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71729Re: Dating *e > *i in Germanic

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  • caotope
    May 1 1:14 PM
      > > Do you mean to suggest that this would have been the same change as *eN > *iN in
      > > stressed syllables, which would then have been the earliest change of its sort?
      >
      > DGK: No. If that were so, /a/-umlaut of *i resulting from prenasal *e would be necessary
      > to explain OE _cwene_, OHG/OS _quena_ 'woman' (remodelled in Gmc. as wk. fem.
      > retaining /e/-grade, cf. OIr _ben_, OPr _genna_, etc.), OHG _neman_, OIce _nema_ 'to
      > take' (cf. Grk. _némein_ 'to allocate'), OHG _breman_ 'to roar, growl, murmur' (cf. Lat.
      > _fremere_ 'id.'). But Tacitus already has Got(h)ones against Pliny's Gutones, so /a/-umlaut
      > of *u had occurred by T.'s time, and in all probability /a/-umlaut of *i also. This makes me
      > doubt that stressed *eN > *iN describes an actual event (apart from the occluded-nasal
      > situation *eNC > *iNC which occurs in borrowings from classical Latin as well as native
      > words). Stressed /e/ in the words mentioned above could just as easily be a retention.
      >
      > Likewise, I doubt that /a/-umlaut of *u was blocked by a simple nasal (as opposed to a
      > nasal cluster), cited at the start of point 1 in your earlier post. A counterexample is
      > provided by ON _kona_, MHG _kone_ wk. f. 'woman' which must be built on the
      > zero-grade *gWn.h2- > PGmc *k(W)un(h2)o:n-. With this word there is no "later raising *o
      > > *u" as you suggested for other examples (none actually quoted).

      Well, yes, I am under the impression that no raising *eN > **iN occurred in open stressed syllables, and there seems to be no reason to expect *oN > **uN in this position either. I am only aware of examples such as _dung_, _hound_ etc. But this does not mean that the change could not have happened even in open syllables, if unstressed.

      (English _honey_ looks like an exception but something must've happened here secondarily, given German _Honig_ etc?)

      > DGK: 1. If these 'neck' words are not assigned to *kWel(h1)-, they require a new root
      > *k(^)el- 'to turn' vel sim. just for them. This is not particularly parsimonious and leads to
      > bad public policy. Anyone who disagrees with a soundlaw (or a borrowing) can simply
      > invent a new root. The result is etymological anarchy.

      I see, you're explaining these words thru a similar "turning point" semantic development as in Baltic *kaklas?

      Is this the only word to show *Ka- from *KWo-, though?

      > 2. In Gmc. lgs. not reflecting *ko:N, 'cow' rhymes with 'sow': OE _cu:_, _su:_ (more
      > commonly _sugu_ of different formation); OIce _kýr_, _sýr_; OSwed _ko:_, _so:_ (OIce
      > raising of *u: by /R/-umlaut; East Norse *o: from NGmc *u: retained in West Norse as in
      > _gno:a_ vs. _gnúa_, _bo:a_ vs. _búa_, etc.). This can hardly be a coincidence.

      OK, but this still provides no explicit evidence that *kWo: > _ko:_ occurred in Proto-Germanic and not only during the separate evolution of Old Saxon / OHG.

      > Moreover there is no trace of the expected Late PGmc nom. sg. *kauz from *gWó:us (as in
      > ON _naust_ 'boathouse', Osthoff's shortening preceded *o > *a in this combination, *o:us > *ous > *aus). Evidently this nom. sg. was replaced by *ku:z after *su:z 'sow', since *u: was
      > felt to be closer than *au to *o: of the acc. sg. Some of the individual Gmc. lgs.
      > generalized the vowel from the acc. sg., others from the new nom. sg. This irregular
      > development gives no reason to doubt the earlier reduction of *kWo(:) to *ko(:) in PGmc.

      It also gives no evidence to expect such a reduction, if I'm following correctly. If anything, this even seems to provide a motivation for partial analogical leveling of *kWo: to *ko:.

      > 3. Analogical levelling is as common as dirt. Interrogative-relative words like Go. _hwan_
      > 'when' (PIE *kWóm, Old Latin _quom_, Lat. _cum_) reflect Gmc. *xW- restored from forms
      > in which it preceded *-i- or *-e- and remained as such, e.g. Go. _hwis_ 'whose' < Gmc.
      > *xWes(s) < PIE *kWésjo.

      I'd expect high-frequency function words like these to be particularly resistant to analogy.

      > That */w/ in the PIE sequence *k^wo- was not deleted is shown by 'wheat', OE _hwæ:te_
      > etc., referred to Gmc. *xwait(t)ja-, derived from *xwaitta-, this by Kluge's Law from PIE
      > *k^woit-nó-, from *k^weit- 'to bleach, blanch, whiten' vel sim. Thus, although Early Proto
      > Germanic as a centum language reflected both PIE *k and *k^ as *x (later *G under
      > Verner's conditions), it kept *xWo- distinct from *xwo-. The subsequent delabialization in
      > the former sequence did not entail /w/-deletion in the latter.

      Approximately no language in the world has a contrast between /Cw/ and /CW/. To plausibly claim that *k^wo- > *xwa- but *kWo- > *xa-, you'd be better off dating the latter change before the centum merger of *k and *k^.

      _j.
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