Proto-Indo-European Particles
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Proto-Indo-European Particles

The particles of the Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) have been reconstructed by modern linguists based on similarities found across all Indo-European languages.


Adverbs used as adpositions

Many particles could be used both as adverbs and postpositions. This is similar to modern languages; compare English He is above in the attic (adverb) and The bird is above the house (preposition). The postpositions became prepositions in the daughter languages except Anatolian, Indo-Iranian and Sabellic; some of the other branches such as Latin and Greek preserve postpositions vestigially.[1]

Reflexes, or descendants of the PIE reconstructed forms in its daughter languages, include the following.

Particle Meaning Reflexes
*h?epo / h?po / apo from Ved. ápa "away, forth", Gk. apó, Lat. ab "from", Alb. pa "without", Eng. of, off,[2] Hitt. ?ppa, ?ppan "behind"
*h?ed to, by, at Lat. ad, Osc. adpúd, Umb. a?, Goth. at, ON at, Eng. æt/at, Gm. az/--, Ir. ad/do, Welsh add-, at, Gaul. ad, Phryg. addaket, XMK addai[3]
*h?eti from, back, again Lat. at, OCS OCS Ir. aith-, Welsh ad- "re-", Toch. A atas, Toch. B ate "away", Gk. atar "however"
*h?en / *h?enh? / *h?neh? on, upon Av. ana, Gk. ano, Lat. in (in some cases), ON á, Goth. ana, Eng. an/on, Gm. ?/an, Lith. ant[]
*h?enti against, at the end, in front of, before Gk. anti, Lat. ante, Hitt. hantezzi "first"
*h?eu off, away, too much, very Ved. ava, ' Lat. aut, autem, 'Lith. nuo, Eng. of, off[3]
*h?n?-b?i / *h?m?-b?i around[4] (-> both) Ved. abhi, Av. aiwito, aibi, Pers. abiy/?, Gk. amphi, ON um, Eng. bi/by; ymbi/umbe (obsolete), Gm. umbi/um; ?/bei, Lat. ambi, ambo, Gaul. ambi, Ir. imb/um, Welsh am, Toch. ?mpi/?, Alb. mbi, Lith. abu, OCS oba, Russ. ob "about", oba "both"[3]
*b?e without OCS , OPruss. bhe, Ved. bahis "from outwards"[3]
*de, *do to Gk. -de, Eng. to, Gm. zu, Lith. da-, OCS do, PER tâ, Welsh i, Ir. do, Luw. anda,
*h?es out Lat. ex, Gk. (ek)/ (eks), Gaul. ex-, Ir. ass/as; acht/; echtar, Russ. (iz), Alb. jashtë, Oscan eh-, Umbrian ehe-, Lith. i?, Ltv. iz, OPruss. is, Welsh ech-[3]
*h?es-tos outside Gk. ektos[3]
*h?es-tro- / *h?es-ter extra Lat. extra,[3] Welsh eithr "except, besides"
*h?en in Gk. en, Lat. in, Eng. in/in, Gm. in/in, ?n/ein-, Ir. i, Welsh yn, Arm. i, Alb. në, OPruss. en, OCS v?(n)-,[2]

Luw. anda, Carian nt_a, Goth. in, ON í, Ir. in/i, Lith. ?, Ltv. iek[]

*h?en-ter within, inside Ved. antár "between", Lat. inter "between, among", Gm. untar/unter "between, among" (see also *n?d?-er below), Ir. eter/idir "between", Cornish ynter, Alb. ndër "between, in",[2] Pers. ændær "inside", SCr. unutar "within"
*h?eti beyond, over (about quantity), besides Lat. et, etiam, Gk. , , Ved. (ati), Av. aiti, OPruss. et-, at- , Eng. ed-, edgrow, Gaul. eti, t-ic
*h?opi / h?epi near, at, upon, by Ved. ápi "by, on", Gk. epí "on", Lat. ob "on", Arm. ew "and",[2]

Av. aipi, Lith. api-, apie, Alb. afër "near" [3]

*h?neu without Khot. anau "without" Osset. aenae Gk. aneu
*km?-th? / *km?-ti by, along Hitt. katta "with, down (+Gen)", Gaul. kanta "with", Gk. katá "down"[2][3] Welsh gan
*kom with Lat. cum, Ir. co/?,[2] Welsh cyf-, Goth. ga-
*med?i in the middle Pers., miyan Av. madiiana, Khot. mayana-, Ved. madhyama Lat. medius OPruss. median Goth. miduma "the middle" OCS me?du,[3] Welsh y mewn
*n?d?-eri under Ved. adhás, Av. a?airi, Lat. ?nfr-?, Eng. under/under, Arm. ?nd,[2]

Pers. ?/z?r, ON und, Goth. undar, Gm. untar/unter, Arm. ?ndhup/?nthub[]

