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TaylorS
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Post by TaylorS »

Kai_DaiGoji wrote:
Basilius wrote:Also, will it make things too complex for some racists' brains learning that Illich-Svitych was an ethnic Ukrainian, and Dolgopolsky is a pureblooded Jew and Israeli?

Seriously, a discussion of PIE laryngeals is turning into a flamewar? Now I've seen everything.
I am shocked that someone could have interepted my post as racist. I meant WTF?

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Post by Kai_DaiGoji »

TaylorS wrote:
Kai_DaiGoji wrote:
Basilius wrote:Also, will it make things too complex for some racists' brains learning that Illich-Svitych was an ethnic Ukrainian, and Dolgopolsky is a pureblooded Jew and Israeli?

Seriously, a discussion of PIE laryngeals is turning into a flamewar? Now I've seen everything.
I am shocked that someone could have interepted my post as racist. I meant WTF?

I didn't interpret it as racist - it was accusing others of being racist. Also, some might interpret responding to something about Russians (which is a nationality) with specifics on ethnicity and purebloodedness as being somewhat concerned with race. Not me, but some.

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Post by Soap »

As is usual for this board, we've now got more posts about the thread than about the subject the thread was for.

gsandi's site is http://www.tundria.com/Linguistics/pie-phonology.shtml btw.
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Post by Kai_DaiGoji »


Wait - Proto-PIE might have been ergative? How does that realignment happen?

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Post by Travis B. »

Kai_DaiGoji wrote:

Wait - Proto-PIE might have been ergative? How does that realignment happen?

The argument is that PIE nominative -s endings are atypical for nominative endings in nominative-accusative languages crosslinguistically, as typically nominative-accusative languages do not really mark the nominative by default, and that such is much easier to explain were Pre-PIE to have at some point been ergative, and to have later changed to being nominative-accusative.

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Post by Soap »

Well gsandi is somewhat of a renegade, so despite his wealth of knowledge I wouldnt take everything he says as being likely to be true. However, I do believe the ergative theory of PIE is endorsed by many other experts. I dont really know the details of how it changed to nom/acc, but it may have something to do with the formation of the gender system.
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Post by TaylorS »

The Ergative Early PIE theory is not widely held anymore, it's been replaced by the theory that Early PIE was Active-Stative. The Ergative theory seems to have been based only one thing, PIE having marked Nominatives, but I'm of the opinion that the Animate Nominative is derived from a Animate Definite topic marker or article of some kind so early PIE *kwon" would have been:

TOPIC: "*kahwána sa"
PATIENT: "*kahwánam"
GENITIVE: "*kahwanása"

Note the stress position.

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Post by Basilius »

TheGoatMan wrote:While this is interesting, I really don't think this disqualifies them from being "Russian Nostraticists", in which "Russian" is to be taken as identifying a school of thought, rather than a nationality.
I don't think "Russian" (or any other ethnonym) is a good identification for a scientific hypothesis, even via a school of thought (especially in a derisive context). For a lot of reasons, really. Need an explanation?

Nice touch on throwing the word "racist" around, btw.
OK, it wasn't very accurate. I could say "Chauvinist", and there'd be a wrong shade with this too. I think it worked, however.

(Also, whatever the shades, I believe a racist reading was indeed available with the original mockery; if it wasn't your immediate impression, why bother?)

Kai_DaiGoji wrote:I didn't interpret it as racist - it was accusing others of being racist.
No. Specifically, if your interpretation wasn't a racist one, then the remark in small font wasn't addressed to you. I was first to use the word, sure. Not without a reason. I think you know why, in fact.

TheGoatMan wrote:
Basilius wrote:Foolish sounds, they're always too many and in ridiculous inventories, and nobody cares about them anyway.

Are you always this dickish?
I am not sure I understand the intended implications of "dickish", it must refer to something terribly wrong I guess?

But "always"? (kinda familiar word...) No, I tend to react like above only to other people's being proud of their ignorance, and calling more informed views "ridiculous". Also, not "always" even in that case.

Basilius wrote:Also, do any reconstructions try to account for the fact that Hittite, actually, had two distinct "laryngeals"?

Unless am completely misunderstanding you, yes. They are called *h2 and *h3.
Someone has demonstrated this (that the two "laryngeals" of Hittite correspond to *h2 and *h3)? I could have missed something.

TaylorS wrote:A-A clearly originated in Africa, while my version of Nostratic originated in Central Asia around 12,000 to 14,000 years ago.
OK, in *your* version... But other people's theories may not share this difficulty, then?
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Post by Morrígan »

Basilius wrote:
TheGoatMan wrote:While this is interesting, I really don't think this disqualifies them from being "Russian Nostraticists", in which "Russian" is to be taken as identifying a school of thought, rather than a nationality.
I don't think "Russian" (or any other ethnonym) is a good identification for a scientific hypothesis, even via a school of thought (especially in a derisive context). For a lot of reasons, really. Need an explanation?


