The attested Proto-Indo-European root-words directly linked to pulse crops are further testimony that Proto-Indo-European society was well-acquainted with agriculture (47), and was not predominantly nomadic and pastoral, as initially thought by the proposers of the Kurgan hypothesis (48).
PLoS ONE 7(9): e44512. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044512
Origin of the Words Denoting Some of the Most Ancient Old World Pulse Crops and Their Diversity in Modern European Languages
This preliminary research was aimed at finding the roots in various Eurasian proto-languages directly related to pulses and giving the words denoting the same in modern European languages. Six Proto-Indo-European roots were indentified, namely arnk(')- (‘a leguminous plant’), *bhabh- (‘field bean’), * (‘a kernel of leguminous plant’, ‘pea’), ghArs- (‘a leguminous plant’), *kek- (‘pea’) and *lent- (‘lentil’). No Proto-Uralic root was attested save hypothetically *kaca (‘pea’), while there were two Proto-Altaic roots, *bukrV (‘pea’) and *(‘lentil’). The Proto-Caucasianx root * denoted pea, while another one, *howl(a)(‘bean’, ‘lentil’) and the Proto-Basque root *ilha-r (‘pea’, ‘bean’, ‘vetch’) could have a common Proto-Sino-Caucasian ancestor, *hVwlV (‘bean’) within the hypothetic Dene-Caucasian language superfamily. The Modern Maltese preserved the memory of two Proto-Semitic roots, *'adas- (‘lentil’) and *pul- (‘field bean’). The presented results prove that the most ancient Eurasian pulse crops were well-known and extensively cultivated by the ancestors of all modern European nations. The attested lexicological continuum witnesses the existence of a millennia-long links between the peoples of Eurasia to their mutual benefit. This research is meant to encourage interdisciplinary concerted actions between plant scientists dealing with crop evolution and biodiversity, archaeobotanists and language historians.