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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 8:10 am 
Sanno
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Were they weak or strong?

Wikipedia says they were weak... and then in the tables of examples they give, most of the examples are indeed weak. But then some are strong.

For instance, they give genitive singulars nékʷt(i) (for nokwts), udén(i) (for wodr) and dréw(i) (for doru). But then they also give ph₂tér(i) (rather than presumably **pHtr(i)), uksén(i) (instead of uksni), and dn̥ǵʰwéh₂(i) (instead of dnghuHi) - i.e. based on the strong form.

And then there are a couple where the locative singular is just weird. For instance, nom.sg. léymō, gen.sg. limnés - but the loc.sg. is neither leymoni nor limni, but limeni! Worse, there's nom.sg. dʰéǵʰōm, gen.sg. ǵʰmés (i.e. the initial dh is dropped, presumably because the cluster is ugly), but then loc.sg is ghdhsemi, which seems like the result of a random letter generator (why is the cluster allowed this time? why metathesis? where did the s come from?).

Am I missing something obvious that would explain what's going on here?

----

Also: origin of the feminine nouns. I get that it's thought to be the collective -H2 ending, which explains all the feminines with -H2. But there are also some that don't fit that - the -ti nouns, for instance. And then there's nokwts, which looks the same as any other normal noun - why is it feminine?

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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 11:53 am 
Lebom
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What's the difference between weak and strong singulars?


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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 12:04 pm 
Sanno
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Zju wrote:
What's the difference between weak and strong singulars?


In the PIE ablaut system, different forms of nouns seem to have different stems - basically the vowels get deleted from some forms of the noun, or change to a different vowel. Eg "thought" in the accusative singular is *méntim (the -m is the accusative bit, and the 'menti' is 'thought'); but the genitive singular is *mn̥téys - the first vowel has been deleted.

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 1:40 am 
Avisaru
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Most authors (Beekes, Fortson, Clackson etc.) agree that the locative singular was based on a form with an accented e-grade stem suffix, independent of strong or weak forms. That explains forms like *pH2-tér(-i), *H2us-és(-i), *dr-éw(-i), *nékwt(-i) next to *pH2-té:r/*pH2-tr-és, *H2éu-so:s/*H2us(-s)-és, *dór-u/*dr-éw-s, *nókwt-s/*nékwt-s**. This indeed leads to interesting patterns like *dhégh-o:m, *dhgh-ém(-i)***, *(dh)gh-m-és (often called holokinetic or amphidynamic etc.****) The weak zero-grade locatives with *-i were secondary.

On the origin of feminine -H2 (or feminine gender in general), it's a can of worms I'd rather not open. It has been discussed here before, with no clear outcome. Suffice to say that the theory of collective > feminine is rather (too) simplified.

** The weak stem e-grade of *nókwt- is highly uncertain, as it is solely based on a Hittite form nekuz, but it fits the pattern.
*** The form *ghdhsém(i) looks like a methatized form with assibilation, but I'm not sure it should be reconstructed for PIE.
****Interestingly, Beekes reconstructs the acc sg case on these e-grade forms as well: *H2us-és-m, *dhgh-é:m (for *dhghëm-m).

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 7:42 am 
Sumerul
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Just a small adition to what SF wrote - IIRC, the locative in *-i originally showed weak ablaut grade and was accented on the ending (*-í), while the e-stem accented locative originally had a zero ending (*-éC#). Forms like *-eni are the result of contamination between the two locative formations.


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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 5:20 pm 
Sanno
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Many thanks to both of you! We ignorant ones are always grateful for the small number of people on the board who actually know what they're talking about. And I'm glad to see it seems a confusing issue, rather than just me being an idiot.

[In practical terms: I think the situation seems sufficiently complex and confusing to justify my daughter language just analogising all locative singulars into a standardised 'weak form plus -i' structure]

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