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Qualitative ablaut - case is still closed

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  • Glen Gordon
    ... Examples? ... Says you. If there s no attestation, what are you buggin me for? :) ... Before I get into this, I just realized yesterday that MidIE
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 1, 2000
      > >It isn't lost finally following a consonant? Examples?
      >
      >Any n.pl. in *-@2 (Skt. -i, elswhere, including Hitt., -a).

      Examples?

      >It was transferred to the i-stems (nom.sg. in *-is), based on the
      >oblique stem *k^rdi-. The base is however a nominative form >*k^e:rd-.
      >It's true that we have no direct examples of nom. *k^e:rd, >but on the
      >whole, I'd say the vowel length had nothing to do with the >*loss* of *-d.

      Says you. If there's no attestation, what are you buggin' me for? :)

      Now, to the meat of the topic:
      >>- First, in Mid IE, there were only two vowels, *a and *e (schwa).
      >>- Suddenly, unaccented schwas were slaughtered
      >> and didn't survive :(
      >>- Then the accent changed from stress to tonal. Hooray!
      >>- Some accent patterns changed as well. Boo!
      >>- The remaining schwas fractured into *e (front) and *o (back).
      >>- This change was dependent on the new accent _at the time_.
      >> - *� > *e
      >> - *e > *o
      >>- Then the tonal accent did a few more twists and turns
      >> to try and cover up its earlier evil deeds.
      >
      >I'll take it this is kinda like the "traditional" account of *e vs. >*o
      >gradation (with all the devilish details taken out). I've never >liked the
      >idea. I see no phonetic justifaction at all for unstressed
      >whatever > /o/. Most o's (or at least a good many of them) are
      >stressed anyway. Take, for instance, all the o-grade monosyllables
      >(*nokwts, *po:ds, *wodr, etc. etc.).

      Before I get into this, I just realized yesterday that MidIE actually DOES
      have unstressed syllabic *i, *u, *m, *n, *l and *r! I have to change things
      a bit because otherwise reduplication in *i (like *(s)tistex-) makes no
      sense. Now, I can say that *(s)tistex- derives from an earlier MidIE form
      *t-is-tex- with infix/prefix *is- (Hittite /is^-/). It would otherwise be a
      very messy reconstruction... like **te-eis(e)-tex-?? So, Early MidIE "water"
      is now *wat:n with final nasal vowel and, while we're at it, "bull" should
      be *ist�ure with initial *i-. So beware of the updates and sorry for the
      confusion. (Mental note: Must update my site)

      Now, let's see... First we have Hittite /nekuz/ which looks like *nekWt- to
      me, rather than *nokWt- in postAnatolian languages. Could *nokWt- simply be
      a later o-grade variant?

      As for *po:t (your *po:ds), it appears to be an ancient root noun. Whether
      you like to reconstruct it with a nominative *-s or not, it has no bearing
      on the length of the vowel which predates the nominative (acc. *po:dm). No
      compensatory length happenin' here. But wait! How to account for the *o:? Oh
      my, it would almost seem that I've gone up the creek... but lo! I arise from
      the ashes! Apparently, it comes from MidIE *pa:t:- (from a hypothetical verb
      **pat:-). Stressed *a, closed unstressed *a or *a: become labialized in Late
      IE to *o. (I have some exciting things yet to elaborate on concerning
      stative o-grade's like *woid-)

      Going now to *w�dr, it would also appear to be derived from an *-a- stem.
      This is surely an old word too. In Early IE it would be *w�t:an in the
      nominative (gen. *wet:an�se) with an archaic inanimate *-an suffix that
      appears elsewhere, like Early IE *kWetw-an "four". The "plural" of *w�t:an
      would have been *wet:�n-xe (later *wed�:r). Note the ancient *a/*e
      alternation due to penultimate accent differences? Nifty huh? Anyways, yet
      again *a becomes *o. No biggy.

      Now, I mentioned the o-grade stative thingie, remember? What does this have
      to do with anything? Well, in case you didn't notice, IE conjugation is one
      of the biggest problems to justifying an accentual origin to *e/*o ablaut.
      We have things like *bher-e-si or *woid-xa which seem to almost mock me in
      defiance. Well, no longer, dammit!

      Turns out (and I wish someone told me this sooner), the whole damn
      conjugation has resisted the *e/*o ablaut from the beginning! The reason?
      Vowel harmony. It seems that non-stative verbs model themselves around
      e-grade while stative verbs model themselves around o-grade. Why?? Vowel
      harmony, that's why! But how exactly? I'll illustrate:

      Imagine you're a hunter-gatherer speaking Mid IE around 5500 BCE. You have
      the following set of stressed vowels to choose from: [*a, *@]. (Remember, I
      write MidIE schwa as *e.)

