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zompist bboard • View topic - PIE gender

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 Post subject: PIE gender
PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 2:06 pm 
Avisaru
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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 2:20 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 7:48 pm 
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According to Wikipedia, the Anatolian languages were probably the first to split off from PIE; they may have done so before the gender switch.

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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 8:33 pm 
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The Masculine and Neuter forms obviously look derived from an Animate and Inanimate forms, respectively, with the Inanimate forms having the same endings in the NOM and ACC, while the Animate NOM.SG *-s seems derived from an agentive definite article of some sort.

The Feminine evolved out of the Neuter/Inanimate plural in *-eh2, IIRC, though I don;t really know the specifics of the diachronics


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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 10:02 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 11:43 pm 
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Last edited by Dewrad on Tue Jun 01, 2010 4:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:13 am 
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Well said, Tengado. Occam's razor does not mean "the simplest explanation is always true". The misuse of it is one of my pet peeves too.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:26 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:49 pm 
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I think that part of the problem in understanding what happened is that the traditional picture (literally, in many cases) is that all IE languages diverged from PIE at the same time; there are many diagrams which suggest this.

In reality, the splitting was strongly binary. At some point, PIE split into Anatolian and "Common IE", and then Tocharian split off from that, and so on. Apparently there is not a lot of consensus in regard to what happened; some models say that Indo-Iranian and Greco-Armenian were two of the earlier branches; others suggest that Greco-Armenain and Balto-Slavo-Indo-Iranian were the last groups to diverge.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:07 am 
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:06 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:06 pm 
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Gender in IE is clearly very late, and the agreement patterns are anomalous in the light of other languages groups that possess it (e.g. North Caucasian, Afro-Asiatic, Bantu, Australian, etc).

1. Gender is unmarked in the verb.
2. Not all adjectives show the masculine/feminine distinction, and the masculine/neuter distinction seems to have been confined to the nominative-accusative singular.
3. Nouns have no distinctive markers: -h₂ is not exclusively feminine in any language.
4. The pronouns sensu strictu have no gender.

Lehmann argued that a lot of so-called PIE morphology, reconstructed from just two or three languages, was probably non-existant; that it's just a case of different languages getting the same results by building on inherited material. Gender is so marginal, that it's absence from Anatolian doesn't seem to be such a big deal that we need to regard those languages as something special.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 6:14 pm 
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