Saturday, July 16, 2011

An Anatolian word for ‘tin, lead’

Anatolia was once leader in metal-working and metal-casting.
There is an interesting set of similar words: Sumerian nagga from which Armenian anag ‘tin, lead’ is certainly derived. It can be noted that Sanskrit also has this word as nāga with a long vowel.
Diakonov once proposed that this word may originate from India. But it appears that this word is most probably of Hurro-Urartean origin: the root is naH- ‘to melt, cast (metal)’, also attested in Greek nai- ‘to flow’, hence Hurrian naH-ka ‘(molten) metal’, originally ‘tin, lead’. The voiced consonant of Armenian and Sanskrit suggests that this word was transmitted through Sumerian.

Ultimately the Hurro-Urartean root naH-k- ‘to melt, cast (metal)’ is a cognate of PIE *leH- ‘to flow (as of some thick substance like mud)’.
Best. A.

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