Why yes, I think I might just. Last time I checked, intellectual, academic, and artistic movements like the Russian Futurists, and Russian avant-garde, or the Russian Formalism have many members which are not ethnically "Russian", however we might choose to construct that.

So no, I don't see how the term "Russian Nostraticists" is inappropriate. This is how one generally talks about intellectual movements; perhaps it is wrong to ascribe the member ship of certain people to these movements - which might be chauvinistic - but to say that I shouldn't call someone a Russian Nostraticist, Formalist, Futurist, or whatever, because he was not Russian? So what exactly are you trying to say, Basilius?
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Post by TaylorS »

I was using "Russian" to mean "of the area of the Former Soviet Union", no need to be snarly and accusatory. :roll:

And There is no evidence that I know of showing a population movement from the Middle East to Central Asia 15,000 year ago that one would expect if Proto-Nostratic was spoken in the Middle East.

My thinking is similar to Morris Swadesh, who hypothesized that ever since humans first settled Central Asia it has been a center of linguistic expansion, with proto-languages spreading out from Central Asia a forming new families.

A-A came from a different expansion zone, the Saharan, along with Niger-Congo and Nilo-Saharan (indeed, N-C may be a branch of N-S).

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Post by Etherman »

Basilius wrote:Interesting. "Russian Nostraticists" who included Afro-Asiatic and Dravidian in Nostratic might refer to Illich-Svitych and Dolgopolsky. Whose reconstructed phoneme inventory is "ridiculously complex", I wonder? Or is this an example of how North American universities teach people to quote their sources?


In your rush to be insulted you've read way more into the comment than was meant. The ridiculousness of their reconstructions has nothing to do with bing Russian.

Also, will it make things too complex for some racists' brains learning that Illich-Svitych was an ethnic Ukrainian, and Dolgopolsky is a pureblooded Jew and Israeli?


Vladislav Illich-Svitych was born in Kiev but moved to Moscow. Aharon Dolgopolsky was born in Moscow and didn't move to Israel until 1976. Sergei Starostin was Russian and taught at Russian State University for the Humanities until his death. Georgiy Starostin, his son, teaches at the same university. Vladimir Dybo also teaches at the same university. Vitaly Victorovich Shevoroshkin is, you guessed it, Russian (though he emigrated to America in the 70's).

Illich-Svitych and Dolgopolsky reconstruct 50 consonants and 7 vowels. Contrast that with Beekes' reconstruction of PIE which only has 25 consonants and 2 vowels. Or Sammallahti's Uralic reconstruction with 18 consonants and 8 vowels.

Etherman wrote:Nobody really knows how they were pronounced. I've seen them variously described as glottals, velars, uvulars, and pharyngeals, with or without voice and/or labialized distinctions.

It is interesting to observe how nobody has the guts to say "velars". Loans to/from Hittite don't seem to point to any PoA further back, AFAICT.


Huh? I said velars.

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Post by Basilius »

Etherman wrote:In your rush to be insulted you've read way more into the comment than was meant. The ridiculousness of their reconstructions has nothing to do with bing Russian.

Indeed. We aren't racists, but we don't hire Afro-Americans. No connection with skin color, they're just all on drugs.

No, I don't wish to be insulted.

Illich-Svitych and Dolgopolsky reconstruct 50 consonants and 7 vowels.

Your sense of humor is weird, then. Even with this specific version (Illich-Svitych's original one had 39 consonants IIRC), I don't see what's so funny. Both the PoA's and the modal features are there for a reason; you'll do a favor to science if you find a way to diminish the inventory, but without a proposal of that sort it's your rants that are ridiculous.

Contrast that with Beekes' reconstruction of PIE which only has 25 consonants and 2 vowels.

I don't see how these numbers can be obtained except by not including l r m n w y in either consonants or vowels, i. e. by simply dropping them out. This, an example to follow?

Or Sammallahti's Uralic reconstruction with 18 consonants and 8 vowels.

Uralic. Why didn't you mention Polynesian, I wonder?

Huh? I said velars.

My fault, indeed. The point seems somehow valid to me, though: if at least two of the "laryngeals" are in all probability velars (and the stops have three series of velars, and still there are, like, three or four free PoA's further back), it's stupid to ridicule the reconstructed inventory as overloaded.

Not that I'm very enthusiastic, though, about extra laryngeals that are based on, like, two examples each. That's a different question.
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Post by Neon Fox »

Basilius wrote:Indeed. We aren't racists, but we don't hire Afro-Americans. No connection with skin color, they're just all on drugs.


Dude. That's bizarre. Has someone ticked you off today because they didn't like your skin color, whatever it happens to be (as I have never met you in person)?

