Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

IE-Tsimshian connection and Tocharian Verbal System (was: Matasovic)

Expand Messages
  • Grzegorz Jagodzinski
    Of Brill s publications, I have also found M. Malzahn s The Tocharian Verbal System, another valuable source for IE-ists (anyway, I think so). If interested in
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 18, 2013
    • 0 Attachment
       
      Of Brill's publications, I have also found M. Malzahn's The Tocharian Verbal System, another valuable source for IE-ists (anyway, I think so). If interested in it, here you are:

      https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B2MQAxDmRLhuaTNsT1dxeWlsd3c/edit?usp=sharing
       
       
      I would also like to share an article which may look quite peculiar. But why not to read it and to examine its author's arguments? I mean a John Dunn's work on Proto-Tsimshian (a West Coast Indian/Native American language, sometimes mentioned within the Penutian macrophylum). The author (of Univ. of Oklahoma) states that the Tsimshian(ic) family developed as a result of an old, unknown pre-Indo-European migration to the New World long before Columbus' time, and that proto-Tsimshian was a sister language of PIE (and especially related to the Tocharian branch). He also dicusses (in the PS of the paper) some archaelogical correlates that make his hypothesis more plausible.
       
      The paper was available on Dunn's website and freely available once - but now his website has been closed. Fortunately I managed to download the paper (publicated as a set of images), and now I can show it here. The pdf is made by me personally of those images, and I hope it is enough readible.
       
      Here you are the Dunn's paper on IE-Tsimshian possible connection:
       
       
       
       
      Please excuse me for some personal thoughts on Tsimshian languages. I know that this is not a discussion group on Amerindian languages :-) (but if Dunn was right, Tsimshian might count as one of a sub-group of Indo-European sensu lato). In my humble opinion the presented material that contains ca. 150 IE-like Tsimshian roots may show results of PIE borrowings into a Penutian language which was proto-Tsimshian (PT) (it means: I doubt if PT is closely genetically related to PIE). But even then a PIE migration should be regarded in order to have the Tsimshian-IE similarities explained.
       
      Some proposed etymologies are enough interesting. For example PT *tal ‘talk (to), praise, answer’ = PIE *del- ‘recount (to)’ (Dunn). Should not rather be ‘talk’ for PIE as well? But Eng. "tell" (as well as "talk") seems to be derived from this root. (IMHO also the IE word for "language/tongue" is also based on the same root, and the reconstruction like *dng'uH- is just false, should be *dlng'uH-. This initial *dl- cluster yielded zero in Slavic, hence *eNzy- (for both tongue and language). It was spelt as D in archaic Latin, hence DINGVA, and then it merged with L, hence "lingua" in the classical language. In Armenian this *dl- yielded *tl- regularily, and then *tr- > *rt-, and finally art- (attested). Besides, *del- -like roots are present in Nostratic languages (cf. in Turkish) and denote the act of speaking or a language. But this all is another story.
       
      Another thought is on laryngeals. They all have been preserved well in PT, but we can see more laryngeals there than in PIE. It means that proto-IE had even more laryngeals than the reconstructed PIE (it is my deduction, based on the assumption that there really was a proto-IE migration into Tsimshianic Coast). Dunn compares TS *peHl ‘tear (to), break in two’ with a laryngeal, and PIE *spel- ‘split (to), break off’ without a laryngeal. The s- here seems to be movable: Polish po'l/ ‘half’ < Slavic *polU may be derived of the same root. A linguistic puzzle is Finnish puoli ‘half’ (< *po:l-). If it had been a Slavic borrowing, it would not have had the long vowel. So, maybe this word is older? It may be an Uralic cognate of the PIE term (a common heredity from Nostratic) or a borrowing from a very old stage of PIE, when more laryngeals were still present that may be reconstructible now with the normal way. If it was so (and if Dunn is right), both the presence of the long vowel in proto-Finnish and of the laryngeal in proto-Tsimshian would be explained.
       
