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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:12 am 
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Salmoneus wrote:
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.

That premise is most likely just "is not part of an existing IE subfamily", ie Germanic Slavic Indo-Aryan Celtic etc.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:21 am 
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Herr Dunkel wrote:
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.

The weird thing is that Proto-Albanian can be reconstructed as a fairly sane, unexceptional IE language. It just got batshit crazy after contact with the Romans.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:34 am 
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Dewrad wrote:
The weird thing is that Proto-Albanian can be reconstructed as a fairly sane, unexceptional IE language. It just got batshit crazy after contact with the Romans.

Now this is weird.

On a somewhat related note, both Greek and Albanian permit nasal-unvoiced stop onsets such as /mp/ and /nt/ even though they are realised as [b] and [d] in former. Is this due to a common innovation or two independent ones?


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:58 am 
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Are you sure the Greek examples aren't just loans with b,d respelled?

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:36 am 
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I don't know any Greek so I'm not sure. There are obvious loans such as μπύρα [ˈbira] “beer”, there are some shortenings such as Ντίνα [ˈdina] (a shortened form of Κωνσταντίνα “Constantina”, but there are probably native Greek words which begin with any of /mp/, /nt/ or /nk/.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:46 am 
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Click wrote:
I don't know any Greek so I'm not sure. There are obvious loans such as μπύρα [ˈbira] “beer”, there are some shortenings such as Ντίνα [ˈdina] (a shortened form of Κωνσταντίνα “Constantina”, but there are probably native Greek words which begin with any of /mp/, /nt/ or /nk/.

I'd like to know what Ancient Greek words they came from then...

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:47 am 
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Why do you think it probable?

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:54 am 
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Yes, although they are rather rare. One example is ντύνω, which derives from classical ἐνδύω.

NE: although this comes with the caveat that this etymology is not exactly widely reported and to my knowledge initial vowel loss is not usually a thing in Greek, so this is either one of a few isolated cases or actually a loan with uncertain provenance. In any case, the wide majority of Greek words with initial voiced stops are loans.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 3:01 pm 
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Dewrad wrote:
The weird thing is that Proto-Albanian can be reconstructed as a fairly sane, unexceptional IE language. It just got batshit crazy after contact with the Romans.


I'm not familiar with Albanian. Just what makes it so crazy?


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 3:09 pm 
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Adjective Recoil wrote:
Dewrad wrote:
The weird thing is that Proto-Albanian can be reconstructed as a fairly sane, unexceptional IE language. It just got batshit crazy after contact with the Romans.


I'm not familiar with Albanian. Just what makes it so crazy?

Gjashtë '6' is cognate with PIE *sweḱs, for starters.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:08 pm 
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Nessari wrote:
Adjective Recoil wrote:
Dewrad wrote:
The weird thing is that Proto-Albanian can be reconstructed as a fairly sane, unexceptional IE language. It just got batshit crazy after contact with the Romans.


I'm not familiar with Albanian. Just what makes it so crazy?

Gjashtë '6' is cognate with PIE *sweḱs, for starters.


Yes. The batshitness of Albanian is mainly phonological. It has a fairly typical IE grammatical structure, but the shapes of the words and morphemes are often hard to recognize due to the odd sound changes that happened in the language. The same is true of Armenian: it, too, is a fairly typical IE language defaced by hard-to-believe sound changes (such as the famous *duwoH > erku 'two'), but with a fairly typical grammatical structure at least in Old Armenian (Modern Armenian has AFAIK moved to a more agglutinating structure).

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:40 pm 
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Grrr. Armenian. Seems to be no damn relation between starting phonemes and where they end up...

Of course, with Armenian, everything's additionally screwed up by the large number of loanwords in various eras from various Iranian languages.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:26 pm 
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If the loans are recognizable, it's better than Albanian...

gaudium → gas
medicus → mjek
padule → pyll
bubulcus → bujk
accipiter → qift
ecclesia → kishë
monacus → murg
imperator → mbret
vicinus → fqinj

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:25 pm 
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Anybody have anything on the Germanic substrate?

