>So the phoneme schwa _only_ occurred as the thematic vowel?
In the early & mid Late IE, yes. It was never accented until the final
centuries of Late IE.
Here are examples. I can cite the paradigm of *bHar@- "burden, load"
(*bHoro-) as it was right after the event of Acrostatic Regularisation
in Late IE:
*bHar@-s ['bHar@.z] (nom) (final *-s was automatically voiced)
*bHar@-m ['bHar@.m] (acc)
*bHar@-sya ['bHar@...] (gen)
In verbs, a paradigm like that of *kWer- "to create" at this same
stage would have been as follows:
*kWer-@-m ['kWEr@.m] (1ps) (> *kWerom > *kWero:)
*kWer-@-s ['kWEr@...] (2ps)
*kWer-@-t ['kWEr@...] (3ps)
*kWer-@-mes ['kWEr@.mEs] (1pp)
*kWer-@-te ['kWEr@...] (2pp)
*kWer-@-nt ['kWEr@.nt] (3pp)
This doesn't mean that all unaccented vowels in early/mid Late
IE were schwa since *e and *a could be unaccented as well.
The phonotactics and accentuation changed drastically after
the Mid IE period due to syncope.
In Mid IE, the accent was automatic and predictable. A vowel
(only *@ and *a existed) when unaccented was _always_
reduced to schwa. In Late IE, the accent became mobile
and unpredictable. Most of those unaccented schwas had
disappeared due to syncope. The schwas that did exist in Late
IE were surviving remnants preserved by the Paradigmatic
and Suffix Resistance exceptions of late Mid IE syncope (eg:
surviving thematic verbs; the adjectival suffix *-n@ > *-no-),
or they were created within the Late IE period in newly
coined thematic nouns.
The final phonetic divergeance of the half-long and plain
schwas to *e and *o respectively only occured late, after
Acrostatic Regularisation of thematic nominoverbal accentuation
but before the Late IE Vowel Shift. So *[@] and *[@.] merged
with the full vowels (*e and *a, respectively) before *a finally
became rounded as *o.
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