Nominative: A hybrid view

From: Glen Gordon
Message: 22086
Date: 2003-05-20

Look, Jens. This is very very simple. We are using two different
foundations for our views on the nominative *-s, leading us to
two different conclusions. Only one of us may be correct.

1. You think that *-o- likely shows that nom. *-s is voiced.
Hence you conclude earlier *-z.

2. I think that *-s and *-d are based on *so- and *to-.
Hence I conclude earlier *-s& (and *-t&).

Which is more realistic? The second assumption, my basis,
requires far less pleading hands down. My basis is simply
self-explanatory to anyone, taking elements that are already
fully proven (*so-, *to-).

Your basis is patently opaque requiring a lengthy explanation
as to what a vowel *o has to do with voicing, and what basis
exists for a distinct phoneme **z, before any meat of the
arguement can be discussed. You manage as well to completely
ignore the etymology of the suffixes, automatically assuming
that they MUST be ancient. (And lest I emphasize yet again
that a rare phoneme in the commonest suffixes is weird, weird

I don't have to go into detail about why *-o- does not suggest
voicing of the following segment a priori. It would be absurd and
wasteful debate because there are _clearly_ many possibilities
for the source of any vowel. You know this.

As for *to-d, it has *-d because as I said, it was always declined
unlike the stem *so. The *-d served well to mark the pronominal
nominoaccusative and to oppose *-s in the animate forms. The
animate *so however was always undeclined and thus could not
be marked, so *tod opposed *so, not **sos.

The feminine gender is outside the debate of IE (animate-inanimate,
remember?) and so I don't need to explain feminine form *sax
-- It is simply analogically created.

However.... Being that I've adapted Borg-like assimilation strategies
to problem-solving, perhaps this is the time to mention a hybrid
solution that incorporates both of our views together into a
potentially superior possibility:

Perhaps, you are correct. Perhaps *-s does come from *-z... but not
as you think. This *z was never distinct from *s. It was an allophone
of *s in final positions. This environmental voicing of final *-s [-z]
caused the thematic vowel *& to lengthen to *&: before the
nominative as it does for all other voiced phonemes, eventually
producing *-o-s. (Evidently then in this scenario, the aspirates *h,
*x and *hW avoided voicing, in order to explain the human collective
suffix *-ax, later used as feminine. All other phonemes were voiced
in final position.)

We will keep *-s& as the origin of the nominative. It would have
been clipped to *-s in early Late IE, and voiced by allophony. Similarly,
*-t& was clipped to *-t, and voiced to *-d as well. However, unlike
the non-existent distinct phoneme **z, *d _was_ a distinct phoneme
from *t already. So *-d was kept in places where *-t did not alternate
with a medial position. This is why the 3ps is not **-d (because the
ending also exists in medial position where this voicing did not exist:
indicative *-t-i). This is why we have ablative *-od and pronominal
n-acc. *-d with voiced stops for this very reason. This is why **z
didn't catch on and remained an allophone of *s. We must also as a
result conclude that the thematic genitive terminated in the relative
pronoun *-y&: before voicing, otherwise we'd see *o in the genitive
too (because *s would be final and voiced).

The aorist must be explained still by a restructuring of the shape
of the verb root. It caused nominal stative roots of the form *CVC-&s
to shorten to *CV:C-s- (with compensatory lengthening which is surely
a seperate phenomenon from that of the thematic vowel anyway).

Now before we argue some more about the aorist, do some yoga,
have a bubble bath and then come back to me and tell me what you
think of the hybrid solution for nominative *-s.

- gLeN

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