To put it another way: If I say I don't like the French Baroque style, are you going to accuse me of racism against French people?

Or Sammallahti's Uralic reconstruction with 18 consonants and 8 vowels.

Uralic. Why didn't you mention Polynesian, I wonder?


Because....Polynesian isn't an Indo-European language...?

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Post by Neon Fox »

In any case, a number of you have better ideas about PIE in general than I do; is the Wikipedia article on laryngeals any good, or should I be poking around the library for a book?

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Post by WeepingElf »

Basilius, so far I thought you were a pretty reasonable fellow (even if you managed to put my patience to a test by asking dozens of questions about the grammaticallity of German sentences ;) - but that's not the point here), but your contributions to this thread show that I apparently was misguided. It is one thing to defend the Nostratic hypothesis (which I am open-minded but skeptical about), it's another to insult people who criticize it, and to split hairs on the question what constitutes racism and what doesn't.
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Post by WeepingElf »

Neon Fox wrote:In any case, a number of you have better ideas about PIE in general than I do; is the Wikipedia article on laryngeals any good, or should I be poking around the library for a book?


It is quite good, and largely agrees with the mainstream scholarly opinion, except that most scholars tend to be agnostic about Indo-Uralic and thus do not consider evidence from Uralic valid.
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Post by Morrígan »

Basilius wrote:Indeed. We aren't racists, but we don't hire Afro-Americans. No connection with skin color, they're just all on drugs.

And the latent racism of White America has what exactly do with with the appropriateness of the term "Russian Nostraticist"?

I don't see how these numbers can be obtained except by not including l r m n w y in either consonants or vowels, i. e. by simply dropping them out. This, an example to follow?


*p *t *ḱ *k *kʷ
*b *d *ǵ *g *gʷ
*bʰ *dʰ *ǵʰ *gʰ *gʷʰ
*r *l
*m *n
*y *w
*s
*h1 *h2 *h3


Excluding the laryngeals, there are 25 cononants, and 2 vowels (*e *o). So excluding the laryngeals may have been sloppy, but you imply that at least 6 sounds are missing.

No, I don't wish to be insulted.

This. This is my favorite part.

Neon Fox wrote:In any case, a number of you have better ideas about PIE in general than I do; is the Wikipedia article on laryngeals any good, or should I be poking around the library for a book?

That's a pretty detailed article, which seems to express the general consensus about the laryngeals.

Any specific questions you have, we should be able to answer, or at least discuss before getting the thread derailed again.

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Post by Basilius »

WeepingElf:

Specifically, if your interpretation wasn't a racist one, then the remark in small font wasn't addressed to you.

(Also, whatever the shades, I believe a racist reading was indeed available with the original mockery; if it wasn't your immediate impression, why bother?)

Actually I'd be interested in reading some criticism of a specific reconstruction of Nostratic. Instead, I saw a rant against a group whose designation was construed as [ethnic specification][branch of science]. What's so difficult to understand here?
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Post by Morrígan »

Basilius wrote:I saw a rant against a group whose designation was construed as [ethnic specification][branch of science]. What's so difficult to understand here?


Are you deficient? It really isn't an [ethnic specification]. The men in question were working in Russia. The men in question, viz. Vladislav Illich-Svitych and Aharon Dolgopolsky, Vladimir Dybo, and Sergei Starostin are not called Russian Nostraticists because they are all ethnically Russian, whatever that means, but because they worked within the intellectual framework of the Soviet Union. Like like the Russian Futurists, Russian avant-garge, "Russian" is not an ethnic term, but a political one.

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Post by Neon Fox »

TheGoatMan wrote:
Any specific questions you have, we should be able to answer, or at least discuss before getting the thread derailed again.


I want to try and soak my brain in the basics before I bug you guys for specifics. But I'm sure I'll be back. :)

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Post by Basilius »

TheGoatMan: at a glance, what you are saying sounds very reasonable. But I propose a thought experiment.

(1) Insert "German" instead of "Russian".
(2) Insert "Indo-Europeanists" instead of "Nostraticists".
(3) Add whatever can be claimed to be their common trait, combined with the epithet "ridiculous".
(4) Check your reaction.
(5) Imagine it's (e. g.) the tenth time that you hear such rants from, roughly, the same people.

What, some of them are shocked realizing that "racists" might refer to them? That's very good. Those who are shocked indeed aren't hopeless.

I am sure your response could be different, and more appropriate. Especially if you aren't German, and noone of your friends is a German Indo-Europeanist. Call me deficient on that ground, or whatever. I've never promised to be nice always and to everybody.

But you better stop calling me deficient if you want this thread to be about laryngeals.
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Post by Etherman »

Basilius wrote:No, I don't wish to be insulted.


You haven't been. But I'm feeling the urge.

Illich-Svitych and Dolgopolsky reconstruct 50 consonants and 7 vowels.

