Re: Grimm's Law is about to expire (Collinge 1985, p. 267, Thundy 1

From: Richard Wordingham
Message: 47881
Date: 2007-03-15

--- In, "mkelkar2003" <swatimkelkar@...> wrote:

> --- In, "etherman23" <etherman23@> wrote:

> Does the chronology of attestation make a difference?

No. Are you seriously suggesting we should derive Sanskrit from Pali
or the Prakrits?

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

Don't forget that Mycenean Greek and Hittite are *attested* earlier!
(I suppose there's a counter-claim for Indo-Iranian proper names in

> 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.

That was tried and found inadequate.

> > Since all three languages attest the form, and they are related by
> > regular sound changes, and there's no reason to suspect a borrowing,
> > then the most rational assumption is that the word is reconstructable
> > for the proto language.

> > This is actually quite easy to explain. If the deaspiration to place
> > before the devoicing then the Greek would have a voiced stop instead
> > of a voiceless stop. You'd have bH > b instead of bH > pH > p.

Any possibility of [bH] > [p]? I'm not quite sure what happens if you
drop a breathy aspiration - *might* you also lose the voicing? I'm
mindful of some changes as [b] > [pH] in the presence of contrasting [p].

> "However, contends Gamkrelidze, "recent evidence now places the
> probable origin of the Indo-European language in western Asia." In
> deciphering numerous texts in dozens of ancient languages from Turkey
> and surrounding areas, it has become "necessary to revise the canons
> of linguistic evolution." Given a profundity of linguistic evidence,
> Gamkrelidze postulates that the homeland of ancient Indo-Europeans
> was, in fact, the ancient Near East."
> I find this the MOST disturbing to say the least. A guy thinks that
> PIE originated in western asia, so now he wants to chnage the
> reconstruction to a new set of stops. Whether or not he is right is
> another issue. But is this the way it should work? The stops are
> determined by where the PIE is supposed to have originated?

The difficulty comes in fixing the actual sounds. The contrast [t] ~
[d] ~ [dH] is rare without supporting [tH]. (There is the
counter-claim that it did appear in PIE - I'm explaining the glottalic
reasoning.) Now, the contrast [t] (or [tH]) ~ [t`] ~ [d] is not so
rare, occurs in the Caucasus, and appears to explain a number of
features of PIE phonology.

The way science is supposed to work is that you look at the evidence,
form a hypothesis, and look for more evidence to test the hypothesis.
(There is the problem that finding new evidence can be difficult in
historcial sciences.) If you think PIE may have come from the
Caucasus, then a PIE system [t] (or [tH]) ~ [t`] ~ [d] is a reasonable
system to consider.

> Then why do the European Sanskritist who support the Aryan
> Invasion/Migration Theory insist that PIE branched off into IIr and I
> and Ir etc when the branching itself is determined by the PIE
> reconstruction which in turn is determined by where the PIE originated?

There is no problem if you think of PIE *d as in some fashion
representing a set of correspondences. Whether *d represents [d]
(traditional, Sanskrit-Latin-Greek based reconstruction), [t`]
(glottalic theory), [Nd] (prenasalised consonant - an idea recently
floated by Torsten), or [t] (current Moscow school Nostratic theory)
is a different argument to whether a PIE word should be reconstructed
as containing *d. It gets complicated because one keeps the number of
reconstructed phonemes down by invoking conditional changes in the
hope that the reconstruction matches the proto-language. As I keep
saying, think of the reconstructed phonemes as a phonetic *spelling*
for the reconstructed language - what sounds the letters represent is
another matter.

Thus, although the plausibility of various candidates for the PIE
sound system may depend on where it was spoken (more precisely, on
what its neighbours were like linguisitically), the reconstructed
branching mostly depends on identified correspondences, and they are
independent of sound system ascribed to the various stages. Of
course, if a branching model is based on the sound systems ascribed to
the various stages, then it may be unreliable.