Re: [tied] Re: There was a crooked snake

From: proto-language
Message: 7893
Date: 2001-07-15

Dear Torsten and Cybalisters:


----- Original Message -----
From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2001 8:13 AM
Subject: Re: [tied] Re: There was a crooked snake

I mentioned the *(h1?)neg^H- root in my posting. The Germanic "boat" word is now often regarded as a nasal-stem derivative of *nah2- "swim, float" with a "hardened" laryngeal (Pokorny, of course, had no laryngeals at all, let alone Verschärfung). Alternatively, and in my opinion more likely, it represents a nasal extension of *nah2-u- with "hardened" [-xw-]. I don't think the derivation from an otherwise unknown "tree" root makes sense. In Balto-Slavic, one would expect *-o- to lengthen before *-gW- (so-called Winter's Law) as in *nagU (Slavic *a < *o:) < *nogWos 'naked', which is why an _aspirated_ voiced stop should be reconstructed for the "knife" word (if it goes back to anything PIE). Other evidence points to *-g^H- in this root.
I have a little different opinion that I would like to share.
I believe IE *na:-u- probably should be reconstructed as deriving from Nostratic *na¿[w]-, 'hold by a knot', + *-u, so that the term originally, at least, referred to 'raft' constructed of bound ("sewn" together by knots) together logs or reeds rather than a (dugout)'boat'. Of course, we know from Egyptian artefacts that quite large boats were also primarily held together by knotted cords in planks.
I reject the idea of coloring laryngeals, but I believe the original Nostratic vowel quality was maintained when, as in this case, followed by a "laryngeal", which lengthened the vowel: yielding Nostratic *na¿[w]- > IE *na:- (from *naH-).
What I have found is that many Nostratic "verbals" began life as nominals; and it seems to me that this is the case here: that "*naH2-, "swim, float"", is secondary just like current English "they rafted down the river".
The *-u suffix, in my opinion, indicates repeated activity; and, it can hardly be disputed that a raft or boat is not a matter of just one or a few knots but very many.
I suspect, though it is not possible to prove at present, that the final *-s is not a normal nominative suffix but rather an element originally meaning 'skin', so that with *na:us, we should perhaps be thinking of a coracle.
Let me be candid, and admit that I believe this root is intimately associated with the root which Pokorny reconstructs as *(s)ne:-, 'sew', and 1. *ned-, 'fasten'. I am also aware of the discrepancy in vowel reconstruction, which is problematic, but I believe plausibly soluble.

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