Richard Wordingham wrote:

> Richard:
> *bHeug 'flee' is evidenced by Latin fugio: 'flee' and Greek pheugo:
> 'flee',
> both real words. What's more, Old English bu:gan (whence English 'bow' as
> in 'bow down'), besides meaning 'bend', also occasionally meant 'flee',
> Probably two homophones, but maybe our ancestors saw some connections
> between the words.

Shouldn't Latin keep the p?

> Mark:
> > What is wrong with Greek/Latin ul-, like English being related to
> > Akkadian QATUM,
> > Turkic kol (arm), all going back to *qathum? Much simpler. And this
> is the
> Richard:
> Well, it wouldn't relate to Turkish el 'hand' or Chuvash pelik 'five'
> then,
> would it?
> I'm leaving objections to those more knowledgeable in Nostratic matters.
> Incidentally, what's Greek ul-?

It would if p>t>k occcured. I thought Greek also had words with ul-
having to do with arm like Latin.

> Mark:
> > I give you a set of integers: {1,2,2,3}. They came from one of them.
> > What do you do? Most linguistics
> > books are silent as if it is magic.
> >
> > 1. Average of some kind: e.g. pick *2
> > 2. Mode: *2
> > 3. Median: *2
> > 4.Majority vote: *2
> > 5. assume increase: *1, therefore *1>2, and *1>3 or *1>2>3
> > 6. assume decrease: *3, therefore *3>2, etc.
> > So when I see something like :"language X has {p,p,f,f,f} so obviously
> > *p" I ask (and I used to
> > ask loudly, to linguists on mailing lists and sci.lang" "what is the
> > f*cking rule?"
> Richard:
> I've heard that being polite helps.

Not if it does not work for 12+ years.

> Richard:
> The reasons for a language undergoing one sound change rather than another
> are still a mystery.

The basic point is that explicit rules should be given. Let's call them
the Postulates of Historical

> It has been theorised that sound changes will tend to
> make the phoneme systems more 'regular', but irregularities can happily
> sustain themselves for centuries.

Yes, whole languages can be irregular e.g. English irregular verbs,
Arabic irregular regularity etc.

> Isn't the asymmetry in the Turkish vowel
> system an example? In principle vowels can be classified by three
> features - [+/-]high, [+/-]back and [+/-] round, but [a] is lower than all
> the other vowels.

It might have something to do with the nonlinearity of the vocal tract.

> > Suppose now we have 2 language families {1,2,2,3}, and {2,3,3,4} (e.g.
> > IE and AA),. Suppose
> > we reconstruct PIE and PAA using any of rules 1-4, we get 2 and 3 and
> > then using one of them
> > have to choose 2.5 or 2, or 3 or something. But suppose we look at the
> > raw data e..g. {1,2,2,2,3,3,4}
> > Now it looks like we should select *2.
> >
> > But what if we had some reason for selecting rule 5 or 6? What rules can
> > they be?
> >
> > That is what I am working on and those are the parts that I am posting
> here.
> Well, the rules in deducing the changes are to prefer 'naturalness'.
> However, either that concept is not fully understood, or is only a
> probablistic rule. One can get some pretty weird changes. See Robert
> Blust's article on the Austronesian languages in the collection Philip
> Baldi
> edited on langauge change in the Austronesian languages. There are two
> versions - the full volume, aimed I presume at university libraries, and a
> student edition. Robert Blust's article is in both versions.
> Naturalness can only get you so far. The continuing arguments over the
> phonetic forms of the PIE stops are evidence of that. It's difficult to
> computerise a technique when the practitioners disagree.

That is why they have to make them explicit.

> You can aim to
> minimise the weirdness of the rules for the sound changes given by equally
> explanatory sets of rules starting from isomorphic proto-language
> definitions, but different metrics give different results.

What metrics?

> (For example, is
> linear regression always the best approach?)


> You should also consider the
> naturalness of the starting point.

What is naturalness? That is the reason we need explicit postulates.

> How is you automation of theoretical physics progressing?

I guess this is a joke.

> How do you explain the multiple development in the same language? Any
> similar examples of /d/ and /r/ alternating? (Perversely, we do have
> several example of /l/ in Latin where we would expect /d/.)

I guess the RSC heuristic is broken, and maybe much of the
resemblance/regularity is due
to consontant borrowing from each other. One can easily see that tVr and
kVr roots exist
in plenty which have to do with "turning". Borrowing also results in
regularity e.g. Arabic
dh is regularly z in Turkish. Arabic f is p in Central Asian Turkic,but
Russian f is f.

> Richard:
> You start by assuming that sound changes are overwhelmingly regular.
> If by
> 'dh' you mean a voiced fricative you have precedent for dh > z, dh > d in
> Semitic, e.g Hebrew v. Aramaic, and possibly in Arabic dialects. However,
> having both in one language is unusual.

Turkic and Semitic languages might display something that IE apparently
does not. The mixed with each
other regularly apparently. IE probably did too.

> Mark:
> > What I think I will do over the next 3 weeks is try to put together the
> > Akkado-Turkic cognates
> > where Akkadian has lost consonants still retained in Turkic.
> >
> > I have a question for everyone.
> >
> > Where can I publish such a paper?
> Richard:
> You could try 'Mother Tongue' - see
> <> . You may
> have to
> persuade them you're not someone who believes that all languages descend
> from Turkish.

I actually wanted to write something about that too. M. Witzel (and
others) have been digging around
for the source of some of the "substratum" words in Sanskrit and have
gone as far as Ket but ignore
Turkic which stretches from the Pacific to the Adriatic. But some of
those words are Turkic. And this
despite the existence of Mongoloids in Northern India circa 2400 BC,
even if they did think that
Turkic was originally spoken by Mongoloids. It is just a bad habit.

> Richard.

Mark Hubey