for more than 2000 years, although he thinks that this period was much longer. During this long period of time, important changes took place, thus, the Common Slavic of the last stages of all period of time was a lot different than the one of the initial stages. He shows that the most important phenomenon was “the law of open syllable”, and it marks the beginning of other phonological transformations. The earliest borrowings from the Germanic languages are from the first centuries of the Christian era. He divides Common Slavic into two large periods:
  2. Archaic period: up to the open syllable
  3. Late period: after the open syllable.

The law of open syllable of Common Slavic led to the metathesis of liquids (l and r) from the end of the syllable over the vowel. This phenomenon is almost unknown in the original lexicon of Romanian and Albanian. Another feature of late Common Slavic is the elision of the nasals from the final position of the syllable, coloring the vowel in front of it, also unknown in Romanian and Albanian. In this language, the Proto-Indo-European velars and labiovelars had the same evolution. As I have shown above, Thraco-Dacian had a different treatment, not only between velars and labiovelars, but even inside the labiovelar group depending on the phonological environment. I may say that before (or during) the open syllable transformation in Common Slavic, the only important change in Thraco-Dacian was the labialization of Proto-Indo-European labiovelars (see supra), while in Common Slavic and Proto-Baltic, the labiovelars turned into regular velars, and later they were palatalized under some conditions. Furthermore, the Slavicists found out that in Slavic and Baltic languages there are borrowings from some Indo-European centum language. Thus, they concluded that the speakers of Common Slavic and Proto-Baltic were in contact with speakers of this unknown centum language in the first millennium BC.

Bernstein argues that before 4th-2nd centuries BC, the territory westward of the Vistula River was “occupied by tribes of Luzacian culture” and “the bearers of this culture were the Veneti tribes (p. 58)”, but he gives no indication of whom this people might have been or about the nature of their language. This culture spread up to the Baltic Sea, coming in contact with the Baltic tribes as well. According to the Polish archaeologist Moszynski (cf. Bernstein), the original homeland of the Slavs was on the Upper Dnieper River. They both agree that, later on, the Slavic tribes migrated south of the Pripet River, which was “the territory of Venete language”. According to Bernstein, the speakers of the Venete language spread from the Dnieper to the Vistula River and beyond to the west. In all these territories, the Slavic tribes found a ‘Venete’ population which they had assimilated (p. 60). Afterwards, the Slavs moved westward up to the Vistula River and the Oder River between the 3rd-2nd centuries BC and 3rd-4th centuries AD. When Germanic tribes met the Slavs, they called them Wenedi, but Slavs never called themselves Veneti or Wenedi (cf. Bernstein). The Slavicists never really identified the so-called Venete population or its language, but they all agree that they were speaking an Indo-European centum language, and they call it also ‘Illyro-Venete’. This language cannot be other than the one spoken by northern Dacian tribes which occupied large territories in Central and Eastern Europe, since the Illyrians (and Italic tribes of Veneti) never reach Vistula River or the Baltic shore. Furthermore, Herodotus (Histories) states that Traco-Dacians were the most numerous people in the entire in the world after the Indians.

In what follows, I will discuss a few centum elements in Slavic and Baltic languages which have correspondents in Romanian found in Golab (1972) such as OCS gleznŭ ‘ankle, knuckle’, Russian glezna ‘tibia’, Polish glozna, Slov. glezeny ‘ankle’, Lithuanian žlezan ‘ankle’ from PIE *gel-, *gleg– ‘to be or become round; something round’ (IEW, 357-58): cf. Romanian gleznă ‘ankle’. According to Walde-Pokorny the Slavic forms are derived from this Proto-Indo-European root. From PIE *akmo– ‘stone’ (IEW, 18), Baltic languages have pairs of centum/satem forms: Lithuanian akmus ‘stone’, ašmenys ‘edge’, Latvian asmenas ‘edge, precipice’, while Slavic languages have only the centum type forms: cf. OCS kamy, Russian kamai ‘stone’. Cognates in centum languages include: Greek ákmon ‘anvil’, the Phrygian place-name Akmonia, and perhaps Romanian ocnă ‘salt mine’. Satem cognates include: Sanskrit aśman ‘stone’, Avestan asman ‘stone’.

In several other cases, both Slavic and Baltic languages have centum/satem pairs. From PIE *gherdh-, gherdh– ‘to enclose’, *ghordhos ‘fence, enclosure’ (IEW, 444), we have the following forms:

  1. satem type: Lithuanian žardas ‘a wooden construction’, Latvian zards ‘horse enclosure’, Old Prussian sards ‘id’, OCS žrŭdŭ ‘hen coop’, Russian žerd ‘id’.
  2. centum type: Lithuanian gardas ‘enclosure for animals, fortress’, OCS gorditi ‘to enclosure, to build’, graditi ‘to build’, gradŭ ‘city’, Russian gorod ‘city’, Polish grad ‘city’, etc.

Furthermore, Golab shows that pre-Slavic place-names in Poland have centum forms, while other have the root *ap– ‘water, river’; cf. Romanian apă ‘water, river’. The root is quite frequent in place-names in the Balkan region, as well as in some Celtic regions. Thus, in Gaul, we have: Geld-apa, Arn-apa, Len-apa, Ol-epa, Man-apia, Appa (cf. Holder, Alt-celtischer…), Gaulish Apa-va almost identical to Pannonian Ape-va (cf. Holder, vol. 1), in Greece: Apia, In-ōpos (river names), Api-don, Api-danos (place-names). An-apos is a river-name attested in Greece (Thucydides, 2, 82) and in Sicily as well (Titus Livius, 24, 36, 2; Thucydides, 6, 96, 3: 7, 8, 3; Dyodorus of Sicily, 15, 13, 5), Ap-sus, river in Southern Pannonia (Krahe, ZONF, 20, 1931), Sald-apa, in Dacia and many others. Therefore, there is no doubt that all these place-names, mentioned by Golab, are of Thraco-Dacian origin. It is quite obvious that they come from northern Thraco-Dacians who brought a great contribution to the old Slavic civilization. Regarding other (perhaps more recent) Old Slavic loan-words from other Indo-European languages, Bernstein (p. 87) thinks that OCS sluga ‘servant’, braga ‘a kind of ale’, ljutŭ ‘sour, cruel’ are loanwords from Old Irish slog, sluag ‘crowd, army’, Irish braich ‘malt’, Welsh llid ‘malice’ (< Proto-Celtic *lūdu). For sluga, there is a cognate in Lithuanian slauga ‘helper, servant’. I should say that, in Old Church Slavonic and Romanian, the forms are absolutely identical: Romanian slugă ‘servant’, bragă ‘kind of ale, malt’ and iute ‘1. quick, energetic; 2. spicy’ from an older *liute. Bernstein continues saying that these words are etymologized well in the Celtic languages, but we may say the same thing about Romanian, where both slugă and iute have many derivatives. We have similar situations in the case of other loanwords in Old Church Slavonic: vino ‘wine’, which he thinks is of Gothic origin, while popŭ ‘priest’, pila ‘saw’ vitez’iu ‘brave’ considers them as loanwords from western Germanic dialects, but he does not specify which those Germanic dialects might be. Regarding popŭ ‘priest’, it has a correspondent in Latin popa ‘a priest in charge of sacrifices in old Roman religion’. There are also Latin loanwords into Old Church Slavonic. Most of them are Christian Church terms: oltarŭ ‘altar’, koleda ‘Christmas carol’, poganŭ ‘pagan’, as well as kanopl’a < Latin *canapis ‘hemp’ (Classical Latin cannabis, itself borrowed from Greek). All these loanwords have their correspondents in Romanian with the same meaning as in Slavic. There are reasons to believe that all these are loanwords from Old Romanian of 7-8 centuries into Old Church Slavonic after the Slavic tribes settled in the Balkan region during this period (see vin, popă, pilă, viteaz, as well as altar, colindă, păgân and cânepă), since there were not any Latin speakers in the Balkan area (or anywhere else) at that time.

Some of loanwords into Common Slavic are considered of Iranian origin, but many of

them are, in fact, borrowed from Thraco-Dacian (or Proto-Romanian): rajŭ ‘heaven’ toporŭ ‘ax’, mogyla ‘hillop’, vatra ‘hearth’, while bogŭ ‘god’ and kurŭ ‘rooster’ have no correspondents in Romanian and may be of Iranian origin. Bernstein never mentions the Romanian (or Albanian) correspondents, even when the relationship between Slavic and Romanian forms is more than obvious. Thus, he associates Old Slavic vatra ‘hearth’ with Avestan athaurvan ‘sacred fire’ and Sanskrit atharvan ‘priest of the fire cult’, but he ignores the fact that there are identical forms with the same meaning in Romanian and Albanian: cf. Romanian vatră ‘hearth, fire’ Albanian vatrë ‘id’. Regarding Old Slavic sъto ‘hundred’, Vasmer and other Slavicists believe that it is of Celtic origin, namely, from Old Irish, but Common Slavic speakers were never in any contact with any Irish people. Even phonologically speaking, Old Irish cét ‘hundred’ cannot be the etymon for Old Slavic sъto. It is a well-known fact that PIE *ŭ turned into ъ, ь in Common Slavic. In other words, Common Slavic borrowed the form *sŭta when it still had the short Proto-Indo-European vowel *ŭ. Therefore, Romanian sută ‘hundred’ cannot be a loanword from Old Church Slavonic sъto as all linguists believe. Instead, it seems that Slavic sъto was borrowed from Thraco-Dacian at an earlier time, sometime before the first millennium AD (see sută).



The Relationship between Thraco-Dacian and Romanian. It was necessary to show the position of Thraco-Dacian in relation to other Indo-European languages, since a series of linguistic, historical and archaeological details are unknown or little known by most researchers. Thus, I have shown that Thraco-Dacian and Illyrian were related to Italic (especially Oscan and Umbrian) and Celtic (especially Continental Celtic). To the east, they had to have been in contact with the Balto-Slavic group which has many loanwords from Thraco-Dacian. As I mentioned above, this language had some important phonological features in common with Italic and Celtic languages and, to a lesser extent, it shared some (other) features with the Balto-Slavic group.

To reconstruct the phonological features of the Thraco-Dacian language, the real ancestor of Romanian, I have compared the Romanian lexicon and Thraco-Dacian names and glosses with cognates from other Indo-European languages in connection with Proto-Indo-European roots as in Walde (LEW) and Walde-Pokorny (IEW) and other more recent works. Although the German linguists did not use Romanian for their reconstructed roots, Romanian words match them very well.  In the beginning, I paid special attention to the Romanian lexical items considered already to be of Thraco-Dacian origin. Later on, those of uncertain or unknown origin were taken into consideration, in order to find common phonological features. In the ’60s of the last century, the German Romanist Günter Reichenkron in his Das Dakische (rekonstruiert aus dem Rumänishen), (1966) tried a new method in Romanian historical linguistics. He discussed 130 Romanian words of Thraco-Dacian origin, by comparison with other Indo-European languages, using the Walde-Pokorny dictionary as well. Unfortunately, this new method was rejected by Romanian linguists. However, several years later, the Romanian linguist I. I. Russu tried the same method, but it seems that he was insufficiently familiar with the field, and his unsuccessful attempt was perceived by other Romanian linguists as proof of “inadequacy” of the method itself. In fact, this is the only method in Romanian etymology, since there are thousands of words of uncertain or unknown origin or wrongly attributed origin by those using a simple comparison with Latin, Slavic, or with other neighboring languages.

The Phonological Features of the Thraco-Dacian Language. Partial reconstruction of the phonological features of Thraco-Dacian was done by G. Reichenkron, I. I. Russu, V. Georgiev, C. Poghirc, and Gr. Brâncuş, but all of them are far from being complete. Most of these authors used only Thraco-Dacian glosses and names and very few Romanian words. Unlike them, I have used a large number of Romanian words. On the other hand, the phonological configuration of Proto-Indo-European is well-known today. Therefore, to reconstruct Thraco-Dacian phonology, I have started from the Proto-Indo-European sounds and followed their evolution to the sounds of modern Romanian, along with Thraco-Dacian glosses, compared with other Indo-European languages. The discovery of phonological principles governing the evolution of the sounds from Proto-Indo-European to Thraco-Dacian and to Romanian was done in its entirety for the first time by the author along these lines.

Diphthongs: A general phonological characteristic of Thraco-Dacian was that Proto-Indo-European diphthongs turned into vowels. It seems that they usually turned into long vowels, as in Latin. However, in some monosyllabic words, some diphthongs were preserved. Proto-Indo-European had six diphthongs which are a combination of a non-high (*e, *o, *a) vowel with a high vowels (*i or *u) : *ei, *ai, *oi, *eu *au, *ou. The diphthongs *ei and *eu were much more frequent than the others.

In some Romanian short words, the diphthong *au was preserved. It seems that originally in Thraco-Dacian, these words were bi-syllabic with the stress on the first syllable which preserved the sequence. In Romanian, this sequence was preserved as well (with the two vowels separated in hiatus) in words with uncertain or controversial origin such as auş ‘old man, grandfather’ from PE *au̯eo-, *au̯o– ‘grandfather’ (Lehmann, A242), auşel ‘a little insectivore bird’ (Regulus regulus), from PIE *au̯ei– ‘bird’ (IEW, 86) as well as aur ‘gold’ considered to be of Latin origin from PIE *aus-os ‘to be bright, gold, dawn’ (IEW, 86): Sabin ausom ‘gold’, Irish or ‘id’, Welsh aur ‘id’, Albanian ar ‘id’, Old Prussian ausis ‘id’, Old Lithuanian ausas ‘id’, Armenian oski ‘id’, Tocharian A wäs ‘id’. The other two also have a considerable number of cognates in various Indo-European languages (see auş, auşel, aur). In other cases (longer words), PIE *au turned into /u/, perhaps a long */ū/ in Thraco-Dacian. The verb a (se) gudura ‘1. to fawn (upon); 2. to be happy (about dogs)’ was associated with Albanian gudulis ‘to tickle’ which is in fact cognate with Romanian a gâdila ‘to tickle’. Romanian a (se) gudura is cognate with Latin gaudeo, gaudere ‘to enjoy, to be happy’, but it cannot come from Latin *gaudulare, which is not attested anywhere or has no any correspondent in any of the Romance languages. Both come from PIE *gāu– ‘to enjoy, to be happy’ (IEW, 353): Greek gedéō ‘I enjoy, I am happy’, Dorian Greek gadéō ‘id’.

