Agricultural terms in Indo-Iranian
The article investigates the agricultural lexicon of Indo-Iranian, especially its earlier records, and what it may tell us about the spread of farming. After some general remarks on “Neolithic” vocabulary, a short overview of the animal husbandry terminology shows that this field of vocabulary was evidently well-established in Proto-Indo-Iranian, with many cognate terms. Words for cattle, horses, sheep and goats are well developed and mostly inherited, while evidence for pigs is more limited, ad the words for donkey and camel look like common loans. A more extensive discussion of plant terminology reveals that while some generic terms for grain are inherited, more specific words for different kinds of cereals show few inherited terms and/or irregular variation, and the same is even clearer for pulses and some other vegetables. The terminology for agricultural terminology is largely different from that of most European branches of Indo-European. The conclusion is that the cultural background behind these linguistic data points to spreading of a mainly pastoralist culture in the case of Indo-Iranian.
Keywords: Indo-Iranian, husbandry terms, plant cultivation, agricultural technology, pastoralist
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