Mongolic sedentary agricultural vocabulary

It is sometimes heard that Proto-Indo-European homeland couldn’t have been the Ponto-Caspian steppe, as Yamnaya people were pastoralist nomads, while PIE contains words that betray knowledge of farming technology (such as ploughs and fields). To do away with this argument, I list here the inherited farming vocabulary of the Mongols, the quintessential nomads.

  • *amun ‘rice, millet, gruel’
  • *anǰasun ‘plough’
  • *arbaï ‘barley’
  • *budaxan ‘grain, groats, porridge’
  • *buxudaï ‘wheat’
  • *gakaï ‘pig’
  • *gurïl ‘flour’
  • *haxaga ‘bran’
  • *hogtal- ‘to cut, harvest, fell’
  • *kadu- ‘to cut, harvest’
  • *kaduxur ‘sickle’
  • *kebeg ‘chaff, bran, husk’
  • *kürǰeg ‘spade, shovel’
  • *sagad ‘buckwheat’
  • *subag ‘ditch, canal’
  • *talkan ‘flour, bread’
  • *tarï- ‘to sow, to plant’
  • *texermen ‘mill’
  • *turma ‘turnip’
  • *tuturgan ‘rice’
  • *ütergen ‘threshing floor’

Of course, living in the 13th century, the ancient Mongols were presumably culturally and civilizationally more developed than Yamnayas were four and a half millennia earlier and might have recently switched to nomadic pastoralism from earlier farmers (although most of these farming words are Turkic loans). Still, Yamnayas could have easily learned about basic farming concepts from neighboring Neolithic-Eneolithic cultures, even if they didn’t use this technology themselves.


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