Ablaut and the Mid IE vowel system

From: Glen Gordon
Message: 7812
Date: 2001-07-05


>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.

Well, aren't we _already_ speaking of "many thousand years" here ;) At any rate, I'm not quite sure what you might be refering to precisely. I disagree that there *must* have been such a period, of course, and I see alternative explanations.

Would you be thinking of words like *wlkWos with accent on the initial zeroed syllable, perhaps? We mentioned this before in relation to the acrostatic accent which must have been applied in late times to nouns (and not to adjectives). The original accent would have been on the final syllable identical with adjectival forms (since afterall, IE adjectives were once nothing more than accompanying nouns conveying attributes of the noun that they qualified and they could occur on their own as nouns). The adjective category in IE is a late innovation.

In all, I would estimate that the innovations to accentuation that caused zero-graded syllables to be accented occured in Early Late IE (sometime from 5000 BCE onward). This should all be associated with the tonal stage.

- gLeN


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