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The Indo-Iranian word for 'shank, shin'.

Ein Spielmann zog einst des Weges daher,

Da sah er ein Knochlein blitzen,

Er hob es auf, als war's ein Rohr,

Wollt' sich eine Flote d'raus schnitzen.

G. Mahler, 'Das klagende Lied'


THIS AVESTAN WORD is attested as ascum in two almost identical passages in the Videvdat (four times in V 8.63--65 and four times in V 9.23), in a description of the purification ritual, which is performed when a man or a woman has become impure by coming into contact with a dead body. After the necessary preparations, the priest pours water on the person's forehead. Thereupon, Nasu, the female demon of death, moves to the place between the brows, and the priest pours water there. In this way, Nasu continually moves further down, springing from the front to the back and then again from the right to the left, until she disappears from the toes of the contaminated person, who is then pronounced to be purified. The Videvdat passages are important for determining the exact meaning of many body parts in Avestan, and this is also the case for ascum.

Let us start our discussion at the point when Nasu sits at the person's right sraoni- 'buttock' and then springs to the left buttock. When the priest pours water on the left buttock, Nasu moves to haxti acc. du. 'pudenda'. In order to remove Nasu properly, the priest first pours water from behind and then at front, if the "patient" is a man, and the other way round, when it is a woman (which is perfectly understandable from the viewpoint of anatomy). It is important that, from this moment on, Nasu stays at the front of the legs and does not move backwards anymore. Nasu escapes to the right and left [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 'thigh', to the right and left znum 'knee', and then to the right and left ascum, which evidently must mean 'shin, shank', (1) rather than 'calf of the leg', preferred by Wolff in his translation. (2) At the final stages of the ritual, Nasu moves to the right and left [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 'ankle', to the right and left [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 'fore-foot', then [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 'under the sole'. When the priest pours water on the right and left sole, Nasu flees to the right and left angustam 'big toe' and finally disappears.

Bartholomae assumed for ascum a u-stem (ascav- in his notation), which has created a problem for the historical interpretation of this word. As a matter of fact, c can only be phonetically regular before a front vowel, and there are hardly any forms in the inflection of the u-stems where palatalization would be operative. I therefore believe that Bartholomae's analysis of ascum can be improved. As we can see from Avestan forms like jum ( of juua- < *jiua- 'alive'), -um can reflect PIIr. *-iuam through the stages [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Assuming the same origin for ascum, we immediately get an explanation for its c: [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. In other words, ascum points to a thematic stem ascuua- < [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].

There is one more indication for a thematic stem of ascum. In Yt 17.22, we come across the adjective huuascuuo 'with beautiful shanks': (3) sriro ahi [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]

You are handsome, o Zarathustra, you are well-shaped, o Spitama, with beautiful shanks and long arms.

This adjective is thematic, and although Bartholomae postulated the stem hv-ascav-here, too, he remarked (s.v.): "Them.; auffallige Form, die einen AS. Ir. * [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] voraussetzt." If I understand this comment correctly, Bartholomae assumed that thematicization must have started from the accusative, which must then have had the form *-cuuam in Proto-Iranian. This observation comes close to the solution advocated here, but there is no need to assume an athematic stem at any point. (4)


2.1. Skt. asthiva(nt)- is generally glossed 'knee (-joint)', but this translation is wrong. The analysis of the passages clearly shows that asthiva(nt)- rather refers to a part of the leg between the knee and the ankle, i.e., a shank, shin-bone. The word is almost always used next to uru- 'thigh' in the texts, and it is a priori more probable that the pair uru- + asthiva(nt)- denote two major parts of the leg. The close connection between the two terms further follows from the dvandva compound urvasthiva-, which contains the stem [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. The meaning of the compound clearly emerges from a few passages in the SB and JB, where urvasthiva- is used in the plural.


Sapta va ime pascat pranas: catvary urvasthivani, dve pratisthe, yad avan nabhes tat saptamam

There are seven vital airs here behind: the four thighs and shanks and two feet, and what is below the navel--that is the seventh.

Eggeling here translates urvasthivani as 'thighs and knee-bones', but in a parallel passage (dasa padya angulayas catvary urvasthivani dve pratisthe yad avan nabhes tat saptadasam "the ten toes, the four thighs and shanks, the two foot-soles, and what is below the navel that is the seventeenth") he opts for 'thighs and shanks', which is evidently the correct rendering of the word. The author of the text enumerates the parts of the body below the middle, and if we translate urvasthivani as 'thighs and knee-bones', we simply miss the shanks. The JB 1.251 and 257 passages are very similar.

