Re: [tied] Re: Grimm's Law is about to expire (Collinge 1985, p. 26

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 47880
Date: 2007-03-15

On 2007-03-15 19:10, mkelkar2003 wrote:

> Does the chronology of attestation make a difference?

No, it doesn't. What matters is the pattern of correspondences, not
their age. Even languages not attested before the second millennium C.E.
(like Albanian and Lithuanian) are important for the reconstruction of
the protolanguage. Every "daughter" preserves some useful information
lost in some of the other branches (including Indo-Iranian).

> b and dh in
> Sanskrit came first, p and th in Greek came second and b and d in
> Germanic came third.

How do you figure that out? In terms of written documentation, Greek is
surely older than Sanskrit, and the Germanic languages (Old Runic,
Gothic) not so dramatically younger (your estimate of the distance, 3000
yrs, is exaggerated by about an order of magnitude). And why do you
ignore Italic, attested much earlier than Germanic?

> So PIE should have *b, *dh; *b, *dh> p, th in Greek and *b, *dh> b, d
> in Germanic. So the family tree would be PIE--->Sanskrit--->branching
> off into Greek and Germanic.

Unfortunately for this scenario, Gk. initial /p/ doesn't correspond to
Skt. /b/ or Gmc. *B except when an aspirated stop follows. Why should a
*b have become /p/ in this environment? (And, while we're at it, why is
*b otherwise so rare?) By contrast, the motivation for Grassmann's Law
is clear and natural.