Consonant Shifts from Proto-Indo-European

This is a very summarised table of consonants shifts from Proto-Indo-European to Russian (representing eastern languages) and western languages (represented by Latin and two Germanic languages). Where it is all too apparent I added notes regarding alternative shifsts. The table also completely ignores vowels and other features that affect sound changes and lists only the most easily recognised consonant shifts.

 

I use Latin letters to represent consonants except where not possible when I use old English or cyrillic letters.

 

Russian

PIE

Latin

Germanic

English

Yiddish

P

под

*P

*pods

P

pēs, pedis

F

foot

F

פֿיס

T

три

*T

*treyes

T

trēs

þ

three

D

דרײַ

S

сто

*K

*kmtom

K

centum

H

hundred

H

הונדערט

B

быть

*B

*buh

F

fui

B

to be

B

איך בין

D

два

*D

*dwoh

D

duo

T

two

Ц

צוויי

 

PIE *<D> sometimes transforms into <L> in Latin (мед <-> mel) at which point the Germanic cognate can have the expected <T> (lingua <-> tongue). PIE *<D> can also transform into Latin <B> if followed by <U> or <W> (duo <-> bis).

 

For the sweet drink "mead" the *<D> apparently survived into Germanic.

 

Russian

PIE

Latin

Germanic

English

Yiddish

G

груда

*G

*gher

G

grandis

G

great

G

גרויס

 

At this point it should be noted that a Germanic <G> often turned into an English weak consonant creating German-English pairs garden <-> yard, sonnig <-> sunny, Zug <-> tow, gelb <-> yellow.

 

Russian

PIE

Latin

Germanic

English

Yiddish

S

сестра

*S

*swesor

S

soror

S

sister

Ш

שוועסטער

 

Note that <S> turned into <Ш> (written "sch" in German and "sh" in English) in German (and thus Yiddish) before a consonant. Compare English strone with German Stein where "S" is pronounced like "sh". Before <K> an <S> turned into <Ш> and the <K> is no longer pronounced: school <-> Schule.


 

Russian

PIE

Latin

Germanic

English

Yiddish

M

мати

*M

*mehter

M

mater

M

mother

M

מוטער

N

нет

*N

*ne hest

N

ne est

N

not

N

נישט

L

любить

*L

*lewb

L

libet

L

to love

L

ליבע

 

Latin "libet" apparently exists only in the third person with dative to mean "it is pleasing".

 

Russian

PIE

Latin

Germanic

English

Yiddish

R

русыӣ

*R

*hrewdh

R

russus

R

red

R

רויט

V

два

*W

*dwoh

W

duo

W

two

V

צוויי

 

For PIE *<W> there are several interesting daughter words. PIE *wodr turned into Russian вада, Latin unda and English water as well as Greek hydra (Greek lost <W>). Likewise PIE *weh turned into Russian вера, into Latin veritas, and into German wahr. All PIE languages except English appear to have lost <W> and replaced it with <V> or <U> depending on pronunciation needs (Greek replaced it with nothing, it just went away). Latin replaced <W> with <V> and <U> only some 2000 years ago.

 

English "very" is a loan from French. The English cognate would have "w".

 

 


 © Andrew Brehm 2016