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The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread
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Author:  WeepingElf [ Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:04 pm ]
Post subject:  The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

There recently have been some discussions of Proto-Indo-European phonology in this thread where it is a tangent, so I have decided to open a new thread here in L&L for such discussions (not only of phonology but also for all other things PIE).

Author:  Terra [ Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

1) Why does PIE lack *b in native roots? (Roots that are neither borrowings nor imitations nor cradle words.)
2a) Why can't a voiceless stop and voiced aspirated stop exist together in a root?
2b) Why can't two voiced stops exist together in a root?

Author:  KathTheDragon [ Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

Terra wrote:
1) Why does PIE lack *b in native roots? (Roots that are neither borrowings nor imitations nor cradle words.)

It does?

Author:  Bristel [ Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

Can someone explain to me how to figure out the different transcriptions and to switch between them when necessary?

I'm used to the h1 h2 h3 system, but there are others that I see less frequently, and when compiling data, I find it hard to read.

Also, what is H, h4, ha and hx?

I know Hamp/Sen use hx and ha, but Lehmann uses <ʔ> and that's just a bit confusing if you don't remember what it is.

Furthermore, my Dictionary of Proto-Indo-European Roots uses a different transcription (doesn't use laryngeals or palatals, I think), one that indicates a "later" PIE, but also uses the old H transcription to describe entries after the new transcription as well.

Author:  Terra [ Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

Quote:
Also, what is H, h4, ha and hx?

-- H is a laryngeal of unknown quality, so either h1, h2, or h3.
-- ha = h2 (The a-coloring laryngeal.)
-- ʔ (a glottal stop) is for those who recostruct four laryngeals. The three laryngeal theory merges this with H1. The reason is that sometimes h1 reflects Anatolian h (with some squiggle underneath), and it sometimes doesn't. h1 is for the times it does reflect h, and ʔ is for the times it does not.
-- I don't know what h4 and hx are. (I guess that I'd assume that h4 is another symbol for the glottal stop.) (I could probably figure out what these laryngeals are if you posted some examples of words that they appear in.)

Author:  KathTheDragon [ Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

I believe hx is another way of denoting H.

Author:  Salmoneus [ Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

KathAveara wrote:
Terra wrote:
1) Why does PIE lack *b in native roots? (Roots that are neither borrowings nor imitations nor cradle words.)

It does?


We don't know.
It certainly seems as though PIE had very few words with *b in them. Whether it had none is a bit different - because there are so few of them, people like to say 'it has *b in it so it must be a loanword', and then bingo, there are no native nonbabytalk words with *b in them.

[Eg. *bak (b2ek, whatever). Assumed to be a loanword, although it must either be early or widespread since it's in italic, celtic, greek, germanic, and possibly baltic]


hx is sometimes used as a laryngeal of unknown nature, I think.

Author:  Terra [ Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

Quote:
We don't know.
It certainly seems as though PIE had very few words with *b in them. Whether it had none is a bit different - because there are so few of them, people like to say 'it has *b in it so it must be a loanword', and then bingo, there are no native nonbabytalk words with *b in them.

Even if PIE did, the question just then becomes: Why did it have so few?

For the skeptical, there are other indications that a word is a loanword:
1) Limited/Regional distribution among IE languages.
2) Is a word for a new/regional animal/plant/technology.
3) Is a root-noun. (Doesn't have any verbs derived from it.)
4) Has /a/ (Which admittedly has the same problem as /b/ about whether/how it existed.)
Edit: One more:
5) Has irregular correspondences in languages it does show up in. ("nut": *knew-d- (Germanic), *knew-k- (Italic), *knew-H- (Celtic))

Author:  Sleinad Flar [ Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

The glottalic theory (see wikipedia) attempts to explain the (almost) non-existence of /b/ and root structure (as well as stuff like Grimm's Law in Germanic and Armenian). IIRC the voiceless/voiced/aspirated becomes voiceless/ejective/voiced. Ejective /p'/ is apparently hard to pronounce [citation needed] and the root constraints seem to be typologically plausible in languages with such a glottalic system [citation needed].

h4 is an a-coloring laryngeal, which is reconstructed in places were Hittite doesn't preserve the laryngeal. In contrast, the other a-coloring laryngeal h2 is preserved in Hittite. To put it in another way: *h2e becomes ha and *h4e becomes a in Hittite. (I've also seen ha in reconstructions, when the nature of the a-coloring laryngeal is uncertain, because the word isn't preserved in Anatolian). Personally I think reconstructing this extra laryngeal is unnecessary: *h4e might as well be *h1a or even simply *a.

I'm not going to touch the phonetic values of the other laryngeals, but h1 is usually assumed to be the glottal stop.

