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

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:28 pm 
Avisaru
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Oh, shut up, I was being partially sardonic anyway.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:01 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:39 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:08 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:22 pm 
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Ο ορανς τα ανα̨ριθομον ϝερρον εͱεν ανθροποτροφον.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:46 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:49 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 7:07 pm 
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That's just sophistry, though, isn't it? Sure, "PIE" was never spoken if by "PIE" you mean "our reconstructed models of how PIE may have been". That's blazingly obvious, because reconstructed models aren't things that can ever be spoken. It's also not something we should care much about, because it has nothing to do with whether PIE itself was spoken or not. Which is was. Or whether it was a language or not. Which it was.

Similarly, Old English wasn't a language and was never spoken, if by 'Old English' you mean 'a reconstructed model based on surviving languages of what a predecessor language to English might have been like'. But we don't mean that by 'Old English', we mean actual Old English, which we have substantial evidence WAS a spoken language.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:17 am 
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:02 am 
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:42 pm 
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If one could establish a relationship between IE and another language family, that would surely help clearing up what the (Pre-)PIE stops actually were. Unfortunately, such a relationship has not been established yet. The best candidate for the closest known kin of IE is the Uralic family, so it may be interesting to take a look at Proto-Uralic. This language has only one grade of stops - plain voiceless - but these occur both as single stops and (rarely) as geminates, and apparently, there was a set of voiced fricatives to match, if */ð/ actually was /ð/, */x/ was /ɣ/, and */β/ had merged with */w/. These contrasts are only found medially; in initial position, only single voiceless stops occur. It may be that PU medial */t/ corresponds to PIE */t/, PU medial */tt/ to PIE */d/ and PU medial */ð/ to PIE */dʰ/ - but as long as regular sound correspondences have not been established, this remains sheer speculation.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:19 pm 
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Proto-Uralic is, at least for me, the most plausible next step.
Both groups have their Urheimaten in close vicinity of one another, both share some morphological and syntactical features and tendencies and possibly also some vocabulary. Their age matches up more or less (that is, I think it was Proto-Indo-European that had already split up somewhat when Proto-Uralic began splitting), they have sound systems that generally show similarities etc.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:36 pm 
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Is PU reconstructed as being active-stative, as IIRC PIE is?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:40 pm 
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It's, uh, not quite well-reconstructed really :s


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:45 pm 
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As I understand Beckwith's hypothesis (which fits with what was described earlier in this thread) he argues that there was originally a simple voiced/tenuis distinction in pre-Late PIE stops. He apparently believes there was a major conditioned allophonic bifurcation of the voiced series, although if specifies what the conditioning factor was, I missed it. He emphasises that the split in the voiced series did not become phonemic in the Indo-European languages except for in Germanic, Italic, Greek, Indic, and Armenian (which he calls Group B). However, he does seem to believe that the split did become phonemic in all of Indo-European for the bilabials only.

Beckwith argues that the variant allophones of the voiced stops were voiced fricatives or affricates. Thus, in most Indo-European languages, the fate of the two realisations of the stop series would be something like this:

(a note on notation. Sorry if any of this is confusing. I am using asterisks to mark the conventional/standard/default values assumed for the two Indo-European "voiced stop" series. I'm using **b for the more deeply hypothetical early PIE b phoneme which Beckwith believes underlies some instances of *w. Superscript numbers represent unspecified phonetically conditioning environments operating otherwise identical phonemes. I have used *g and g below to stand in for analogous developments in the labiovelar and palatalized velar sequences.)

**b == b --> b͡β --> w
*d == d --> d͡ð --> d
*g == g --> g͡ɣ --> g

*bʰ == b --> b --> b
*dʰ == d --> d --> d
*gʰ == g --> g --> g


However, the development in Germanic (one of Beckwith's Group B languages), would be more like this:

**b == b --> b͡β --> w
*d == d --> d͡ð --> ð
*g == g --> g͡ɣ --> ɣ

*bʰ == b --> b --> b
*dʰ == d --> d --> d
*gʰ == g --> g --> g

It's worth noting (and, as far as I know, Beckwith does not point this out) that the hypothetical Germanic developments differ from the "standard IE" (non-Group B) developments only in the case of d and g. Everything else is identical. Furthermore, the Germanic developments are not particularly similar to the Italic, Greek, and Indic developments, except that they both phonemicized the voiced stop split generally, not just in the bilabials. I'm ignoring Armenian in this part of the summary because I don't know what Beckwith would say about it.

So, in Italic, Greek, and Indic, the development of the b, d, g series was identical to in the "standard IE"/"non-Group B" languages. However, while those developments were going on the , b, d, g series developed a mandatory murmur (/ʱ/) which meant that d continued to be distinct from d, etc. I'd say the development of this murmur might be comparable to the shift in medieval Sinitic and Tibetan along the lines of b --> pʱ (etc. for the other voiced stops in those languages). So, in Italic/Greek/Indic:

**b == b --> b͡β --> w
*d == d --> d͡ð --> d
*g == g --> g͡ɣ --> g

*bʰ == b --> bʱ
*dʰ == d --> dʱ
*gʰ == g --> gʱ

In Indic, these consonants are pronounced roughly like this down to the present. In Greek and Latin, the murmured voiced stops first devoiced, becoming voiceless aspirated stops, and subsequently became fricatives (in Greek, this spirantisation occurred after their language was written down; in Latin, it was before).

*bʰ == b --> bʱ --> pʰ --> f
*dʰ == d --> dʱ --> tʰ --> θ (--> f)
*gʰ == g --> gʱ --> kʰ --> x (--> h)

(shifts in parentheses apply only to Latin).

The charts above represent my attempts to wrap my brain around what Beckwith is describing. They represent his opinions only the extent that I've been successful in grasping them; otherwise, they represent my mistakes.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:07 pm 
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Is there any reason not to posit a tʰ-t/d-dʱ distinction of the sort that currently exists in some dialects of Armenian for PIE, other than that Armenian is the absolute worst language in all of IE to base anything on? [even though said dialects perfectly reflect the phonation distinction reconstructed for PIE, except with aspiration on the t-series]

Where did Indo-Aryan get its unvoiced aspirates?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:17 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 7:03 am 
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 11:33 am 
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 12:51 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:28 am 
Smeric
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So a hidden society appears (I don't know how; this is just hypothetical) and seems to speak an Indo-European language, except that it doesn't appear to be related to any other IE language group (i.e. "isolated"). Also, there are no old texts to see how it evolved in the past (they might exist, but none are known), though it is written now.
What sort of things might we expect of an "isolated" IE language?

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:09 am 
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Since Satemization is an areal thing, it depends on the location. Going east, you can expect /v/ as a reflex of /*w/, a merger of the velar and labiovelar rows, RUKI backing of /s/ and the transformation of palatovelars into sibilants. Since Centum languages do not share any characteristic sound changes, you can only expect the merger of palatovelars and velars since everything else was pretty much a separate development. Anatolian languages preserved the laryngeals and the three rows of dorsals, Tocharian merged the rows into a simple velar system.

Edit: you could take a look at Albanian, Armenian and Ossetian. They all are oddball languages in the IE phylum, although Ossetian is an Iranian IIRC language.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:17 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:02 am 
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Also the rulers of large parts of Europe - the Alans were Sarmatian, but they lost their language everywhere they settled (iirc, southern spain, southwest france, southern italy, north africa, etc).

Anyway, I don't understand the premise of "IE but not related to any IE group". All the IE families are related, that's what makes them IE. Naturally, they have things in common with one another. And as for what we might expect... well, if the only premise is that it's not like any other IE group, we can't expect anything. Presumably it's a trigger system language with clicks and linguolabials.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:12 am 
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