The other diphthongs have a similar evolution. The diphthong *ai: it was preserved in shorter words such as coică ‘forested hill’: cf. Albanian kojkë ‘id’, Old Welsh coit ‘forest’, Welsh coed ‘id’, Old Cornish cuit ‘id’, Breton coed ‘id’, all from PIE *kaito ‘forest, untilled land’ (IEW, 521). In this case, the vowel *a > o. In late Thraco-Dacian, there was a general tendency of a > o and o > u (cf. river names Mureş < Maris, Olt < Alutus, Dunăre ‘Danube’ < Donaris).

In other cases, PIE *ai > e (or i) in Thraco-Dacian and it was preserved as such in Romanian. The noun petec ‘patch, a piece of fabric’ derives from PIE *baita, *paita ‘goatskin’ (IEW, 93): cf. Albanian petk ‘patch, a piece of fabric’.

The diphthong *ou: It turned into a simple vowel: o or u as in Romanian cocoaşă ‘hump’, coacăză ‘cranberry’ (o > oa by umlaut), cocon ‘child, baby’, all from PIE *kouko-s ‘round’ < *keu– ‘to bend’ (IEW, 588): Albanian koqë ‘berry, any berry’.

The diphthong *ei: Romanian ţep ‘thorn, spike’, as well as ţeapă ‘1. stake, point of a stake; 2. splinter’ ţepos ‘thorny, spiky, prickly’, a înţepa ‘to prick, to sting; 2. to bite (about insects)’ are considered of Thraco-Dacian origin (Reichenkron, 166: Poghirc, ILR, 2, 352: Brâncuş, VALR, 124). Reichenkron shows that they come from PIE *k̂eipo-, *k̂oipo– ‘pale, stick, a sharp stone or wood’ (IEW, 542) where PIE *ei > e in Thraco-Illyrian: cf. Albanian thep ‘sharp stone’.

In most cases, after the lateral l, the vowel e (from PIE *ei) did not underwent iotacism and did not affect the liquid l. Romanian words considered to be either Thraco-Dacian, Latin or Slavic, show the same evolution of Proto-Indo-European diphthong *ei. Thus, Romanian a leşina ‘to faint (away), to swoon’, leş ‘corpse, carcass’, a lihni ‘to starve’, all have the same origin Thraco-Dacian origin, although etymologists gave them different etymologies (see a leşina, leş, a lihni). All originate from PIE *leik-, *leigh– ‘1. weak, miserable; 2. death’. In all these examples, PIE *ei > e in the Thraco-Dacian language and is preserved as such in Romanian. There is the same situation in the verb a legăna ‘to rock, to swing, to balance’ from PIE *leig-, *loig– ‘to jump, to tremble, to swing’ (IEW, 677) and many others. Other words considered to be of Latin origin, such a lega ‘to tie, to bind, to attach’ < Latin līgāre ‘to tie, to bind’ < PIE *leig– ‘to tie, to bind’ (IEW, 668). Finally, words considered to be of Slavic origin have the same evolution. Thus, the verb a lipi ‘to glue, to stick’ is considered to be of Slavic origin, although there is no appropriate Slavic etymon, but there are close cognate in the Baltic languages: Lithuanian limpu, lipti ‘to stick, to glue’, Latvian lipu, lipt ‘id’ from PIE *leip– ‘to grease, to glue’ (IEW, 670). In these cases, as one may see, the vowel i (< PIE *ei) did not undergo iotacism as in the other Romanian words deriving from Indo-European roots containing diphthong *ei, no matter what origin the previous etymological dictionaries gave to them. In other words they have the same phonological evolution. One may conclude that perhaps the iotacism did not take place because the long vowel (from a diphthong) remained as such for a longer time and did not undergo iotacism as in the case of regular vowel. However, there are some exceptions to this possible rule such as the noun lespede ‘slab’ from PIE *lep– ‘stone, rock’ (IEW, 678), where a regular PIE *e did not undergo iotacism and the lateral l was not affected. In other cases, PIE *ei turned into i, as in Romanian mic ‘small’ from PIE *meiko-s ‘small’ (IEW, 711). We encounter the same evolution, in words considered to be of Latin origin, as in Romanian a zice ‘to say, to tell’. In most cases, in Latin, the Proto-Indo-European vowel sequences turned into long vowels. Thus, Latin dīcō, dīcere ‘to show, to say’ < PIE *deik̂– ‘to show, to indicate’ (IEW, 188).

The diphthong *eu was the most frequent in Proto-Indo-European. In Romanian, it appears as o (or u), a transformation inherited from Thraco-Dacian. In some cases, in short words, it was preserved as a slightly different sequence, as in lăun (pronounced lă-un) ‘a plant that grows in stagnant water’ and lăunos ‘dirty’ from PIE *leu-, *– ‘dirt, to make dirty’ (IEW, 681): Greek λΰμα ‘1. dirt; 2. insult, outrage’, Albanian (Tosk dialect) lum ‘swamp, pond’, (Gheg dialect) ljum ‘id’, Lithuanian liūnas ‘swamp’.

Instead, in most cases (in longer words), PIE *eu turned into o (u). Thus, Romanian broască ‘frog’, (where o > oa by umlaut), originates from PIE nominal from *preu-sko of *preu– ‘to jump, to hop’ (IEW, 845-46) with cognates in Albanian, Italian (dialectal), and Germanic languages: Albanian breskë ‘frog’, Italian (dial.) brosca ‘id’, Old English frosc ‘frog’, Old Icelandic froskr ‘id’. In other cases, it turned into u, as in Romanian ciucă (variant cucă) ‘ridge, peak’ which was borrowed into all Balkan languages. It is frequently found in place names and personal names. It originates in PIE *keu-, *keuk– ‘to bend, to wind, curvature’ (IEW, 589) (see ciucă). The same rule applies to words considered to be of Latin origin, such as a luci ‘to shine, to gleam’ considered to be a derivative of Latin lucio, lucire ‘to shine, to gleam’ (see a luci).

Vowels: Although Proto-Indo-European had short and long vowels, the vowel quantity disappeared most probably in Late Thraco-Dacian, a phonological trait transmitted to Romanian. At a certain moment in history, the quantity stopped playing a role and, short and long vowels developed in the same way.

Proto-Indo-European short and long *a: The short Proto-Indo-European vowel *a, at initial or in stressed syllable, remained unchanged in Thraco-Dacian and Romanian. Romanian argea ‘subterranean room’ has been considered Thraco-Dacian since Hasdeu (Col. lui Traian, 232, 1873) from a Dacian *argilla and later in Etymologicum… is associated with Greek άργιλλα ‘subterranean house’, Old Macedonian árgella ‘id’ and Cimmerian argill ‘id’. This hypothesis was adopted also by Gr. Brâncuş (VALR, 30) and I .I. Russu (Elemente, 133). All these forms are derived from PIE *areg– ‘to enclose’ (IEW, 64) (see argea).

Instead, in unstressed position or at the end of the word (which is generally unstressed), PIE *a turned into ă (ə), as Hasdeu has shown more than 100 years ago. For Romanian măgură ‘hill’, he identified a PIE *mag– (Cuvente…, 288), similar to PIE *mak-, mək– (IEW, 699); cf. Greek maketa ‘hill’ > Makedones ‘the ones who live on hills and mountains’ (cf. IEW), Albanian magullë ‘id’, Neo-Greek mágoula ‘id’ (a loanword), as well as Sardinian moγoro and Italian (Campidan dialect) moγoro ‘hill’. Common Slavic borrowed it from Thraco-Dacian as *magula ‘mount, hill’ > Slavic mogyla ‘id’ (see supra). Romanian noun vatră ‘hearth’ (Aromanian, Megleno-Romanian vatră ‘id’) < PIE *(u̯)āt(e)r- ‘fire, hearth’ (IEW, 69): Albanian vatrë ‘hearth’, where (long) vowel *a was preserved in a stressed syllable, also. Romanian vatră was borrowed into Slavic (see supra).

The Proto-Indo-European short and long vowel *e may have a different evolution depending on the phonological environment. Sometimes, in stressed position PIE *e > je in Thraco-Dacian. The iota palatalized the consonant in front of it, such as t, d, k, g. The phenomenon can be seen in Thraco-Dacian names. In these names, there is an alternation in spelling between a stop and a sibilant: Sabadios/Sabazios, Dierna/Tsierna, Germizara/Zermizara. This evolution of Proto-Indo-European stops was transmitted to Romanian, not only in words of Thraco-Dacian origin, but also in those considered to be of Latin origin. Thus, Romanian miere ‘honey’ is considered to derive from Latin mel ‘honey’, from PIE *melit (IEW, 723): Hittite milit ‘honey’, Greek melì ‘id’, Gothic meilith ‘id’, Armenian melr ‘id’, Old Irish mil ‘id.’, Welsh, Cornish, Breton mel ‘id’. In fact, Albanian mjal, mjaltë ‘honey’ the vowel e underwent iotacism as in Romanian. As we saw, this phonological change, along with other such changes, took place long time ago as in the god-name Sabazios or place-names such as Tsierna or Zermizara.

According to Al. Cihac (2, 47) and Gustav Weigand (BA, 2, 108), Romanian ceaţă ‘fog’ is of Slavic origin: cf. OCS kaditi ‘to smoke’, Russian/Ukrainian čad ‘smoke, steam’, but most Romanian linguists believe that it is derived from Latin *caecia < caecus ‘blind’, a hypothesis that should be rejected. Indeed, Romanian ceaţă is a cognate of the Slavic forms, but it is not of Slavic origin, since we do not have a Slavic form from which it may have derived. In fact, all these forms are derived from PIE *ked– ‘to smoke, to make smoke’ (IEW, 103). In other words, ceaţă is derived from an older *ketia, where the e which underwent iotacism turned *k into a č.

The Proto-Indo-European short and long vowel *u remained unchanged. The noun  buză ‘lip, edge’ < PIE *s ‘lip, to kiss’ (IEW, 103): Albanian buzë ‘lip’, Old Irish bus, pus ‘lip’, busóc, pusóc ‘kiss’. The root is attested in Thraco-Dacian personal names such as Byzas, Bysos, Beuzos, as well as Illyrian Buzos, Buzetius. We have the same evolution in the noun vătui ‘one year-old goat’ from an older *vituliu, considered to be of Thraco-Dacian origin, because that it has cognates in Albanian ftuj, vëtulë ‘id’. From the same Proto-Indo-European root are derived viţel ‘calf’, vită ‘cow or other domestic animal’; viţel is considered to be of Latin origin because it has a correspondent in Latin vitulus, while vită has no cognate in either of these languages. All these words derive from PIE *u̯et– ‘year’, *u̯etelo ‘one year-old animal’ (IEW, 1175).

Proto-Indo-European short and long vowel *o: In stressed position, *o remained unchanged, as in the noun boare ‘breath of wind, breeze; 2. aroma’ (Aromanian boră, Megleno-Romanian boari) from PIE *bholo– ‘steam, fog’ (IEW, 162), where o > oa, by umlaut. From the same root is derived the noun abur ‘steam’, where Proto-Indo-European *o turned into u in unstressed position. In some cases, it may turn into an a. For a long time, Romanian gard (Aromanian, Megleno-Romanian gard) ‘fence’ was considered to be of Slavic origin, namely from OCS gradŭ ‘city’. Later on, Poghirc (ILR, 2, 341), I. I. Russu (Thraco-Dac…, 109; Elemente…, 159) considered it to be of Thraco-Dacian origin. Furthermore, Brâncuş (VALR, 76-77) shows that Albanian sound dh of gardh ‘fence’ does not reflect the features of a Slavic loanword. At the same time, Romanian and Albanian forms do not exhibit the metathesis of the lateral sound (r) as in the Slavic, but it remained in the same position as in Proto-Indo-European. It is quite obvious that OCS gradŭ is a loanword from one of the Thraco-Dacian dialects (see supra). All these forms originate from PIE *ghordhos ‘fence’ (IEW, 444). This root is wide-spread in Indo-European languages (see gard). The same phonological change can be found in Romanian mal ‘bank, shore’. It was considered Thraco-Dacian because it is found in Ancient glosses: Malua, Dacia Maluensis, alternating with Dacia Ripensis, from Latin ripa ‘bank’, which makes clear the meaning of Maluensis. The Romanian noun mal originates from PIE *molā ‘shore’ (IEW, 721): Albanian mal ‘hill, mountain’, Latvian mala ‘bank, shore’, Gaullish –melos (in place names). Cognates are found in other Nostratic language families as well, such as Dravidian languages: cf. Tamil malai ‘hill, mountain’, Malayalam mala ‘mountain, hill-land’, Kannaḍa male ‘mountain, forrest’ (Bomhard & Kerns, 550, 1994).

Proto-Indo-European short and long vowel *i had a development similar to Proto-Indo-European *e, namely, it underwent iotacism affecting the consonant in front of it. The noun in ‘flax’ is considered to be of Latin origin from linum ‘flax’, but the term is found in most Indo-European languages and most probably in Thraco-Dacian as well: Greek λίνον ‘flax’, Albanian (Tosk liri, Gheg lini), Old Irish lin ‘id’, Welsh llin ‘id’, Breton lien, Gothic lein, OHG lin, Lithuanian linai (pl.), Latvian lini (pl.), Old Prussian linno, all from PIE *līno ‘flax’ (IEW, 691).

Consonants: The Proto-Indo-European consonantal system underwent a few major changes. Two of them took place apparently a long time ago in Proto-Thraco-Illyrian, namely, the loss of aspiration of the aspirated stops, which merged with their non-aspirated counterparts. As I mentioned already, this phonological change is shared with the Celtic and Balto-Slavic languages. Another major change is that the Proto-Indo-European labiovelars *gw and *kw turned into labials (b, p) when followed by a back vowel (a, o, u) (see supra). This phenomenon took place most probably in the second half of the last millennium BC. It is attested in Thraco-Illyrian glosses, and it will be discussed below.

The Sibilants: The Proto-Indo-European sibilant *s turned into a š (ş), most probably in Thraco-Dacian (sometime in the 1st millennium BC) before a Proto-Indo-European front vowel (i, e) or a diphthong turned into a high vowel, which underwent iotacism later. The same change is consistently found in Latin lexical elements. Its voiced counterpart did not exist in Proto-Indo-European. Romanian şase ‘six’ was derived from Latin *sess < sex ‘six’ by Tiktin (ZRPh. 12, 456), which was accepted by all other linguists, although the presumptive Latin etymon would yield *şes or *şas in Romanian. In some other Indo-European languages, the form for ‘six’ sounds similar; cf. Lithuanian šeše, Latvian šesi or even Sanskrit ṣaṣ, all from PIE *seks, *su̯eks, *kseks (IEW, 1044). Any of these forms would give *šes or *šas in Romanian. The final vowel –e was added by association with şapte ‘seven’.

Romanian şopârlă ‘lizard’ was associated with Albanian shapë, sheperillë ‘lizard’ and, therefore, at first, it was considered of Albanian origin (Cihac, Meyer). But for Cioranescu, it is of imitative origin. Instead, Reichenkron (1966) considers it of Thraco-Dacian origin, from PIE *sk̂eu– ‘to gush (out), to spring out’, since for Reichenkron, PIE *sk̂ > š in Thraco-Dacian; a hypothesis accepted by Romanian linguists, although he is wrong about it, since PIE *sk did not turn into a š in Thraco-Dacian. In this case, Romanian š is the result of a following iota. Thus, Romanian şopârlă is derived from PIE *serp– ‘to crawl’ (IEW, 912). Also, Romanian şarpe (variant şerpe) ‘snake’ is considered to be of Latin origin, although ş (š) has a phonological evolution similar to şopârlă, and it is derived from the same Proto-Indo-European root. Needless to say that, in Albanian shapë, shepirellë, š (sh) is the result of the same phonological environment. Conversely, when followed by a back vowel or a consonant, PIE *s remains unchanged. Thus, Romanian samă (variant seamă) ‘1. reckoning; 2. number, amount; 3. care, interest; 4. like, equal; 5. report’ is derived from PIE *som(o) ‘one, together, same’ (IEW, 903), with cognates in many Indo-European languages and it is of Thraco-Dacian origin as well (see samă).

When followed by a consonant, it has remained unchanged as in the noun sterp ‘sterile, unfruitful’, considered to be of Thraco-Dacian origin, since it does not have a correspondent in Latin, but has a close cognate in Albanian shterpë ‘sterile, unfruitful’ and even in some southern Italian dialects stirpa and the Venetian dialect sterpa ‘id’. There is also no change of PIE *s in the same phonological environment (in front of a back vowel or a consonant) in the lexical items considered to be of Latin origin as in sare ‘salt’ from PIE *sal-, *sald-, *sal-i, *salu ‘salt, sea salt’ (IEW, 878). The root is found in many Indo-European languages including Thraco-Dacian and Illyrian place-names: Thraco-Dacian Sald-apa, meaning ‘salty water’ or Salmo-rude, a lake adjacent to the Black Sea (today’s Lake Razelm) or Sal-entinai (in Dacia) (Walde, 2, 466), Illyrian Saldae (in Pannonia), or Sal-s-ovia (in Thracia). Also, Romanian a sta ‘to stay, to stand, to live’ is considered to derive from Latin stare < PIE *sta-, *stə– ‘to stay, to stand’ (IEW, 1004).

The bilabial stops (p, b): In most cases, the Proto-Indo-European voiced and voiceless bilabial stops did not change in Thraco-Dacian and Romanian. Thus, Romanian pânză ‘fabric’ was given various “etymologies”, by different linguists. Most of them, opted for a Latin origin, either from Latin pandere ‘to stretch, to expand, to spread’ (Puşcariu, 1373; Tiktin; REW, 6190) or Latin *pandea ‘fabric’ (Cioranescu, 6400), which is not attested neither in Latin, nor in any of the Romance languages. Needless to say, neither of these hypotheses can be accepted. On the other hand, Pascu (1, 191) and I. I. Russu (Elemente, 101) considered it to be of Thraco-Dacian origin. Pascu associates it with Greek  πένε ‘fabric’. In fact, Romanian pânză is derived from PIE *pand– ‘fabric (Gewebe)’ (IEW, 788). The Thraco-Dacian form must have been *pandia > *panza, with cognates in many other Indo-European languages, besides Greek: Latin pannus ‘fabric, rag’, Gothic fana ‘fabric’, OHG fano ‘id’. Indeed, the Romanian noun pânză has a cognate in Latin pannus, but it cannot be the etymon of the Romanian noun for obvious phonological reasons. Proto-Indo-European non-aspirated voiced bilabial *b was not so frequent. It was preserved as such in Thraco-Dacian and Romanian, as in buză ‘lip’ from PIE *bu– ‘lip, kiss’. On the other hand, the voiced aspirated *bh was much more frequent. Romanian brânză ‘(aged) cheese’ has been considered Thraco-Dacian since late 19th century (Hasdeu, Cuvente, 1, 190), but no linguist could identify the Proto-Indo-European root it originates from. It is derived from PIE *bhrendh– ‘to swell, to ferment, to ripe’, with cognates in Albanian and Lithuanian; cf. Albanian brenza-t (pl.) ‘interius, viscera’, brendësat ‘rennet’, Lithuanian brestu, brendau ‘to swell, to ripen’. From Romanian, it was borrowed into all neighboring languages.

The dental stops (t, d, dh): The Proto-Indo-European voiceless dental stop turned into apical ts (ţ) when followed by a front vowel (see supra). Otherwise, it was preserved in Thraco-Dacian and Romanian. The noun ţarc ‘enclosure’ was originally considered to be a loanword from Albanian cark ‘id’ (Treimer, 38, 391, ZRPH.; Pascu, 2, 222): Philippide, 2, 738; Rosetti, 2, 123). On the other hand, Reichenkron (165) considers it to be Thraco-Dacian from PIE *serk– ‘enclosure, to enclose’ (IEW, 912), but in this case PIE *s would yield a š, not ts (ţ). Instead, I. I. Russu (An. Muz. de E.T., 1958, 146) correctly connected it to the PIE *tu̯er– ‘to enclose’, *terko ‘enclosure’, with cognates in a number of Indo-European languages: Lithuanian tveriù, tvérti ‘to enclose’, tvártas ‘fence, enclosure’, Latvian tvāre ‘fence’, Old Prusian toaris ‘barn, granary’, OCS zatvoriti ‘to lock, to enclose’. From Romanian, it was borrowed in some neighboring languages: Neo-Greek tsarkos and Ukrainian carok, carka, cerkati ‘to milk’. When followed by a back vowel or a consonant, it remained unchanged, as in Romanian tare ‘1. strong, hard, tough; 2. very’ from PIE *(s)ter-, *(s)tero– ‘tough, rigid, to be rigid’ (IEW, 1022). Although Walde-Pokorny reconstructs a Proto-Indo-European root with the vowel *e, all forms of the Indo-European languages are with a, as in Romanian: Sanskrit taras ‘rapidity, strength, energy’, Hittite tarḫuiti ‘tough, strong’, Germanic *stara ‘tough, strong, powerful’, except for Greek stereós ‘tough, strong’. In any case, if we consider the Proto-Indo-European form given by Walde-Pokorny as correct, it means that the PIE *e turned into *a before iotacism.

The non-aspirated Proto-Indo-European voiced stop *d had an evolution similar to its voiceless counterpart. Originally, most linguists considered Romanian mânz ‘colt’ to be Illyrian (not Thraco-Dacian) loanword, namely, from an Illyrian *mandus or *manzus. However, in the last 50 years, some linguists have thought it to be of Thraco-Dacian origin (I. I. Russu, Elemente…, 180; Poghirc, ILR, 2, 332; Brâncuş, VALR, 97). The root is attested in Celtic place-names as well: Gaulish Epo-manduo-dunum and Brittanic Mandu-essedum (cf. Walde) and in the Messapic (Illyrian) god-name Jupiter Menzana ‘Jupiter of the horses’, to whom young horses were sacrificed. Besides these ancient languages and Albanian, the root is also present in some modern languages or dialects: Sardinian mandzu ‘calf’, Italian (dial.) manzo ‘calf’. De Mauro-Mancini (1176) considers Italian manzu to be of pre-Roman origin as well. In Romanian, the root has a few other derivatives: mânzat ‘one year-old calf’, mânzare ‘milking sheep’, cognates to Albanian mënd ‘to suck, to feed’, mëndëshë ‘wet-nurse’, mëz ‘colt’. The same phonological changes are found in a series of Thraco-Dacian personal names such as Zia or in god-names such as Saba-zios or Gebelei-zis, where the second component is a cognate of Latin deus ‘god’. In some ancient works, Saba-zios is also spelled as Saba-dios (see zeu ‘god’).

The aspirated Proto-Indo-European voiced dental stop *dh collapsed with its non-aspirated counterpart. Romanian gard ‘fence’ is derived from PIE *ghordhos (IEW, 444), where PIE *dh turned into d.


The velar consonants: The Proto-Indo-European velar stop *k followed by a back vowel remained unchanged. Romanian caună ‘mine, salt mine’ (reg.) was considered to come from Latin *cavina < cavus ‘hollow’ (Puşcariu, 324; DAR). The Latin form is not attested, and there are no similar forms in any of the Romance languages. On the other hand, in Romanian, there is a multitude of forms derived from the same root as caună: cavă ‘depression’, căuc (variant căuş) ‘laddle, dipper, scoop’, caval ‘(little) ditch’, gaură (dial. gavră) ‘hole, opening, gap, cavity, crack’, găunos ‘hollow’. All these forms were given, over the years, various etymologies by different authors. There are too many of them to mention here, but all these words are derived form the same PIE *kew-, *kow-, *k’u– (Bomhard & Kerns) (traditional *geu-, *gǝu-, *gū-, IEW, 393ff), itself from a Proto-Nostratic *kau-, *kəu– (Bomhard & Kerns, 281). Romanian lexical forms are derived from an Thraco-Dacian root *kau-, *kou-: Albanian gavër, (gavr)ë ‘hole, crack, opening’, Breton keo ‘cave’, kougon ‘hole’, Middle Irish cua ‘hollow’, cuas ‘hole’, Greek kōos ‘hole’.

Like all other stops, Proto-Indo-European *k, followed by *e or *i was altered, turning into affricate č. Thus, the Romanian river-name Cerna (found in different regions of Romania) originates in PIE *kers-, *kr̥sno– ‘black’ (IEW, 583). The Dacian place-name spelled Tsierna in Greek documents and Dierna in Latin documents was a Dacian city situated at the mouth of the river Cerna, on the northern bank of Danube River. The verb a cerni ‘to color in black’ and cerneală ‘ink’ are derived from the same root.

The Proto-Indo-European voiced non-aspirated velar stop *g had a similar development. The verb a zâmbi ‘to smile’ seems to be derived from PIE *gembh– ‘to show teeth, to bite’ (IEW, 369).

There is some evidence from Romanian for the existence of a voiceless aspirated velar *kh in Proto-Indo-European, although, it was not as frequent as its voiced counterpart, which turned into voiceless laryngeal h in Romanian. The Neo-grammarians correctly considered that Proto-Indo-European had the voiceless aspirated velar stop *kh, using a small number of data from Indo-Iranian, Armenian, and Greek. In most Indo-European languages, there is no difference between the reflexes of the voiceless aspirated velar stop *kh and its non-aspirated counterpart *k, since the aspirated one lost its aspiration at an early stage in most Indo-European dialects, just before the disintegration of Indo-European (cf. Bomhard & Kerns, 1994). Beside these languages, the laryngeal h is also present in Slavic (x), which could derive only from a Proto-Indo-European *kh. In Romanian, the laryngeal h derives mostly from either an Indo-European voiceless aspirated velar stop *kh or the laryngeal *h. I have to mention also that, in a few cases, the laryngeal h in Romanian may have been derived sometimes from Indo-European *gh where the aspirated sound turned into a laryngeal /h/, as in horn ‘chimney’ (see horn). A number of linguists disagree with the Neo-grammarian hypothesis regarding the presence of voiceless aspirated stops in Indo-European. Nevertheless, as Bomhard maintains, voiceless laryngeal *h, which is present in a number of Indo-European languages, should have an explanation.

On the other hand, according to the Neo-grammarians, the laryngeals did not exist in Proto-Indo-European. However, today, the Laryngeal Theory is accepted by most linguists, although their opinions are divided regarding the number and the nature of these laryngeals. Furthermore, the elimination of Indo-European *kh creates major typological problems as well. Also, the fact that some Indo-European languages, including Romanian inherited it as a laryngeal, indicates the presence of voiceless aspirated velar stop *kh in Proto-Indo-European. Furthermore, A. Martinet (1970:115) shows that, from a typological point of view, the data from a great number of languages, clearly indicate that the voiced aspirated can be added to the non-aspirated voice/voiceless pair only if the voiceless aspirated is present in the language as well. In other words, we cannot have in Indo-European only the pair *k/*g and *gh, without *kh. R. Jakobson (1971:528) takes the same position, and Szemerényi shows also that, since Proto-Indo-European had voiced aspirated, it should have voiceless aspirated as well. For him, there is just one laryngeal, namely, the voiceless glottal fricative *h. He reconstructed the phonetic system of Proto-Indo-European to which he adds *h and eliminated some sounds from the Neogrammarian one (as in Brugmann, 1904:52). Furthermore, Bomhard (1994:62) shows that in some cases a laryngeal explanation is not possible. In some cases, the voiceless aspirated velar *kh seems to be of imitative nature. In Romanian, the verb a hohoti ‘to guffaw’ is considered to be of Slavic origin, although it does not seem to be, as well as the verb a pufăi ‘to puff, to blow, to pant’ from an older a puhăi ‘id’, and the adjective puhav ‘swollen, puffy’, which is derived from the same root as a puhăi from a PIE *p(h)ukh– ‘to puff, to blow, to exhale’. There is a number of cognates of a hohoti: Sanskrit kákhati ‘to laugh’, Latin cachino ‘id’, Armenian xaxank ‘laughter’, OHG kachazzen ‘id.’ and OCS chochotati ‘id’, all from PIE *khakha ‘interjection expressing a laughter’ (IEW, 634). Another example where the Nostratic, as well as Indo-European *kh yielded h in Romanian is the noun hoţ ‘1. thief; 2. crook, charlatan’, which cannot be considered in any way of imitative nature. Its etymology has remained controversial to this day. It is quite obvious that Romanian hoţ derives from PN *k[h]aly-/ *k[h]əly– ‘to rob, to steal, to hide’ through the PIE *k[h]elp[h]-/*k[h]olp[h]- ‘to rob, to steal, to hide’ (Bomhard & Kerns, 266): Greek κλέπτω ‘I steal’, Latin clepō ‘I steal’, Gothic hlifan ‘to steal’, hliftus ‘thief’. In Walde-Pokorny (601) the velar is not aspirated, but palatal *k̂lep– ‘to hide, to steal’, thus, one cannot deduce the origin of Romanian hoţ from this root, unless one looks at the Nostratic form. On the other hand, in Dravidian we have: Tamil kaḷ (kaṭp-, kaṭṭ-) ‘to rob, to steal, to cheat’, kaḷavāṇi, kaḷavāḷi, kaḷvan ‘thief’, Malayalam kaḷkkuka, kakkuka ‘to steal’. Forms with the dental /t/: we have Gothic hliftus ‘thief and in Tamil. Therefore, we may suppose the existence of an older Thraco-Dacian *holtiu, with a later elision of the lateral /l/. Furthermore, Reichenkron (1966:132) thinks that Romanian hoţ is derived from the PIE (s)keud(h)/*(s)keut– ‘to cover, to hide’: Sankrit kuhaka ‘crook, charlatan’. The German linguist shows that the change of meaning from ‘to cover, to hide’ to the one of ‘to cheat’ is found in Greek and Latin as well. In the case of Romanian language, we may suppose that the two meanings overlapped, leading to the overlapping of the two forms, or we should think of there being in this case just one Indo-European root, instead of two.

The Proto-Indo-European voiced aspirated velar (*gh) lost its aspiration (see supra). The verbs a găsi ‘to find’, a gândi ‘to think’, a ghici ‘to guess, to predict, to divine’ derive from PIE *ghed-, *ghend– ‘to apprehend, to understand’ (IEW, 437). In all these examples, Thraco-Dacian *g followed by *e was not palatalized, because e > ə, before iotacism, since we have the older forms a găndi ‘to think’ and a găci (or gâci) ‘to guess, to predict, to divine’ Cognates of these three verbs are found in Latin, Albanian, Germanic, and Slavic: Latin apre-haendo, compre-haendo ‘to grasp, to understand’, Gothic bi-gitan ‘to find’, Old English be-getan ‘to be given, to receive’, Albanian gjej ‘to find’, OCS gadati ‘to suppose, to guess, to think’.

The Proto-Indo-European labiovelars: As I have shown above, the Proto-Indo-European labiovelars turned into bilabials (p, b) before a back vowel (a, o, u), but turned into a simple velar in other cases. The verb a lepăda ‘ drop, to relinquish; 2. to abort’ is considered by most linguists to be derived of  Latin lapidare ‘to cover with stones, to kill by stoning’, but this etymology should be rejected. Instead, I. I. Russu thinks it is of Thraco-Dacian origin, but he gives no other details. This verb is derived from PIE *leikw– ‘to leave behind, to drop, to relinquish’ (IEW, 669), with cognates in several Indo-European languages: Greek λείπω ‘to leave behind, to abandon’, Latin linquo ‘to leave behind, to abandon’, Armenian likanem ‘id’, Lithuanian liekù ‘1. to leave behind, to abandon; 2. to remain, to stay’. The conjunction şi ‘and’ is derived from PIE *kwe ‘and’ (enclitic) > *ke. The velar turned into an affricate in front of a front vowel: *-ke > şi ‘and’: Sanskrit ca ‘and’, Avestan, Old Persian ča ‘id’ (enclitic), Latin –que ‘id’ (enclitic), OCS če ‘and’, Lithuanian –ke ‘and’ (enclitic).

The Proto-Indo-European voiced labiovelar *gw turned into b. The noun bou ‘ox’ is considered to be of Latin origin, but it is attested in Illyrian glosses (see supra), in Dacian bou-dathla ‘a plant’ (in Dioscorides), as well as the Illyrian place-name Bou-dorgis translated as ‘oxen-tower’ by Chantraine (1147), but, I think, a better translation should be ‘oxen-fair’. The second component should be connected to the Illyrian place-name Tergeste (today’s Triest) as well as Romanian târg ‘fair, market’ and the city-name Târgovişte, former capital of Wallachia till around the end of 15th century. Romanian bou < PIE *gwou-s ‘cow, ox’ (IEW, 482), where the Proto-Indo-European voiced labiovelar *gw turned into b, a widespread transformation found in Thraco-Illyrian, Osco-Umbrian, Continental Celtic, as well as in some Greek dialects (see supra): Latin bos, bovis ‘ox’ (a loan-word), Greek bous ‘id’, Umbrian bum, Welsh buwch, Breton buch, as well as Sankrit gauḥ ‘cow’, Avestan gauš ‘id’, Armenian kov ‘id’, Latvian guovs, OCS govedo, Tocharian A ko ‘id’, Albanian ka ‘cow’. One can see clearly that the Albanian form is not descended from Illyrian. As I mention above, the ancestors of Albanian are the Epirotic dialects (see supra). On the other hand, Latin bos was borrowed from Osco-Umbrian or a Continental Celtic or an Illyrian dialect, since in Latin, PIE *gw and *kw never turned into b, p, respectively (cf. Latin aqua). In a closed stressed syllable, PIE *o turned into a in Thraco-Dacian and was preserved as such in Romanian. Beyond the Indo-European languages, the root is found in other Nostratic families such as in Afro-asiatic (Orel, 905) and Dravidian as well as in Sumerian (Bomhard & Kerns, 346). When it was followed by a front vowel, it was palatalized. The noun jar ‘embers’ < PIE *gwher-, gwhermo– (IEW, 498): Albanian zjar, zjarm ‘id’.

The nasals: Both Proto-Indo-European nasals (m, n) were preserved in Thraco-Dacian and Romanian. The noun mire ‘bridegroom’ has been given various etymologies over the years, but Poghirc (ILR, 2, 345) and Brâncuş (VALR, 142) consider it to be of Thraco-Dacian origin. Indeed, Romanian mire is derived from PIE *meri̯o– ‘young man’ (IEW, 738): Sanskrit marya- ‘young man, lover, fiancé’, Old Prussian martin ‘bride’, Lithuanian marti ‘bride’. Romanian mireasă ‘bride’ is a derivative of the masculine form, while the verb a (se) mărita ‘to marry (about women)’ is considered to be of Latin origin, but in fact, it seems to originate from the same Proto-Indo-European root. The root is found in some other Nostratic families such as Afro-asiatic and Dravidian (Bomhard & Kerns, 522).

The verb a necheza (Aromanian necleazare) ‘to neigh’ was considered by traditional linguistics to be a variant of a râncheza ‘id’ which was considered of either Greek or Latin origin. In fact, a râncheza is a phonetic variant of a necheza, not the other way around as it was believed. The verb a necheza has cognates with the same meaning in the Germanic languages or similar meanings in other Indo-European languages. It is derived from PIE *kneug– ‘imitative formation’ (IEW, 608): Greek κνιξάν ‘to snarl’, Lithuanian kniaukti ‘to meow’, Old English knaegan ‘to neigh’, MHG nēgen ‘id’.

All non-round vowels (a, e, i) turned into î (spelled also â), which is a mid-central vowel, in front of both nasals (m, n), in all lexical items of both Thraco-Dacian or Latin origin; cf. a spânzura ‘to hang’ < PIE *(s)pend– ‘to draw, to stretch’, of Thraco-Dacian origin, or împărat ‘emperor’ < Latin imperator ‘emperor’.

