Re: The "n" in ALAN

From: tgpedersen
Message: 16814
Date: 2002-11-21

--- In cybalist@..., Piotr Gasiorowski <piotr.gasiorowski@...>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: tgpedersen
> To: cybalist@...
> Sent: Wednesday, November 20, 2002 4:20 PM
> Subject: Re: [tied] The "n" in ALAN
> > 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.
> Why? I said that adjectives could be derived from adjectives as
well, cf. Eng. one --> only or white --> whitish. Actually, Skt. arya-
(= Av. airiia-) can be a noun OR an adjective. There is no sharp
division between the two categories in Indo-Iranian (or in PIE, for
that matter), and you will very often find the same Sanskrit stem in
both functions. Adjectives were originally declined like nouns and
the only formal difference worth mentioning here is that adjectives
had no fixed gender.
> > And some say both Germanic *al- "all" and Latin <al-ter>, <al-
ius> "other" is derived from *arya-. Now how does one reconcile that?
> Ask those who say so. I have never said anything of the kind.

I never accused of anything of that kind, there are other authorities
in IE linguistics.

It is imaginable (though certainly unproven) that *arya- might derive
from *h2al-jo- (which also underlies <alius> and Gmc. alja- as
reflected in Eng. else). *h2al-jo-, *h2al-tero- and *h2al-no- are
primarily adjectives, but an adjective can easily be substantivised.
> > 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,
> Yes, especially given the semantic leeway you allow yourself (e.g.
you quote lots of meanings like 'mountain, breast, dwell' for your m-
n "root" in Afroasiatic; one has to take a great leap of faith to
connect them with 'man').

I'll take it. I think the connection is with Polynesian (or rather
its Austronesian equivalent) <mana>, see e.g.

The semantic field that should be covered for something to be the
semantic ancestor of all the *m-n- roots 'mountain, breast, dwell,
man, spirit, think' is wide. So I thought of a society that believes
in an immortal spiritual side of humans, who believe in an afterlife,
who build mounds to maintain the permanence of the spirit. I think it
fits close enough.

IE *ar- 'noble' is anything but well substantiated. The meaning of
Gk. aristos- seems to come from 'best fitted together', and all your
other putative cognates are Indo-Iranian (mostly) or Hittite, so
what's "all-IE" about it?

Suppose *arya- is *h2al-jo-, and *ar- is *h2al- borrowed from an r-
dialect, and *h2al- in turn borrowed from Semitic (in its turn
borrowed from Austronesian), r/l alternation being seen often in
Mediterranean substrate languages?

Szemerényi hypothesised that both groups borrowed a Middle Eastern
Wanderwort of Semitic origin. Alternatively, they might have nothing
in common with each other, and there always remains the possibility
that *arya- < *h2al-jo-.
> > but the occurrence of <aryaman> in Germany and the Pacific
Islands is an especially amusing one. Or?
> Do we really find <aryaman> either in Germany or in Oceania? No. We
have Gmc. *ermVna- 'immense'

Alemanni. Mean Bastarnian bastards under Iranian leadership.

and Marshallese aromman? 'well-bred person' (I can't guarantee that
the cited form is correct, but let's say it is; you can always ask
about it on the Austronesian list). The latter is too long to be
monomorphemic and perhaps has a perfectly transparent derivation
within Marshallese -- I simply don't know, but you should have
checked that up before using it. I've seen far stranger coincidences,
but coincidences nevertheless.

I now know you see a lot of strange coincidences, that's why I
thought you might be interested in one for the collection?

> Piotr