Re: Nasal infixion in Indo-European languages and in Quenya
- On 10 Jun 2002, "gentlebeldin" wrote in message-ID <ae2v6t+6fte@...>:
> The root *wed-/*wod-, *wed-r- (meaning wet, water) has some cognates withThere is an entire class of Indo-European nouns, the r/n heteroclites, in
> 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.
which a nominative/accusative singular in *-r is accompanied by oblique
cases in *-n-. Cf. Benveniste's monograph _La formation des noms en indo-
The word in question is *wodr, *wed-n-. Various daughter languages
separated the two stems--but at a relatively late date, cf. Gothic _wato,
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
> Let's have a look at some examples from Quenya:Which would then require some sort of highly irregular ablaut rule.
> 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
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 youHuh? French doesn't have palatalization as a phonologically relevant
> 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.
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 PEIf both Quenya and Sindarin have nasal infixions, why invent nasal
> 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).
vowels, expecially when lacking explicit statements?
> There's Occam's razor: it may be that we don't need the assumption,There are numerous explicit examples of such metathesis, as in
> 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. :-)
_lambe_, "probably from _lab-mee_" (XI:416).
> I know it's speculative, but I was reminded of Old Church SlavonianBut Old Church Slavonic nasals come precisely from simple vowels (I
> with its open syllables, its short final vowel -i, and the nasal
> vowels, explaining the "rebyonok/rebyata" (child/children) in
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 >
Overall, I think there's no evidence for nasal vowels in PQ or CE.
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]
- --- In lambengolmor@y..., "p_iosad" <pavel_iosad@m...> wrote:
> ... palatalization as a phonologically relevant feature, butPronouncing Latin C and G soft before front vowels, and J as [dzh],
> Romanian does. Should we assume it was there in Latin? ...
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
- --- In lambengolmor@y..., "anthonyappleyard" <Anthony.Appleyard@u...>
> --- In lambengolmor@y..., "p_iosad" <pavel_iosad@m...> wrote:declensions
> > ... 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
> 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
Hans Georg Lundahl
- 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".
Hans Georg Lundahl