Author:  WeepingElf [ Sat Nov 23, 2013 1:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

Sleinad Flar wrote:
The glottalic theory (see wikipedia) attempts to explain the (almost) non-existence of /b/ and root structure (as well as stuff like Grimm's Law in Germanic and Armenian). IIRC the voiceless/voiced/aspirated becomes voiceless/ejective/voiced. Ejective /p'/ is apparently hard to pronounce [citation needed] and the root constraints seem to be typologically plausible in languages with such a glottalic system [citation needed].


Yes, that is exactly how it is claimed to work. As you have indicated, neither the absence of /p'/ nor the non-occurrence of two ejectives in a single root is true of most languages with ejectives. Most Caucasian languages, for instance, have /p'/, and at least some of them allow two ejectives in a root. (I think I have seen such roots in Kartvelian - the family adduced most commonly as a model for "Glottalist PIE" - but I am not sure.) It is also not certain that PIE indeed lacked */b/. There are indeed not many words with it, and most of them have some etymological problems (such as an areally skewed distribution, e.g. *h2abl- 'apple' which occurs only in Celtic, Germanic and Balto-Slavic), but it is far from certain that all items with */b/ are spurious!

The non-co-occurrence of voiceless and voiced-aspirated stops in roots would then simply be the output of a voicing assimilation rule which would only apply to pulmonic stops.

Another glottalist argument is that allegedly, breathy-voiced stops never occur without voiceless aspirated stops, and that the traditional model of PIE was therefore typologically bizarre. But such stops are generally almost vanishingly rare in the world's languages outside Indo-Aryan, and it has been claimed that counterexamples have been found (about which I don't know, however).

It tells a lot that after a vivid discussion in the 1970s, most Indo-Europeanists now feel that there is no need for such a hypothesis.

Sleinad Flar wrote:
h4 is an a-coloring laryngeal, which is reconstructed in places were Hittite doesn't preserve the laryngeal. In contrast, the other a-coloring laryngeal h2 is preserved in Hittite. To put it in another way: *h2e becomes ha and *h4e becomes a in Hittite. (I've also seen ha in reconstructions, when the nature of the a-coloring laryngeal is uncertain, because the word isn't preserved in Anatolian). Personally I think reconstructing this extra laryngeal is unnecessary: *h4e might as well be *h1a or even simply *a.


Wherein we hit upon another "problematic" PIE phoneme, */a/. Many instances can be explained away by way of laryngeals; some others have limited distribution and may be loanwords; but there are quite a few items which do not easily admit to such explanations.

Sleinad Flar wrote:
I'm not going to touch the phonetic values of the other laryngeals, but h1 is usually assumed to be the glottal stop.


Often, yes; but */h/ is also often assumed. Anything that just cleanly goes away without affecting neighbouring vowels ;)

Author:  ObsequiousNewt [ Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

WeepingElf wrote:
Sleinad Flar wrote:
I'm not going to touch the phonetic values of the other laryngeals, but h1 is usually assumed to be the glottal stop.


Often, yes; but */h/ is also often assumed. Anything that just cleanly goes away without affecting neighbouring vowels ;)

Wait, I thought *eh₁ gave *ē?

Author:  WeepingElf [ Sat Nov 23, 2013 4:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

ObsequiousNewt wrote:
WeepingElf wrote:
Sleinad Flar wrote:
I'm not going to touch the phonetic values of the other laryngeals, but h1 is usually assumed to be the glottal stop.


Often, yes; but */h/ is also often assumed. Anything that just cleanly goes away without affecting neighbouring vowels ;)

Wait, I thought *eh₁ gave *ē?


Of course. But the quality of the vowel is unaffected, in contrast to the other laryngeals.

Author:  Drydic [ Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

WeepingElf wrote:
ObsequiousNewt wrote:
WeepingElf wrote:
Sleinad Flar wrote:
I'm not going to touch the phonetic values of the other laryngeals, but h1 is usually assumed to be the glottal stop.


Often, yes; but */h/ is also often assumed. Anything that just cleanly goes away without affecting neighbouring vowels ;)

Wait, I thought *eh₁ gave *ē?


Of course. But the quality of the vowel is unaffected, in contrast to the other laryngeals.

That's still affecting the vowel...

Author:  WeepingElf [ Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

Nessari wrote:
WeepingElf wrote:
ObsequiousNewt wrote:
WeepingElf wrote:
Sleinad Flar wrote:
I'm not going to touch the phonetic values of the other laryngeals, but h1 is usually assumed to be the glottal stop.


Often, yes; but */h/ is also often assumed. Anything that just cleanly goes away without affecting neighbouring vowels ;)

Wait, I thought *eh₁ gave *ē?


Of course. But the quality of the vowel is unaffected, in contrast to the other laryngeals.

