Re: Let dogs have their day too

From: Roger Mills
Message: 16042
Date: 2002-10-08

Piotr (IIRC) in reply to ......?:
> Intercontinental megalocomparison makes even less sense. Proponents
of Proto-World reconstruct *kwan 'dog' (if I remember aright). Mumbo-
jumbo aside, the real basis for this impressionistic "reconstruction"
(mass comparison is not a reconstructive procedure, in fact) is PIE
*k^won- plus a number of accidentally similar forms from arbitrarily
chosen families and languages. Of course, anything that is _not_
similar is ignored. Thus, for example, Proto-Oceanic *nkaun (an up-to-
date reconstruction ought to be *gaun) is offered as a cognate
despite the fact (known to Austronesianists, but not to lay visitors
to Proto-World websites or readers of popular articles) that the very
existence of a common Oceanic term for 'dog' is somewhat problematic
and that *gaun is at best a POc innovation that replaced a Proto-
Austronesian word (*wasu) lost in Oceanic.

I believe Robert Blust, in one of his many useful "Addenda" lists, has
proposed something like *ka( )uR 'to bark' (where my empty medial would have
been one of the "laryngeals", but not *q, which remained as *? in POC). I'd
need to find the reference, but my memory is that the his form was based on
OC and some Moluccan languages, thus was not reconstructible at the AN or
even MP level. POC sometimes replaces original finals, though it would be
unexplained; the "*nk- / *g-" are just variant versions of the same proto-
phoneme-- apparently, as so often happens in POC, the initial became
prenasalized somewhere along the way.
Roger Mills