[tied] Re: Satem shift

From: tgpedersen@...
Message: 8671
Date: 2001-08-22

--- In cybalist@..., "Piotr Gasiorowski" <gpiotr@...> wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: tgpedersen@...
> To: cybalist@...
> Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 12:01 PM
> Subject: [tied] Re: Satem shift
> > [Torsten:] As I described in
> http://www.angelfire.com/rant/tgpedersen/Shibbolethisation.html
> Danish has experienced a "retrograde" development c^ > k, dy > g,
s^ > sk before front vowel (I thought of writing "Did you read it at
all?", but that would be rude) under the influence of the German of
the ruling classes. But where you would (I suppose) see this as a
purely mechanical sweeping process, I see it as the result of
uncertainty and wavering of the German-speaking classes (who were
suddenly forced to take sides between German and Danish) faced with
the irregular paradigms caused by the purely phonetic change /k/
> /c^/, /g/ > /dj/, /sk/ > /s^/. In the ensuing muddle (also
linguistically), and with a number of once German-speakers trying to
estabilsh themselves as Danish patriots, /s^/ became associated with
Germanness, /sk/ with Danishness (and Scandinavism). Therefore, in
what seems at first glance to be a purely mechanical change, the
first seed were sown by the irregular paradigms, and consequently
paradigm regularisation ("morphophonological change") was the real
driving force here.
> [Piotr:] I would not see it as a mechanical sweeping process, since
phonetic changes like sk > s^ or k > c^ are unidirectional "by
nature", and if the reverse change seems to occurs, it is always
results from a dialect shift or analogical change. Anyway, the
codification of standard Danish was the work of 18th/19th-century
grammarians and anti-German-minded purists, and orthographic
considerations evidently played a role in it. Replace the spelling
<Kjøbenhavn> with <København>, and sure as eggs is eggs an increasing
number of people will soon be settling for a pronunciation consistent
with the spelling. (By the way, can you explain cases like this one
through paradigmatic regularisation? How do you know that levelling-
out was the real driving force, if at the same time you're forced to
assume that a great number of words where regularisation is ruled out
took a "free ride" or became "infected" with the change? Sounds
circular to me).
I don't. I do what I always do: I make a theory and drive it to its
limits, to see when it will break down.
> In standard Polish, a pre-war simplification of spelling -- <ge>
rather than <gie> in foreign words, where the palatalisation of /g/
was thought to be fully predictable -- soon brought about a
general "hardening" of the consonant in educated speech, and now only
some elderly people pronounce <generacja> or <geniusz> with /gje/.
This is a pure case of orthographically-conditioned sound change (see
also the "re-rhoticisation" of New York English, discussed earlier).
> Your "shibbolethisation" is a real phenomenon in some situations,
but you overestimate its role in historical linguistics at large.

The way I see it, if you buy a drill, you start to look for places to
make holes.

Well, we all have our pet ideas, but just to broaden your
perspective as regards alternative explanations, you might want read
a good overview of the discipline. I recommend Hans Heinrich Hock's
excellent book "Principles of Historical Linguistics" (1986).

Thank you for your concern for my general upbringing. May I recommend
to you Stephen Oppenheimer's excellent book "Eden in the East" to
broaden your perspective as regards alternativer explanations?
> Now, since you claim that some IE dialects generalised *K, while
others generalised *K^ in originally alternating paradigms, you also
have to assume a balance of strength between the two variants. But
then full regularisation on either side of the satem/centum divide
becomes unlikely.
Not understood. Please elucidate.