Re: Eggs from birds and swift horses (was: the palatal sham)

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 30945
Date: 2004-02-11

----- Original Message -----
From: "elmeras2000" <jer@...>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2004 2:56 AM
Subject: The palatal sham :) (Re: [tied] Re: Albanian (1))

> That's quite a challenge. Within my understanding of IE phonology, Lat.
avis seems to represent IE *H3�w-i-s with basic /a/ and "laryngeal three".
However, for the following argument, the /a/ and the index on the laryngeal
do not matter. A derivative from that source with the "funny o" should have
this element prefixed, thus forming *o-H3w-i-�-m 'something from a bird'.

This is what I wrote on Cybalist more than two years ago:

"*ek^wos (omitting the laryngeal) is almost generally regarded as related to
*o:k^u- 'swift', though not without formal problems, usually dealt with in
an ad-hoc manner. To be frank, I am not sure what to make of the long
vocalism of *o:k^u-, and I'm not willing to multiply laryngeals ad absurdum
(*h1oh3k^u- is hardly elegant, and the necessity of deriving *ek^wos via a
monstrosity like *h1h3k^w-o- only adds to the embarrassment). I suppose we
haven't yet discovered all that can be known about PIE vrddhi (morphological
vowel-lengthening); *o:k^u- and *ek^wos will perhaps be reduced to something
more elementary like *h1ek^-u- one day (this reminds me of the "bird/egg"
business and putative *h2ewi-s : h2o:wi-o-m)."

It seems a plausible solution was already available, only I failed to make a
possible connection between your *o prefix/infix and this funny long *o:.
I'd just like to probe one of the intriguing questions that arise here. Your
other evidence suggests that this *o occurs together with thematic *-o- or
with *-ah2. The 'egg' word, *o-hwi-�-m, follows that pattern, but if one
wants to explain *o:k^�- as *o-hk^�- (ignoring the index of the *h), an idea
that I find attractive (if it isn't true, what would a long *o: be doing in
this position?), it makes one look for other cases where whar might be a
Rasmussen *o is found in *-u- stems.

If Gk. pol�- and Av. pouru- reflect a common protoform, i.e. *polh1�-, the
*o has all the hallmarks of your infix: it is pretonic and occurs in the
"wrong" place (cf. *pleh1-jo:s). Av. vouru- 'broad' (vs. compositional uru-
and Skt. ur�-) is another case where a Rasmussen *o can be suspected. Here's
a wild guess based on insufficient evidence (:-)) : could it be that one of
the functions of *o was to form free-standing adjectives as opposed to
"bound" ones found in compounds? E.g.

*hk^�- : *ohk^�s (root *hek^-)
*pl.h1�- : *polh1�s (root *pleh1-)
*wr.h�- : *worh�s (root *werh-)

and perhaps even

*h1s�- : *oh1s�s (if the latter is what we see in Hittite)

For some time I have been developing the idea that another device --
reduplication -- was similarly used. When I get my computer back in working
order I'll write more about that.