Thursday, January 24, 2008


Ishinan at The Egyptian Chronicles wrote to us as follows:

Best viewed by clicking the Following URL (or, if you have a problem, you can highlight the URL and then copy and paste it in your browser).


This investigation attempts to reexamine aspects of the relationship between IE and Semitic, by considering in detail derivations of areas never touched upon such as words for common tree in both (IE) and Semitic. In Calvert Watkins' article "Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans, inferences were made about words for tree which were common to the homeland of the Indo-European-speaking people before the period of migrations took them to the different localities.

Below is what he had to say on this subject:

"Nature and the Physical Environment. A large number of terms relating to time, weather, seasons, and natural surroundings can be reconstructed from the daughter languages, some of which permit certain inferences about the homeland of the Indo-European-speaking people before the period of migrations took them to the different localities where they historically appear. .......

When none of these runs through the whole family, it would not be justifiable to infer anything from them regarding the terrain of a hypothetical original homeland of the Indo-Europeans."

According to him: The names for a number of different trees are widely enough attested to be viewed as Proto-Indo-European in date. Hence, general terms for “tree” and “wood” was deru. The names for a number of different trees are widely enough attested to be viewed as Proto-Indo-European in date. The general term for “tree” and “wood” was deru-. The original meaning of the root was doubtless “to be firm, solid,” and from it is derived not only the family of English TREE but also that of English TRUE. Note that the semantic evolution has here been from the general to the particular, from “solid” to “tree” (and even “oak” in some dialects), and not the other way around."

Further, the following etymological entries are usually offered on this subject:

DEFINITION: Also dreu-. To be firm, solid, steadfast; hence specialized senses “wood,” “tree,” and derivatives referring to objects made of wood.

1. Suffixed variant form *drew-o-. a. tree, from Old English trow, tree, from Germanic *trewam; O-grade form *doru-. deodar, from Sanskrit dru, wood, timber. (Pokorny deru- 214.)

TREE : O.E. treo,treow "tree" (also "wood"), from P.Gmc. *trewan (cf. O.Fris. tre, O.S. trio, O.N. tre, Goth. triu), from PIE *deru-/*doru- "oak" (cf. Skt. dru "tree, wood," daru "wood, log;" Gk. drys "oak," doru "spear;" O.C.S. drievo "tree, wood;" Serb. drvo "tree," drva "wood;" Rus. drevo "tree, wood;" Czech drva; Pol. drwa "wood;" Lith. derva "pine wood;" O.Ir. daur, Welsh derwen "oak," Albanian drusk "oak"). Importance of the oak in mythology is reflected in the recurring use of words for "oak" to mean "tree." Slovenian: drevo, Danish: træ , Norwegian: tre , Icelandic: tré , Icelandic: tjara.

2. Variant form *derw-. tar1, from Old English te(o)ru, resin, pitch (obtained from the pine tree), from Germanic *terw-. .

However, according to Classical Arabic sources, "drw" (d : an emphatic dad) is a species of trees of sweet odor growing mostly in Yemen. Some say it is the btm (1), from which the bitumen is extracted; others refer it to the terebinth-tree. Drw also stands for the great oak growing in the Yemeni mountains, and the cancamum tree growing in Arabia (Yemen).

Further, from the tree "drw" tar is extracted.

As for the word for oak tree, the Classical Arabic term is simply" 'iyk. The word occurs four times in the Qu'ran referring to the oak forest dwellers.
(Q.XV.78, Q.XXVI.176, Q.XXXVIII.12, and Q.L.13)

Compare with:

OAK O.E. ac "oak tree," from P.Gmc. *aiks (cf. O.N. eik, O.Fris., M.Du. ek, Du. eik, O.H.G. eih, Ger. Eiche), of uncertain origin with no certain cognates outside Gmc. The usual I.E. base for "oak" (*derwo-/*dreu-) has become Mod.Eng. tree. Used in Biblical translations to render Heb. elah (probably usually "terebinth tree") and four other words. The O.N. form was eik, but there were no oaks in Iceland so the word came to be used there for "tree" in general. Any of numerous monoecious deciduous or evergreen trees or shrubs of the genus Quercus, bearing acorns as fruit. The durable wood of any of these trees or shrubs. Something made of this wood. Any of various similar trees or shrubs, such as the poison oak. Any of various brown shades resembling the wood of an oak in color. Danish: egetræ, Dutch: eik, Norwegian: eik, Swedish: ek .

