Re: [tied] Does Koenraad Elst Meet Hock´s Challenge?

From: Miguel Carrasquer
Message: 17064
Date: 2002-12-09

On Sun, 8 Dec 2002 13:19:54 -0800 (PST), Juha Savolainen
<juhavs@...> wrote:

>Isoglosses, linguistic changes which are common to
>several languages, indicate either that the change was
>imparted by one language to its sisters, or that the
>languages have jointly inherited it from a common

Or that the languages have carried through the same change
independently. If the change is a phonological one, the more common
the development is cross-linguistically, the more likely it is to have
been an independent change.

>Within the IE family, we find
>isoglosses in languages which take or took
>geographically neighbouring positions, e.g. in a
>straight Greece-to-India belt, the Greek, Armenian,
>Iranian and some Indo-Aryan languages, we see the
>shift s > h (e.g. Latin septem corresponding to Greek
>hepta, Iranian hafta).

The change also occurs in Brythonic Celtic. The development s- > h-
is so common that it has little value as a marker of joint innovation.

>In the same group, plus the
>remaining Indo-Aryan languages, we see the "preterital
>augment" (Greek e-phere, Sanskrit a-bharat, "he/she/it
>carried"). Does this mean that the said languages
>formed a single branch after the disintegration of PIE
>unity for some time, before fragmenting into the
>presently distinct languages?

There are at least two possibilities:

1) The augment was present in PIE, and it was lost everywhere but in
Greek, Armenian, Phrygian, Indo-Iranian. In this case the augment is
not a shared innovation, and has no value for the purpose of this

2) The augment is a joint innovation of the above mentioned groups
(plus perhaps Balto-Slavic, judging by a trace of the augment in the
Slavic past tense of the verb "to be" b-e^). In that case, the
development of the augment is a shared innovation, and it's certainly
significant that teh groups having it are more or less contiguous.

>No, for this group is itself divided by separate
>developments which the member languages have in common
>with non-member languages. Best known is the
>kentum/satem divide: Greek belongs to the Kentum
>group, along with Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Anatolian
>and Tocharian, while Armenian and Indo-Iranian share
>with Baltic and Slavic the Satem isogloss (as well as
>the "ruki rule", changing s to sh after r, u, k, i).

There is no Kentum group. The shared innovation is *k^ > s(h)ibilant.
Languages that have this change can be grouped together as the Satem
group (even though there is no guarantee that the change did not take
place several times independently [Luwian a point in case]).
Languages that do not have this change (the so-called Kentum group) do
not necessarily have anything in common because of this.

>Thus, the Kentum languages form a
>continuous belt from Anatolia through southern to
>western and northern Europe, and the Satem isogloss
>likewise covers a continuous territory (only later
>fragmented by the intrusion of Turkic) from central
>Europe to India. To be sure, there are serious
>exceptions here, e.g. there are Kentum languages far
>removed from Europe, viz. Tocharian in Xinjiang and
>proto-Bangani in the western Himalaya;

There *are* no Kentum languages, so this is unremarkable.

>and there is a
>later satemizing tendency within the Kentum group,
>viz. in the Romance languages (none of which
>pronounces its word derived from Latin centum with a k
>sound), Swedish and English (where wicca became

And this has nothing to do with the Satem innovation. We *know* these
are completely independent (and _conditioned_) palatalizations.
Conditioned palatalizations (in the neighbourhood of front vowel or
*y) are a dime a dozen: there is probably no language in the world
that hasn't had them in its recent history, and they are completely
worthless as a sign of common innovation. What makes the satem
development rather more unique is the unconditioned nature of the
change k^ > fricative.

>Hock himself unwittingly gives at least one example
>which doesn't easily admit of a different explanation:
>"The same group of dialects [Germanic, Baltic, Slavic]
>also has merged the genitive and ablative cases into a
>single 'genitive' case. But within the group, Germanic
>and Old Prussian agree on generalizing the old
>genitive form (...) while Lithu-Latvian and Slavic
>favor the old ablative". (p.14) Clearly, Old Prussian
>and Lithu-Latvian lived in close proximity and
>separate from Germanic and Slavic for centuries, as
>dialects of proto-Baltic, else they wouldn't have
>jointly developed into the Baltic group, distinct in
>many lexical and grammatical features from its
>neighbours. So, if the Baltic language bordering on
>the Germanic territory happens to share the Germanic
>form, while the languages bordering on Slavic happen
>to share the Slavic form, we are clearly faced with an
>areal effect and not a heirloom from PIE days.

The position of Old Prussian (West Baltic) within the Baltic group is
not necessarily as clear-cut as how it's described above. It is
possible that West and East Baltic did not go through a Proto-Baltic
stage but are independent descendants of Proto-Balto-Slavic.
As to the genitive-ablative in the o-stems, it's also far from clear
whether Old Prussian shares anything with Germanic. The Germanic
genitive (Goth. -is, ON -s, OE -es, OS -es, -as, OHG -es) goes back to
*-es(a) (PIE pronominal *-esyo) or *-as(a) (PIE pronominal/o-stem
*-osyo). The East Baltic (Lith. -o, Latv. -a) and Slavic (-a) Gen.
goes back to the PIE Ablative *-o:t (*-o:d). The Old Prussian gen. is
-as (deiwas), which cannot go back to PIE *-os(y)o. If it's from
*-os, the only parallel would be Hittite gen. -as, which is highly
unlikely. The best solution is probably that Old Prussian -as comes
from the ablative *-o:(t) > -a, with -s added after the genitives of
the non o-stem nouns (which have *-(e)s everywhere in Balto-Slavic).
If so, all the Balto-Slavic langauges share the replacement in the
o-stems of the gen. by the abl., which I suppose counts as a shared

>A second example mentioned by Hock may be the split
>within the Anatolian group, with Luwian retaining a
>distinction between velar and palatal but Hittite
>merging the two, just like its Greek neighbour.

The innovating language here appears to be Luwian: it has the "satem"
development, but in this case that was certainly independently from
the other satem languages. The merger of velar (*k) and palatal (*k^)
doesn't really count as a shared innovation, it's too trivial.

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal