Reasons (was [tied] Re: Some thoughts...)

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 34543
Date: 2004-10-07

--- In, Sean Whalen <stlatos@...> wrote:

> I posited a more symmetrical phonology to see if the
> extra phones would provide any explanatory advantages,
> and each did.

Little wonder. If you increase the number of terms to be manipulated,
you increase the explanatory power of the model by allowing your
creative imagination more elbow-space, but there is a price to pay:
the model becomes less constrained and you expose yourself to
Ockham's razor.

> In place of laryngeals there are xj, x,
> and xv to account for all V changes.

"In place of"? You just use a different notation, and one that
doesn't seem to offer any real advantage. If your *xj is supposed to
be most other people's *h1, your notation makes one expect an E-
colouring segment, which *h1 _was not_. It was the _non-colouring_
laryngeal, which seems to mean that it was a glottal glide rather
than any kind of palatal phone. I don't see any ground for believing
that it derives from a pre-PIE palatal fricative either.

> Sr-/str- is
> explained by sr>str and f>s, ...

This, again, looks to me more like arbitrary re-encoding (rather than
explaining anything). Why should one need such a rule? What's wrong
with *str- being just *str-? In the languages that have changed
initial /sr/ into /str/ (Germanic, Slavic) the same change took place
word-medially. You certainly can't posit that for PIE, and you don't
explain why the t-epenthesis should have been restricted to initial