       
      I am not a fanatic Dunn's follower and I analyse the matter as a possibility. I just consider if he may be right (and if yes, to what degree). Telling the truth, as for me, Tsimshianic languages are very odd even without their possible IE connections. They use complex consonantal clusters, they have odd ejective-nasal consonants (AFAIK confusing phoneticians). Besides, many years ago Tadeusz Milewski, my native (so, Polish), stated that some Tsimshianic languages have the highest typological peculiarities. His work is little known in so called western countries, perhaps because he did not publish it in English. Now authors of world typological literature do not even mention him, and this is a pity, really (in the same time he is widely quoted in Polish literature...).
       
      In short, he cannot have agreed with the dual division into accusative and ergative languages (tripartite and active lngs were little known in his time). Instead, he proposed a division into six classes (now completely forgotten without having been discussed first). Namely, he noticed that the basic roles of intransitive subject, agent and patient may be played not only by nominative, accusative, ergative and absolutive, but also by genitive. Hopi and Indonesian are known of not having accusative and using genitive instead (for patient; btw. Slavic lngs use genitive instead of accusative in many constructions - it would be worth discussing if this is an original IE feature or a Slavic invention). Eskimo languages merged ergative and genitive instead (so, there genitive is used for denoting agent). But among Tsimshianic languages are the most rare ones. In Nisga'a (aka Nass aka Nishga aka Nass River dialect), at least in some construction, nominative merged with genitive, and this is the only language with this peculiarity all over the world (genitive, beside for the nominal attribute, can be used for any subject, both intransitive and transitive (=agent)).  (In fact, Nisga'a uses also other constructions without genitive, so it is not a "clean" typological oddity.) Which is even more astonishing, the genitive formant (aka marker) is -L (the voiceless lateral spirant) which is the etymological counterpart of IE *s according to Dunn.
       
      Just think, both nominative and genitive (singular) have (may have) the -s (-os) ending (esp. in Hittite). And what if it was really one form in the beginning, and only then it differentiated (among others, by stress moving)? If yes, both the -L ending in Nisga'a, and the typological oddity of this language, may have IE roots... Was the proto-IE language a similar typological oddity as well?
       
      (The last, 6th typological group in Milewski's classification, have genitive used as absolutive, i.e. for both intransitive subject and patient. Tsimshianic languages other than Nisga'a may belong here, as well as various (Amer)Indian languages, esp. those from South America.)
       
       
      Please do not blame for this post, perhaps some people will acknowledge the discussed problems interested.
       
      Grzegorz Jagodziński
       
    • caotope
      ... Indeed it is: Finnic *pooli most likely comes from PU *pälä half . The development may seem odd, but there are good parallels for this. ... Primary
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 19, 2013
      • 0 Attachment
        > Another thought is on laryngeals. They all have been preserved well in PT, but we can see more laryngeals there than in PIE. It means that proto-IE had even more laryngeals than the reconstructed PIE (it is my deduction, based on the assumption that there really was a proto-IE migration into Tsimshianic Coast). Dunn compares TS *peHl 'tear (to), break in two' with a laryngeal, and PIE *spel- 'split (to), break off' without a laryngeal. The s- here seems to be movable: Polish po'l/ 'half' < Slavic *polU may be derived of the same root. A linguistic puzzle is Finnish puoli 'half' (< *po:l-). If it had been a Slavic borrowing, it would not have had the long vowel. So, maybe this word is older?

        Indeed it is: Finnic *pooli most likely comes from PU *pälä "half". The development may seem odd, but there are good parallels for this.

        > It may be an Uralic cognate of the PIE term (a common heredity from Nostratic) or a borrowing from a very old stage of PIE, when more laryngeals were still present that may be reconstructible now with the normal way. If it was so (and if Dunn is right), both the presence of the long vowel in proto-Finnish and of the laryngeal in proto-Tsimshian would be explained.

        "Primary" long vowels in Finnic have recently been explained in a way that does not require reconstructing an "Uralic laryngeal" *x (in short: a, ä > aa, ää > oo, ee / _{m n l r D}e). There had been no estabilished correlation between this and IE laryngeals, at any rate.

        _j.
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.