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zompist bboard • View topic - The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:32 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:04 am 
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I'll reiterate that does contain good examples of PIE *D ~ PU *N that can't be explained as "nasalisation".


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:10 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:11 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:48 pm 
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An interesting thing about the Tocharian reflex is that only the places of articulation metathesized -- PToch. käntwo must be from pre-PToch. *ǵn̥dʰwéh₂- (rather than **ǵʰn̥dwéh₂-), since PIE *d becomes either PToch. *ts or zero.

The initial of lingua is a Latin-specific innovation -- it's absent in Oscan, which has acc. sg. fangvam... which implies *dʰn̥ǵwéh₂-, doesn't it?

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:54 pm 
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Right, although more specifically a zero-grade suffix. De Vaan thinks the f- is due to influence from some semantically related word with f-, but not having a reasonably complete lexicon for Oscan makes it hard to know what.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:32 am 
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PMP *T *D *NT *ND > PPolynesian *T

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:09 pm 
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and *T *D *Dh > T in Tocharian

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:54 pm 
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Sure, I never said it was impossible. It's just really suspicious. Likewise, dropping half the phonemes in a word is a perfectly possible sound change, between clearly related languages, when it's clear that this is what happened. But when you're doing speculative long-range comparison (and ignoring the possibility of borrowing), allowing suggested sound changes that conveniently drop half the phonemes in a word to produce exactly the desired form makes it much to easy to create 'cognates' that are really chance resemblances or borrowings.

In this case, when your sound changes are:

*t, *d, *r, *l, *n > *d
and
*ǵ,*g, *gʷ, *ǵʰ,*gʰ,*gʷʰ > *x

...you've got two options:
a) the language underwent some massive mergers that cut across all of MOA, phonation and secondary articulations, and that yielded seemingly random outcomes (a voiced stop at one POA, a voiceless fricative at another)
or
b) the language borrowed words that included many phonemes it did not possess, and just replaced them with what seemed like the closest thing available

And sure, a) is possible. If you've got a robust set of soundlaws between related languages in a family, the need to assume a) is not necessarily a disproof. But here we're relying on the probability of a) as our evidence for the existence of the family in the first place, even though b) seems far more probable (and of course massively more likely when priors are taken into consideration, since by default true soundlaws are much less common than borrowings and coincidences).

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 3:30 pm 
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In my opinion (which I have voiced here before), the Proto-Uralic phonology is probably more conservative the PIE one, because the other Mitian languages are more similar in this regard to the former than the latter. Michael Fortescue has reconstructed, in his 1998 book Langauge Relationships across Bering Strait, a Proto-Uralo-Siberian phonology which is quite similar to those of Uralic and Eskimo-Aleut, and may be a decent model (though not correct in all details) of the Proto-Mitian phonology. It seems that PIE has innovated to a great degree, including the three grades of stops, the three velar series, and the loss of a full palatal series. And of course ablaut!

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:04 pm 
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But that just begs the question of where the three stop series came from. Ablaut's easy to see as an innovation, given how closely tied to the accent it must have originally been, but the stops are less so.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2018 6:38 am 
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The odds that two languages are genetically related also depend on how much they have in common, and how much the geographical distance is between the places where these languages were spoken. For example, the chances of a relationship between Bantu and Quechua (close to zero) are much lower than between Turkic and Tungusic (>50% in my opinion).


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2018 1:09 pm 
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