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Re: [tied] kinship systems

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  • Glen Gordon
    ... So true. I ve tried many times to provide discussion on that list but any time that a thought is uttered, it gets shot down and labeled absurd each time.
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 26, 2000
      Dan Jones:
      >Although the debate has been sleeping for a month or so, I came up >with a
      >question. We have a reconstructed PIE kinship system, is there >a Nostratic
      >one? Do we have any kinship terms at all, and if so what? >I know this
      >should be posted to a Nostratic List, but Nostratic has >been discussed
      >here before and, quite frankly, the people here seem >friendlier than on
      >Nostratic-L, from what I've heard!

      So true. I've tried many times to provide discussion on that list but any
      time that a thought is uttered, it gets shot down and labeled absurd each
      time. Fie on them, I say! :P

      Anyways, I personally would love to know the same thing. Bomhard doesn't say
      anything about the structure of these kinship terms in his "IndoEuropean and
      the Nostratic Hypothesis".

      In fact, I highly doubt anything terribly substantial has been done on it
      anyways, even though many kinship terms have been reconstructed. Afterall,
      take a simple issue like Nostratic pronouns. Many pronouns (sometimes far
      too many for my liking) have been reconstructed for Nostratic without any
      real analyses of their exact functions. For instance, Bomhard has four
      reconstructions for the first person alone - *mi, *na, *?a and *wa! And my
      attempts at bringing order to the chaos by proposing an ergative/absolutive
      suppletive pronominal system, which would reduce things to only the ergative
      1ps *nu (yeilding later forms in both *m- and *n-) and the absolutive 1ps *u
      (yielding forms in both *w- and *?-), have been ignored so far (Boohoo...)

      As for kinship terms, basically Bomhard has:

      *?ab- father
      *?at(t)- father
      *?am(m)- mother
      *?an'- mother, aunt
      *?ay(y)- mother, female relative
      *?ak(k)- older female relative
      *xaw- a maternal relative

      ... I think that's it. At any rate, we may notice that there are far too
      many words here for "mother" and "father". Some things need to be
      reorganized and weeded out. I personally distrust the existence of certain
      phonemes in Nostratic, such as the lateral afficates/fricatives and palatal
      nasals.

      Looking at *?an'-, something looks fishy to me. It's based on:

      Uralic *an'a "mother, aunt"
      Dravidian *an.n.- "a woman, mother"
      Altaic:Turkish ana "mother"
      AfroAs:PSC *?aN- "father's sister" (N = ing)

      Uralic, Dravidian and Altaic are part of the Eurasiatic subbranch while
      AfroAsiatic would only be remotely related. The fact that only one branch of
      this group is attested makes me suspicious. This leaves only Uralic,
      Dravidian and Altaic. Assuming for the moment that Nostratic *n' doesn't
      exist (which I think is a healthy assumption based on other floppy
      attestations), Altaic hints more at *n. Dravidian then might also be placed
      alongside Altaic. We should expect Uralic *ana - I could swear that this
      does exist. If there is a Uralic *an'a too however, perhaps it should be
      linked with *?ak(k)-. (Coincidentally, there is no Uralic attestation of
      *?ak(k)-...)

      I would think that *?ay(y)- should be labeled at the very least "female
      relative" and not simply "mother".


      Perhaps we could reconstruct the following diagram until somebody thinks up
      something better:

      *aba === *aka *aba === *aka
      (g-fa) | (g-mo) (g-fa) | (g-mo)
      | |
      |-----------| |-----------|
      | | | |
      *ahwi *ata === *ama *aya
      (fa-br/fa-si) (fa) | (mo) (mo-br/mo-si)
      |
      *u
      (EGO)

      ...which would look kinda Eskimo-ish or something. I don't there's any Omaha
      pattern here, but I could be wrong.

      - gLeN
      Just thoughts, folks. They never tell
      you that you're a bad little boy or
      steal your lunch money like people do...

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    • Danny Wier
      ... Nostratic-L went to hell in a handbag. This list is MUCH better. Even though it s *supposed to be* an IE list. (And the sister list Indoeuropean-L
      Message 2 of 6 , Jul 26, 2000
        --- Dan Jones <yl-ruil@...> wrote:

        > Although the debate has been sleeping for a month or so, I came up
        > with a
        > question. We have a reconstructed PIE kinship system, is there a
        > Nostratic
        > one? Do we have any kinship terms at all, and if so what? I know this
        > should
        > be posted to a Nostratic List, but Nostratic has been discussed here
        > before
        > and, quite frankly, the people here seem friendlier than on
        > Nostratic-L,
        > from what I've heard!