      Check out the singular non-stative endings:

      *-em
      *-es
      *-et

      Now, check out the singular stative endings:

      *-xa
      *-ta (or *-txa if you must)
      *-a (later, becoming *-e)

      Notice a pattern? Non-stative endings all contain schwa *e whilst the
      stative endings persist with *a. The vowel harmony, therefore, involved the
      assimilation of the verb root with the suffix vowels starting in MidIE. So,
      in the non-stative we have things like *ber-em "I carry" but stative
      *wait:-xa "I know". Ain't that real purdy? Later, most *a's become *o,
      leaving a form *woid-xa which otherwise leaves us to ponder its obscure
      origin.

      The scary result of this revelation is that the original vocalism of these
      IE verbs is lost. It will present a challenge for Nostraticists (at least
      the ones who don't believe in alien conspiracies)... but thank god for
      Etruscan and Lemnian which weren't affected by those vowel harmony rules,
      eh?

      I have a bunch more to say but I'm sleepy now. Must get sleep. Need sleep.
      Zzzzzz.

      - gLeN


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    • Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
      On Fri, 01 Dec 2000 11:04:45 , Glen Gordon ... Lat. . Sigh. ... Or could be analogical after oblique forms with *e (N. *nókwts, G.
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 1, 2000
        On Fri, 01 Dec 2000 11:04:45 , "Glen Gordon"
        <glengordon01@...> wrote:

        >
        >> >It isn't lost finally following a consonant? Examples?
        >>
        >>Any n.pl. in *-@2 (Skt. -i, elswhere, including Hitt., -a).
        >
        >Examples?

        Lat. <nomina>. Sigh.

        >Now, let's see... First we have Hittite /nekuz/ which looks like *nekWt- to
        >me, rather than *nokWt- in postAnatolian languages. Could *nokWt- simply be
        >a later o-grade variant?

        Or <nekuz> could be analogical after oblique forms with *e (N.
        *nókwts, G. *nekwtós; like N. *wódr, G. *wednós).

        >As for *po:t (your *po:ds), it appears to be an ancient root noun. Whether
        >you like to reconstruct it with a nominative *-s or not, it has no bearing
        >on the length of the vowel which predates the nominative (acc. *po:dm).

        No, the acc. is *podm (*pedm), with short *o (*e). There's lengthened
        grade only in the nominative (*po:ds/*pe:ds).

        >No compensatory length happenin' here. But wait! How to account for the *o:? Oh
        >my, it would almost seem that I've gone up the creek... but lo! I arise from
        >the ashes! Apparently, it comes from MidIE *pa:t:- (from a hypothetical verb
        >**pat:-). Stressed *a, closed unstressed *a or *a: become labialized in Late
        >IE to *o.

        I see nothing about tonal accent here, and I see *a: > *o, as was my
        suggestion, so I would have to guess you're saying I'm right?

        >Going now to *wódr, it would also appear to be derived from an *-a- stem.
        >This is surely an old word too. In Early IE it would be *wát:an in the
        >nominative (gen. *wet:anése) with an archaic inanimate *-an suffix that
        >appears elsewhere, like Early IE *kWetw-an "four". The "plural" of *wát:an
        >would have been *wet:án-xe (later *wedó:r). Note the ancient *a/*e
        >alternation due to penultimate accent differences? Nifty huh? Anyways, yet
        >again *a becomes *o. No biggy.

        Indeed not. This is what I claimed to begin with: *wódr < **wa:dn,
        *wednós < **wa:dn-á:s.

        But whatever happened to *o < unstressed *e?

        >Check out the singular non-stative endings:
        >
        > *-em
        > *-es
        > *-et
        >
        >Now, check out the singular stative endings:
        >
        > *-xa
        > *-ta (or *-txa if you must)
        > *-a (later, becoming *-e)
        >
        >Notice a pattern? Non-stative endings all contain schwa *e whilst the
        >stative endings persist with *a.

        The pattern is wholly illusory. The "stative" has *a because of the
        colouring by *h2. The endings are, quite regularly:

        *-h2-e
        *-th2-e
        *-0-e

        The *-e was not affected by zero-grade, even though it's unstressed,
        which must mean it's the thematic vowel. In the "active" thematic
        conjugation, the thematic vowel comes _before_ the personal endings:

        *-o-m
        *-e-s
        *-e-(t)

        It's not unusual for languages that have a perfective/imperfective
        (active/stative, etc.) contrast in the verb to show different
        constituent orders in the endings (e.g. Semitic with impf. prefix, pf.
        postfix conjugation, Basque with ergative subject postfixed, but
        prefixed in the past tense, etc.).


        =======================
        Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
        mcv@...
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