Re: [tied] Catching up again...

From: Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
Message: 4765
Date: 2000-11-17

On Thu, 16 Nov 2000 18:30:28 +0100, "Piotr Gasiorowski"
<gpiotr@...> wrote:

> As for naca, *spaikul(-ra)- etc. Lehmann gives a full list of such items in Werner Winter's collection _Evidence for Laryngeals_ (1965). They also include hack (: hew), leak/leach (: Lat. lavo), OIcel. skeika (: *skaiwos), OE spic 'fat' (: Gk. pio:n), stack (: *stah2-) and of course ta:cor/zeichur 'wife's brother' and quick.

Thanks for the list and the reference, I've never had the chance to
read that volume.

>Lehmann also lists cases of putative laryngeal > Germanic g (*jugunT- 'youth', OE brycg/OHG brucca 'bridge', mucga/mucke 'gnat', Gothic sugil/OE sygel 'sun', and English sow < sugu).

I've seen at least "bridge" mentioned in discussions about
Verschärfung (with the note that it irregularly appears in WGmc), and
the other forms at first sight look to me as if they could also be

>He admits that 'the precise conditions for the two developments have yet to be determined', and yet is bold enough to ascribe the different Germanic reflexes to their derivation from two different laryngeals.
> I'm very sceptical of such explanations. Examples such as *newn > Germanic *newun/*negun > niwun (> *niun)/nigun(i)-), cf. OE nigon, Dutch negen, show that the change *w > *g was possible in Germanic. It may have happened sporadically before Grimm's Law (eventually yielding *k) or more recently, yielding *g. Frisian examples of intervocalic *v (also < *b) turning into g show a still more recent dialectal reenactment of the same process (soogen 'seven', progost 'provost', ju^gel 'gable' < *jiuvul- < *gibula-). Analysing every unexpected velar as a laryngeal reflex without considering simpler alternatives first is paper linguistics.

Surely *w can yield *g (and *g [through *G] can yield *w, as in
English). The question is: under which circumstances did it in happen
in (early) Germanic?

> Talking of Verschärfung: First, the idea that it always involves *-jH- or *-wH- is by no means generally accepted. To reconstruct 'true' as *drewH- (with an otherwise unmotivated laryngeal)

Rasmussen ("Germanic Verschärfung: Tying up loose ends", 1987) adduces
Lith. dru:'tas "hard, solid", with long vowel (and acute). The
Appendix to this paper (which is the only detailed material I have on
Verschärfung) lists 42 forms, of which 3, according to Rasmussen, have
PIE *y + *y, 5 have reasonably secure *yH, 4 have insecure *yH, 6 are
unclear with *yy, 14 are reasonably secure cases of *Hw, and 10 have
insecure *wH. The first category (which includes *Frijjo: < *priyya:)
is interesting, as it suggests that the Verschärfung itself had
nothing to do with laryngeals (as indeed your e.g. Frisian examples
above do not) but instead applied to any geminate *yy or *ww. It just
so happens that these geminates had arisen largely out of earlier *yH
and *wH.

> rather than *drew- only in order to satisfy a preconceived interpretation of Verschärfung, is questionable practice, a.k.a. circular reasoning. Secondly, it is debatable whether it makes sense to talk of an "E & N Germanic change" in this case; Verschärfung seems to have arisen parallelly but independently in Gothic and Scandinavian. There are examples of early Runic forms without it; such forms are also preserved as loans in Finnish (e.g. kuva 'picture' : Gothic skuggva 'mirror'). J.B. Voyles ("Early Germanic Grammar", 1992) regards Gothic Verschärfung and Old Icelandic Verschärfung (the latter split into more stages) as two different changes, and defines them without recourse to laryngeals.

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal