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Hittite kapart-/kapirt - ‘small rodent’ and Proto-Semitic *ˁkbr-t- ‘mouse, jerboa’

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The Hittite doublet kapart-/kapirt-, designating a small rodent, is currently assumed to continue an Indo-European formation. Hittitologists almost unanimously analyze it as an ablauting t-stem coined from the preverb *ko(m)- ‘together’ and the Indo-European root *bʰer- ‘to carry’, i. e. *ko(m)-bʰēr-t- or *ko(m)- bʰr̥-t. Accordingly, the meaning ‘small rodent’ is explained as having developed from ‘collector’ or ‘hoarder’. It appears that there is a good alternative to this etymology, however, as the Semitic languages offer evidence for a feminine t-stem to the root *ˁkbr- meaning ‘mouse; jerboa’, viz. Akkadian akbartu-, Phoenician ˁkbrt and Syriac ˁuḳbartā. It seems more plausible that this is the source of Hitt. kapart-/kapirt-.

Online erschienen: 2016-10-24
Erschienen im Druck: 2016-11-1

© 2016 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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