Re: *a/*a: ablaut

From: Patrick Ryan
Message: 52819
Date: 2008-02-12


I am not going to horn in on your proposal which Piotr can discuss with you
far more knowledgeably than I but I will pass along this one bit of

when I find a HS (Afrasian) root that I _think_ has a PIE cognate, I see
that the PA pharyngal *H (dotted-h) shows up in PIE as *H (laryngeal); while
*¿ shows up as PIE *y or *Ø.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Pavel A. da Mek" <a.da_mek0@...>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 8:56 AM
Subject: Re: [tied] *a/*a: ablaut

> > There are a number of PIE stems which present clear evidence for *a/*a:
> > ablaut, and in which the presence of an internal laryngeal is unlikely
> > or impossible. Roots with this ablaut typically distinguish the "strong"
> > grade *a: and the "weak" grade *a (though their distribution may be
> > disturbed by analogy) but have no zero grade.
> So I suppose that the attempts to get rid of the vowel /a/
> at the expense of adding instead one extra laryngeal H4
> can not work, because such semiconsonat would not behave
> in the zero grade like the other laryngeals
> and thus it cannot be counted to laryngeals.
> But let us suppose that along with laryngeals
> (h2 / h3 probably voiceless / voiced pharyngeal fricative),
> there was another group of semiconsonants,
> x2 / x3 (maybe voiceless / voiced velar fricative),
> whose colloring effects in full grade
> and syllabic form in zero grade would be these:
> ex2 > a: (eh2 > a:)
> ox2 > a: (oh2 > o:)
> x2. > a (h2. > Gr. a, IIr. i)
> Would this assumption be enough to made such roots fully regular?
> > A root like *//weh2g^// could be
> > expected to produce zero-grade derivatives with *uh2g^- and some o-grade
> > forms like perf. *we-woh2g^-e. No such forms are attested anywhere. We
> > have the Gk. present (*w)ágnu:mi 'I break' and perf. éa:ge 'is broken' <
> > *we-wá:g^-e, Skt. vájra- < *wág^-ro- 'thunderbolt' (a substantivised
> > adjective). Forms like *wag^- should not exist at all, as there is no
> > way they could be derived from any allomorph of *//weh2g^//.
> This would be regularly
> *we-wox2g^-e > *we-wa:g^-e
> wx2.´g^-ro- > wág^-ro- (paradigm like wl.´kW-o- ?)
> > Similar difficulties beset adjectives like Lat. glaber, Slavic *gladUkU
> > 'smooth'. If the latter reflects *gHlah2dH-u-, where does the short /a/
> > of <glaber> and OHG glat come from? The zero grade of *-lah2- would be
> > *-l.h2-, which would have given Latin -la:- and Germanic -ul-.
> Thus here X would have more sonority than L (liquids)
> and the zero grade *gHlx2dH-
> would be *gHlx2.dH- rather than *gHl.x2dH-
> > Then we
> > have nouns like *wá:stu- 'dwelling, settlement' (Ved. vá:stu-, Toch.A
> > was.t, B ost) ~ wástu- (Gk.(w)ástu); the variants look like relicts of
> > an acrostatic paradigm with *a/*a: ablaut, and again a reconstruction
> > like *wah2stu- can't account for the existence of forms with short *a,
> > or the conspicuous absence of a zero-grade *uh2.
> Here this hypothesic cannot explain the short form in acrostatic paradigm,
> both strong *we:x2stu- and weak *wex2stu-
> would give long **wa:stu-.
> (Proterokinetic paradigm would give
> strong *wa:stu- and weak **wasteu-.)
> P.A.
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