Preface: Wiktionnaire's etymology supports U Texas's below, but Wiktionary's assigns to a different PIE root: *só. I am conjecturing that Wiktionary is incorrect.

[70% down the page]  conj if 
LRC [Linguistics Research Center, University of Texas, Austin]

I was reading this page on the PIE root *se- when I noticed the above; why was the 'sī' assigned to the PIE root *se (to Own, Possess)? I cannot see any semantic notions underlying the two.


The Proto-Indo-European root *se- is generally taken to have been a reflexive pronominal root meaning "self", i.e. indicating that a word refers to the same thing as some other word (De Vaan 2008, Philippa e.a. 2003-2009). The root *so- is a different pronominal/demonstrative root that was so far as I know not reflexive. So I would not trust Wiktionary here.

The Latin reflexive pronoun se is from Proto-Indo-European *se- (De Vaan). I wouldn't trust that page from the University of Texas too much: their "own, possess" seems speculative. Perhaps it was based on Pokorny, but I wouldn't depend on it either way.

According to De Vaan, Latin si and sic are from Proto-Indo-European *so-, as expected. I don't think there is any doubt about this. It is related to English so and many other reflexes.

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  • "generally" obviously, with three different sources disagreeing to various degrees. sigh, "to own, posess" isn't even that far from "my own self". That a preverbal can derive from a proper verb is a unique possibility. But that's just my owned opinion. – vectory Dec 4 '19 at 22:52
  • As for sic, it should be prudent not to conflate it too easily eith si. "in this case", conj "that" etc lends credence to the determiner root. On the other hand, even if, G "selbst wenn" is a different pattern, we see si often paired with que, quasi (of which I understamnd too little yet); selbst is not to be confused with G sich, OHG sik, often compounding both as sich selbst. For comparison, it itself is not reflexive, but not personal either if it rains. Anyhow, it would be more informative to cite the papers that LIV rests on: what is "as expected"? – vectory Dec 4 '19 at 23:26
  • @vectory: I'm sorry, but I can't really follow all of what you're saying. If you're in the mood, you could expand upon it in an Answer? – Cerberus Dec 5 '19 at 5:23
  • No, I can't, for leaning only on German and hardly even Latin is not enough. By the way, also cp en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/sine undecided between *so and *se, + ne (what's De Vaan say about that?) – vectory Dec 5 '19 at 11:32

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