Notes on the Hydronyms lit. "Liẽkė", "Liekà" and Their Common Roots Cover Image

Anmerkungen zu den Flussnamen lit. „Liẽkė“, „Liekà“ und ihrer Sippe
Notes on the Hydronyms lit. "Liẽkė", "Liekà" and Their Common Roots

Author(s): Harald Bichlmeier
Subject(s): Language studies, Geography, Regional studies, Lexis, Historical Linguistics
Published by: Lietuvių Kalbos Institutas
Keywords: Old European hydronymy; Celtic hydronyms; Lithuanian hydronyms; ‘false friends’;

Summary/Abstract: The river-names Lith. Liẽkė, Liekà (and their siblings) are sometimes mentioned in papers dealing with the so-called ‘Old-European hydronymy’. Traditionally they are etymologized on the basis of a root PIE *(h1)lei̯k- ‘bend’. This root, however, probably never existed, at least there seem to be no descendents from it in the appellatival lexicon of any IE language. Thus the root – if it ever existed – cannot be ascribed a meaning. So it seems more appropriate to derive the Lithuanian river-names from the root PIE *u̯lei̯ku̯- ‘moisten, be liquid’. Parallelly the river-name Lech (a river in Austria and Bavaria) was also analyzed based on the two roots mentioned, PIE *(h1)lei̯k- ‘bend’ and PIE *u̯lei̯ku̯- ‘moisten, be liquid’. As just mentioned, the first one, however, never existed – and the second one cannot be the starting point because of phonological reasons. The river-name Lech is based on a Celtic formation ‘the one with stone(-plate)s’: PIE *pl̥(h2)k-(m)néh2- > PCelt. *(φ)likkā-. Thus it is clear that the river-names Lith. Liẽkė, Liekà etc. and Germ. Lech do not have a common etymology.

  • Issue Year: 2020
  • Issue No: 83
  • Page Range: 151-177
  • Page Count: 27
  • Language: German