This may be the missing link we have been waiting for. Glen and I have had
our differences over the years, but lately I have seen a number of
suggestions from him which I would be only too happy to endorse (I'll post
separately on them). In the PIE phonology of Copenhagen it is a problem
that mother and brother do not have an aspirated /th/ in PIE, since Birgit
Olsen has found the rule that H1 and H2 aspirate a following /t/ (and
other stop) and has proved it to our general satisfaction.
Then why *maH2té:r, and *bhráHte:r (or *-to:r?).
Well, if a pair like *tér&1-tro-m, collective *tr.H1-thrá-H2 underlying
Gk. téretron and Lat. terebra 'auger' has unaspirated /t/ in the position
after a syllabic laryngeal and only aspiration where the laryngeal was
fully consonantal (not accompanied by a prop-vowel, if you see it that
way, as I accept one should), the 'father' *p&2-té:r has regularly
unaspirated /t/. So, if the suffix has spread analogically from 'father',
then the unaspirated /t/ would be regular. Some may not like this, but to
a few of us it is most welcome.
It may be surprising, but it now looks as if 'mother' and 'brother'
received their final IE forms at a time *later* than the operation of the
H1/2 + stop aspirating rule. The lack of zero-grade in 'mother' may seem
to support this.
I also agree that this has nothing to do with the suffix of *kWoteros
'which of the two'. In this the suffix is in my opinion properly *-ero-,
the -t- being analogical by transfer from such forms as *H1n.t-ero-
'interior', *H2ant-ero- 'the one in front, former, other' (opposed to
*ud-tero- 'the one behind, latter, other').
On Tue, 21 Jan 2003, Glen Gordon wrote:
> [...] The word *pxter-, whose
> nominative is *pxte:r btw, is commonly analysed merely as *pax-
> (*pah2-) "to provide, nourish" and *-ter- [agent], hence "provider".
> That much is clear.
> The original mother word was probably *ama- which became *ma-xter-
> in order to rhyme with *pxter-. In other words, *-xter was added on to
> the "mother" word by analogy with *pxter-. So now *pxter- was thought
> of by Indo-European speakers to be *p(a)- + *-xter-. The new family
> suffix *-xter- was thus born, whose origins are thereby analogical,
> and it later spread from the "mother" and "father" words to other
> related words like "brother". Since the "sister" word was already
> *swesor- with the female *-sor- suffix already attached, *-xter- was
> not added on.
> This has absolutely nothing to do with *-ter- used in *kWo-ter- and is
> more related to the agent marker *-ter-.
> - gLeN