Re: [tied] Re: Various loose thoughts

From: Mate Kapovic
Message: 36305
Date: 2005-02-14

----- Original Message -----
From: "willemvermeer" <wrvermeer@...>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, February 14, 2005 6:05 PM
Subject: [tied] Re: Various loose thoughts

--- In, "Mate Kapovic" <mkapovic@...> wrote:

> If you
> take starting *gor'U and *zen'U (after Dybo's Law) you can easily
get *go~rU
> and *ze~nU by assuming again a simple analogy to long-vowel stems
> *gol~lvU or *tra~vU. The long neo-acute has just become a marker of
the gen.
> pl. of a. p. b and c, even if the root vowel is elsewhere short.

>What any theory has to account for is the length alternation that is
>a marker of the genitive plural: length in the Gpl vs. brevity in the
>remainder of the paradigm. Genitive plurals like *gol~lvU or *tra~vU
>cannot serve as the source of the analogy because they are just
>rising tones in paradigms that have a falling tone in other forms.
>They do not function in length alternations, hence cannot be
>analogically imported in that function.

This makes no sense. Of course it can. The long neo-acute is interpreted as
a marker of gen. pl. *generally" in a. p. b and c and thus spreads to the
short vowel roots. Very simple.

>Kortlandt does not use terms like "the long neo-acute" in the sense
>intended here (to the extent that he uses it it has a different
>sense). One should try to understand a theory in its own terms before
>criticizing it. That is the only way of avoiding a build-up of
>unnecessary misunderstandings.

Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I have no wish to engage a deep study
of Kortlandt's theories. Why? Because I don't think that it would be useful.
I looked up a couple of things more closely and every time I came to the
conclusion that easier explanations are possible. And since everything is in
very tight connection in his theory, if one thing is invalid, so is half of
the others.

> ...
> Vrgada forms with the ~ in 3. sg. can be explained by a simple
analogy to 3.
> pl.

>I'm sorry but I find that a pretty far-fetched analogy. What on earth
>was it motivated by?

The paralelism of the 3rd person sg. and pl. It is not at all unusual, stuff
like that happens all the time - the short falling accent is very often
changed into a neo-acute in the absolute Auslaut and here the 3. pl. is an
outstanding analogical source of it. And your method is incorrect from the
start - not everything can be explained from PIE. Just because you see some
oposition in Vrgada Cakavian it does not mean you have to push it all the
way back to Common Slavic.

> Also, you adduce in your 1984 article examples from Jurkovo Selo
> (Zumberak): pli:je^s, pli:je^, but pli:je``mo, pli:je``te which has
> original length distribution according to you.

>You are misquoting me. I was talking about length in endings and had
>nothing to say about the length of stem vowels. About the latter
>subject you write:

Yes, but you are disregarding the fact that precisely this long root vowel
means that the length of the thematic -e *cannot* be original. I think this
is very important.

> if
> the length is original in 2. and 3. sg., we would not expect a long
> vowel (it would have to be shortened).

>Who says so?

I do.

>Certainly not Kortlandt, who posits entirely different
>mechanisms to account for vowel length in stems.

Yes, I know. And his theories about length are invalid. Again he for
instance attributes obvious innovations as archaisms (for instance in saying
that the length in *voNtr'oba is preserved regularly eventhough it's
obviously secondary) and thus gets completely sidetracked.

>I can't help suspecting that (like Johnson) you are importing foreign
>elements into Kortlandt's theory and criticizing the mix, which,
>rather unsurprisingly, is then found to be inconsistent. That is a
>very ineffectual way of conducting a debate. The same holds for the
>continuation of you text about the length of the thematic vowel,
>after which you conclude:

Well, I cannot criticize you or Kortlandt with the elements from *your*
theory if I think that those are incorrect. I am talking about the material
which is present in Slavic languages. Thus if I say that the length in go~r
or that the length could not have been preserved in pli:je^ it's not an
answer to say "in Kortlandt's theory it's possible". The problem with the
Leiden doctrine is that it is hermetic and it alows no intrusions. The
reason is of course the fact that the relative chronology is very important
in this theory and as I said, if you touch one thing, everything crashes.

> All the cases of length on the thematic -e- can be easily
> explained separately.

>I'm not prepared to be convinced without a detailed blow-by-blow
>demonstration of every single case.

The same goes for me and the Dutch theories... :)

>Analogies in order to be
>acceptable have to be proved to have suitable models and motivations.
>And on that score you track record is patchy. Your analogy by which
>the length of Gpl *górU is imported from cases like Gpl *trávU fails
>to provide a model.

Why does it fail? Because you say so? As a native speaker of Croatian I see
typologically similar analogies all the time. For instance, the old gen.
dual of "noga" is _nogu_. It has a couple of possible accent variants in the
dialects. One is no``gu:, other is no`gu: and the third is nógu:. The third
is obviously derived from the second one by introducing the length which is
not present in other forms (no`ga, acc. sg. no``gu). Why? Because there is a
tendency for all vowels to be long in front of the gen. pl. ending. The same
applied in Common Slavic with a secondary spread of ~ in gen. pl.

>Your analogy by which the length in the thematic
>vowel of the Vrgada 3sg was imported from the 3pl ending lacks a
>motivation. So I hope you'll forgive me for being sceptical about the
>analogies by which you are prepared to account for the remainder of
>the material. Have they been published somewhere?

They will be. And my account of the length problem in Slavic has been

[I'll come back to the problem of the so-called neoacute of *poN~tI
and similar cases because I have to look up the references.]

>Finally you write:

> assuming the Croatian/Serbian nom.
> rúka must be analogical to the acc. sg. ru^ku totally unnecessary.

>You really have to view this in the context of the theory as a whole.

Oh I know... :) But in my opinion the whole theory is wrong as well.

>Picking out single elements one doesn't like is just about the worst
>way of criticizing a theory.

It's just a shortcut in a cybalist discussion. I've treated it elsewhere
thoroughly... :)

>Sorry for the bad news,

Don't see none... :)