Ablaut and the Mid IE vowel system

From: Glen Gordon
Message: 7802
Date: 2001-07-05

>How about [stressed a] > o, [unstressed a] > [schwa]/[e]? One could also
>imagine intermediate stages such as:
>**� > **a: > *o
>**a > **a > *& ~ *e (also subject to colouring by *h2 and *h3)

What are you people saying? What's wrong with what I have suggested?
To recap, my current thoughts are the following:

Late Mid IE Late IE
(5500-5000 BCE) (5000-4000 BCE)
*& > *e
> *a (when coloured by *x or *xW)
> NIL (in some unaccented positions)

*&: > *e:

*a > *o

*a: > *o: (medially)
> *o:u (finally)

Is there a particular linguistic paradox associated this
viewpoint that could cause so many of you to resist my idea so
much? :) Here, we see that *e/NIL ablaut is caused by nothing
other than heavy stress and a subtle fronting of an original *&.
With *o/*e ablaut, we see that it derives from *a/*& ablaut where
it suggests the early "weakening", as I said previously, of
unstressed *a to schwa. In effect, I suppose that *& is serving
as the unmarked variant of *a in the declension of the MidIE
stem, although it is not an unmarked vowel in general. Blah, blah,
blah, I'll write more later.

>I think it's significant that schwa and /e/ have things in common, both
>being unmarked vowels in typical systems (both are [- round], [-back],
>[-low] and [-high]).

So true, so true. However, what about NWC languages? I don't think
that MidIE had a "typical" system. In its case, *& was definitely
a marked vowel similar to what is seen in NWC... But then this
all involves the idea put forth by the Nostraticist Bomhard
concerning preIE contacts with preNWC that I've embraced so wholeheartedly.

- gLeN

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