The liquids: The Proto-Indo-European liquids (r, l) did not undergo major changes. The Proto-Indo-European vibrant lateral *r did not change in Thraco-Dacian and Romanian. The noun beregată ‘throat, esophagus’ was considered to be derived from Latin *verrucata < verruca ‘protuberance on the skin’ (Puscariu, Dacor., 9, 440; Cioranescu, 776), but this etymology cannot be taken seriously. It is derived from PIE *bherug-, *bhrug-, *bhorg– ‘1. throat, trachea; 2. pharynx’ (IEW, 145): cf. Greek pharynx, Armenian beran ‘mouth’, Lithuanian burna ‘mouth’. Unlike *r, the liquid *l underwent some changes. In intervocalic position, in most cases, it turned into r (rhotacism). However, there are some exceptions which are difficult to explain. On the other hand, it was palatalized before a front vowel which underwent iotacism and eventually disappeared. Both these conditions apply to lexical items of Thraco-Dacian or Latin origin as well. The noun iepure ‘hare, rabbit’ is considered to derive from Latin leporem < lepus ‘id’: Italian lebre, Italian Calabrian dialect liepuru, Albanian lepur, Old Sicilian leporine, Ancient Greek (dialect of Massilia, today’s Marseille) leberís ‘id’ (most probably a Celtic loanword). Romanian iepure (Aromanian l’epur(e)) comes much closer to the Calabrian and Albanian forms. The Italian Calabrian dialect inherits some Oscan phonological features. Instead, the noun femeie ‘woman’ (Aromanian femeale, fumeale ‘family’) is certainly of Latin origin. It is derived from Latin familia ‘family’, undergoing the same phonological transformation. In intervocalic position, it underwent rhotacism, in words of both Latin and Thraco-Dacian origin. The noun sare ‘salt’ is considered to be of Latin origin, from Latin sal, sal-is, but we saw that the root is attested in Thraco-Dacian place-names, as well, all from PIE *sal-, *sald-, *sali-, *salu ‘salt, sea water’ (IEW, 878) (see supra). On the other hand, the adjective fericit ‘happy’ is of Latin origin, namely, form Latin fēlix ‘happy’. Furthermore, the verb a feri ‘to protect, to cover, to avoid’ was given several different “etymologies” not worthy of discussion. Instead, Reichenkron (120) derives it from PIE *pel-, *pelǝ-, *plē– ‘to cover, to hide, to protect’ (IEW, 803) where p > f, due to a e which underwent iotacism and with intervocalic l turning into r, a general rule in Romanian.

Laryngeals: The presence of Proto-Indo-European laryngeal(s) in Romanian has never been discussed before. The laryngeal h is quite frequent in Romanian, but it has different origins, a fact that led to the confusion about its source(s). It is well known that Late Latin lost all its laryngeals. Therefore, Romanian could not inherit the laryngeal from Latin. However, it is found in some Slavic loanwords such as odihnă ‘rest’ and duh ‘spirit’ , Turkish loanwords like hal ‘bad condition or situation’, halva ‘halva(h)’ or Greek origin hartă ‘map’, hârtie ‘paper’, hamsie ‘small fish’. There are also several Gothic words in Romanian which have the laryngeal h: haită ‘1. pack of wolfs or dogs; 2. bitch’, haldău ‘cowboy’ (reg. Transylvania), haiduc ‘outlaw’. Although in most cases, laryngeal h is found in words of Thraco-Dacian origin. Grigore Brâncuş (VALR, 1983) was the first Romanian linguist who understood that there are Romanian words of Thraco-Dacian origin that have the laryngeal h and, therefore, this sound was inherited from this language.

Bomhard (1994) and other Nostraticists consider that Proto-Nostratic had four laryngeals: */ʔ/, */h/, */ħ/ and */ʕ/, which were preserved in early Proto-Indo-European. Bomhard shows that before the breaking up of the Proto-Indo-European parent language, these laryngeals started to come closer to each other and to overlap. The new sounds were pronounced with an open glottis, thus, they turned into so-called ‘an a-coloring’ laryngeal. At this moment, the Anatolian languages separated from the other Indo-European languages. Bomhard drew his conclusion based on the fact that the Anatolian languages have a laryngeal, while most of the other Indo-European languages lost it. A better hypothesis would be that most of non-Anatolian Indo-European dialects begun to lose the laryngeals, but not all these dialects did, since the original Indo-European laryngeal still can be found in a few daughter languages, including Romanian, as I have shown above. He shows that in the late post-Anatolian Indo-European (the period when this language begun to disintegrate), all laryngeals turned into *h which, later on, disappeared from most Indo-European dialects. Based on the evidence from Armenian language, Bomhard thinks that the only laryngeal of this period was the voiceless fricative laryngeal *h which seems to be correct. However, beside Armenian, it can be found in Romanian and Albanian as well.

The laryngeal /h/ is quite frequent in Romanian. Thus, the laryngeals in the verb a hămesi ‘to starve, to be hungry’, as well as in Albanian hamës ‘insatiable, glutton’ represent the Proto-Indo-European laryngeal */h/. Forms with laryngeal having similar meanings are found in the Afro-asiatic languages. Thus, one may reconstruct a Proto-Nostratic *ham-/*həm– ‘to eat, to be hungry, to be insatiable’: Semitic *nVham ‘to be insatiable’; Arabic nhm, West Chadic *hVm ‘to eat, to chew’, East Chadic *ham (cf. Orel, 1995:1157). Furthermore, we have Romanian verb hăcui ‘to cut into, to cut into pieces’ which derives from the Proto-Nostratic *ħak’-/*ħək’- ‘to cut into’ (Bomhard & Kerns, 401) > Proto-Indo-European *ħhek’-w(e)siH ‘ax’: Greek άκξινη ‘ax’, Latin ascia < *acsia ‘ax for carpenters and masons’, Gothic akizi, Old English æx, æsc ‘ax’, as well as Proto-Afro-asiatic *ħak’- ‘to cut into’: Semitic *xak’- > Arabic ḫaḳḳ ‘crevice in the ground’, Hebrew ḥāḳaḳ ‘to cut in, to engrave’. Another example is the verb a hurui ‘to destroy, to demolish’, used mostly in Transylvania, which is derived from Proto-Nostratic *ħul-/*ħol– ‘to destroy, to lay waste, to cause to perish’ (Bomhard & Kerns, 412) having cognates in Indo-European and Dravidian languages: Hittite ḫu-ul-la-a-i ‘to smite, to destroy’, Greek ὄλλῡμι ‘to destroy, to make an end of’, Latin ab-oleō ‘to destroy’, Tamil ula ‘to become diminished, to be wasted, to die, to terminate’, ulakkai ‘end, ruin, death’, Malayalam ulayuka ‘to be impoverished, ruined’ and Sumerian hul ‘to destroy’. In the case of this last example, from all the derivatives in the daughter languages, only Sumerian, Hittite, and Romanian kept the Proto-Nostratic laryngeal */ħ/ as h.

To sum up, the data from Romanian language shows that Proto-Indo-European had the aspirated voiceless velar stop */kh/, as well as the laryngeal */h/. In Romanian, these two Indo-European sounds collapsed into the voiceless laryngeal /h/. In most Indo-European languages, the laryngeals have disappeared, and the voiceless aspirated velar */kh/ has turned into its non-aspirated counterpart. In other words, it is difficult to reconstruct PIE */kh/, taking into consideration most of the Indo-European daughter languages. Instead, the data from the Romanian language indicate the presence in Proto-Indo-European of both: the voiceless aspirated velar */kh/ and at least of one laryngeal */h/. Therefore, one may say that the evidence from Romanian shows that post-Anatolian Indo-European had at least one laryngeal, which disappeared from most, but not all, Indo-European dialects. Although, until now, the scarcity of data led to controversial positions in Indo-European studies, these two phonological aspects found in Romanian represent a turning point in the understanding of these two sounds of Proto-Indo-European.