Re: [tied] PIE dialects [was: Satem shift]

From: markodegard@...
Message: 8045
Date: 2001-07-22

Piotr writes:
I wonder if
this NW IE continuum could not after all be regarded as a distinct
intermediate proto-language between the "Neo-IE" node (IE without the
Anatolian languages) and Proto-Germanic, Proto-Italic and Proto-Celtic
(not to mention minor members like Venetic or Lusitanian). As regards
phonological innovations attributable to that distant stage, I'd
propose the *-t[s]t- > *-ss- change mentioned above and perhaps the
change of the voiced aspirated (breathy voiced) stops into voiced
fricatives (assuming their early merger with voiced stops in Celtic)
long before the remaining stages of Grimm's Law.

Thank you, Piotr! Once again, you have clarified things. I feel less
insecure about speaking of 'pre-Germanic' as a language stock vs. a
poorly differentiated IE dialect.

Everyone seems be assuming this, though, that 'pre-proto-Germanic' or
something like that needs to be spoken of as a distinct stock, just to
accomodate the realities. The pre-Germanics most certainly did not
speak PIE clear on down to the first Germanic sound shift, 500 BCE or
the such, and whatever they did speak certainly has to be labelled in
some way. Calling it a distinct stock or branch of IE is useful; it
also seems to be eminently *correct*. The term that seems to be most
in use is 'pre-[proto-]Germanic'. 'Northwest IE' is also somewhat
current, but is rather more vague in application and might include
Italic and/or Celtic.

When peering all the way back to the earliest splitups, the usual view
seems to be that there were a set of 'residual IE' groups, with one
proto-stock splitting off, leaving the remainder together in some sort
of rough unity, with being Anatolian first.

The real situation was undoubtedly messier, with a set of dialects
that sometimes diverged on their own, and other times converged
towards another, or simply swapped areal features. And this was
probably the situation clear back to PIE times. PIE was not so much a
single monolithic language as it was a set of related dialects, and at
a certain level, it is possible that certain stocks bear a genetic
relationship to distinct PIE dialects (dialects beget languages,
languages beget distinct stocks).