From: Brian M. Scott
Message: 68832
Date: 2012-03-08

At 8:06:37 AM on Thursday, March 8, 2012, Tavi wrote:

> --- In, "Brian M. Scott"
> <bm.brian@...> wrote:

>> You missed the point completely, which suggests that you
>> don't understand how comparative reconstruction works.

>>> I know perfectly how the comparative method works,

>> This is far from evident.

> See below.

There's nothing there to change my opinion.

>> PIE is by definition the most recent common ancestor of
>> the IE languages, as best we can reconstruct it.

>>> According to this definition, PIE would be closer to a
>>> Platonic ideal than to an attainable goal.

>> It's a rather basic definition.

> No, it's a HYPOTHESIS.

You're wrong. PIE *is* by definition the most recent common
ancestor of the IE languages, in so far as we can
reconstruct it. That's what the 'Proto-' means. You may,
if you wish, argue that the IE languages don't form a family
with a common ancestor that separates them from the non-IE
languages, but that doesn't change the definition of the
term 'Proto-Indo-European'; it just means that there is no
such thing. You'll look rather ridiculous, but that's your
problem, not mine.


>>> But IMHO they can be explained as different reflexes of
>>> a former sibilant affricate like the one we find in
>>> PNEC. I've simply extended the comparative method
>>> outside the IE family to help us understand what you
>>> regard as "purely internal matters".

>> Because they *are* purely internal matters.

> Only that they can't be properly explained within the
> traditional model,

So you say. I've yet to see any evidence that you're
qualified to hold an opinion on the matter.

> thus showing its inconsistence.

>>> I also don't think we have to demonstrate a genetic
>>> relationship PRIOR to accepting cognacy, as this is
>>> utterly inconsistent. We can only posit a genetic
>>> relationship from a mass of cognates along with
>>> predictable (I prefer this term to "regular") sound
>>> correspondences, and nobody would do so with a single
>>> cognate.

>> Don't be silly. The word 'cognate' *means* that there is
>> a genetic relationship. When you say that A and B are

> This might be true for the words themselves, but not
> necessarily for the languages involved.

This is silly: loans are to be distinguished from cognates.

> For phonetical reasons, I think *h2ºrtk´-o- 'bear' is
> actually a loanword and not a native IE word. So as far as
> the comparative method goes, there's no reconstructable
> PIE word for 'bear' besides the one found in Germanic.

And this is self-contradictory: *h2rtk^ko- *is* a PIE


>> It has nothing to do with 'models'; it's simply a matter
>> of methodology.

> Then IMHO the comparative method has been incorrectly
> applied for the IE family.

I see no reason to give your opinion (which by the way is
certainly not humble!) any weight whatsoever.

>> And while there are certainly exceptions, a great many
>> long-rangers are methodological dunderheads; Ruhlen,
>> Bengtson, and Starostin come to mind immediately.

> Then I must be one of these exceptions. :-)

Hardly. An amateur with delusions of intellectual grandeur
is nearer the mark.