Notes: A common NC cultural term. The Darg. form is irregular (has a voiceless -c-) and may not belong here (it can reflect a contamination with PEC *-ōcV 'to mow' q.v.); all other correspondences are regular, and the etymology seems quite reliable.
Notes: Reconstructed for the PEC level. Correspondences are regular.
Cf. also Osset. qīs / ɣesä 'thick hair' < Iran. *gaisa- (see Abayev 1973, 304-305). If not for the labialisation (reflected in PA), it would be tempting to consider the listed Caucasian forms as an old loan from Iranian.
Notes: The root is obviously borrowed from an Iranian source (cf. Shugn. bǝruǯ, Osset. bärz / bärzä 'birch-tree' etc.); but since the reflexes correspond to each other well phonetically, are present in distant EC subgroups and have substantially modified the original semantics, the borrowing should be probably dated by a very early (common EC) period.
Proto-North Caucasian:*s / *z
Meaning:impersonal marker (?), marker of the object version
Cf. also the HU evidence: HU *(j)es- (nom./erg. > Hurr. iš-te nom., iža-š erg., Ur. ješǝ), *so- (obl. > Hurr. žo-/žu-, Ur. šo-).
The PNC 1-st p. pronoun needs some comments. Like other personal pronouns, it is characterized by unique phonetic features (voiced fricative in PNC, the development *z > *d in Av.-And.-Tsez., Darg. and Lak. /where *d > t:/). However, forms with *d- certainly can not be kept apart from forms with *z, since morphologically they match each other very well.
The direct stem may be safely reconstructed as *zō, sporadically with a pronominal suffix *-n - *zōn (cf. PA *di-n, PL *zo-n; on Lak. nu and Darg. nu see *nV). A possible trace of *-n is also the -ǝ vowel in PC: it probably reflects *-ǝ̃ < *-ō-n with loss of nasalization (without it *-ɨ would be expected in PC). The vowel -u- in Av. (du-n) and Darg. (du) should best be explained by the influence of the 2-d p. pro- noun q.v.
The evidence of PN, PHU, PL and Khin. allows to recons- truct three different oblique stems for the 1-st p. pronoun. The one is *zā- /PL *za- = PN *sa-(*sā-)/, the other - *ʔez(V) /PL *-ez = PHU *(j)es- = PN *ʔas = Khin. as/; finally, the third is *ʔiz(V) /PL gen. *-iz = Khin. i/e/. It is most pro- bable that the third stem is reflected in Darg. *di-, PC *di-, PA *di- (where it lost the initial vowel and became the gene- ral oblique stem). In Lak. and HU, where the obl. stem is t:u- and *so- respectively, it is probably due to a merger of PEC dir. *zō- and obl. *zā-.
We may present the following solution for this very complicated picture. The original ergative was *ʔez(V), preserved in PN as *ʔas; in PHU it became also nominative (merging of erg./nom. in pronouns is rather usual in ergative languages). In PL and Khin. this stem shifted to dative - which is parallel to the general shift of the PEC ergative case in *-s_V > PL dative *-s: (note, however, that in Khin. the erg. form jä probably still reflects the same stem *ʔez(V)). The obl. stem *zā- then took upon itself ergative functions in PL. Finally, the original genitive stem *ʔiz(V) was preserved as such in PL, Khin and (with vowel loss) in PD, PA and PC; in all other languages it was superseded by the general oblique stem *zā- (sometimes even by the dir. stem *zō-).
To sum up: PEC (PNC) dir. stem *zō(-n); erg. stem *ʔez(V); gen. stem *ʔiz(V); general oblique stem *zā-.
Notes: The PEC paradigm can be reconstructed as *źwĕ (dir.), *ʔeźw- (erg., cf. PN *ʔašV, and PL *-eǯʷ /shifted to dative, the same as with other pronouns/), *ʔiźw- (gen., cf. PL *-iǯʷ), *źwă- (obl., cf. PL *ǯʷa-). PWC *sʷV (as seen from the non-palatalised *sʷ) reflects rather one of the non-direct stems. As with other plural pronouns, Avaro-Ando-Tsezian languages also reflect a non-direct stem (gen. *ʔiźw- or dat. *ʔeźw-) with the class prefixes *w- or *u_- (in Akhv. uš-di). The initial nasal in Avar, PTs (and also PD) may reflect the original EC pronominal stem *nɨ̆ (q.v.) (which could have possibly denoted collective plural); labial m- in some Avar dialects (cf. Chad. muž) and PTs *miž(:)e is probably due to the influence of the 2d person singular pronoun (Av. mun, PTs *mǝ).
Notes: A not quite clear case. The Av. and Lak. forms probably belong together; it is less clear with the PTs pronominal stem *žV-. Still, the etymology seems possible, because abstract words denoting 'thing' in EC languages are quite frequently derived from pronouns (mostly, however, interrogative: cf. cases like Tsez. šebin, Inkh. himon 'thing' etc.). It seems worth noting also an obscure element in some East Daghestanian pronominal stems: Lezg. wu-č, Tsakh. hi-ǯo 'what'; Khin. sä 'that' (inanim.'; Darg. -š in i-š 'this' - possibly reflecting (with some distortions) the same pronominal stem.