CONCLUSION: There is great merit in the comparative method which leads to the assumption of the previous existence of an antecedent common to IE languages. However, the existence of identical words for "tree" and its variant "tar," along with the word for oak outside IE languages, undermines the prevailing notion of being exclusively IE.

Therefore, it is safe to conclude that any inference of a hypothetical original homeland of the Indo-Europeans, based on situations like *deru, ought to be reconsidered.

Various JPEGs of dictionary entries on the subject matter can be viewed for scrutiny by the members by clicking on the following URL:


January 24th, 2008



(1) BITUMEN 1460, from L. bitumen "asphalt," probably, via Oscan or Umbrian, from a Celtic source (cf. Gaulish betulla "birch," used by Pliny for the tree supposedly the source of bitumen). Bituminous is from 1620 .Middle English bithumen, a mineral pitch from the Near East, from Latin bitumen, perhaps of Celtic origin.] . Du.: bitumen Est.: bituumen, Fin.: bitumi , Fr. : butume , Ger. Bitumen, Hung.:bitumen, It.: bitume, Latv: bitumens. Lith.bitumas, Port.: betume, Roum. : bitum, Slov. bitumen, Sp.: bitun, Swedish: bitumen.

ÉTYMOL. ET HIST. Ca. 1160 betumoi « substance combustible liquide » (Eneas, éd. Salverda de Grave, 6498 : Li betumoi a tel nature : Là ou il est un po sechiez Ja ne sera puis depeciez), forme attestée jusqu'au xiiie s. dans T.-L.; 1190 betume (Evrat, Genese, B.N., 12457, fo 16a dans Gdf. Compl.), forme attestée jusqu'au xiiie s., Ibid.; xve s. forme bitumme, bithume (Hist. s. et prof., Ars. 3515, t. 1, fo 101 ro, Ibid.); xvie s. bitumen (Hug.); 1575 bitume (Belleforest, Cosmographie universelle, Paris, II, 2135 dans Fr. mod., t. 25, p. 306 : une espece de Bitume); p. méton. 1841 « trottoir » (d'apr. Esn.). Empr. au lat. bitumen « id. » (Caton, Agr., 95, 1 dans TLL s.v., 2021, 75); [la date de 1549 donnée pour bitume par les dict. étymol. s'applique au texte lat. de Tagault cité dans Gdf. Compl., dont la trad. fr. est de 1618]; betumoi avec suff. d'a. fr. -oi (lat. -êtu) indiquant une étendue.(source: Centre National de Ressources Textuelles et Lexicales ")

However, one senses that etymologists, by using terms like probably or perhaps are rather tentative in their assumption. While factually, the Arabic word btm for bitumen appears to be a straightforward candidate, pointing to a definite Semitic source for the word.

Andis Kaulins replied:

Ishinan, it is not your fault, but you are relying on Indo-European
scholars such as Pokorny who had little clue about the actual origins
of language.

The idea that *deru- or *drue- is the correct root word in
Indo-European for words such as "tree" as alleged derived from some
concept for "hard" is clearly erroneous, as any study of Latvian
demonstrates. [Latvian ciets for "hard" may have to do with Latvian koks "tree", but that is an entirely different root]

The correct root for "tree" is not in the concept of "hard" but in the
concept of "branched", for which reason words for "branches" in
Latvian have the root word "zar-" which corresponds to the ancient
word for tree "tar" as tree, indicating an original fricative *dzar-
as the correct root word for "tree". Furthermore, a cognate word in
Latvian like darva is not e.g. the "hardwood" of a tree, but rather
means quite the contrary the "pitch" of the tree, whence "tar".

Once again, the Indo-European scholars have erred mightily.

Similarly, the root for tree, contrary to the absurd notion of the
mainstream Indo-Europan linguists, has nothing to do with the word
true and its cognates. The root for words like "true" in the sense of
"loyalty" is found in Latvian tur- "to hold, to hold to", and is
cognate with der- "to be useful" and dar- "to do", all of course
dissimilated over time from a single common root.

Monday, January 21, 2008

GPS and Other Coordinate Systems in Archaeology & Archaeoastronomy - LexiLine Journal 475

The prime meridian of GPS and Google Earth, which uses WGS84 (1984), runs 102.5 meters east of the Prime Meridian of 1884 at Greenwich. This is not an "error". Read at the Flamsteed Astronomy Society why that is so.

Determining just where we are or where a given place is located is not as simple as it may initially seem to anyone who uses GPS or other survey systems, including the navigation systems in your automobiles. Large discrepancies exist between the various systems, so that awareness of conversion problems is necessary in archaeological and archaeoastronomical work as also for navigation.

GPS (Global Positioning System) operates by means of satellites which determine the position of your GPS receiver. If we define a particular located position as "X", then position X must be a given a value within some kind of a specific coordinate system, and in the case of GPS that position X is given in terms of latitude and longitude, as calculated by WGS84 (World Geodetic System 1984), a standard which was revised by the geopotential model EGM96 (Earth Gravity Model 1996 ) and is in future revision in 2008 as EGM2008 (initially EGM06).

There are numerous other survey systems used for mapping and cartography around the globe and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency offers the program Geographic Translator (GEOTRANS) for conversion of "twenty-five different coordinate systems, map projections, grids, and coding schemes, and over two hundred different datums...."

The Universal Transverse Mercator Coordinate System is used for mapping the world, now based on WGS84.

A different survey system is ED50, which is used in mapping Western Europe, excluding Britain, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland, who have their own mapping systems. ED50 can differ by as much as 100 meters west and south from WGS84, i.e. GPS.

Similarly large up to 100-meter+ differences from WGS84 can also be found in the mapping coordinate systems used by Great Britain and Ireland.

For Great Britian, beside GPS, the major mapping system in use is:
OSGB36 - Ordinance Survey Great Britain 1936-1962 - The British national grid reference system.

For Ireland, the major mapping system besides GPS in use is The Irish grid reference system (which also includes Northern Ireland).

Coordinate conversion viz. transformation forms for both the British and Irish coordinate systems are available at the Coordinate Converter and also at the Ordnance Survey Coordinate Transformer.

If we plug in e.g. SU123422 (the grid reference for Stonehenge), converts this to
51.178904N Long: 1.825418W
which is very close to latitudinal and longitudinal values found online
51.178816N Longitude: 1.826563W (Megalithic Portal)
51.178381, -1.824018, Stonehenge (Stone Search)
51°10´44´´N, 1°49´34´´W (Wikipedia)

For megalithic sites specifically:

Stones Search:
1) generates GPS-suitable output as a comma-separated-variable (CSV) format with the fields latitude, longitude, site name

or at the standard search form
2) generates the British or Irish grid reference

Other Specialized Converters are:

GPS Coordinate Converter with MAP feature showing location (we entered WGS84 data 51.178381, -1.824018 for Stonehenge and received GPS N 51 10.703 W 1 49.441 and latitude and longitude in degrees minutes and seconds N51 10 42W1 49 26)
Coordinate Converter Latitude, Longitude <=> UTM (with choice of Datum)
Geographic/UTM Coordinate Converter (Translate coordinates WGS-84, NAD-83, and NAD-27 to and from Latitude/Longitude and UTM)
UK Street Map Coordinate Converter
Archaeoptics (Easting Northing)
Map Window GIS (Open Source Programmable Geographic Information System Tools)
Latitude Longitude Converter
Find Out Where You Are (latitude & longitude, national grid references (NGR), Maidenhad locators (QRA)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

PIE: *bher-1 <-- --> Semitic *b'r - LexiLine Journal 474

Ishinan wrote:

PIE reconstruction in need of revision based on linguistic evidences outside (IE).

PIE: *bher-1 (PIE base *bhor-/*bhr-)

BORE 1 v. tr. TRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To make a hole in or through, with or as if with a drill. 2. To form (a tunnel, for example) by drilling, digging, or burrowing. PIE: bher-1. O.E. borian "to bore," from bor "auger," from P.Gmc. *boron, from PIE base *bhor-/*bhr- "to cut with a sharp point" (cf. Gk. pharao "I plow," L. forare "to bore, pierce," O.C.E. barjo "to strike, fight," Alb. brime "hole") cf. Gk. peirein "to pierce.


Compare with:

*B'R Common Semitic noun *b'r to bore, to dig.

B'R : Hebrew/Aramaic: ba'ar (baw-ar) a primitive root; to bore, i.e. (figuratively) examine (1) :--declare.; to dig; by analogy, to engrave; figuratively, to explain:--declare, (make) plain(-ly).; a pit; especially a well:--pit, well. Beer, a place in the Desert, also one in Palestine:--Beer, from buwr (in the sense of 'bo'r' ); a pit hole (especially one used as a cistern or a prison):--cistern, dungeon, fountain, pit, well. (Strong: # 952,953, 874,875 & 876).

B'R / BW'R Classical Arabic: 1. to bore, to dig ; a pit, a fire pit, a storage pit, a well, a cistern. 2. Beirut, from Arabic bayrt, from Phoenician *birt, plural of *bir, well. Figuratively, he hid or concealed a thing. A thing stored for a time of need. He did a good thing beforehand after storing or concealing a thing for himself.


