Re: [tied] Qualitative ablaut and prefixing

From: Glen Gordon
Message: 14218
Date: 2002-08-04

>Nobody is denying that PIE was a predominantly suffixing
>(SOV) language. But most if not all suffixing SOV languages
>do retain a small number of prefixes.

And nobody is denying that SOV languages _may_ retain
prefixes... that is, only _if_ earlier stages of IE had
prefixes. I don't believe that this is the case at all.
Aside from wild theorizing on your part, I see nothing
that really suggests even a single prefix in Pre-IE.
(More below.)

>Basque is SOV and suffixing, but the causative, for instance, is a prefix.

Basque is just a different language altogether. In that
language, there _is_ clear evidence of prefixation in
the past. In fact, one's first clue might be the
pronominal prefixes that are still in use.

>PIE too does have a limited number of prefixes. The
>augment *h1e- is directly or indirectly attested in the
>majority of IE language families.

Another bad example. Although it may be considered a
prefix in Late IE, it definitely formed very late, as
anyone can see, out of a particle *?e that happened to
be positioned before the verb just like other pronouns
such as *me and *swe.

Afterall, *?ego: "I", which also formed at a late date,
appears to be a verb construct formed from such a particle
*?e (*?e-ge- "to be here/there"). It would be exceedingly
difficult to explain how this word might be formed
out of a true prefix! The root of this word is clearly
*?e- and therefore simply cannot have always been a prefix.

As for "mobile *s", these are all Semitoid loanwords that
contained a verbal prefix whose function was lost to the
Indo-Europeans. The influx of loans both with and without
this prefix is the cause of *s-. To this day, no one has
attributed a true function to it in IE and therefore it
cannot be considered a true prefix.

So given all this, I'm very disinterested in the
"Rasmussen *R-" because I know there's no basis for it.

- gLeN

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