These maps show the etymological family tree of the Proto-Indo-European word *wĺ̥kʷos (wolf), which developed into the English word wolf, and *ḱwṓ (dog), which developed into hound and the Finnish word susi (wolf). Finnish belongs to the Uralic languages which have throughout their history had close contacts with the Indo-European languages of which English is one.

Note that not all the words are in common use. In some languages another word may have superseded the one previously used. This is especially true of the word for 'dog' in the Ibero-Romance languages. For example, in Spanish the common word for dog is perro instead of the Latin-derived can. Likewise, in Swedish the wolf is usually referred to as varg instead of ulv.

Click on an image to see it in full size.



The word means 'wolf' in all the languages except Lydian and Luwian (*walwe- and *walwa-) where it means 'lion'.



The word means 'dog' in all the Indo-European languages. It was borrowed into the Finnic languages in the meaning 'wolf'.

Estonian has two words for wolf: susi and hunt. The former is the Finnic word also found in Finnish and Votic, which was borrowed probably from a pre-Germanic language. This is shown on the map as *ḱu̯n̥tó‑. The latter word was borrowed from Middle Low German hund, but is shown as coming from Proto-Germanic, because there's not enough space for Low German on the map.

The Karelian word susi was likely borrowed from Finnish, and is used only in fairy tales and poems and such.

The North Sami word šūvon means a 'well-trained dog' and was borrowed into Proto-Samic probably from the Proto-Balto-Slavic word for 'dog'.


This map shows the various words used in the Uralic languages to mean 'wolf'.



*A form reconstructed by comparing the languages descended from the ancestor language
Extinct language with written sources (unlike the ones marked with *)
-Separates a derivational suffix from the original stem. In the end of a word indicates a missing nominative ending.
dashed lineBorrowing
orangeAnatolian languages
brownIndo-Iranian languages
greenItalic languages
magentaCeltic languages
redGermanic languages
blueBalto-Slavic languages
greyUralic languages (non-Indo-European)

Published 4/11/2012


Appendix:Proto-Indo-European/hundaz. Wiktionary. en.wiktionary.org/.... Fetched 28/10/2012.

Appendix:Proto-Indo-European/ḱwṓ. Wiktionary. en.wiktionary.org/.... Fetched 28/10/2012.

Appendix:Proto-Indo-European/wĺ̥kʷos. Wiktionary. en.wiktionary.org/.... Fetched 20/10/2012.

Grünthal, Riho. Finno-Ugric ‘dog’ and ‘wolf’. Etymologie, Entlehnungen und Entwicklungen. Festschrift für Jorma Koivulehto zum 70. Geburtstag. Mémoires de la Société Néophilologique de Helsinki LXIII, 83–96. helsinki.fi/hum/.... Fetched 1/11/2012.

Kallio, Petri. 2009. Stratigraphy of Indo-European loanwords in Saami. In: Tiina Äikäs (ed.). Máttut - máddagat: The Roots of Saami Ethnicities, Societies and Spaces / Places, 30–45. Publications of the Giellagas Institute 12. mv.helsinki.fi/.... Fetched 3/11/2012.

Susi. Etymon Project. University of Helsinki. cs.helsinki.fi/... [Google cache]. Fetched 28/10/2012.

Several articles about specific languages and language groups/families on Wikipedia.

Several articles about specific words on Wiktionary.

Source and license of the maps

Menegaz, Felipe. 2008. World map (Miller cylindrical projection, blank). Wikimedia Commons. commons.wikimedia.org/.... Fetched 20/10/2012.

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. In short: you are free to share and make derivative works of the file under the conditions that you appropriately attribute it, and that you distribute it only under a license identical to this one.