        Nostratic-L went to hell in a handbag. This list is MUCH better. Even
        though it's *supposed to be* an IE list. (And the sister list
        Indoeuropean-L sucked too. The moderator was a real poopyhead, a real
        uptight censor who edited or blocked posts he didn't ike.)

        The short list in the Dolgopolsky book has these Nostratic
        reconstructions:

        k�lu (-�) "female in-law"
        k�da "male in-law"
        s�esa "father- or son-in-law" (C� = palatal)
        Hw�n`- "brother- or son-in-law" (C` = retroflex)
        nus'- "woman, wife"
        hic�x- "father, husband"
        'edin- "lord, owner", "husband" ('= glottal stop)
        'ema "mother"
        '�y- "mother, woman" (nursery word)
        'aba, ?ap'a "father, daddy" (nursery word)
        "oq'ul- "child, son/daughter; to beget, bear" (" = voiced pharyngeal;
        C' = ejective)
        'ar- "member of clan, relative"

        Apparently, the primitive peoples of Mesopotamia were exogamous, since
        the "in-law" terms are referent to non-relatives (outside the clans).

        117.

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      • Danny Wier
        ... Four reconstructions from six families equals major doubt. ... Bear in mind that some of these are nursery words . In particular, any of the possible
        Message 3 of 6 , Jul 26, 2000
          --- Glen Gordon <glengordon01@...> wrote:

          > For instance, Bomhard has four
          > reconstructions for the first person alone - *mi, *na, *?a and *wa!
          > And my
          > attempts at bringing order to the chaos by proposing an
          > ergative/absolutive
          > suppletive pronominal system, which would reduce things to only the
          > ergative
          > 1ps *nu (yeilding later forms in both *m- and *n-) and the absolutive
          > 1ps *u
          > (yielding forms in both *w- and *?-), have been ignored so far
          > (Boohoo...)

          Four reconstructions from six families equals major doubt.

          > As for kinship terms, basically Bomhard has:
          >
          > *?ab- father
          > *?at(t)- father
          > *?am(m)- mother
          > *?an'- mother, aunt
          > *?ay(y)- mother, female relative
          > *?ak(k)- older female relative
          > *xaw- a maternal relative

          Bear in mind that some of these are "nursery words". In particular,
          any of the possible "double consonant" roots. I'd eliminate these as
          Nostratic cognates since nursery words are pretty universal. (And
          vague. For instance, Georgian has _mama_ for "father"!)

          > Looking at *?an'-, something looks fishy to me. It's based on:
          >
          > Uralic *an'a "mother, aunt"
          > Dravidian *an.n.- "a woman, mother"
          > Altaic:Turkish ana "mother"
          > AfroAs:PSC *?aN- "father's sister" (N = ing)

          Depends on how stable words for relatives are. (And what kind of
          social structure the member families constitute. You have matrilinear
          and patrilinear societies mixed together in these.)

          > Uralic, Dravidian and Altaic are part of the Eurasiatic subbranch
          > while
          > AfroAsiatic would only be remotely related. The fact that only one
          > branch of
          > this group is attested makes me suspicious.

          Some are rethinking Afro-Asiatic altogether. (I consider it a member
          family, but like you said, one in similar relation as Hittite is to
          Indo-European.)

          By the way -- what is the status of Nilo-Saharan? I've heard it linked
          with Niger-Congo, and less commonly, Afro-Asiatic. (The Nubians live
          south of Egypt and north of Ethiopia, after all.)

          > Perhaps we could reconstruct the following diagram until somebody
          > thinks up
          > something better:
          >
          > *aba === *aka *aba === *aka
          > (g-fa) | (g-mo) (g-fa) | (g-mo)
          > | |
          > |-----------| |-----------|
          > | | | |
          > *ahwi *ata === *ama *aya
          > (fa-br/fa-si) (fa) | (mo) (mo-br/mo-si)
          > |
          > *u
          > (EGO)

          Hey, I like that! I'll note it.

          > ...which would look kinda Eskimo-ish or something. I don't there's
          > any Omaha
          > pattern here, but I could be wrong.

          Some link Eskimo-Aleut to Eurasian, don't they?

          117.

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        • Glen Gordon
          ... Not really. It s just analysed improperly. Take my hypothesis for a spin: If we divide the Nostratic family properly into branches and subbranches then
          Message 4 of 6 , Jul 27, 2000
            Danny Wier conveys:
            > > For instance, Bomhard has four
            > > reconstructions for the first person alone - *mi, *na, *?a and *wa!
            >[...]
            >Four reconstructions from six families equals major doubt.

            Not really. It's just analysed improperly. Take my hypothesis for a spin:

            If we divide the Nostratic family properly into branches and subbranches
            then everything makes more sense. So, by proposing the suppletive 1ps *nu/*u
            for the most ancient stage of Nostratic we can first explain the AfroAsiatic
            pronouns and their usage. Consider for instance the prefixal set [*a-, *ta-,
            *ya-], derived from bound absolutive pronouns.

