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Etymology of the word Horse, Indo-European, Turkish, Sumerian language comparisons


By Mehmet Kurtkaya, Published on November 7, 2018, Updated August 22, 2019

For Latin, Greek the root words for horse and ox are similar!

The words used for "horse" seem different in languages within Indo-European family as well as other languages and their etymology seem to diverge from each other.

Wiktionary has the following etymology for the Latin word for horse, equus:

From Proto-Italic *ekwos, from Proto-Indo-European *h₁éḱwos (“horse”). Cognate with Ancient Greek ἵππος (híppos), Sanskrit अश्व (áśva), Persian اسب‎ (æsb), Old Armenian էշ (ēš, “donkey”), Tocharian B yakwe, Gaulish epos.

Latin word "equus" is quite similar to the word ""ox and to the proto-indo-european construction of the word as -uks. This similarity has a logical basis. The formation of this word is similar to the formation of the word ox: Bull cult and the word for Ox, Cow and Taurus

We can easily see Uğğu+us as the original form. Uğğus > Ekğuus. Ukku (derived from Uğğu), the Hurrian cult center in southeast Turkey around 2000 BC onwards. Karen Radner suggests Ukku was located in what is today modern Hakkari, bordering Iran and the Urmia basin. This is the area where Etruscans migrated from towards Italy.

We can reconfirm the derivation of this word by looking at the Greek word for horse: "Hippos". That would be Uğ+Uğğu+Us (or Ug+uggu+us) equivalent of Uğ+Uppu+Us per p-g sound change to occur in Sumerian Turkish!

Uğ+Uppu+Us > ğuppus > hippos

Hence both Latin and the Greek words derive from the same root and follow sound change rules established in Sumerian!

Evidence for Indo-European - Hurrian relationship includes terms related to horse and horse riding. As I have said previously this is the area, Etruscans and Mycenaeans departed from. Moreover Minoan Greeks also have ancestry from this same region.

In Latin aqua 'water' Octavià Alexandre suggests a sound shift -kʷ- > -kk- which he calls Kretschmer's Law. It one uses "ğğ" instead of -kʷ this would work.Doubling of the consonants is a classic feature of Afroastic words that have migrated from Sumerian to Akkadian. This transforms consonant endings to vowel endings. Kur > kurru, Şar > Şarru, Huur > Huurri etc.

Doubling of the consonants found also in Hurrian like in eššǝ (horse). Same happened with its equivalent uğ > uğğa. The original for eššǝ horse was most probably "eş". I have also shown another classic Afroasiatic transformation T > ş as in Dardan > Shardana Sea peoples from Ugaritic are equivalent hence Turkish word for horse "at" > "aş/eş". (š=ş)

In modern Turkish the word for donkey is eşek. In old Turkish, the word for "donkey" was "eşgek" or eşyek. This g/y alternance clearly points out to an earlier laryngeal ğ.

Known Turkish suffix "-gek/-gak" shows doubling of the consonants "g" and "k", both derive from "ğ". Same with "erkek" from "er": er+kek=erkek. In Turkish "Er" means "male, soldier, hero" and "ar" pride (compare Indo-European "Ar" in "aryan" meaning "noble"). The suffix "-gek" either diminishes or strenghtens word. Hence, Turkish "eş" is the root of the word for donkey "eşgek". Turkish "eş" is the same as the Hurrian "eşşe" and Sumerian word for donkey "anşe". Interestingly, "iş" means labor, work in Turkish. Sumerian "sisi" and Hurrian "eššǝ" (š is denoted with ş in Turkish) meaning horse are similar. For more see horse.

PIE construction for Latin equus: h₁éḱwos lists also the below:

Lycian (esbe) Balto-Slavic: *áśwāˀ Italic: *ekwos, Old Armenian: էշ (ēš, “donkey”)

Tocharian A: yuk and Turkish yuk means load.

(i-qo /íkkʷos/) horse From Proto-Hellenic *íkkʷos (whence also Ancient Greek ἵππος (híppos)), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁éḱwos, from *h₁oh₁ḱu- (“swift”). Unexplained is (h)i for e. Cognates include Sanskrit अश्व (áśva), Latin equus, Gaulish epos, Old Armenian էշ (ēš, “donkey”) and Old English eoh.

Tur was recorded in old Iranian sources for Turk. On the other hand Tur+ukku found around Lake Urmia basin in Iran and Southeast Turkey provide the first written evidence of Turks. Ukku is doubling of uk, and Tur was an early religious ethnonym from Atur. We know that they were Ugur/Hurrian hence "ukku" is associated with horse with the addition of us: ukkuus.

Hence we can easily see how uğğa+us ekwus or equus is formed in Latin.

A very interesting word in Sumerian is "uğğağa" meaning "porter". The sequence of laryngeals "uğğa" mirrors Hurrian -hhe (Ilsa Wegner writes that it is impossible to differentiate between h and ğ in Hurrian Mari texts). With the usual drop of the initial vowel frequently observed in the formation of Indo-European words the rest uğğa > ğğa which is the Indo-Eupopean and Uralic "-kwa" sound. This word also fits PIE for horse (which is a porter, less so than a donkey though) with the change of the last "uğ" with "us" which is a typical duality uğ vs. us in Indo-European (centum vs. satem).

The succestion of the laryngeal "uğ" mirrors the succestion of "us" as found in pre-Greek city names in Anatolia and Greece ending with -ssos/-sos such Cretan Knossos.

Osco-Umbrian regularly changes Proto-Indo-European */kʷ/ into /p/. I should add that this is also found across PIE for wolf lukos vs. lupos. The derivation of lukos and equus are also related just like Latin "lutra" and Sankskrit "udra" (water, water animal whence otter) are cognates. Turkish "ul" for high, sacred (and bright) is the reason for this l initial.

Horse in Sumerian

Dusu means equid and Sisi means horse. Both have -su as ending which derive from Tu/Ti as T > S. However unrelated it may seem, thsi relates to the derivation

"At" is the Turkish word for horse.

Horse in English

Wiktionary suggests this.

From Middle English horse, hors, from Old English hors (“horse”), metathesis from Proto-Germanic *hrussą (“horse”), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱr̥sos (“horse”), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱers- (“to run”). Doublet of course, courier, current.

Proto-Indo-European would be kur+us hence mountain/land + us, Indo-European ending also based on Sumerian.

It may even derived from horde, ordu which means army in Turkish and has a Sumerian equivalent in Sumerian god of war Ninurta = Nin + Urta.

Caballo in Spanish

It derives from Latin which in turn derives from another language. Wiktionary has interesting proposals on this and marks it as disputed. There maybe another derivation not listed on Wiktionary.

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