Re: [tied] *H1wes-

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 7930
Date: 2001-07-18

A good question. There quite a few "wet" lexemes beginning with *w- and there have been attempts (started by van Langehove 1939, I think) to combine them in a single word-family by reconstructig the "underlying root" **h1ew- with various extensions and suffixes, e.g. *h1w-ed- (better known as *wed-), *h1w-er-s-, *h1w-es-, *h1w-eh1-r-, etc., despite the fact that the initial *h1- is nowhere to be seen in most cases (only *h1wers- seems defensible). I personally dislike this automatic habit of inserting a laryngeal wherever convenient for preconceived reasons, even if there's no comparative justification for one. The Germanic long vowel here (Modern English ooze is another example) is not explained by the initial laryngeal. The root, to tell the truth, is rather shakily attested and I'd brand it with a cautionary question mark.
----- Original Message -----
From: tgpedersen@...
Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 2001 10:48 AM
Subject: [tied] *H1wes-

from EIEC
  *H1wes- "moist, especially of the ground or plants"
  vestikatu    "to offer libation"                     Umbrian
  wo:s         "juice, broth"                          Old English
  waas         "layer of mist of fine drops"           New Dutch
  wasal        "moist ground"                          Old High German
  vasa         "forest with wet ground and blue clay"  Latvian
  ievasa       "moisture, tree sap"                    Latvian
  va:s         "trouble, difficulty"
            (< "caused by bad weather")                Old Norse

What is that laryngeal H1 doing there? And how do you account for the
long vowels?