*ni down, under Ved. ní, Eng. ne-ther, Arm. ni, OCS ni-z?[2]
*nu now Hitt. nu, Luw. nanun, Ved. n?, OPers. n?ra/?, Pers. æknun/konun/?, Gk. nun, Lat. nunc, ON n?, Goth. nu, Eng. n?/now, Gm. nu/nun, Toch. nu?/nano, Lith. n?n, Ltv. nu, OPruss. teinu, OCS (nyne), Alb. tani, Arb. naní[] (but see the list of conjunctions below)
*h?eb?i, h?b?i towards, into, at OCS [3]
*pe with, together Hitt. pe-[]
*per(i) around, through Ved. pári "around, forth", Gk. perí "around", Lat. per "through", OPruss. per, Alb. për,[2] Russ. pere- "through, over"
*per / *pero / *pr? before, forth, in front of, ahead of Hitt. p?ran "before", pr? "toward", Ved. pr?, Lat. per, pr?, Eng. for/fore-, Gm. ?/vor, Welsh rhy, rhag, er, Lith. per, pro[], Alb. para, Pers. pær-/pæri-/par-, Russ. pered
*pos after Ved. pascat, Lat. post, Lith. paskui[5]
*r? / *r? / *r?-d?i for (enclitic), for the purpose of Ved. r?[] OCS ?
*trh?os through Ved. tiras, Lat. tr?ns, Eng. through, OIr. tar,[5] Welsh tra
*uper above Ved. upári, Gk. hupér, Lat. s-uper, Eng. over, Ir. for/fara, Welsh gor-, gwar- Arm. (i) ver "up",[2] Alb. sipër, Gm. über
*up / *upo under, below Ved. úpa "up to", Gk. hupó "below", Lat. s-ub, Ir. fo/faoi,[2] Welsh go-, gwa-

Hitt. upzi, Av. upa, Pers. upa/?, Umb. sub, Osc. sup, ON upp, Goth. iup, Eng. upp/up, Gm. uf/auf, Welsh go, Gaul. voretus, Toch. ?/spe, Lith. po[]

Untranslated reflexes have the same meaning as the PIE word.

In the following languages, two reflexes separated by a slash mean:

Negating prefixes (privatives)

Two privatives can be reconstructed, *ne and *m?, the latter only used for negative commands. The privative prefix *n?- is likely the zero grade of *ne.

Particle Meaning Reflexes
*ne sentence negator Ved. ná, Lat. n?/ne-, Eng. ne/no, Gm. ne/nein, Lith. nè, OCS ne,[6]

Hitt. natta, Luw. ni-, Lyc. ni-, Lyd. ni-, Av. na, Pers. na/?, Gk. ne-, Osc. ne, Umb. an-, ON né, Goth. ni, Ir. ní/ní, Welsh ni, Arm. an-, Toch. an-/en-, Ltv. ne, OPruss. ne, Pol. nie, Russ. ne, net, Alb. nuk[]

*n?- privative prefix Hitt. am-, Ved. a(n)-, Gk. a(n)-, Lat. in-, Alb. e-, Eng. un-,[6] Gm. un-
*m? negator for commands Ved. m?, Per ma-, Gk. m? (Doric m?)[6]

Alb. mos

Adverbs derived from adjectives

Adverbs derived from adjectives (like English bold-ly, beautiful-ly) arguably cannot be classified as particles. In Proto-Indo-European, these are simply case forms of adjectives and thus better classified as nouns. An example is *me?h? "greatly", a nominative-accusative singular.[7]


The following conjunctions can be reconstructed:[8]

Particle Meaning Reflexes
*k?e and, word or phrase connector+ Hitt. -ku, Ved. ca, Av. ca, Gk. te, kai, Lat. -que, Celtib. kue, Per ke
*w? or, word or phrase disjunctor+ Ved. v?, Gk. -(w)?, Lat. -ve
*de and, sentence connector Gk. dé, Alb. dhe, Russ. da "and"
*nu and, sentence connector Hitt. nu, Ved. nú, Gk. nú, Toch. ?/nu, Ir. no-/?, OCS n? (but see the adverbs above)

+Placed after the joined word, as in Latin Senatus populus-que Romanus ("Senate and people of Rome"), -que joining senatus and populus.


There is only one PIE interjection that can be securely reconstructed; the second is uncertain.

Particle Meaning Reflexes
*wai! expression of woe or agony Hitt. uwai, Lat. vae, Welsh gwae, Breton gwa, Eng. woe, ON. vei, Pers. vai, Kurd. wai, Ved. uv?, Gk. a?, a? a? (woe!, alas!), Lith. vajé, Ltv. ai, vai
*?! / *eh?! (?) oh! Gk. ?, Lat. ?, Eng. oh!, Gm. oh!, Russ. o!,[9] Pers. e!


  1. ^ Fortson (2004:133–4)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Fortson (2004:134)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Bla?ek : Indo-European Prepositions and Related Words (2005)
  4. ^ Fortson (2004:239)
  5. ^ a b Beekes
  6. ^ a b c Fortson (2004:133)
  7. ^ Fortson (2004:132–3)
  8. ^ Fortson (2004:134–5)
  9. ^ Schenk (1998:[page needed])


  • Dunkel, George E (2014), Lexikon der indogermanischen Partikeln und Pronominalstämme, Carl Winter Universitätsverlag, ISBN 978-3-8253-5926-3
  • Fortson, Benjamin W., IV (2004), Indo-European Language and Culture, Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 1-4051-0316-7

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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