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why are reconstructed Proto-Indo-European words prefixed with an asterisk?

For example, the reconstructed word for "to fly" is written "*plew-" and not "plew-". Is the asterisk there to indicate that the word is a reconstruction?

1 Answer

  • 1 month ago

    We don't actually know what the PIE (Proto Indo-European) words are.  The sound 'plew' appears in a range of languages in different language families, so we assume it was a PIE word, but we don't know what that word was.  So we use a star to show that this isn't a real word, it's a sound that we SUSPECT came from PIE.

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