Re: [tied] The "n" in ALAN

From: tgpedersen
Message: 16808
Date: 2002-11-20

--- In cybalist@..., Piotr Gasiorowski <piotr.gasiorowski@...>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: george knysh
> To: cybalist@...
> Sent: Monday, November 18, 2002 6:07 PM
> Subject: [tied] The "n" in ALAN
> > The term "Alan" is of course a variant of "Aryan", and the
Ossetic version seems to be "Iron". What is the role played by the
letter "n" here? I.e. if we have "Arya" which conveys the basic
meaning of the concept (and would be "liquefied" as "Ala"), what does
the "n" add?
> Nothing much. The _phoneme_ /n/ here is part of a derivational
suffix (*arya- 'of noble birth; Arya' --> *aryana-, *arya:na-

I recall we had a discussion regarding that same adjectival -n- in
Germanic "all" (< *al-na-) vs. the Alemanni with one /l/. I had
another thought (unfortunately). Reversing your argument, without
the -n- suffix, *arya- must be a noun. And some say both Germanic *al-
"all" and Latin <al-ter>, <al-ius> "other" is derived from *arya-.
Now how does one reconcile that?

I read somewhere that some societies are divided into two moieties,
two halves, with similar functions, and with strict exogamy rules
(marry always into the other group). Suppose the Latin meaning is "of
the other moiety" (with the binary comparison suffix) and the IIr
one "of the arya, ie. our class" (in a society where the division had
been forgotten? In other words *arya- is a group, not a person?

Anyway, someone probably proposed this before.

Since adjectives can easily be converted into nouns ('an Aryan') or
be derived from less complex adjectives, originally adjectival
suffixes may come to appear almost or completely "useless"; so do
diminutive suffixes and other morphemes with sufficiently non-
specific functions. Cf. the near-synonymy of <arya->, <a:r(i)ya-> and
<aryaka-> in Sanskrit or, for that matter, of <Arab>, <Arabian> and
<Arabic> in English. Natural languages tolerate a lot of redundancy
and collect morphological junk for no particular reason. It may be
recycled if an opportunity presents itself or remain redundant
forever, just like all those things that clutter our attics and

That is a beautiful argument. I think I will use that often in the

> Piotr


And a completely redundant remark (some would think):

aromman?- "well-bred person" Marshall Is.



Now I can understand that the occurrence of both <ar> "noble" and
<man> "man, spirit etc" in all of IE, AfroAsiatic and Austronesian
can be proved by Occam's vacuum cleaner to be a coincidence, but the
occurrence of <aryaman> in Germany and the Pacific Islands is an
especially amusing one. Or?