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

Grammatical Categories: acc. sg. fem.
Stem Class: i̯ā

Morphemic Analysis: brū-(i)i̯-ām (?)
Phonemic Analysis: /brū(i)ām/ (?)
Meaning: 'grave' (?)


Identified as an accusative singular of an ā-stem noun by Whatmough PID: 554 after correct segmentation.

The word is compared with Germanic words for 'bridge' (ON bryggja, OE brycg, OHG brucka, etc.) by Pisani 1953: 273 = Pisani 1964: 286 (*bruu̯-i̯-) and, following him, Lejeune 1971: 89 f. The Germanic forms (see Kroonen 2013 s.v. *bru(w)ī, *brū- and *brēwō-) combine the semantics of 'bridge' and 'brow', which indicates a common origin in the PIE 'brow'-root *(h₃)bʰreu̯H- (IEW: 172 f. s.v. bhrū- 1, NIL: 41–45 with n. 1 on the root shape; in Celtic OIr. -brú, MIr. broí < *(h₃)bʰruH-, LEIA: B-75 s.v. brá, cf. Zair 2012: 52). The putative metaphorical 'bridge'-semantics are also present in Gaul. briva (brīu̯ā < *(h₃)bʰrēu̯H-ā-) (Enderlicher's glossary brio gl. ponte, RIG L-3 briuatiom, and in toponyms, see DLG: 89 f., cf. Matasović 2009 s.v. *brīwā). If pruia belongs here, it can be analysed as brūi̯ā < PIE *(h₃)bʰruH-i̯ā-. The semantics are not quite clear; Pisani lists Germanic dialectal forms which designate other constructions than bridges and suggests to translate 'grave chamber (made of bricks)' (cf. Tibiletti Bruno 1967: 19-33). Eska & Mercado 2005: 164 point out that OIr. brú may metaphorically mean 'edge, border' (LEIA: B-100 s.v. 3 brú, but cf. NIL 43 f., n. 6 and 7), and tentatively suggest 'border of a burial precinct'.

See also Tibiletti Bruno 1978: 141.

Corinna Salomon


DLG Xavier Delamarre, Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise. Une approche linguistique du vieux-celtique continental, 2nd, revised edition, Paris: Errance 2003.
Eska & Mercado 2005 Joseph Francis Eska, Angelo O. Mercado, "Observations on verbal art in ancient Vergiate", Historische Sprachforschung 118 (2005), 160-184.