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Attestation: VA·6 (pelkui:pruiam:teu:karite:iṣ́os:kaṛite:palaṃ) (1)
Language: Celtic
Word Type: verb

Grammatical Categories: 3rd sg. past

Morphemic Analysis: kari-t-e
Phonemic Analysis: /?arite/
Meaning: 'enclose' / 'set up' (?)


Weak t-preterite in the 3rd person singular in -e; first identfied as a verb form by Whatmough PID: 554.

According to Schmidt 1986b: 177 f. and Eska 1990, the Continental Celtic t-preterite continues the PIE imperfect formed from present stems in -- (*-(e)i̯e/o-t), which were recharacterised as past by adding the perfect endings -e or after the loss of final -i in Celtic made them formally identical to the present forms. See also Lejeune 1971: 92–96, Eska & Mercado 2005: 165, Eska & Evans 2009: 37, Eska 2009b: 112. The rationale underlying the distribution of -e and is unclear; cf. (uncertain) kalite for an identical formation.

The etymology and exact meaning of the base are uncertain. Pisani 1953: 272 (also Pisani 1964: 285) proposed *ker- 'make' (LIV²: 391 f.) with delabialised velar (cf. Tibiletti Bruno 1967: 19–21 with n. 14, Tibiletti Bruno 1978: 141, 167, Motta 2002: 131 (who derives karnitu from the same root), but unlikely, see Eska & Mercado 2005: 164). Lejeune 1971: 90 f. suggests PIE *ĝher- 'grasp, enclose' (but cf. LIV²: 177, 197) → *gr̥-i̯e-t > *garit + e, cf. Schmidt 1986b: 177, Meid 1999: 14, Eska & Mercado 2005: 164 f. Eska & Mercado 2005: 165 alternatively propose PIE *kerH- 'scatter, pour out' → 'put' (as in OIr. ·cuirethar, fo·ceird 'put', see LIV²: 353 f.; cf. Hamp 1991b: 36), cf. θomezeclai.

See also McCone 1996: 69, Motta 2000: 196 f., Morandi 2004.

Corinna Salomon


Eska & Evans 2009 Joseph F. Eska, David Ellis Evans, "Continental Celtic", in: Martin J. Ball, Nicole Müller (eds), The Celtic Languages, 2nd edition, London – New York: Routledge 2009, 28–53.
Eska & Mercado 2005 Joseph Francis Eska, Angelo O. Mercado, "Observations on verbal art in ancient Vergiate", Historische Sprachforschung 118 (2005), 160-184.
Eska 1990 Joseph F. Eska, "The so-called weak or dental preterite in Continental Celtic, Watkins' law, and related matters", Historische Sprachforschung 103 (1990), 81–91.
Eska 2009b Joseph Francis Eska, "Remarks on the 3. plural preterite in -us in Continental Celtic", Die Sprache 47,1 (2007–2008 [2009]), 108–119.