Re: [tied] Syllabic liquids in Slavic [was: Thoughts on the existen

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 9528
Date: 2001-09-15

----- Original Message -----
From: Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
Sent: Saturday, September 15, 2001 4:20 PM
Subject: Re: [tied] Thoughts on the existence of *H1

> But why the split into /iR/ and /uR/ (etc.) in the first place?  I have argued elsewhere for a pre-PIE split of the consonantal phonemes into plain, labialized and palatalized varieties (presumably after the loss of pre-PIE short /i/ and /u/), so that PIE may have had three flavours of syllabic /r./ etc.  In unstressed position:

> pre-PIE           PIE       Baltic   Slavic
/CarC/, /CraC/ -> /CrC/  -> /CurC/   /CrC/, /CUrC/, /CrUC/, /C&rC/
/CirC/, /CriC/ -> /Cr^C/ -> /CirC/   /CrC/, /CIrC/, /CrIC/, /CirC/
/CurC/, /CruC/ -> /CrWC/ -> /CurC/   /CrC/, /CUrC/, /CrUC/, /C&rC/

> Obviously, the original distinctions have been blurred, because of the unstable character of such secondary articulations as labialization and palatalization in general (cf. the sporadic and arbitrary loss of palatalization in Polish).  That's why we have Russ. <volk>, with hard /l./ and Pol. <wilk> with soft /l^./, where Baltic <vilkas> (and OCS <vlIkU>) seem to suggest Polish has here maintained the original quality (while in <mërtvyj> vs. <martwy> the opposite seems to be the case).
Why project back onto the PIE (nay, pre-PIE) plane something that occurs only in Balto-Slavic? There is no other IE evidence (direct or indirect) to necessitate such a formidable complication of the PIE sound system. Parsimony militates against it. The Balto-Slavic distinction between *iR and *uR correlates by and large with the phonetic environment. As Vaillant and Kurylowicz pointed out, *uR is found mainly after Balto-Slavic velars (*k and *g), and *iR elsewhere.
The loss of palatality in Polish is neither sporadic nor arbitrary. It is governed by a set of rigorous phonetic conditions (for one example, see below). I can provide any amount of further details on demand.
> A form like Pol. <martwy> cannot be derived from Slavic *mUrtvU-, so for Common Slavic we have to reconstruct syllabic */r./ and */r^./ in any case.
Why "cannot be"? The behaviour of yers in closed syllables need not be the same as in open syllables (Havlík's Law applies only in the latter case). Surely one can imagine *&r > ar (ir after a palatalised consonant) preconsonatally. By the way, contrary to what you suggest, <martwy> does derive from *mIr-tvU (cf. s'mierc' 'death' < s'mirc' < *sU-mIr-tI). The development was *mIrtvU > *mUrtvU > *m&rtv& > martw-. The "back umlaut" *Ir > *Ur took place before a syllable beginning with an apical consonant and containing a back vowel (this is one of those regular conditions I alluded to above).

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