From: Mate Kapovic
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, May 30, 2004 4:40 AM
Subject: Re: [tied] Unreality...
> > And the whole Nguni branch of Bantu (including Zulu and Xhosa) would
> > have to disappear as well (not to mention Hadza and Sandawe, whose
> > relatedness to any part of "Khoisan" is problematic). [...]
> > You're all hairsplitting... I should have written if there was no
> > Khoisan group (including Hadza and Sandawe), and the Nguni branch
> > of Bantu and Damin linguists would think that clics are impossibile.
> Actually, Mate, you started the hairsplitting because I never mentioned
> anything about clic sounds to begin with!
It is just an example, there are not many clic languages in the world and if
we assumed that all of them died out before we got to them, nobody would
believe that such sounds could be phonemic. You can count on that. That
*should* tell us something...
> I simply said that a monovocalic vowel system is completely unattested.
Not really. As has been metioned, there are some systems which have been
> One-vowel systems really _are_ a nonreality. Now you may say something
> childish like "Well, we just haven't found it yet" but this in itself
> admits to the fact that even if it _did_ exist, it occurs once out of
> every FEW THOUSAND languages or more! You can do the math, Mate, and
> you're intelligent enough to have come across the term 'statistically
> irrelevant'. This is the reason why we seldom even see protolanguages
> with clic sounds too. What a coincidence, eh?
> If Jens' idea isn't 0% probability, this still all equates to an
> exceedingly, ridiculously low probability under 1%. And yet, despite the
> statistical odds, you side with Jens for an "unattested"/"exceedingly
> rare" vowel system?!
> I question your logic and I question that of Jens for those reasons.
> My objection should be easy to absorb both linguistically and
> statistically unless it is at odds with personal pet-theory nostalgia.
But there are a number of reasons in PIE itself which point to monovocalism
or something like that, that is not anything new. And in light of that fact
I think it's unwise to automatically decline this only on typological
grounds (Kortlandt has a nice article about misuses of typology in IE
linguistics on his web-site) especially if we know that some of the
languages in Caucasus (that is - in vicinity of the PIE homeland in any
case) have been thus analyzed.