The compound urvasthive (du.) is further attested in a mantra, found with some variants in VS 18.23, MS 2.11.6 (143:13), KS 28.11 (273:11), KapKS (28.9), but its meaning cannot be determined from the context. I here give the VS text:

VS 18.23

vratam ca ma ca me tapas ca me samvatsaras ca me 'horatre urvasthive brhadrathantare ca me yajnena kalpantam

Let my vow and my seasons, my austerity and my year, my day and night, thighs and shanks, Brhad and Rathantara, be put in order through the sacrifice.

2.2. The stem [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is further found in two compounds, mentioned by the grammarians. Panini (5.4.77) gives the compound pad-asthiva-, traditionally translated 'feet and knees', which is a remarkable combination, whereas 'feet and shanks' (i.e., the leg up to the knee) gives perfect sense. Yaska (Nir.) refers to a grammarian called Sthaulasthivi-, whose name presupposes a compound *sthulasthiva- 'with steady shanks' (cf. Debrunner 1957: 31).

2.3. In the simplex we invariably find the nt-stem asthivant-, which is rather frequent, but not all contexts are diagnostic for the meaning. I here give a selection of the most transparent passages.

RV l0.163.4 (= AVS 2.33.5, 20.96.21 = AVP 4.7.6)
urubhyam te asthivadbhyam parsnibhyam prapadabhiyam /
yaksmam sronibhyam bhasadad bhamsaso vi vrhami te //

I tear out the yaksma-disease from your thighs, from the shanks, from the heels, from the fore-feet, from the buttocks, from the pudenda-region(?), from the anus(?).

It is clear that in this list of body parts below the middle, the shanks would be absent if asthivadbhyam referred to knee-joints.

RV 7.50.2

yad vijaman parusi vandanam bhivad

asthivantau pari kulphau ca dehat/

agnts tac chocann apa badhatam ito

ma mam padyena rapasa vidat tsarut//

Whatever "rash" will come on the double joint (i.e., ankle-joint), covering the shanks and ankle-bones, let the burning Agni expel it from here: may the creeping [plant] not hit me with the foot ailment!

Since asthivantau is usually translated as 'knee-joints' or 'knee-caps', vijaman parusi is then interpreted as two joints, viz., an ankle joint and a knee joint. (5) This interpretation is improbable, however. A 'twin-joint, double joint' does not mean 'two joints', but no doubt refers to the ankle-joint, which is "double" since the leg between the ankle and knee consists of two bones, viz., fibula and tibia.

AVS 10.9.19-23 (= AVP 16.137.9-10, 138.1-3)
19 yau te bahu ye dosani yav amsau ya ca te kakut/
 am(ksam durhratam datre ksiam sarpfr atho madhu//
20 yds te griva ye skandha yah prstir yas ca parsavah/
 amiksam, etc.
21 yau to uru asthivantau ye sronti ya ca te bhasat/
 amlksam, etc.
22 yat te puccham ye te bala yad udho ye ca te stanah/
 amlksam, etc.
23 yas te janghah yah rcchara ye ca te saphah/
 amlksam, etc.

What shins are yours (scil. of the cow), what shoulders, what shoulder-blades and what your withers--let them yield to your giver curd, milk, butter, and also honey. What neck-bones are yours, what shoulder-bones, what side-bones, what ribs [--let them, etc.]. What haunches are yours, what shanks, what hips, and what your genitals [--let them, etc.]. What tail is yours, what tuft, what udder, and what your teats [--let them, etc.]. What ankles of yours, what dew-claws, pasterns, and what your hoofs [--let them, etc.].

AVS 9.7.7-10 (= AVP 16.139.7-11)

7 mitras ca varunas camsau, trasta caryama ca dosani, mahadevo bahu,

8 indrani bhasad, vayuh, puccham, pavamano balah,

9 brahama ca ksatram ca sroni, balam uru,

10 dhata ca savita casthivantau, jangha gandhava, apsarasah kusthika, aditih, saphah.

His two shoulder-blades (scil. of the ox) are Mitra and Varuna, his shoulders are Tvastar and Aryaman, his shins are Mahadeva (Siva), his genitals are Indrani, his tail is Vayu, his tuft is Soma. His hips are the Brahmana and the Ksatriya, his haunches are Bala (force). His shanks are Dhatar and Savitar, his [four] ankles are the Gandharvas, his [four] dew-claws are the Apsarases, his [four] hoofs are Aditi.

