Re: [tied] PIE athematic neuters

From: andrew jarrette
Message: 43927
Date: 2006-03-19

From: Miguel Carrasquer <mcv@...>
Subject: Re: [tied] PIE athematic neuters
Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2006 01:53:40 +0100

On Wed, 15 Mar 2006 12:27:24 -0500, andrew jarrette
<jarretteandrew@...> wrote:

>Thanks. But why do you suspect that most neuter u-stems were actually
>r/n heteroclitics? I fail to see the connection.

It's a conclusion drawn from two sources.  The first follows
from my speculations about pre-PIE vocalism, where I suspect
that an earlier 3x2 vowel system (*/a/, */i/, */u/; */a:/,
*/i:/, */u:/) fell together as */e/; */o/, */e:/ (and zero).
The effect of stressed *�(:) on a following *t is
interesting: it turns up as PIE *s.  The standard example is
*m�h1no:ts, *m(e)h1n�sos "moon, month", which I would derive
from **m�t-nu:t-s, *mat-n�t-a:s (> *m@...:s > *m@...
> *meh1n�sos).  When the *u stands at the beginning of a
morpheme, it goes to *we/*u instead of *e, as in the pf.
ptc., say *w�id-wo:t-s, *wid-�s-os.

If *t is labialized by a preceding stressed *u (and *k, *g,
*gh are labialized to *kW, *gW, *ghW by _any_ neighboring
*u), perhaps other coronals show the same phenomenon.  The
obvious place to look is *n, wich may have been labialized
to *nW > mW > m ~ w.

The second source is the curious Armenian phenomenon whereby
u-stem neuters, traditionally reconstructed as ending in *-u
in the NAsg. show up as having final -r.  We have asr
(*pek^u/*pok^u, vocalism from oblique *pk- > a-), artawsr
(*drak^u), cunr (*g^onu) and several others.  There has been
lots of speculation about the origin of this -r (e.g. that
it comes from *-s > *-z, which is impossible because it's
precisely the _neuters_ that show the -r).

Taking the two together, I arrive at the following

NA  *g^�:n-un "knee"
G   *g^a:n-�n-a:s
DL  *g^a:n-�n-a(i)
IAb *g^a:n-�n-a:t
pl. *g^�:n-un-(a)h2

Which by regular soundlaw would have developed into:

NA  *g^�n-ur
G   *g^�n-w-os
DL  *g^�n-w-i
IAb *g^�n-w-ot
pl. *g^�n-un-(a)h2

This distribution is found in the Armenian u-stem
adjectives, which are n-stems in the plural:

NA  barjr     *bh(�)rg^hur
G   barju     *bhr.g^h(u)w�s
pl. barjunk`  *bh(�)rg^hunesW (through *bhr.g^h�nesW)

This also might explain the interchangeability of u-stem
(really (w)r-stem) and ro-stem adjectives.

A word like *d�ru(r) "tree, oak", which happens not to be
attested as such in Armenian [I would expect *taLr, with
dissimilation as in meLr < *merur < *medhur "honey", or
perhaps *artur, with generalization of the oblique root],
may be derived as:

*d�:r-un      > *d�ru(r)
*da:r-�n-a:s  > *d�rwos

or as:

*d�:r-un      > *d�ru(r)
*du:r-�n-a:s  > *drun�s ~ *dr(u)w�s (depending on the
relative timing of the accent shift versus the labialization
after stressed *�).  Cf. Ved. d�:ru, G. dr�

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal


Wow.  Obviously considerable thought has gone into your hypothesis.  However, I must say that my initial impression of your theory (or theories) is that it seems quite farfetched and posits many extreme consonant shifts and some seemingly strange vowel changes, at an early and presumably archaic stage of Indo-European.  Plus is it right to rearrange the entire Indo-European neuter u-stem inflection based on Armenian and one word in Vedic?  Of course, I am certainly no expert and judging from your prolific correspondence in this group you assuredly are an expert, but I find the more traditional theories not only more comfortable, but also more obvious, easier to understand, more digestible, and intuitively more believable.  Nevertheless your hypothesis may be a work of genius and you may know a lot more than I can understand.  Are your ideas published?

Andrew Jarrette

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