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Re: Nasal infixion in Indo-European languages andin Quenya

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  • gentlebeldin
    ... 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
    Message 1 of 7 , 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
      Proto-Eldarin.

      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.

      Hans

      The theory could explain why otherwise similar roots developed with or
      without nasal infixes:
    • Rich Alderson
      ... There is an entire class of Indo-European nouns, the r/n heteroclites, in which a nominative/accusative singular in *-r is accompanied by oblique cases in
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 10, 2002
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        On 10 Jun 2002, "gentlebeldin" wrote in message-ID <ae2v6t+6fte@...>:

        > 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.

        There is an entire class of Indo-European nouns, the r/n heteroclites, in
        which a nominative/accusative singular in *-r is accompanied by oblique
        cases in *-n-. Cf. Benveniste's monograph _La formation des noms en indo-
        europe'en_.

        The word in question is *wodr, *wed-n-. Various daughter languages
        separated the two stems--but at a relatively late date, cf. Gothic _wato,
        watins_,Sw. _vatn_.

        The Greek evidence is confounded by the fact that many n-stem neuters
        acquired a -t- which forced the *-n- to become syllabic, then by regular
        development in Greek -a-. Thus, Greek _hudor, hudatos < *udntos < udnos_.

        Nasal infixation, on the other hand, is a phenomenon in verb-stem
        formation, deriving a class of "present" stems (demonstrated to be a
        single formation rule by Saussure in 1878, _pace_ the Indian
        grammarians). Whether it arises by an old metathesis or not cannot be
        determined from the Indo-European data alone; we must await the outcome
        of so-called Nostratic studies for evidence, if any, from the possible
        sisters of PIE.

        In any case, there is no evidence in Indo-European writ large for nasal
        vowels.

        Rich Alderson
      • p_iosad
        Hello, ... Which would then require some sort of highly irregular ablaut rule. Irregular ise of word-forming affixes looks much more likely to me than
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 11, 2002
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          Hello,
          Hans wrote:

          > 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
          > Proto-Eldarin.

          Which would then require some sort of highly irregular ablaut rule.
          Irregular ise of word-forming affixes looks much more likely to me
          than irregular ablaut. And anyway (I think I've said it) I don't
          think there even exists this kind of ablaut in Terran languages, or
          at least in European ones.

          > 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.

          Huh? French doesn't have palatalization as a phonologically relevant
          feature, but Romanian does. Should we assume it was there in Latin?
          A bit of a strained example, but I think it fits :-)

          > 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).

          If both Quenya and Sindarin have nasal infixions, why invent nasal
          vowels, expecially when lacking explicit statements?

          > 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. :-)

          There are numerous explicit examples of such metathesis, as in
          _lambe_, "probably from _lab-mee_" (XI:416).

          > 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.

          But Old Church Slavonic nasals come precisely from simple vowels (I
          guess I'm restating here). Also, the examples you cited earlier
          (German _denken_ vs. _dachte_) also have to do nothing with nasal
          vowels, as this ariation is due to the common Germnaic proces of the
          loss of [N] before [h], cf. thincan > think, but thunxte > thuuxte >
          thought.

          Overall, I think there's no evidence for nasal vowels in PQ or CE.

          Pavel
          --
          Pavel Iosad pavel_iosad@...

          'I am a philologist, and thus a misunderstood man'
          --JRR Tolkien, _The Notion Club Papers_

          [OK, Hans asked an interesting question and posed a thoughtful hypothesis,
          which has been explored and found wanting (as Hans himself made clear he
          recognized might be the case). We all learned something along the way.
          So thanks, Hans; and thanks to all who have participated. Carl]
        • anthonyappleyard
          ... Pronouncing Latin C and G soft before front vowels, and J as [dzh], did not happen in Julius Caesar s time, but it did when the Western Empire fell, and it
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 11, 2002
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            --- In lambengolmor@y..., "p_iosad" <pavel_iosad@m...> wrote:

            > ... palatalization as a phonologically relevant feature, but
            > Romanian does. Should we assume it was there in Latin? ...

            Pronouncing Latin C and G soft before front vowels, and J as [dzh],
            did not happen in Julius Caesar's time, but it did when the Western
            Empire fell, and it got into all the Romance languages except
            Sardinian. The next stage was analogical levelling across declensions
            and conjugations.
          • hglundahl
            ... declensions ... Well, the grammarians did not recognise palatalization in Latin in Caesar s time, but there was palatalization in an extinct Italic
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 14, 2002
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              --- In lambengolmor@y..., "anthonyappleyard" <Anthony.Appleyard@u...>
              wrote:
              > --- In lambengolmor@y..., "p_iosad" <pavel_iosad@m...> wrote:
              >
              > > ... palatalization as a phonologically relevant feature, but
              > > Romanian does. Should we assume it was there in Latin? ...
              >
              > Pronouncing Latin C and G soft before front vowels, and J as [dzh],
              > did not happen in Julius Caesar's time, but it did when the Western
              > Empire fell, and it got into all the Romance languages except
              > Sardinian. The next stage was analogical levelling across
              declensions
              > and conjugations.

              Well, the grammarians did not recognise palatalization in Latin in
              Caesar's time, but there was palatalization in an extinct Italic
              language (Oscan, I think) and it might have come that way to rustic
              Latin (and rustic pronunciation of cultured Latin) already then.

              You should not say "when the Western Empire fell", but "when Odoacar
              deposed Romulus Augustulus", which did not mean the complete downfall
              of the Empire even in the West. Syagrius kept on the Empire in Gaul,
              St Rémi kept up his work, and when he crowned Clovis, the first King
              of France was accorded the title of Roman Consul by the Eastern
              Emperor.

              Hans Georg Lundahl
            • hglundahl
              To return to the main issue: there was a theory about, claiming that nasal infixion was originally a nasal suffix in IE, like fingo from *fig-n-o. When JRRT
              Message 6 of 7 , Jun 15, 2002
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                To return to the main issue: there was a theory about, claiming that
                nasal infixion was originally a nasal suffix in IE, like fingo from
                *fig-n-o. When JRRT wrote the original Proto-Eldarin background for Q
                and S, he might very well have taken account of that theory, though
                it is abandoned. So, maybe the nasal suffix theory of nasal infixion
                in Q should be abandoned as well - or retained as an optional
                explanation in IE too.

                As for palatals, they are between the dentals and the velars and the
                tyelpetéma becomes dental (telpe) in Telerin, velar in Sindarin
                (celeb). I do not know of any historic language having originally any
                distinction between palatals and both velars and dentals, but
                palatals may come from either. In Rom. languges they come from velars
                (compare Church Latin and Italian "Caesar" with Gk "Kaisar") but in
                Gaelic they come from dentals: "is" (pron. ish) "teine" (pron.
                chayney). So they are between velars and palatals, just as velars are
                between palatals and labialised velars: in Satem-languages the
                labialised series become velar, in Centum-languages the palatalised
                velars (not pure palatals! or?) become pure velars.

                The old and abandoned theory held PIE had all three series - and,
                once again, JRRT may have used that in Proto-Eldarin "reconstruction".

                Right?

                Hans Georg Lundahl
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