In these two AVS passages where the limbs of a bovine are enumerated, the order is slightly different, which is due to the metrical demands of 10.9. In both passages, the description begins from the front of the animal. In 9.7, which is in prose, the list starts above, with the shoulders, and then goes down: the part between the shoulders and the knees (dosan-), then the part between the knee and the hoof (bahu-). In 10.9, the order of dosan- and bahu- is the opposite, no doubt for metrical reasons. At the back, 9.7 gives the thighs, shanks, ankles, dew-claws, hoofs, i.e., again a top-to-bottom description, but in 10.9 the terms are presented in a mixed order.

These passages further make clear that bahu- refers to the shin of the front leg of a bovine, whereas asthivant- is the shank of the hind leg.

AVS 10.2.2 = AVP 16.59.2

kasman nu gulphdv adharav akrnvann

asthivantav uttarau purusasya/

janghe niritya ny adadhuh kava svij

janunoh, samdhi ka a tac ciketa//

From what did they make a man's two ankle-bones below, his two shanks above? Where indeed did they set them in, disjoining the ankles? The two knee-joints--who understands that?

Whitney translates asthivantau with 'knee-joints', which cannot be correct since in the same stanza we find janunoh samdhi, the real knee-joints. 'Disjoining the ankles' (janghe nirrtya) again refers to the "double" joint of the ankle.


tasmat tvam asman jatavedo mumugdi / yad vaca yan manasa / bahubhyam asthivabhyam//

...Release us from that [transgression], o Jatavedas, which [we have done] with the voice, with the mind, with arms, with thighs, with shanks.


tad vai na mahat kuryat. nen mahad agham karavanti.

yavan udbahuh purusas tavat ksatriyasya kuryan mukha-daghnam brahmanasyopasthadaghnam striya urudaghnam

vaisyasyasthivaddaghnam sudrasyaivamvirya hy eta iti

Let him not make it (the sepulchral mound) too large, lest he make the (deceased's) sin large. For a Kshatriya he may make it as high as a man with outstretched arms, for a Brahmana reaching up to the mouth, for a woman up to the hips, for a Vaisya up to the thighs, for a Sudra up to the knee; for suchlike is their vigour. (Eggeling)

The problem with Eggeling's rendering of the compound asthivaddaghna- as 'reaching up to the knee' is that this notion is expressed in the SB by janudaghna-, attested several times. The compounds upasthadaghna-, urudaghna-, asthivaddaghna- of the passage are, of course, nonce formations, built in parallel to mukhadaghna-.

2.4. Which of the two forms, viz., ""asthiva- and asthivant-, is older? The former is only attested as a second member of compounds, whereas the latter is only found as a simplex. Wackernagel and Debrunner (AiGr. 11, 1: 97, II, 2: 868, III: 324) clearly opt for an original nt-stem, but their examples for -a- replacing older -ant- are sparse: the only case from older Vedic is AVS 5.19.2 ubhaya-dam, supposedly of ubhaya-dant- 'with incisors in both jaws'. (6) As Whitney indicated in notes to his translation and in the Index Verborum, the passage requires a, however, so that he emended the text to *ubhayadann, following the earlier scholarship (Zimmer, Muir, Grill, and Bloomfield):

petvas (7) tesam * ubhayadann avis tokaniy avayat

... a wether with incisors in both jaws consumed their offspring.

A wether is a ruminant and does not have two rows of incisors, which stresses the idea of an ominous destruction of the oppressors. The emendation is now confirmed by the AVP(O) reading (9.18.8cd yetvas tesam ubhayadann avis tokany avayat).

Since there are no Vedic parallels for -a- replacing original -ant-, I prefer to consider asthiva- the older form. The secondary nt-stem may have arisen along the following lines. The accented suffix -va- enjoyed a certain productivity in Vedic, deriving denominal adjectives with the meaning 'containing X in high degree', (8) cf. Anjiva-'slippery' (anji- 'ointment'), arnava- 'foaming, agitated' (arna(s)- 'flood, wave'), kesava- 'long-haired' (kesa- 'hair of the head'), sraddhiva- 'trustworthy' (sraddha- 'trust'), etc. It is then only to be expected that asthiva- has been reanalyzed as 'very bony' vel sim., with a folk-etymological connection with asthi- 'bone'. (9) The shank is not 'very bony', however, but simply 'containing a (protruding) bone', which triggered the replacement of -va- by -vant- on a model of the pairs like AV + kesava- 'long-haired' : RV + kesavant- 'with a mane'. The suffix -vant- was very productive in Sanskrit and often replaced -van- and -vams- (cf. Wackernagel-Debrunner, AiGr. 11,2: 893). (10) Thus, the original form is only preserved in the old compound urvasthiva-.

