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60Re: Nasal infixion in Indo-European languages andin Quenya

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  • gentlebeldin
    Jun 10, 2002
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      --- In lambengolmor@y..., Ivan A Derzhanski <iad@m...> wrote:

      > Was the question about nasal vowels in the sense of syllabic nasals
      > (syllabic /m/, /n/, /N/, etc.), or about nasal vowels in the sense
      > of nasalised vowels (nasalised /a/, /e/, /o/, etc.)? I understood it
      > as referring to the latter.

      I meant nasalised vowels, indeed. Let's illustrate it by an example
      from PIE (cf. http://indoeuro.bizland.com/project/phonetics/word4.html):
      The root *wed-/*wod-, *wed-r- (meaning wet, water) has some cognates
      with infixed -n-, like "unda" (wave) in Latin, or "vanduo" in
      Lithuanian. Could it be that the proto-vowel was nasal? Since the
      vowel could have a different quality in different derivations (vowel
      gradation), it's clear that only some forms would have the nasal infix
      later, when the nasal character was lost.

      Let's have a look at some examples from Quenya:

      ID- has the derivation _iire_ (desire) without nasal infixion, and
      _indo_ (heart, mood) with an infixed -n-. (Etym., LR p. 401). This
      could be explained by the different quality of the vowel in

      Quenya doesn't have noticable traces of vowel gradation (if you don't
      count the "irregular vocalism" in MEL- > _maalo_), but since it's
      present in Sindarin, we must assume that it was present in PE, too.
      It should be emphasized that I'm speaking of nasal vowels in PE here:
      Quenya and Sindarin have almost the same nasal infixions, so the
      change to normal vowel + nasal consonant must have happened before the
      splitting of both lines of development, or at the same time (BAT- >
      _bâd_ in EN, _vanta_ in Q, LR p. 390).

      I have to admit that the theory may very well share the fate of other
      theories which
      1. are elegant,
      2. explain a lot of facts,
      3. are utterly wrong.

      There's Occam's razor: it may be that we don't need the assumption,
      because there are simpler explanations. In the entry AD- in Etym. (LR,
      p. 385) _ando_ is derived from _*adno_, so the nasal infix comes from
      a suffix (?) through metathesis. But then, it may be that the suffix
      would be _-do_ without the nasal character of the stem. :-)

      I know it's speculative, but I was reminded of Old Church Slavonian
      with its open syllables, its short final vowel -i, and the nasal
      vowels, explaining the "rebyonok/rebyata" (child/children) in Russian.


      The theory could explain why otherwise similar roots developed with or
      without nasal infixes:
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