Re: Comparative Notes on Hurro-Urartian, Northern Caucasian and Indo

From: Arnaud Fournet
Message: 60449
Date: 2008-09-28

----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrew Jarrette" <anjarrette@...>

> To tell the truth, I mostly see no major flaws with your reasoning,
> it all mostly sounds plausible, except the big one is that the
> phonological change of */z/ to */H2/ seems highly unusual at first
> glance. But I suppose one could compare */s/ > /h/ in Greek,
> Iranian, and Brythonic.
> AJ
I suppose that *z in western PIE became a voiced h.
H2 is _not_ a phoneme but a correspondence.
In fact, H2 stands for more than one phoneme.
> However, your reasoning that since /j/ (<y>) is not found in the
> eastern branch in this root, then it must have been borrowed (in
> Greek and Germanic, as I understand you to mean): I don't think that
> this must necessarily be so.
> AJ
Yes, that's the reason to think it's borrowed in Eastern PIE.

> I think that, when investigated, there
> will be found not enough evidence to necessarily connect Semitic *z-
> with western IE *H2-. Latin <amentum> may not be related to Semitic
> <zimam> or Sanskrit <yama> (or either of these two to each other). I
> suppose it depends on how many more examples there are under
> your "Etc.", whether someone like me would be convinced of your
> hypothesis.
> AJ
I have plenty of other examples,
but I can't paste a thirty-page word .doc here !
I just chose a clear example that does not need any explanation.
> Right now, I think your hypothesis is plausible and
> possible, but at the same time I see no compelling reason to discard
> the traditional view of this root. And even if it is a borrowing of
> Semitic *z_r_&, it could not have been borrowed any earlier than
> agriculture appeared in the Middle East, which as I take it is
> considered to be in the Neolithic period -- which argues against your
> final conclusion.
> AJ
I'm not saying H2erH3 is a borrowing from Semitic,
If it were, it should be **H2erH2.
I believe zil, z_r_& and H2erH3 derive from a common source which had *z as

I don't understand your last sentence.


> I would think, the later the split, the less likely major differences
> would be found between the eastern and the western branches (just as
> in genetic differences in evolution) -- hence the less likely one
> would find the H2/y alternation. If the split were early, on the
> other hand, this would give time for phonetic change, and therefore
> phonetic drift, to evolve, making the H2/y alternation more likely.
> If the H2erH3- root were borrowed from Semitic before 8000 BC, this
> would give it time to evolve differently in the eastern and western
> branches (H2- vs. y-).
From Semitic (or probably something else)
> If it were borrowed from Semitic e.g. around
> 4000 BC, I would think one would expect that it would appear
> comparatively less changed in the various adoptive languages -- hence
> one would expect *s- as in Latin <sario:> (as an example, I know you
> consider it a substrate word) more so than *H2- in the western
> branch.
In that case, one would expect a uniform *s
like in the word *sal 'salt' related to zaGwa 'sea'.

This means that the word H2erH3 spread in indo-european languages,
AFTER the regular change *z > y in eastern IE,
but early enough to be reflected by *sar- in Latin substrate.

It seems you are finally agreeing to the fact this word cannot be a cognate,
whatever the time it entered IE languages ?


> In the eastern branch, *y- might still be expected, as it is
> less different from *z- than is *H2-, but I would think one would
> rather see an assimilation to e.g. the reflex of *g^- in these
> languages.
> AJ
I don't understand this.