2.5. In the literature, Skt. asthivant- is often connected with [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], the meaning of which is rather uncertain. It is attested in two compounds, viz., SB,5 arkasthila- and KS 37.14:94.6, JR 3.260 madhvasthila-. In the SB, this word occurs in a dialogue between Udda-laka Aruni, the father of Svetaketu, and the Brahmana Vaisvavasavya. The former asks the Brahmana about the meaning of the plant Arka (probably Calotropis gigan-tea) and its parts. When Vaisvavasavya admits his ignorance, Uddalaka explains that Arka is a man, and the parts of the plant are identified with parts of a man's face. What part of the plant is [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]-, which is identified with the tongue, is unclear. Eggeling translates 'bulge' in accordance with the meaning given by PW, viz., 'runde kuchenformig verdickte Narbe'. Sayana glosses the word with arkakosamadhye vistarena vartamana tuli "a tuft growing at length in the middle of the Arka-bud." At any rate, [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]- is likely to be sweet, since the tertium comparationis with the tongue is presumably their common epithet madhumant-.

The compound madhvasthila- has been discussed in two articles by Karl Hoffmann (1960: 35f. 1975: 111f., 1970: 59f. = 1976: 516f.) in connection with the JB 3.260 passage, where it is told how the world had emerged from an egg. First, there was non-existence (asat). Then, rta, satya, and tapas gave rise to One (eka), which swelled with light. The text then says: tad abhavat yatha madhvasthila va svasikta syad [d]rtir vaivam (11) "It (One) became like a well-filled madhvasthila or like a leather bag." In an earlier article, Hoffmann followed the rendering of pw, which gives 'Honigklumpen', but later he opted for 'Wabennest' (a honey-comb of wild bees), especially in view of the second occurrence of the word at KS 37.14. The passage is a story of how Indra stole the amrta from the demon Susna. Indra conceived of an ingenious plan: sa madhvasthila bhutva prapathe' sayat. tam susno 'bhi vyadadat. tasyendras syeno bhutvasyad amrtam nir amathnat "He (Indra), having become a madhvasthila, lay on a road. Susna opened [his mouth] for swallowing it. Indra, having become a falcon, stole the amrta from his mouth."

In the MBh, we find asthila- in the meaning 'round pebble, stone', and in the medical texts the word denotes a particular kind of swelling (also vatasthila-). Hoffmann assumed that the original meaning of asthila- was "Kugelformiges' and that this word is etymologically related to asthiva(nt) (1956: 16 = 1976: 396), but I am afraid that both assumptions are wrong. 'Kugelformiges' is probably not the original meaning, but a motive for metonymic usage of the word. The original meaning of asthila- could have been 'honey-comb (of wild bees)' or a kind of bag. It then can easily be associated with a sweet part of a plant (SB arkasthila-), with a particular kind of swelling, or with a round stone. Most likely, asthila- is a borrowing from a non-IE language. Hoffmann postulated an etymological relationship between asthila-and asthiva(nt)- only because he took the latter to mean 'knee-cap' and assumed the round shape to be a common denominator. Now that we know that asthiva(nt)- means 'shin', this semantic justificat ion evaporates, and so the etymological connection becomes improbable.

Nevertheless, I believe that asthila- has played an important role in the history of asthiva(nt)-. As a matter of fact, asthiva(nt)- dies out after the Brahmanas, its place being taken by jangha-, originally 'ankle'. Accordingly, Indian commentators like Sayana did not know the exact meaning of asthiva(nt)- anymore, although they of course understood that the word must refer to a part of the leg near the thigh. The commentators did know asthila-, however, and they conjectured that asthi-vant- (as they analyzed the word) must have something to do with it, being of a round shape. In this way, they may have arrived at the meaning 'knee-cap', which we find in the commentaries and which has entered all our dictionaries.


Neither Skt. asthiva(nt)- nor Avestan ascuua- has an etymology, and to my knowledge, they were never connected with each other because the Sanskrit word was booked with a wrong meaning and the Avestan word was booked with a wrong stem. Although the two words are evidently related, the medial cluster requires further elucidation.

The only etymological suggestion we find in our dictionaries with respect to these Indo-Iranian forms is that they have something to do with the word for 'bone', viz., Skt. asthi-, Av. ast-. I think that this view is correct, i.e., the Indo-Iranian word for 'shin, shank' must be a compound with 'bone' as its first member, but what was its second member? If we look at various Indo-European words for 'shin, shank', we notice that they are often identical with the word for 'pipe, flute, hollow stalk'; cf. Lat. tibia 'shin-bone, flute', Russ. cevka 'shin(-bone) of a horse, bobbin', German Schiene 'shin, rail', etc. Obviously, the hollow shin-bone (12) was used for making flutes and other implements (e.g., bobbins) in and around the house. It seems therefore reasonable to assume that the Indo-Iranian word for 'shin-bone' was a compound of 'bone' + 'pipe'. In other words, the original meaning of the compound was 'bone-pipe', which then was used for the shin-bone. For a parallel, cf. MW ascorn, MB ascorn 'bone' < *a stH 'bone' + kornV- 'horn' (Schrijver 1995: 53) and Dutch ellepijp 'ulna', lit. 'elbow-pipe'.

It seems probable to me that the second member of the Indo-Iranian compound was *(s)ciHua-, closely related to the Slavic words for 'shin-bone, flute, bobbin', cf. Russ. cevka 'shin(-bone) of a horse, bobbin', ceve 'handle, shin', SCr. cijev f. 'pipe, barrel (of a gun), bobbin, shin-bone', cijevka 'a small pipe', cjevanica 'shank' (OCS [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Russ. cevnica 'flute'). These forms point to PSI. [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (c), but beside the i-stem, we also find an a-stem in Czech ceva 'reed, tube', Slovak cieva 'vein' <PSI. *ceva (b). The two stems are also attested in Baltic, viz., Lith. seiva (2/4), saiva (4) 'bobbin', Latv. saiva (13) 'bobbin', next to Lith. seivikaulis 'fibula'. The Balto-Slavic word has mobile accentuation, which at first sight is difficult to reconcile with the laryngeal in the root, necessary to account for the long i in Skt. asthiva-. The co-occurrence of i- and a-stems in Balto-Slavic usually points to a consonant stem, however (cf. Kortlandt 198 5: 118), so that we can reconstruct *koi(H)u-/*koi(H)u-. An original u-stem is also easier to link with ablaut in the root.

The "Gutturalwechsel" in this Balto-Slavic word family has been ascribed by Kortlandt (1978: 238) to s-mobile, and indeed in Germanic we find forms with initial s-; cf. especially OE scia 'shin, leg', which may reflect *skiuo-. (14) In Germanic etymological dictionaries, this word is usually connected with WGm. *skino 'shin' (OE scinu f., OHG skina, skena, etc.) with a reference to the word for 'bee', where we find a similar interplay of the suffixes -u- and -n-; cf. OE beo f. 'bee' (NApl. beon, dpl. beo(u)m), OS bi, OHG bia, OIc. by next to OS and OHG bini n., OHG bian m., bina f. Nevertheless, the relationship between the two Germanic words *skiuo- and *skino remains unclear to me, and for the moment I would prefer to tentatively leave *skino out of consideration. (15) The usual derivation of the Balto-Slavic and Germanic words from the verbal root *skei(H)- 'to cut' is possible, but by no means compelling.

Let us now return to the Indo-Iranian compound. Assuming that the second member was *(s)kiHuo- we arrive at the Proto-Indo-Iranian compound *Hast-(s)kiHua-, which yields *Hast(s)ciHua- after palatalization. It is hard to figure out what would be the phonetically regular development of the Indo-Iranian cluster *-st(s)c-. In Lubotsky 2001 I argue that Skt. pasca, Av. pasca 'after', Oss. faestae 'later' reflect PIIr. *pas(t)-sca < PIE *pos(t) [sk.sup.w][eh.sub.1]. We may conclude that the regular reflex of the cluster *-s(t)sc- was Skt. -sc-, so that it is more probable that the second member of our compound did not have an initial s-. It cannot be excluded, however, that the Sanskrit word was influenced by asthi- 'bone' at some stage.

