People of the Rivers, chapter 2

From: Glen Gordon
Message: 5361
Date: 2001-01-08

>It's a crazy mishmash of proposals this time.

Why thank you :) I admit it's "mishmashy", complex and not fully worked out
yet. So we'll change some things. No big whoop...

>[...] the important question why the Indo-Tyrrhenians should have >called
>themselves "People of the Rivers"

I don't see how terribly important this particular question is. Of course,
the general human tendency of naming of one's own people as "People" needs
no further explanation (Nenets, Enets, Inuit, Anishinaabe... blah, blah,

I assume that your real concern here is why "Rivers" is needed as an added
part of this self-designation. Well, a river is a geographical feature. We
might imagination that alongside a "People of the Rivers" designation, there
were other designations for surrounding non-IndoTyrrhenian groups using
other geographical settings in which these people were known to live in.
Perhaps, there were also "People of the Mountains", "People of the Forest",
"People of the Plains", etc.

Most of humanity continues to live near a source of water so living beside a
river isn't very special unless it's something that distinguishes you from
surrounding peoples who live in the steppe (Altaic-Gilyak), in the mountains
(NWC, NEC), and in the forests (Uralic-Yukaghir), as could potentially have
been the case of IndoTyrrhenian speakers living north of the Black Sea at
7000 BCE.

Piotr gets to the meat of the issue:
>(1) [...] PIE *lah2wo- [...] won't do as the basis of *leudH-.
>(2) In a typical endocentric compound the expected order of
> components is head-final, i.e. *river-people rather than
> *people-river [...]
>(3) You propose original heteroclisy for the "river" word
> *dah2nu- [...]
>(4) What independent evidence do you have for **dexr- ~
> **dx(e)n- 'river'?

My ideas have evolved based on your above input. The following will help
alleviate Concern #1 which isn't terribly disruptive to the overall idea

IndoTyrrhenian *lexwe-t:exan
> Late Mid IE *lexu-t:�xr
> *l�xudxros
> corrupted *?leudhros

The added *-x- in *lexwe has no impact on Etruscan given, as I've already
mentioned, mediofinal laryngeals disappear in Tyrrhenian, producing as
always *lewetten and later Etruscan /lautn/. If _two_ laryngeals existed one
after the other in the IE word (*lexudxros) while the original meaning of
the word was completely lost, there is tonnes more likelihood for the
unusually complex phonetics to be contorted by a similar sounding root like
*?leudh- to give the term renewed meaning AND to offer it necessary phonetic
simplicity. The *-r- (as in Greek and Latin) would appear to be the
heteroclitic ending, thematically extended. The form *?l�udhos then should
be better derived from *?l�udhros, partly by back-formation perhaps but
especially by association with *?leudh-.

As for the animacy or inanimacy of "river", we run into a tricky topic
concerning terms denoting natural things and the relationship they have to
an anthropomorphizing mythology. "Sun" has two root forms, yes? One
inanimate (the object itself), the other animate (as a deity). So there is
precedent for this sort of gender confusion regarding these nature words.
There is a rational, mythology-based reason for this confusion. Inanimate
deities in human form are self-contradictory. If the river was worshipped as
a deity, an animate form of the name is required regardless of its original
inanimate status. That should lessen the importance of Concern #3 although
doesn't negate it completely I admit.

However, as for Concern #4, I must be honest and say that I have no direct
evidence for **dexr. I don't expect to find it if *dexnu- is truely an early
extension of this heteroclitic form (*dexn-u-).

Finally, regarding Concern #2 and the IndoTyrrhenian grammar, I admit that
something's not yet resolved concerning the semantics. I've meditated
further on this, arriving at a solution.

The phrase "People of the Rivers" should be re-evaluated. Within the rules
of IndoTyrrhenian grammar as I currently understand it, the above phrase
could have been translated as one of the following:

Lexwe T:exaneta (ablative)
Lexwe T:exanela (external genito-ablative)

Neither one suffices to explain the results in Etruscan and IE. Nor do any
of the other case endings work, like *[Lexwe T:exanan] using the partitive.
What we require is two unmarked nouns to produce our desired *[Lexwe T:exan]
and yet this continues to make little sense semantically ("People River"??).
How do we explain this away without getting discouraged? :)

Fortunately, there is a light at the end of my tunnel. An IndoTyrrhenian
noun is unmarked not only for the nominative case but for other "oblique"
cases like vocative and locative. Ah! Locative! To translate a locative
phrase like "People _at_ the Rivers", we should obtain *[Lexwe T:exan dei].
The word *dei (IE *dhi) functions as a locative postposition "at" (IE *dhi;
Etr /-thi/). And so, we arrive at a desired phrasal reconstruction where
both nouns are unmarked in the oblique case... Now, how the hell can I
explain the loss of the much-needed postpostion *dei??

Don't worry. I got a whole bunch of tricks up my sleeve and I have French
Immersion & Canada to thank for that... Hey, speaking of French, I wonder
what the origin of the phrase "nom famille" might be...

Taking that example, a phrase found on most French forms, we might notice
its literal English translation "name family". This isn't a kind of family.
This is a kind of _name_. Your "family name". This isn't the normal way to
say things in French either. We would normally expect "nom _de la_ famille"
or "name _of the_ family" but the preposition (which is grammatically very
necessary to define the relationship of the two nouns) has been booted out
for phrasal simplicity...

This is a phrasal contraction! Exactly what is need to substantiate
IndoTyrrhenian *[Lexwe T:exan dei] -> *[Lexwe T:exan], n'est-ce pas? From
this modern-language example, Concern #2 becomes irrelevant.

So in summary, we should better reconstruct an IndoTyrrhenian ethnonymic
phrase following normal grammatical rules, *[Lexwe T:exan dei] "People at
the Rivers". A phrasal contraction a la French creates *lexwe-t:exan. From
there, we arrive at Etruscan /lautn/ and an unattested Mid IE *lexud�xr by
regular phonetics. The only major hurdle is to get from this Mid IE
*lexud�xr to IE *?leudhros, something that may only be explainable via a
homonymic corruption, a process that one may choose to disbelieve.

Sigh. It's the best I can do so far! What do you want from me! >;( Well,
goodnight everybody. A la prochaine, mes 'tits chouchous.

- gLeN

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