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Generic Terms for Domestic Animals in East Caucasian

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The present paper aims at a closer inspection of historical layers of the lexicon of East Caucasian by looking at a small set of lexical forms that are related to the world of concepts for domestic animals. The paper concentrates on these terms also in order to discuss the question to which extent the reconstructability of corresponding forms for Proto-East Caucasian may shed light on some of the economical patterns of the speakers of this language. It will be shown that much of the terminology for domestic animals has to be related to earlier or later loan layers or to innovative processes within the subgroups. The fact that very few of the terms occurring in one of the domains at issue (‘cow’, ‘horse’, ‘donkey’, ‘pig’, ‘sheep’, ‘goat’) can be reconstructed for Proto-East Caucasian is related to the assumption that lexical terms that are strongly related to the praxeological dimension of socioeconomic concepts tend to be rather instable and adaptable over times to changes with respect to these praxeological patterns. The paper also strongly advocates for a closer consideration and isolation of loan layers present in the individual East Caucasian languages prior to any enterprise aiming at the reconstruction of Proto-East Caucasian lexical units.

Affiliations: 1: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München


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