            Kartvelian and Eurasiatic languages don't use *nu, so much as, *mu - a
            special mutation of *n next to a labial vowel which may have been also
            productive grammatically since *nu seems to also be the 2nd person
            absolutive. Thus I would propose the following set of pronouns in the
            singular for the ancientmost stage of Nostratic...

            absolutive ergative
            1ps *u *nu
            2ps *nu *ku (masc)
            *tu (fem)
            3ps *i *ci

            It might look like I'm reinventing Nostratic but in reality, all of these
            pronouns have already been identified loosely by Bomhard, Dogolpolsky,
            Illych-Svitych and Greenberg. Sadly, they also like to resist explaining
            their functions accurately.

            The absolutive pronouns would simply be used as the subject of an
            intransitive verb and the object of a transitive one while the ergative
            would be used as the subject of a transitive verb. Thus we might say that
            the pronouns marked the transitivity of the Nostratic verb. The 2ps
            absolutive *nu and 1ps ergative *nu would not have clashed grammatically as
            long as the pronouns were not simply implicit.

            The 3rd person is a kind of iffy thing to reconstruct because I suspect that
            there may have been still a trace of a more ancient stage when Nostratic
            used word-classes and ergo, a million and one functionless demonstratives
            that were originally designed for different genders. Imagine if Swahili
            suddenly went genderless. Yikes! ...but I'm explaining theoretical grammar
            c.20,000 BCE+ which is well beyond the topic of IE, so I will digress now :(

            The earliest stage of Eurasiatic, the branch of Nostratic from which IE
            would later spring, would have the following more familiar set...

            absolutive ergative
            1ps *u *mu
            2ps *nu *tu
            3ps *i *ci

            All pronouns had an optional suffix *-n (a topical marker, perhaps?).
            Kartvelian too would have had a similar set to begin with although it has
            evolved its own special way. Regardless the pronouns are there. I gather it
            went something like the following but this is only my loose thoughts
            spilling out:

            *c^wen "I" < *c^un < *ti un "it is I"
            *tkwen "you" < *tkun < *ti kun "it is you"

            Proto-Steppe (c.9000 BCE), being a subbranch of Eurasiatic and the mother of
            Uralic, Altaic and IE for example, would have the following. Note, the
            derivation of subjective/objective conjugation from these pronouns, that
            would later find itself in the IE paradigm with a different function,
            observable in Nenets (Uralic), and note also the loss of the unbound
            absolutive pronouns in favor of the ergative ones:

            absolutive ergative
            1ps *-xW *mu, *-m
            2ps *-n *tu, *-t
            3ps *-i *su

            I see ElamoDravidian lying between the early Eurasiatic stage and the
            Proto-Steppe stage, with the following in "Late" Eurasiatic where the
            affixation was starting to begin:

            absolutive ergative
            1ps *u, *-xu *mu, *-mu
            2ps *nu, *-nu *tu, *-tu
            3ps *i, *-i *ci

            McAlpin reconstructs the following for ElamoDravidian and note an
            interesting vowel changes that nobody has noticed yet on the originally
            absolutive pronouns that are found in Dravidian (*ya:n, *ni:n):

            1ps *i
            2ps *ni
            3ps *ta(n) [resumptive]
            *i [reflexive]

            ED *ta is of course derived from a Nostratic demonstrative *ti (Bomhard
            *ta-). Unfortunately, Bomhard doesn't explain the evolution of the
            pronominal system as accurately as this, especially vis-a-vis
            ElamoDravidian, so I did it for him ;) You like?

            > > As for kinship terms, basically Bomhard has:
            > >
            > > *?ab- father
            > > *?at(t)- father
            > > *?am(m)- mother
            > > *?an'- mother, aunt
            > > *?ay(y)- mother, female relative
            > > *?ak(k)- older female relative
            > > *xaw- a maternal relative
            >
            >Bear in mind that some of these are "nursery words". In particular,
            >any of the possible "double consonant" roots.

            Right, the double consonant thing is a little weird. The problem is that
            Nostratic is clearly not a consonant-rich or syllabically rich language. It
            was very simple and straight-forward phonetically which makes reconstructing
            these words with certainty difficult sometimes. I realise the iffyness of
            these words but until I can find something better I would reconstruct them
            without double consonants.

            At any rate, this is where more organisation rather than reconstruction is
            vital. I wish that Nostraticists became more involved in tracing the exact
            etymologies of some of these reconstructions rather than simply "mass
            comparing" like Greenberg, not paying attention to the in-between stages. I
            think that some of Dolgol.'s words are probably later than protoNostratic
            like his *kalu.

