Anatolian *meyu- ‘4, four’ and its cognates
Alexei Kassian (Institute of Linguistics of the Russian Academy of Sciences,
Journal of Language Relationship, № 2, 2009 - p.65-78
Abstract: The article reexamines the reconstruction of the Proto-Indo-Hittite counting system. Using comparative and typological arguments, I attempt to show that the original Indo-Hittite system was structured as ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, ‘>3/several/many’. Words for a new numeral, ‘4’, were introduced in Anatolian and Narrow Indo-European branches separately after their split. Anatolian *meyu- ‘4’ (Hittite meyu- ~ Luwian mauwa-) is unetymologizable within Indo-European. I suppose that it is an archaism and propose an external (Proto-Altaic) non-numeral cognate for this Anatolian stem. Anatolian *meyu- is one of the rather numerous Nostratic roots that were retained in Anatolian, but lost in the Narrow Indo-European branch.
Keywords: linguistic reconstruction, numerals, counting system, Nostratic, Indo-European languages, Anatolian languages, Hittite language, Khoisan languages, Amerind