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zompist bboard :: View topic - Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...
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Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...
http://www.incatena.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=44865
Page 5 of 9

Author:  KathTheDragon [ Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...

I'd love to go through your post in detail and pick it apart, Howl, but there's rather too much for me to hold in my head long enough to write a coherent reply, so I'll pick a few bits that caught my eye.

Firstly, on the Celtic and Italic reflexes of *pénkʷe, these are regular through the assimilation *p...kʷ > *kʷ...kʷ, also observed in Latin coquō < *pekʷ-.

Secondly, the Uralic stem *mi need not have anything to do with the PIE stem *kʷi-, since there's another PIE pronominal stem starting with an *m, though the reflexes are sparse and the semantics are unclear, but it's very possible that it had interrogative semantics.

Author:  Hydroeccentricity [ Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...


Author:  Tropylium [ Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...


Author:  Howl [ Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...


Author:  Howl [ Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...


Author:  jal [ Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...


Author:  Salmoneus [ Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...

Could someone just point out that numerals are perhaps the worst possible set of roots to reconstruct the fine details of? Their extremely common use (and in inflecting languages their common use in inflected forms) can produce a lot of irregularity, and the practice of counting tends to produce secondary similarities between nearby numbers.

As an extreme example (from a set of numerals only used for counting, so more exposed to this): is -era in Borrowdale counting a numeral "suffix"? [and analogous forms across the British isles] No, it's just spread from the -er in the number 4, probably because that's the only bisyllabic numeral, and the second syllable has just been exported to the numbers 3, 6, 7, 8 and 9 by analogy. [yan, tyan, tethera, methera, pimp, sethera, lethera, hovera, dovera, dick; "dovera" seems to have been created entirely from bits of other numbers...]

The same thing also commonly happens in a less extreme form in numeral systems that aren't just used for counting. So, for instance, PIE kw- in "4" became Germanic f-, presumably due to influence from adjacent "5"; is that also why the second stop in "5" likewise went from labiovelar to labial? And then the medial *d in "4" dropped, and then in Old Norse a suffix was stuck on the end. [god only knows where the pronunciation of modern English "one" comes from...]

Comparing numerals is useful when looking for general similarity between languages, because they tend not to be replaced. But it's not very useful when looking at fine details, and particularly not when comparing numbers in the same numeral set, as they may have influenced one another irregularly.

Author:  Nortaneous [ Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...


Author:  Hydroeccentricity [ Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...

Howl, that's not how strawmen work. I illustrated how this method could be applied. The fact that we already know the relationship between English and Spanish is what makes the example obviously incorrect. Pointing out that the relationship between English and Spanish cannot be demonstrated in this way is the whole point of the example.

As for your milk and water examples, you have explained the flaw in your reasoning better than I ever could. We know that water and idor are related, not because of, or even in spite of, their similarity or difference in phonological form, but because they adhere to regular sound changes, sound changes which do not need to combine and eliminate extra segments in an artificial manner do derive a proto-language. There is infinitely more evidence for "wheel" being related to "chakra" than any of your examples. Pointing to similar sounding words and saying “is it so crazy?” is exactly what historical linguists don't do.

It is entirely possible that PIU existed. Of course there would be speculative work involved at some stage in reconstructing it. But what you're doing right now is not rigorous science. It is the equivalent of an aspiring doctor treating patients with voodoo charms.

Author:  Tropylium [ Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...


Author:  Soap [ Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...

Just a comment, PIE just seems to have a lot of long roots. 4 consonants just to say "fire"? (assuming laryngeals are consonants, which almost everyone now agrees). The root for milk has 4 consoinants too, and the root for "four" has either three or four depending on how you count. If most of its words for basic concepts are compounds, it's no surprise to me that there are hardly any cognates.

I do believe that U and PIE are related, based on strong morphological resemblances as detailed further upthread and in the separate PIE thread, but Ive always been struck by how surprisingly low the number of likely cognates is. Perhaps the PIE lexicon was spoiled somehow? Winfred Lehmann reconstructed an early stage of PIE with a phonology consisting entirely of consonants, with neither vowels nor a stress accent on. If so, the vowels of Uralic are useless in reconstruction of a relation, unless they can be shown to somehow affect the consonants.

Even more moderate ideas of PIE phonology acknowledge that there was an ablaut system and that /e/ was by far the most ocmmon root vowel, so the vowels of Uralic are still mostly irrelevant since it seems that there was a major collapse at some point on the IE side only. It could be that this caused the IE lexicon to be rebuilt with heavy reliance on compounds and derivation even for simple concepts.

