Re: [tied] Ablaut and the Mid IE vowel system

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 7811
Date: 2001-07-05

----- Original Message -----
From: Glen Gordon
Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2001 2:37 PM
Subject: [tied] Ablaut and the Mid IE vowel system

> Proof? Evidence? Anything? I disagree that *e and *o are terribly connected at all. This is a forced assumption.

If you mean that an older three-vowel set (*i, *u, *a) underlying the PIE system is only an assuption, I agree. Even if *e/*o ablaut goes back to unstressed/stressed variants of *a, there may have been other sources of *e and *o. The vertical arrangement you suggest (with *a and *& as originally independent phonemes) would not have been unprecedented.

> Actually, from what I see, there wasn't much strong stress or zero-grade happening for many thousands of years before IE.

From what _I_ see, the connection between absence of stress and occurrence of nil-grade is undeniable; and if so, there must have been a period of stress-governed reductions in pre-PIE times. Just how long (in absolute terms) before PIE proper it happened we don't know, but since relatively late formations show full-nil alternations accompanying stress shifts, I wouldn't speak of "many thousand years" here.