That's still affecting the vowel...


Sure it is. I worded wrongly; should have written, "... without affecting the quality of neighbouring vowels".

Author:  2+3 clusivity [ Sun Nov 24, 2013 10:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

What's up with the 1st.sing.nom pronoun? It seems to fit oddly into the pronoun paradigm. For roughly the same reason, what is up with the /*s/ of the masc. and fem. 3d.sing.nom v. /*t/.

Author:  WeepingElf [ Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

2+3 clusivity wrote:
What's up with the 1st.sing.nom pronoun? It seems to fit oddly into the pronoun paradigm. For roughly the same reason, what is up with the /*s/ of the masc. and fem. 3d.sing.nom v. /*t/.


I think there is no definite answer yet. 1sg. nom. *h1eǵoh2 may once have been a verb form meaning something like 'I am here'. Note that in a language like PIE that inflects its verb for the person and number of the subject and may have been a pro-drop language, nominative pronouns had an emphatic function and can therefore be expected to be irregular.

The distinction between */s/ and */t/ in the 3rd person pronouns may have once been an animate/inanimate suppletivism (note that neuter form has */t/ in the nom.sg. as well), but why then did the inanimate forms invade the animate paradigm?

Author:  Particles the Greek [ Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

Here's something which concerns me. Some sources - Beekes for example - deny the existence of /a/ in PIE, and many deny /b/ also. Szemerényi mentions that the existence of /c/ (an affricate more commonly known as /ts/) has been tried to be proved and failed. Next up for removal is presumably /d/. So, how long will it be before PIEists eventually work their way through the entire alphabet and conclude that PIE had no phonemes at all?

Author:  Herr Dunkel [ Sun Nov 24, 2013 12:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

araceli wrote:
Here's something which concerns me. Some sources - Beekes for example - deny the existence of /a/ in PIE, and many deny /b/ also. Szemerényi mentions that the existence of /c/ (an affricate more commonly known as /ts/) has been tried to be proved and failed. Next up for removal is presumably /d/. So, how long will it be before PIEists eventually work their way through the entire alphabet and conclude that PIE had no phonemes at all?

Lies. It had /ʔ ʕ ʢ ɰ ɲ ʀ/ and probably also /ɶ ɞ/

Author:  Dē Graut Bʉr [ Sun Nov 24, 2013 2:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

araceli wrote:
So, how long will it be before PIEists eventually work their way through the entire alphabet and conclude that PIE had no phonemes at all?

Obviously it wasn't a spoken language, and thus not a language with phonemes.

Author:  sirdanilot [ Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

PIE was not a language.

Author:  Herr Dunkel [ Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

Well, talk now goes it was a dialect continuum, so no it wasn't a single language it seems.

Author:  Drydic [ Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

sirdanilot wrote:
PIE was not a language.

It would've been if it'd had a navy.

Author:  vec [ Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

sirdanilot wrote:
PIE was not a language.

What do you mean by this statement? Are you being facetious or do you have some specific opinions on the matter?

Author:  dhok [ Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

So I'm doing a short bibliography project for my intro linguistics course, and I've chosen Indo-European stuff as my topic. One of the articles I'm reviewing is by a fellow named Beckwith, who has titled his work On the Indo-European Obstruent System. The board won't let me attach the pdf, but the basic gist of his argument is that the usual division of T vs. D vs. Dʰ is untenable, even going so far as to state that

Quote:
Moreover, the traditional three-way phoneme system - unvoiced unaspirate : voiced unaspirate : voiced aspirate - is not merely unnatural, it seems to be unattested in any known language, as noted by Jakobson in 1958 (Miller 1977). Nearly everyone now agrees that it is wrong. (italics mine)


Which is news to me! Beckwith argues that when the traditionalists argue that the three-way distinction of voiceless vs. voiced vs. voiced aspirated is maintained by Germanic, Italic, Greek and Indic, while the voiced and voiced aspirates collapse together in Celtic, Balto-Slavic and Iranian, they've got it backwards- in point of fact there was a two-way voiced vs. voiceless distinction, and the former group of languages actually innovated an aspirated/breathy-voiced series from an allophonic distinction later on. This does have the convenient advantage that it explains, kind of, the weird constraints on roots that disallow formations like **deg- or **dʰek-, as well as the near-absence of /b/. He's not very clear on just what the conditions were for the phonemicization of the aspirated stops were, though, and the whole thing just plain strikes me as really unlikely. (He also doesn't reconstruct a palatovelar or labiovelar series of stops). I can send the PDF to anyone who wants a look-through- but what's going on here?

Author:  Nortaneous [ Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Great Proto-Indo-European Thread

how does that explain the near-absence of /b/? does he say it all shifted to bh or?

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