We learn from Skt. ksinanti 'they destroy' < PIE *[LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (cf. Gr. [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) that [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] developed into Skt. ks, probably through the stages [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] > *ts > ks. It is therefore likely that at some point also yielded *ts. We then arrive at the following possible chain of events: *HastciHua- > *HastsiHua- > *HastsiHua- > asthiva-. A disappearing sibilant (s s s) of the original cluster yields aspiration in Sanskrit; cf. ksa- 'to look, observe' > khya-, *sc > ch, etc. For a parallel I refer to Middle Indic, where the original consonant clusters ps, ts, psy, tsy, sc, ks yielded ch. The development PIIr. *HastciHua- > *(H)asciua- > Av. ascuua- is straightforward.


1. As Dr. K. Praust has suggested to me, Gr. [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 'pillar' and Arm. siwn 'id.' are likely to be related to our word for 'shin'. We know from Myc. ki-wo that the Greek word must go back to *kiuon < *kiHuon, which can be a proto-form of Arm. siwn, too. I do not see any semantic problems either. For instance, one of the meanings of Eng. shank is 'a shaft of a column'; Latv. stulps means both 'post, pole' and 'shank'; OE scia 'shin, leg' is related to MHG schie 'post', etc.

2. PIE *kiHu 'shin' possibly goes back to Nostratic: cf. Proto-Uralic *c'aje-r3 'Stiel, Schaft; Schienbein, Unterarm' (UEW, no. 612) and Proto-Altaic *sinu or *sinu 'bone, shin-bone', reconstructed by Sergei Starostin on the basis of Proto-Turcic *sinok, Mongolian *siya and Proto-Japanese *sunai ("Altaic etymological database" at the Internet-site or

(1.) Thus already Geldner (1881: 576): 'Schienbein'.

(2.) Bartholomae gives both 'Unterschenkel, Wade' in the dictionary; Darmesteter translates 'jambe'.

(3.) Lommel (1927: 162) translates "schone Waden hast du," but in a footnote he writes: 'Unterschenkel'.

(4.) There are no clear cognates of Av. ascuua- 'shank' in other Iranian languages. Abaev (III: 119) reconstructs PIr. *asku- for Ossetic (Iron) [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 'haunch (as food)' (in Miller-Frejman 1080, this word is given as sgy 'bedrennaja kost' [thigh-bone]) and connects it with Av, ascuua-. First of all, the reconstruction *asku- is impossible. Since final -u- disappears in Ossetic, the Iranian proto-form must be either *(a)skuuV-, or *sku. Secondly, the cluster *-sc- does not normally yield -sk- in Ossetic (cf. Oss. [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 'later', Av. pasca 'after'). Also the meanings are sufficiently different that I am reluctant to accept this etymology. The meaning and the very existence of Khwar. 'sk [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Benzing 1983: 85) are too uncertain to be used for etymological purposes (MacKenzie 1990: 104 reconstructs *astaka).

(5.) For instance, Geldner translates 'Zwillingsgelenk', but comments ad loc.: "vijaman parusi wird durch die Duale in b erlautert."

(6.) For the meaning see Macdonell-Keith 1912, s.v.

(7.) For petva- see Wackernagel-Debrunner, AiGr. II,2: 712.

(8.) Imprecise Wackernagel-Debrunner (AiGr. II,2 868): 'damit versehen'.

(9.) Possibly, the word asthi- kernel of a fruit', given by the lexicographers, is due to the same reanalysis.

(10.) The forms which ended in *-uas in the nominative were often reinterpreted as containing the suffix -vant- (cf. also Wackernagel-Debrunner, AiGr. III: 287).

(11.) For the reconstruction and analysis of the passage I refer to Hoffmann's articles.

(12.) Normally of animals, but considering the fairy-tale "Der singende knochen" from the collection by the Grimm brothers, elements of which were used by Gustav Mahler for his "Das klagende Lied," we can assume that the human shin-bone is likewise suitabte for this purpose.

(13.) Dr. R. Derksen points out to me that the joint evidence of the dialect forms saiva/saive (West), saiva/saive (East) points to an original falling intonation, so that the sparsely attested saiva/saive must be secondary.

(14.) The formation and inflectional class of this noun are unclear; Brunner (1965: 114) gives the following attested forms: (Erf., Corp.), pl. (North.) sciu L, scia, sciae [R.sup.2].

(15.) If the root contained a laryngeal, the short vowel of PGm. *skino may be due to pretonic shortening (Dybo), similar to that in PGm. *sunu- (Goth. sunus) < *suHnu- (Skt. sunu-).


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II,2: J. Wackernagel. 1954. Nominalsuffixe, herausgegeben von A. Debrunner.

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Date:Apr 1, 2002
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