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:39 am 
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Herr Dunkel wrote:
Anybody have anything on the Germanic substrate?


There is almost nothing known on it, except some lists of Germanic words that don't have good IE etymologies and may be borrowed from such a substratum language (or languages). The language in question may have been the source of the "Old European" river names (see here), which seem to point at a language related to IE, but branching off before ablaut developed in PIE, and having only three vowels - */a/, */i/ and */u/, of which */a/ was far more common than the others. Like PIE, it seems to have disallowed high vowels before sonorants. This language would probably have been that of the Linear Pottery Culture, the first Neolithic farmers of Central Europe, who appear to have come from the Lower Danube region. The homeland of the common ancestor may have been where now is the Bay of Odessa, before the Black Sea Flood, if that actually happened.

But I am digressing into speculation here and ought to stop before I turn into a second Octaviano ;)

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 12:44 pm 
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I'm just gonna drop this here:
System PIE : The Primary Phoneme Inventory and Sound Law System for Proto-Indo-European
So apparently it's possible to crank a PhD out of proposing a preposterious reinterpretation of a reasonably well-constructed proto-language, if it's done in sufficient detail? The guy is proposing that there was only one laryngeal, no laryngeal coloring, the stop system comprised only *p *t *k, etc.

I went to see his defense even. His opponent was Lyle Campbell, who in summary described the work as "provocatory". I'm assuming this is a polite way of saying basically "out of touch with modern research?"

There are some ideas I find reasonable, e.g. that plastering *h₁ before all traditional vowel-initial reconstructions is unwarranted, but you'd have to dig deep to find these.

This is going to end up either as a forgotten footnote or as a huge argument in the field, depending on how good he is at being provocatory…

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 2:32 pm 
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Tropylium wrote:
The guy is proposing that there was only one laryngeal, no laryngeal coloring, the stop system comprised only *p *t *k, etc.

Well that's ... special. I mean, a sufficiently sensible explanation would be interesting, but I kind of doubt he's going to be able to justify all of the proposals.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 3:52 pm 
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Tropylium wrote:
There are some ideas I find reasonable, e.g. that plastering *h₁ before all traditional vowel-initial reconstructions is unwarranted


Is it really, though? There are a lot of languages that ban vowel-initial onsets, and *h₁ is often reconstructed as a very light sound like [ʔ] or [h]. That's perfectly consistent with an initial consonant for vowel-initial reconstructions, since it would be the least marked consonant phoneme, and it certainly left the least amount of trace when it did drop.

Also, if the author of the paper reconstructs only one stop series and a single laryngeal, I can't help but wonder if he's trying a bit too hard to prove Indo-Uralic.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:02 pm 
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Jedward Fitzgerald wrote:
Is it really, though? There are a lot of languages that ban vowel-initial onsets, and *h₁ is often reconstructed as a very light sound like [ʔ] or [h]. That's perfectly consistent with an initial consonant for vowel-initial reconstructions, since it would be the least marked consonant phoneme, and it certainly left the least amount of trace when it did drop.


The question is, is it a necessary reconstruction though.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:58 pm 
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gach wrote:
Jedward Fitzgerald wrote:
Is it really, though? There are a lot of languages that ban vowel-initial onsets, and *h₁ is often reconstructed as a very light sound like [ʔ] or [h]. That's perfectly consistent with an initial consonant for vowel-initial reconstructions, since it would be the least marked consonant phoneme, and it certainly left the least amount of trace when it did drop.


The question is, is it a necessary reconstruction though.

Yeah. It's perfectly internally consistent, but it still seems like an extra complication. Postulating segments that are in no way reflected in the data is going to need stronger evidence than "well mandatory onset languages are possible".

Not that I've studied the whole of the matter. I'm not clear on e.g. if any recoverable distinction between ∅- and *h₁- has been proposed (not entirely implausible: in formulations working with schwa insertion/laryngeal vocalization, we'd expect "initial" zero grades to turn into Greek /e-/ if preceded by a laryngeal, but not else?)

