Re: Unreality...

From: elmeras2000
Message: 32987
Date: 2004-05-31

--- In, enlil@... wrote:

> Now, in _Jens'_ sense of the word, yes, we could analyse any
> really hard to yield whatever pattern we want, including so-called
> 'monovocalism', but this isn't real phonetic or phonemic
> In the end it is a highly abstractified monovocalism. Basically, an
> observed pattern in the vowel system that appears to mimick
> just as tv mimicks real life.

Well, thank you, that's much more than any other theory was ever
credited with! I'm afraid your praise is exaggerated, however.

> If we're talking about true monovocalism, phonemic or phonetic, it
> doesn't exist.

We aren't, and we weren't. Only you answered as if we were, although
you knew very well what was meant. That's why I blew my top and
called your statement a deliberate lie.

> However when you analyse Sanskrit such that, say, /e/
> really 'represents' a _surface_ /ai/, you're talking about
> that is neither phonetic nor phonemic. It is completely abstract.
> a very very abstract sense, we might claim that monovocalism
> and I can't argue much against these crazy analyses.

You must mean something else when you say "surface" - some such
thing as the opposite, "deep structure", "underlying form", or
whatever. Why not call it thematicization, Oh Destroyer of Words? Of
course it's abstract, that's the only steps we can take in the
search for information when we have already reached the
protolanguage and there is nothing more to compare.

> The whole point, Mate, which you're missing is that while I can't
> object to _ABSTRACT monovocalism_ as opposed to real monovocalism
> (the latter is indeed completely unattested), I don't see what the
> purpose is of contorting the facts of a language to suit one's
> What does it serve to warp IE or even Sanskrit into a monovocalic
> system? What exactly? It's a fun game, but I don't get the point.

I believe you.

> > But there are a number of reasons in PIE itself which point to
> > monovocalism or something like that,
> ... Or something like that. As I've been trying to explain, it's
> a true monovocalism. IE had *a, *e, *i, *o and *u with long
> making for a vowel system of at least 10 distinct vocalic phonemes,
> eleven if you include any hidden schwas in words like *dHgHo:m or
> *pxte:r, for example. The point that *i can be analysed as vocalic
> doesn't change the fact that in words like *kWis, the segment is
> definitely a _vowel_ *i, not consonant *y.

In terms of the commutation test /kWis/ and /kWys/ are equivalent,
as are /ios/ and /yos/ for [yos]. Thus far, this language does not
show a phonemic opposition between /i/ and /y/. Therefore, one of
them is dispensable. If that is acceptable for Sanskrit, it is
acceptable for Indo-European; and if it is unacceptable for Sanskrit
it is unacceptable for Indo-European. Even if it is unacceptable, it
is a descriptive fact that there is no opposition in these words.
Then, an adequate account of the language should not make it appear
that there is an opposition where it is of necessity neutralized.

> Likewise in Sanskrit, "e"
> is just that, despite the possibility that we can pretend it's "ai"
> instead for the purposes of the surface analysis to eke out a
> language.

Well, /ay/ actually.

> We know that Sanskrit is not _actually_ a monovocalic language
> nor does the abstract analysis that Jens is describing show that
> ancestral stage of the language had true monovocalism (clearly not
if IE
> had 10 or more vowels).

If "actually" means "phonetically" with reference to surface
phonetics, you are right. But then you apparently forget that your
own analyses - to the extent that yours are motivated - are every
bit as abstract as mine.

> I specifically object to _phonemic_ or _phonetic_ monovocalism.
> understand. Abstract monovocalism is alright although not
> without its problems, but I still find it completely pointless
> somebody explains what the point really is. So far, everybody is
> quick to jump on my case to prove monovocalism to spite me, and the
> wrong sense of the word 'monovocalism' at that.

Actually you changed the sense it was used in. What is the *correct*
term to be used instead of "one-vowel system" as I wrote, when this
is meant to apply to an abstract level, Oh Destroyer of Words?