I sit, therefore I am [was: The potentially non-stative nature of *

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 7206
Date: 2001-04-23

I'd appreciate some extra support for such an argument, e.g. other derivatives preserving the old meaning of *h1es- (even if *sed- had taken over the verbal paradigm of "to sit", some semantic archaisms should have survived among nouns or adjectives related to *h1es-). As far as I can see, the meaning "sit" is expressed by *sed- even in not-entirely-productive formations like *ni-sd-o- 'nest' (not **ni-h1s-o-). On the other hand, *h1es- has derivatives like *h1s-ónt- 'true, existent'. Shouldn't parsimony make us favour something like "be (the case), be real" as the primary meaning of *h1es-, after all?
As for "the other" verb meaning "to sit" -- (Hitt. es-, mid. es-a(ri) < *e:s-o(-r-), OInd. mid. á:ste < *é:s-to-i), its putative relation to Hittite asas-i, pl. ases-anzi 'set' (part. ases-ant-, action noun asesuwar) is not clear to me. Is the latter some kind of causative? But are there any Hittite causatives with full reduplication (*h1s-H1os-??). At any rate, a:s- 'sit' is not a perfect in Indic or anywhere else, and its Sanskrit forms have a long root vowel across the board.
I wonder if it's significant that the two IE adjectives meaning "good, proper", *h1es-u and *wes-u, look as if they were related to *h1es- and *wes-.
----- Original Message -----
From: Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
To: cybalist@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2001 7:18 PM
Subject: Re: [tied] The potentially non-stative nature of *es-?

On Mon, 23 Apr 2001 06:49:28 , "Glen Gordon"
<glengordon01@...> wrote:

>The idea of a verb like "to remain" later being given the meaning of "to be" is not without examples in English where one can say "He remains unmarried", which is equivalent to, "He _is still_ unmarried". Obviously, we can see that in this case, the subject doesn't actually remain in one location but rather that he remains in a certain abstract _state_ of unmarriedness.

>Furthermore, we all know that while *bheux- CAN double for "to be" in some aspects, its main meaning seems to be "to grow" or "to appear". If *bheux- is not the original "to be", than we might suspect *es- is a fraud as well. There are many languages where "to be" is simply unneeded in simple equational sentences like "John (is a) fireman" - this is contrary to Common IE but perhaps not in earlier forms of the language.
>So in summary, I would suspect it possible that the following semantic development occured:
>  *est  "to remain" --> "to be yet" --> *est "to be"
>  **e:sxa "to stop"                 --> *e:sxoi "to sit"

I don't think there's any need for "to remain" or "stop".  *h1esm-m(i) would have been "I sit/sat", then weakened to "I am/was", while *h1e:s-h2ai as a middle-perfect would have been "I have seated/set myself", thus "I sit", and a replacement for *h1es-m(i) when that
became "I am/was".   We can imagine that a middle **h1es-h2ai would have been "I take a seat" (Spa. "me siento", G. "ich setze mich") [replaced by *sed-o:] and a perfect **h1e:s-h2a "I have set it" [cf., with different reduplication, Hitt. *h1s-h1es-h2a > asashi "I set it"].

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal