Pre-Indo-European Relics: the *borm- Root in the European Pre-Latin Context

Francesco Perono Cacciafoco


This paper provides an innovative hermeneutic interpretation of the possible pre-Indo-European origins of the root *borm- (> *bormo) ‘warm water, hot water’ according to a new convergent approach. The stem *borm- (> *bormo) is considered in this study as not directly related to the (proto-)Indo-European root *gʷhermó-/ *gʷhormo- ‘warm, hot’. It could be, rather, a trace of the pre-Indo-European linguistic substrate, with the voiced bilabial (/b/) phonetic treatment of the voiced aspirate labiovelar consonant *GwH. The presumably pre-Indo-European root *borm- (> *bormo) would have been, over time, transferred (after the possible «arrival» of the Indo-Europeans in their European territories) in the linguistic system of (proto-)Indo-European through a process of reuse and refunctionalization of roots and (loan-)words due to linguistic contact. Phonetically adapted to the (proto-)Indo-European standards and equated with the stem *gʷhermó-/ *gʷhormo-, the root *borm- (> *bormo) could have been preserved in the hydronymy and toponymy of North-Western Italy, for instance in the river name Bòrmida (water course flowing between Liguria and Southern Piedmont) and in the place name Bòrmio (small town located in Lombardy).

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Published by Eurasia Academic Publishers