Re: [tied] Re: Ducks and Souls

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 25900
Date: 2003-09-18

18-09-03 14:12, tgpedersen wrote:
>> I just learned *anet- "duck" must have a sideform *anat- based on
>> Swedish dialects, so I add it to the "language of bird names".
> It would therefore strengthen the case of *akus-/*akis- "axe" being
> a 'bird name language' import if it had an a-less sideform with more
> vowel in the next syllable. Such as *kov-, Russian kovat', English
> hew. No, I don't know what happened to the /s/.

The 'duck' word has no "a-less" forms either. If you were thinking of
Greek <ne:ssa/ne:tta>, its /ne:/ is the regular reflex of unstressed
*/n.h2/ (or what was regarded as a long sylabic nasal in Brugmann's
times). Lest you should suspect that the whole thing is an artifact of
laryngealist sleight-of-hand (you probably will anyway), */n.h2/ is
independently confirmed by Skt. a:ti- < *h2n.h2t-i- 'water-bird'.

Your 'axe' forms are completely fantastic. Goth. aqizi- points to Gmc.
*akWis- < *h2agWes-, of which /akus-/ is a Germanic variant with the
unstressed vowel coloured by the adjacent labiovelar (Pokorny suggests
*agwes-/*agus- as ablaut variants -- not very plausibly). Such colouring
may easily happen even under stress, e.g. PGmc. *kweman- > Goth. qiman
but OE (etc.) cuman 'come'. If you wanted to classify as Birdspeak any
Germanic word with variable vowel quality in unstressed medial
syllables, hundreds of items would qualify. The 'duck' word could occur
with just about any short vowel (*a, *i or *u), but that's because of
the fact that internal *&2 had no stable reflex in Germanic (OHG alone
has a number of variants including <anat>, <enit> and <anut>); we
therefore have to reconstruct the PGmc. word as *anVd-jo: . As it's an
inner Germanic phenomenon, the Swedish dialectal evidence has no
relevance beyond PGmc.

I'll comment on Schrijver's examples separately.