A detailed understanding of the hows and whys ablaut would also be necessary here though. My suspicion continues to be that Greek simply retained some zero-grades from back when that was something like *ə, while this was lost elsewhere. This might then leave a reconstruction where *h₁ only occurred in coda, but this is nothing special actually — a loss of /h/ in onset position only is a known sound change (e.g. from Votic), one that in this case should probably then be reconstructed in pre-PIE.

As for blaming a reconstruction on a particular long-range comparision preference, it should also be noted that the Indo-Semitic kind of Nostraticists seem to like having lots of *h₁ to identify with some Afrasian gutturals. I'd guess most laryngealists aren't actually doing this though.

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Last edited by Tropylium on Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:13 pm 
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Morrígan wrote:
Tropylium wrote:
The guy is proposing that there was only one laryngeal, no laryngeal coloring, the stop system comprised only *p *t *k, etc.

Well that's ... special. I mean, a sufficiently sensible explanation would be interesting, but I kind of doubt he's going to be able to justify all of the proposals.


I have leafed through it, and the first impression is: Hmmm, may be interesting, but it is a very bold proposal, and the burden of proof of course rests on him. I also do not understand the formulaic mumbo-jumbo he is thrusting at the reader. It could be like glottalic theory: not applying well to PIE proper, but maybe hinting at a Pre-PIE state of affairs. What convinces me least is the invocation of a lost voiced laryngeal to explain away the voicing in PIE stops. (And what conditions the voiceless and voiced allophones of his */h/? It did not become clear to me.) His rejection of laryngeal colouring also doesn't really make things simpler; he has to resort to triphthongs in order to make things work together and produce the observed results.

Another problem is that near the end, he considers it a strong point of his model that his phoneme inventory is small and looks "archaic". While the idea that human language started with simple phonologies in the first Homo sapiens population(s) may have something to it, it is not at all relevant to the reconstruction of PIE. PIE was about 6,000 years ago; the first fully-developed human languages are at least ten times as old, and arguing with a simple primordial language in PIE reconstruction is accordingly meaningless.

So far, I am unconvinced, but I wouldn't reject it out of hand; I have to read it more thoroughly when I find the time to do so.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:29 pm 
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WeepingElf wrote:
What convinces me least is the invocation of a lost voiced laryngeal to explain away the voicing in PIE stops. (And what conditions the voiceless and voiced allophones of his */h/? It did not become clear to me.)

His explanation of this during the defense was being "entirely certain" that having a detailed reconstruction of PIE accentuation available would explain this. If this assumption is omitted, essentially it's still a multi-laryngeal system: *h₂ turns stops aspirated, *h₃ turns stops voiced, "*h₂₃" turns stops voiced aspirated.

Then there's the methodological issue that if this all didn't happen in Tocharian or Anatolian, then the complicated development of stop voicing needs to be placed in a Late PIE stage, and at that point, word roots not found in the former two stop fully counting as evidence on Early PIE matters.

WeepingElf wrote:
Another problem is that near the end, he considers it a strong point of his model that his phoneme inventory is small and looks "archaic".


I guess this is a side effect of a poor grasp of typology + speaking Finnish, which lacks phonation contrasts and is widely seen (over here anyway) as "archaic". The diphthongs like *ea for *eh₂ he outright admitted to have been influenced by Finnish. (In some ways the thing looks less like a "reconstruction" and more like a remarkably PIE-like conlang constructed according to a remarkably comparative-method-like methodology.)

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:46 pm 
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Tropylium wrote:
WeepingElf wrote:
What convinces me least is the invocation of a lost voiced laryngeal to explain away the voicing in PIE stops. (And what conditions the voiceless and voiced allophones of his */h/? It did not become clear to me.)

His explanation of this during the defense was being "entirely certain" that having a detailed reconstruction of PIE accentuation available would explain this. If this assumption is omitted, essentially it's still a multi-laryngeal system: *h₂ turns stops aspirated, *h₃ turns stops voiced, "*h₂₃" turns stops voiced aspirated.


