Re: [ANE-2] RE RE further RE additions to tlenai, talal &c
- My real concern about the whole Nostratic theory is that it grabs a root
here and a root there, often a root consisting of a CVC stem, and
relates them because of semantic categories. Too often, the initial
consonant is retained, or related (t-d, for instance) and the final
consonant usually a liquid or a nasal.
This is on a par with the fact that I have noticed some similarity to
the person-aspect markers in Cree and those in Hebrew, and declaring
that the Cree people speak a language 'related' to Hebrew.
My own feeling is that there might well be a Superfamily of Languages,
such as Nostratic, but that the presence or absence of such a family is
beyond the range of our speculations.
One of the interesting things about Indo-European, by the way, is that
for years people could see interesting reflexes in vowels among some
Indo-European languages, reflexes that did not seem to coincide in all
cases. In 1879, de Saussure proposed the first notion of laryngeals,
consonants that have disappeared in all Indo-European languages, but
leaving evidence behind.
The first "real" evidence for the existence of these laryngeals came in
the interpretation of Hittite, which showed a class of sounds which
could indeed be called laryngeals.
The thing to be required of the Nostratic theory is some kind of
explanation of why a certain sound appears several different ways,
sometimes in the same language. It need not always show the same
reflex, but there must be a reason why one reflex appears instead of
Sorry to go on so long at this.
It would be very interesting if Nostratic could be shown to exist, but
so far, the evidence does not convince.
Mata Kimasitayo wrote:
> Jim Wagner remarks:
>> To be able to make connections, one has to be able to show how one sound
>> corresponds to another from one language to another. This may include
>> such things as having a sound change to a different sound, but only in
>> specific environments.
>> A situation which can have t becoming s, š, or t requires some evidence
>> as to why it did so in one root, but not in another root.
> I agree Jim. But when I ask if a Proto-Indo-European
> root could be related to a Semitic root, that in which
> they are related has to be constructed or reconstructed
> as Proto-Indo-European itself had to be constructed or
> reconstructed. In that Verner's, Grimm's &c "laws" were
> discovered, ultimately providing for the Indo-Germanic
> case the "evidence" you refer to. If there should be a
> tertium non datur behind and antecedant to a PIE reflex
> *and* a Hamito-Semitic reflex, which is something like
> what is hypothesized in my original question, we can have
> at best only a metatheory of what exactly "evidence"
> even *is* no ? We shall have to discover what evidence
> there is for this hypothesis which will elucidate to us
> what evidence means under this hypothesis.
> If there were a proto-Hamito-Semitic which produces
> PIE and (Proto)Afroasiatic reflexes would it allow
> Arabic š to exchange with Hebrew tav or Greek tau ?
> So when I remarked that Arabic šâla = to carry, to convey,
> to transport; to raise, to elevate to lift, it was first to
> provide evidence of a Semitic root which exhibited the
> sense of carrying, for a particular stumbling block is
> the non-match of semantic fields across PIE *tel- and
> Semitic tll, sll, šyl. If this mismatch is bridged by a
> Proto-Hamito-Semitic etymon, unknown except as a
> conjunction or juxtaposition of PIE *tel- and Sem. tll &c,
> then the lead idea is the hypothesis of relationship
> between these things & the problem of whether these
> roots can behave this way shunt aside. Until Proto-
> Indo-European was constructed or reconstructed
> nobody knew that ex gr Russian and Anglo-Saxon
> could be related as they are and evidence of their
> relatedness was wanting, indescribable & inchoate.
> A similar reconstruction like PIE, for example Proto-
> Afro-Asiatic, Nostratic &c is a desideratum & not
> comparable to PIE -- it is a thing to be found out
> yet if it be.
> Allan Bomhard (in his *Reconstructing Proto-Nostratic:
> Comparative Phonology, Morphology, and Vocabulary*
> (Leiden: Brill, 2008) II, pp. 200-201) constructs
> Proto-Nostratic *t[h]ul- = ‘(vb.) to lift, to raise; to pile
> up, to stack (in a heap); (n.) hill, mound; stack, heap’ to-
> gether with a reflex in Proto-Afroasiatic *tul- ‘(vb.) to
> lift, to raise; to pile up, to stack (in a heap); (n.) hill, mound;
> stack, heap’ [ > Proto-Semitic *tal- ‘(vb.) to lift, to raise;
> (n.) hill, mound’] & a reflex in Proto-Indo-European *t[h]ul-
> / *t[h]l.- (secondary full-grade forms: *t[h]el-/*t[h]ol-)
> ‘to lift, to raise’, but I don't know *how* he constructs
> these things thus (I don't have his book & only know these
> particular data thanks to Mr Francesco Brighenti). I assume
> Bomhard could provide the evidence you ask about under
> his reconstruction or explain why there is a difficulty in
> that. I understand that for instance Aharon Dolgoposky &
> Sergei Starostin adduce a different evidentiary basis for
> their reconstructions and presumably too should construct
> different Grimm & Verner "laws", as it were, for Proto-
> Nostratic or whatever we call the source language of the
> alleged etymon with reflexes in PIE *tel- &c & Sem. tll/sll/
> šwl/śll ( < Proto-Hamito-Semitic --- ) &c. Whether these
> things are Ptolemaic epicycles or Keplerian orbits remains
> to be seen and convincingly demonstrated.
> I hope I have addressed your comments - especially after
> such a long winded thing, sorry ! --- have I ?
> - -
> Mata Kimasitayo
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: jimw
> To: ANEfirstname.lastname@example.org
> Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2008 12:14 AM
> Subject: Re: [ANE-2] further RE additions to tlenai, talal &c
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