Re: [tied] What the Beaver Teaches Us about IE Analysis

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 15349
Date: 2002-09-10

Just a couple of supplementary remarks, since I promised not to discuss this stuff again. I'll leave you alone with your invisible Greek beavers.
----- Original Message -----
From: x99lynx@...
Sent: Tuesday, September 10, 2002 10:47 AM
Subject: [tied] What the Beaver Teaches Us about IE Analysis

<<The initial *gW- was still pronounced as a labiovelar in early historical times but became /b/ in Classical Greek.  In pre-Classical times the (Proto-)Greeks had, not <bibro:sko:>.>>

> Can you tell me precisely when the first Greek started using <bibro:sko> instead of *gWigWro:sko:.  For all you know it was 1000 years before Homer.  So this argument is empty.  If you had "direct" evidence of when Greeks truly last used *gW-, you wouldn't need to put an asterisk by it.
I put the asterisk there because that particular word is not attested early enough. Actually, the tranformation of labiovelars in Greek can be dated much more precisely than you suggest. /gW/ and /kW/ existed as phonemes distinct from /b/ and /p/ and never confused with them at the time of the Linear B inscriptions (mid to late 13th century BC). For example, Classical <basileus> was spelt <qa-si-re-u> /gWasileus/. The change took place between that time and Homer's, not a thousand years before him. The very end of the second century BC of the very beginning of the first.
<<In Slavic, Baltic, Iranian and Celtic, PIE *bH > b in both positions; the further development of medial *-b- in Avestan is also regular.>>

> Of course, b > b  and  b_b > b_b are  simplier explanation.  Or to quote you, "You posit arbitrary irregularity where the assumption of regularity works better."  On that basis we have to reject the unlikely bh > b in the case of the beaver.
Steve, *bH > *b is not arbitrary irregularity but the _regular_ development of *bH in those groups. Actually, Balto-Slavic distinguished between medial *bH and *b in a subtle way: the preceding vowel was lengthened before unaspirated *b, but not before *bH. there is no such lengthening before the 'beaver' word.