Author:  jal [ Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...


Author:  Nortaneous [ Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...

Lexical corruption or mass replacement seems more likely in PIE than PU, just because PIE has the monosyllabic root deal and PU doesn't.

How much do we know about the emergence of that sort of system? Semitic triconsonantal roots in the AA context, that sort of thing.

Author:  Howl [ Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...


Author:  Salmoneus [ Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...


Author:  jal [ Fri Nov 24, 2017 2:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...


Author:  Tropylium [ Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...


Author:  Howl [ Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...


Author:  Tropylium [ Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...


Author:  Howl [ Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...

That is indeed a good point. In any language group with that much vowel qualities, the vowels tend to be unstable. See for example the development of the Romance languages (Latin had different vowel qualities for short and long vowels). And the Germanic languages also offer plenty of examples like the Great Vowel Shift of the English language.

But I'm running into the same problem as everyone. Too little data.. I started looking into this because I wanted more data for my vowel model, especially the development of the laryngeals. But I find Indo-Uralic interesting in its own right. And getting more data requires a lot of time. And better dictionaries. For example, Uralonet (UEW) is great for searching, but their reconstructions are problematic. I'm still wondering what they mean with O-breve and O-breve-umlaut. For now, I just replace that with a schwa in my data.

Also, even if someone makes a Proto-Indo-Uralic reconstruction, it won't mean that everyone will suddenly see PIU as a real thing. It will probably end up in a situation similar to Proto-Altaic. Yes, it is possible to make some reconstruction, but how much **akwater will it have?

One example of why I'm not at all optimistic is PU ś.
I think it corresponds to PIE consonant clusters involving s, like sk, sp, st:

PU: śota, śoδa, śoδ̕a 'fight (n), struggle, war; fight, struggle (vi)' UEW#1597 FW
PIE: sperdʰ 'to compete, contest, struggle'

PU: śakkɜ (śukkɜ) 'piece, bit, part ' UEW#924 Ug ??FU
PIE: (s)tewg- 'to break, piece' (cognate germ. Stück)

PU: śu-re FW 'mush, groats, pulp' UEW#1601
PIE: (s)poH(y) 'foam'

But with the IE s-mobile phenomenon, this means ś can correspond to anything.
And then you can make correspondences like:

PU: śiδä (śiδä-mɜ), śüδä, śüδä-mɜ U 'heart ' UEW#960 U
PIE: ḱerd 'heart' from earlier **sḱert ??
(or PIE: psten 'breast, teat')

PU: śänčɜ 'knee ' UEW#949 U
PIE: kenk ‘knee-cup, heel’ from earlier **skenk??

PU: śulɜ U 'vessel ' UEW#982 U
PIE: pel 'container, vessel, dish' cognate Latin pelvis, from earlier **spel??)

A couple more sound changes like this, and critical linguists will be tearing PIU to pieces.

Author:  Tropylium [ Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...


Author:  WeepingElf [ Sat Dec 02, 2017 4:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...

What Howl does seems to be quite similar to what I called "system comparison" until I realized that it was fallacious. "System comparison" was the comparison of phonological systems without the drudgery of finding lexical cognates. This can easily go wrong badly. Consider Greek and Armenian. These two languages have similar-looking stop systems, each with aspirated, voiceless and voiced stops. By "system comparison", one could easily arrive at such "sound correspondences" as Arm. th = Gk. th, Arm. t = Gk. t, Arm. d = Gk. d. As is well-known, though, these are actually wrong, it is Arm. th = Gk. t, Arm. t = Gk. d, Arm. d = Gk. th. How to tell? Lexical cognate sets.

Author:  Howl [ Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...

I have though long and hard about the criticism. What I posted was ongoing exploratory fast-and-loose dictionary comparison. This is of course can't withstand the critical debate that is normal within historical linguistics. And this approach is not very resistant to any prior assumptions that may come from 'System Comparison'.

I have thought of a new approach that is more systematic and meticulous, and can deal with small changes in semantics in a defensible way. It works like this:

1. Define a 'semantic cluster' of related meanings in which to search for possible cognates.
2. Create a list of all roots/words on both sides for that 'semantic cluster'.
3. Search for possible cognates.

By having the list of all roots within a 'semantic cluster', you know (1) what the alternatives are and (2) how big the pond is in which you are fishing for a match.

Author:  mèþru [ Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...

By "system comparison" pretty much every Sprachbund is related. Also, French is obviously closer related to German than it is to Spanish!

Author:  kanejam [ Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Mitian, ...


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