Your sense of humor is weird, then. Even with this specific version (Illich-Svitych's original one had 39 consonants IIRC), I don't see what's so funny. Both the PoA's and the modal features are there for a reason; you'll do a favor to science if you find a way to diminish the inventory, but without a proposal of that sort it's your rants that are ridiculous.


I have 22 consonants and 6 vowels (plus 6 more long vowels which appear only in the first syllable of a root) in mine. Of course I'm not making the mistake of trying to fit Afro-Asiatic and Dravidian into the system (which, at best, are sisters to Nostratic) or slavishly demanding every root fit into a CVC pattern (that latter mistakes is more Bomhard's fault than the Russian Nostraticists). This has allowed me to see conditioning environments that would be missed if all roots were CVC, and allowed me to use consonants clusters (a suggestion made by Alexis Manaster-Ramer back in the 90's).

Contrast that with Beekes' reconstruction of PIE which only has 25 consonants and 2 vowels.

I don't see how these numbers can be obtained except by not including l r m n w y in either consonants or vowels, i. e. by simply dropping them out. This, an example to follow?


p, b, bh
t, d, dh
k^, g^, g^h
k, g, gh
kw, gw, gwh
s
h1, h2, h3
m, n
r, l
w, j

The only thing I messed up on was the vowels because I'd forgotten that he also reconstructs 2 long vowels in addition to the 2 short vowels.

Or Sammallahti's Uralic reconstruction with 18 consonants and 8 vowels.

Uralic. Why didn't you mention Polynesian, I wonder?


Because it's not a Nostratic language.

My fault, indeed. The point seems somehow valid to me, though: if at least two of the "laryngeals" are in all probability velars (and the stops have three series of velars, and still there are, like, three or four free PoA's further back), it's stupid to ridicule the reconstructed inventory as overloaded.


Typologically any language with aspirated stops has /h/. So this implies that PIE had /h/ as one of its phonemes. My bet is that it was *h1.

Anyway, the inventory is overloaded because they are forced to add extra consonants to explain PAA and PD correspondences and because of their lax semantic criteria completely unrelated words are assumed to be cognate.

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Post by Morrígan »

Basilius wrote:TheGoatMan: at a glance, what you are saying sounds very reasonable. But I propose a thought experiment.

(1) Insert "German" instead of "Russian".
(2) Insert "Indo-Europeanists" instead of "Nostraticists".
(3) Add whatever can be claimed to be their common trait, combined with the epithet "ridiculous".
(4) Check your reaction.
(5) Imagine it's (e. g.) the tenth time that you hear such rants from, roughly, the same people.

What, some of them are shocked realizing that "racists" might refer to them? That's very good. Those who are shocked indeed aren't hopeless.

I am sure your response could be different, and more appropriate. Especially if you aren't German, and noone of your friends is a German Indo-Europeanist. Call me deficient on that ground, or whatever. I've never promised to be nice always and to everybody.

But you better stop calling me deficient if you want this thread to be about laryngeals.


If you said "German Indo-Europeanists" I'd think you were referring to the likes of Helmut Rix, Jacob Grimm, Julius Pokorny, possibly Oswald Szemerényi (though he also did a lot of work in England).
If you had said Dutch Indo-Europeanists, I would be thinking specifically of the people working out of Leiden and the University of Amsterdam, like Beekes or Kortlandt.
If you had said "American Indo-Europeanists" I'd probably think first of Ringe and Cowgill.
These people needn't be American, or German, or Dutch, but are strongly associated with certain intellectual traditions and the institutions at which they have worked and studied.
So, no, I don't think your argument holds up.

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Post by Basilius »

TheGoatMan wrote:These people needn't be American, or German, or Dutch, but are strongly associated with certain intellectual traditions and the institutions at which they have worked and studied.
So, no, I don't think your argument holds up.

Why? I am puzzled, honestly. IE studies used to be dominated by "Germans" at some point. Yes, "certain intellectual traditions and institutions" were important. And there was a moment in Nostratic studies (and distant comparison in general) when "Russians" were the most productive contributors. "Certain intellectual traditions" and (to a lesser degree) "institutions" had something to do with this, too. Few people will literally adhere to (e. g.) Brugmann's vision of PIE today, but calling it "one of those ridiculous German reconstructions" (without even referring specifically to Brugmann, as if "Germans" weren't worth being called by names) will sound terribly wrong I guess. It will probably be rightly taken for a sign of some awkward stereotypes about Germans, or German science, or something. (OK, I suppose you'll find a difference here too, but I don't see why I shouldn't hold to this analogy.)
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Post by TaylorS »

Basilius, quit putting words in my mouth. I was criticizing Illich-Svitych, Dolgopolsky, and Starostin's crappy reconstructions and comparative method screw-ups, not the fact they came from the Former USSR. Get a grip.

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