Re: [tied] A remark to *k'onk-

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 9297
Date: 2001-09-10

What do you make of the Hittite pattern ka:nki 'hangs [transitive!]' (-a:- = a scriptio plena vowel), pl. kankanzi, usually thought to reflect *k^onk-/*k^nk-ont-? The *o/zero alternation looks rather natural here, while an *a/zero (?) ablaut pattern in the hi-conjugation remains to be discovered and discussed. It is one of those mysterious o-presents that make some people postulate a whole special class of verbs conjugated like the Hittite hi-verbs. What if the original "branch" word was *k^onkos 'hanger' or *k^nk-(stressed suffix-) rather than *k^ank-?
----- Original Message -----
From: Petr Strossa
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2001 12:26 PM
Subject: [tied] A remark to *k'onk-

The presumed root *k'onk- of Germ. words like English _hang_ is
still quite a mystery for me. I could somehow intuitively imagine the
development of such a verb from original perfect forms with
intransitive meaning to a regularly derived causative/transitive.
_If_it_were_so_, the o-grade in the forms of both types would be
natural. But the Germanic forms look almost the other way round (?):
the forms with transitive meaning (OE. _ho:n_ <- PG. *hanhan) seem to
be older, while for the forms with intransitive meaning, a kind of
regular derivation is supposed. (Calvert Watkins gives Prim. Germ.
*hange:n -- stative/intransitive type. But according to J. & E.M.
Wright, OE. _hangian_ could perhaps be an original denominative! But
from what noun?)

Well, what if the `original' root was in fact not *k'onk-, but
*k'ank- -- identical with that one meaning `branch'? (This root
is mentioned in connection with such words as OSl./PSl. `soNkU',
Cz./Russ. `suk', Pol. `se,k' and Welsh `cainc'.) The semantic
shift is not so unexpectable: e.g., Czech _viset_ (`to hang') and the
similar words in all Slav. languages are also sometimes explained as
cognate to Old Prussian _vipis_ (`branch'); after all, what could
people hang things on in the oldest times?

This hypothesis (I think) does not bring more light to the
question why the old-looking `simple thematic' verb forms have
transitive meaning (perhaps it was generally more natural for
these forms?), but at least it could explain the intransitive
Germ. forms as derived -- either in a really denominative way, or as
stative/intransitive verb type from a root giving also nouns.

What do you think of it?