* (1) compare with PORE (v.) c.1300," to investigate, examine.


Andis Kaulins replied:

Yes, you are completely right, the PIE reconstruction *bher-1 is
faulty. The Indo-European Latvian language shows us the right path.
Latvian has the compound word pa-ur(t) (PA-UR) "to dig (some), to bore
about", composed of the prefix PA- (BA-) plus the root term UR- "to
dig, to bore", found also with the "t-ending" as Latvian "es pauru
..." (I am digging some, boring some) but also "tu vari paurt ..."
(you can dig some, bore some) or, even older, with the i-stem, paurti.

This has the interesting Latvian cognate purns viz. purnis which means
"snout", i.e. "the digging nose".

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Epiphany : Star Singers - Sternsinger - of Europe - LexiLine Journal 473

The Sternsinger (star singers) dressed as the three Biblical Magi (kings, wise men) were just at our door this afternoon on a bright sunny Sunday here in Germany and we thus thought that we would tell you something about them, because they represent a seldom seen side of the low-key but still fundamentally deep strength of Christian tradition in Europe, a tradition which is surely rooted in ancient astronomical belief.

More than 500000 children are underway as "star singers" (Sternsinger) at this time of year (predominantly today, January 6, Epiphany) in the German-speaking nations of Europe, i.e. not only (but predominantly) in Germany, as also in Austria and Switzerland.

Epiphany as a Christian religious feast most certainly first marked the nativity or baptism of Christ, although the tradition may go back to even more ancient astronomical celebrations.

The star singers are sponsored by the local Catholic churches and this year in Germany are underway under the motto "Sternsinger für die Eine Welt" (star singers for one world). The star singers ring doorbells at households all across the land (primarily in Catholic areas), and when those doors are opened - it is considered bad luck to send the star singers away without opening doors for them - the star singers then sing songs of faith at those doorsteps in order by collection to raise money for needy children around the world. Below are some photos of the star singers:

A 2004 AP photo from Deutsche Welle

A photo of star singers in 2007 at the doorstep of the Parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous State
A blessing is written in chalk by the star singers on the front door of the household, marking the current year, together with the initials of the three Biblical kings (or wise men):

See the blessing to the left, wirtten in chalk on a door this year 2008.

It is also possible in the course of development of this custom that the initials CMB - always in that order - either initially or subsequently meant Christus mansionem benedicat, which translates generally as "may Christ bless this house".

Most Popular Posts of All Time

LexiLine Journal Archive

Our Websites and Blogs

3D Printing and More 99 is not 100 Aabecis AK Photo Blog Ancient Egypt Weblog Ancient Signs (the book) Ancient World Blog Anthropomorphic Design Archaeology Travel Photos (blog) Archaeology Travel Photos (Flickr) Archaeo Pundit Arts Pundit Astrology and Birth Baltic Coachman Bible Pundit Biotechnology Pundit Book Pundit Chronology of the Ancient World Computer Pundit DVD Pundit Easter Island Script Echolat Einstein’s Voice Energy Environment and Climate Blog Etruscan Bronze Liver of Piacenza EU Laws EU Legal EU Pundit FaceBook Pundit Gadget Pundit Garden Pundit Golf Pundit Google Pundit Gourmet Pundit Hand Proof HousePundit Human Migrations Idea Pundit Illyrian Language Indus Valley Script Infinity One : The Secret of the First Disk (the game) Jostandis Journal Pundit Kaulins Genealogy Blog Kaulinsium Kiel & Kieler Latvian Blog Law Pundit Blog LexiLine Group Lexiline Journal Library Pundit Lingwhizt LinkedIn Literary Pundit Magnifichess Make it Music Maps and Cartography Megalithic World Megaliths Blog Minoan Culture Mutatis Mutandis Nanotech Pundit Nostratic Languages Official Pundit Phaistos Disc Pharaonic Hieroglyphs Photo Blog of the World Pinterest Prehistoric Art Pundit Private Wealth Blog PunditMania Quanticalian Quick to Travel Quill Pundit Road Pundit Shelfari Sky Earth Drones Sky Earth Native America SlideShare (akaulins) Sport Pundit Star Pundit Stars Stones and Scholars (blog) Stars Stones and Scholars (book) Stonehenge Pundit The Enchanted Glass Twitter Pundit UbiquitousPundit Vision of Change VoicePundit WatchPundit Wearable Technology Wizard WeTechWi Wine Pundit Word Pundit xistmz YahooPundit zistmz