Previous Up Next

4  Hands, arms and legs

Proto-Tallic had no separate root for either ’hand’ or ’arm’. The word for ’hand’ was *unpun lit. ’five-finger’ and yielded Talmit umpún and Kymna umun.

The root √plezn described something like a node from where various joints branched off. In Talmit, plézne came to mean ’hand’ or ’branch’ (the latter usually compounded to katuplézne ’tree-hand’), but in Kymna lindza < *plenz(Q)a came to mean ’net’ or ’cobweb’.

Another path of development went from the sound-symbolic root √r-p ’take away, seize’ (see sound-symbolism:, whence Talmit rápa ’robbery, seizure’, rapárpa ’thief, robber’ and early adverbial *arpa ’by taking, by seizing’. Sound-symbolic words had a regular way of forming the intensive by i-infixion. In the case of the adverbial form it led to *arpai, and as ai incidentally was a sign of dual (T. ai, K. ei), it ironically came to mean ’grab something with both hands and stretching out the arms’.
As a kind of back-formation, early *arpa became ’arm’. In Kymna, it regularly became āra. In Talmit, however, the word received a curious metathesis and voicing to ábra ’right arm’. It seems to have been influenced by the root √bradn ’to fight’, whence Talmit bráznun. In fact, the greater plural ábrami or the collective ábramai is regularly used in the sense ’army, force, troop’ (lit. ’many right arms’ or ’collection of right arms’). The word for ’left arm’ became íbri by reanalysis (supplying the negative signum marker i), and its greater plural and collective íbrimi, íbrimai is used in the sense ’support, provisions’.

The Proto-Tallic word *pur meant ’leg including foot’ (cf. K. purun ’toe’ (< *pur-pun ’foot-finger’)), but its e-grade synonym póre differentiated once more by the influence of signum to mean ’right leg’, while pur correspodingly came to mean ’left leg’. The dual was péor ’both legs’ < *pour. A compound with *arpai yielded péorpai ’body’ where original rp of *arpai has been fossilized.
Pentality plays an important role here, as the body is regarded as the collection of the five limbs in Talmit: two arms, two legs and the head. Incidentally, the original root for ’head’ is √per which looks suspiciously close to √pur – the two might have had the general meanings ’upper part’ and ’lower part’ (cf. dappúr ’foot of the mountain’). √per has been replaced in the literal sense ’head’ by paróxe, parúx (from √pruks, a modified form of √prus ’vertical position’) and is only used in the sense ’main, chief’, as in pérax ’king, monarch’, perpélezmai, perpélmai ’capital city’.

Another word for ’leg’ excluding the foot, ba, is very versatile in Talmit. It can also mean ’pillar’, especially in the compound dambá ’stone-pillar’. At one time, it also seems to have denoted buildings (as something solid and upright), but is in Talmit only used for the names of shops and institutions of all kind, e.g. gamϕabá ’fish-shop’, ϕoskabá ’barber’, herkabá ’bookshop’, pekworbá ’florist’, aχagembá ’restaurant’ and so on. The root extension √prus ’vertical position’ → √prubs ’tower’, T. parúzba, K. orudza is perhaps not coincidental either.
Furthermore, báhat is a unit of length close to a metre, literally ’one leg’ – or rather ’one step’. The corresponding unit of weight is dákat ’(one) stone’ and the dvandva-compound of both, dáxeba, means ’measurement’.
Finally, the dvandva compound of ba and ka ’flat solid surface’ becomes kásseba ’foundation, fundament, grounds, reason’.

Previous Up Next