Yes. And it IMHO adds a complication which is unnecessary and unjustified unless it turns out to have cognates in Uralic or whichever language family is related to IE. PIE accent is indeed a troublesome matter; however, it seems that the hysterokinetic accent-ablaut paradigm is the most archaic, and this hints at a penultimate accent rule in some stage of Pre-PIE (Rasmussen and Kloekhorst have done some pioneering work in this field, but the case is far from closed).

Tropylium wrote:
Then there's the methodological issue that if this all didn't happen in Tocharian or Anatolian, then the complicated development of stop voicing needs to be placed in a Late PIE stage, and at that point, word roots not found in the former two stop fully counting as evidence on Early PIE matters.


Tocharian indeed has no MOA distinctions in stops (as I already said, NOT an artifact of the writing system). With Anatolian, things are obscured by the cuneiform script which is far from being consistently phonemic (the Luvian hieroglyphs aren't much better), but the Hittitologists have managed to reconstruct a system with two kinds of stops, one corresponding to the Late PIE *T set and one to the Late PIE *D and *Dh sets. What is unknown is whether this is a voiceless/voiced or an aspirated/unaspirated (or whatever) distinction. While the handbooks lean to the former (probably because it is closer to the traditional reconstruction of PIE), I have been told that more and more Hittitologists lean towards the latter these days, which may indicate that Early PIE had a *Th/T/D system corresponding to the Late PIE *T/D/Dh system.

Tropylium wrote:
WeepingElf wrote:
Another problem is that near the end, he considers it a strong point of his model that his phoneme inventory is small and looks "archaic".


I guess this is a side effect of a poor grasp of typology + speaking Finnish, which lacks phonation contrasts and is widely seen (over here anyway) as "archaic". The diphthongs like *ea for *eh₂ he outright admitted to have been influenced by Finnish. (In some ways the thing looks less like a "reconstruction" and more like a remarkably PIE-like conlang constructed according to a remarkably comparative-method-like methodology.)


Him being Finnish may play a role. Perhaps he is trying to nudge PIE closer to Uralic. His grasp of language typology also doesn't appear to be firm, and he clearly fell into the fallacy of confusing orders of magnitude on the time scale. PIE is just not meaningfully closer to the origin of Language than the modern languages are. (Of course, nobody knows when full-fledged human languages with recursive grammar first appeared, but it was at least 75,000 years ago, probably earlier; and they did not appear ex nihilo.)

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:50 am 
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Incidentally, has anybody managed to read the paper in which Colarusso argues that IE and NWC languages are descended from a common ancestor? Given the Urheimat of PIE and assuming that the Caucasus had similar antics back then as it does now I have always kind of thought that the idea of a Caucasian (Early) PIE, as it were, makes a lot of sense -- such a proposal would include some variant of the glottalic theory as well as the PIE ablaut originally being between /a ə/ rather than /e o/; with much of the strange features it acquired later explicable by the migration of speakers into different linguistic areas.

That said, as far as my limited knowledge goes, there is no good reason to suppose this would entail phylogenetic rather than areal factors and I am quite convinced Colarusso is a crackpot (especially given the difficulty of reconstructing proto-NWC) but I would be very interested in the arguments he gives for it.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 3:08 am 
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The quantitative and qualitative improvement of the presentation of the Indo-European material has reached a critical mass, allowing the solution of all major problems of PIE segmental phonology based on the comparative method of reconstruction. This window of opportunity will be explored in this study with a completely upgraded reconstruction theory, called System PIE, which is based on strict principles of natural science. In essence, System PIE consists of the primary phoneme inventory and the upgraded sound law system for Proto-Indo-European, with particular attention paid to the segmental laryngeal PIE h in all environments. As such, System PIE is designed to solve the critical problems of PIE phonology and open the way for a subsequent exploration of the breakthrough, especially in the fields of PIE morphology, etymology and the accent of the proto-language. Concerning these Schwerpunkts, the following preliminary remarks are presented.

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