            My suggestion for **kalu is that IE's word derives from IndoTyrrhenian
            *k:alaxwe (remember the penultimate accent law too...) ultimately stemming
            from an earlier Steppe compound *k:al-axWi "brother's lady" which is
            attested in Uralic and Altaic as well. The compound is not attested outside
            Steppe as far as I know, but the individual components (*k?al and *axwi)
            are. In my world, this particular word is _not_ attributable to Nostratic
            but rather Steppe, thus making it only an 11,000 year old word. So throw
            that one away; we won't be needing that.

            > > Looking at *?an'-, something looks fishy to me. It's based on:
            > >
            > > Uralic *an'a "mother, aunt"
            > > Dravidian *an.n.- "a woman, mother"
            > > Altaic:Turkish ana "mother"
            > > AfroAs:PSC *?aN- "father's sister" (N = ing)
            >
            >Depends on how stable words for relatives are. (And what kind of
            >social structure the member families constitute. You have matrilinear
            >and patrilinear societies mixed together in these.)

            That's my problem, I don't know about the structure of the societies
            speaking these languages. Now, we can see that language and culture both
            spread fluidly but it's always possible for them to go their seperate ways.
            Caveat.

            Again, I would like to see more being done to acknowledge each and every
            minute stage between one language or another and Nostratic so that these
            words can be more accurately traced. It's no use trying to reconstruct
            Nostratic accurately if time isn't taken to understand exactly how we derive
            these later language groups from it - What about reconstructing
            Proto-Steppe, Proto-IndoTyrrhenian, Proto-Eurasiatic, Proto-ElamoDravidian,
            etc? No, of course not. Nostratic is too far soaked in linguistic prestige
            to ignore. :P

            >By the way -- what is the status of Nilo-Saharan? I've heard it linked
            >with Niger-Congo, and less commonly, Afro-Asiatic. (The Nubians live
            >south of Egypt and north of Ethiopia, after all.)

            Unfortunately I'm totally ignorant about Nilo-Saharan. I just know that it's
            not viewed as a Dene-Caucasian language and certainly not Nostratic. (I view
            Nostratic as a Dene-Caucasian language, BTW)

            >Some link Eskimo-Aleut to Eurasian, don't they?

            Eurasiatic, yes. I would say that it's most closely related to
            Uralic-Yukaghir actually, but as for the origin of IE's Omaha style system
            and how it might relate to a possible Eskimo system in Nostratic is a
            question left to ponder sleeplessly all night.

            - gLeN


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          • John Croft
            Glen wrote concerning the Nostratic reconstruction of *ana as mother. This would tie in with the Khattic goddess Hannahanna as (Mother s mother). It has been
            Message 5 of 6 , Aug 1, 2000
              Glen wrote concerning the Nostratic reconstruction of *ana as mother.

              This would tie in with the Khattic goddess Hannahanna as (Mother's
              mother). It has been suggested that this is the origin of
              Innana - Sumerian
              Ana-t - Syro-Cannanite
              Ath-ana - (Athene - Greek)
              Ana-hita (Persian)
              St Anne (Christian)

              Interesting - the old Mother Goddess with a Nostratic name!

              Regards

              John
            • Piotr Gasiorowski
              But there is a lot of evidence for PIE *xan(n)os grandmother : Hit. hannas, Lycian xNna-, Armenian han, dialectal Old Greek annis, ano:, OHG ana (all meaning
              Message 6 of 6 , Aug 1, 2000
                But there is a lot of evidence for PIE *xan(n)os 'grandmother': Hit.
                hannas, Lycian xNna-, Armenian han, dialectal Old Greek annis, ano:,
                OHG ana (all meaning 'granny'), Latin anus 'old woman' (short a, but
                near-homonymous with a:nus, which is why in some European
                languages "old lady" functions or used to function as a euphemism
                for "arse"). Hittite huhhahannis (*xauxo-xan(n)o-es) was a "dvandva"
                compound meaning 'grandparents'. The full reduplication in Hannahanna
                may have been inspired by Hattic usage, but the name itself seems to
                be Hittite; it means 'greatgrandmother' vel sim.

                Piotr


                --- In cybalist@egroups.com, "John Croft" <jdcroft@y...> wrote:
                > Glen wrote concerning the Nostratic reconstruction of *ana as
                mother.
                >
                > This would tie in with the Khattic goddess Hannahanna as (Mother's
                > mother). It has been suggested that this is the origin of
                > Innana - Sumerian
                > Ana-t - Syro-Cannanite
                > Ath-ana - (Athene - Greek)
                > Ana-hita (Persian)
                > St Anne (Christian)
                >
                > Interesting - the old Mother Goddess with a Nostratic name!
                >
                > Regards
                >
                > John
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