Re: [tied] The 1ps pronoun *ego:... or is it *eg?

From: Glen Gordon
Message: 17065
Date: 2002-12-09

>Does it occur anywhere apart from Gk. ego:(n) and Lat. ego (< *ego:)? That
>hardly counts as "much, much more common" than anything.

The pronoun quite obviously comes out of nowhere. We have an
accusative *me which, if correlating with *twe/*te, means that
we should have found **mu: in the nominative as we find *tu:.
Instead we find this *eg(o:/om) item that has clearly been
tacked onto a paradigm already dominated by an *m-stem at some
late date. (I'm certain the pronoun was adopted in the Late IE
period, but sure, let's talk about it.)

If Tyrrhenian, Uralic and Altaic languages are most closely
related to Indo-European (and I don't see what other language
groups would be, if not them) none of them have any trace of the
*eg pronoun, only validating further the notion that this is
purely an IE invention... so what is it from?

The problem is that I have only come across _one_ reasonable
etymology for the origin of this pronoun. If there are better
etymologies I want to know. Now, since *ego: can be seen to
translate as "I am here" (*e-ge- "to be here" + -o:/-om [1ps
thematic]) just as we find in the example of Inuktitut /uvanga/,
we have an etymology that is semantically plausible and also
existant in another real-world language. However, this hypothesis
requires that *ego: or *egom is in fact the original pronoun,
making *eg an eroded variant (and there is great motivation for
such a two-syllable pronoun to erode into a one-syllable one like
the others anyways). Luckily *ego:/*egom is attested anyways so
there isn't much problem here.

If we side with the *eg camp, we are left with too many
unanswered questions. Why does a verbal ending *-o: secondarily
attach itself to what should be a demonstrative unless it was
already a verb signifying "to be here" to start with? Why would
the pronoun fight the one-syllable tendency of other pronouns
only to erode back into a one-syllable pronoun anyway (Latin ego
>je, yo, etc)? Isn't this a less Occam-compliant theory? What on
earth does *eg come from, by the way? Certainly not from *e-ge, an
emphatic form of *e "here" since we _still_ have to conclude that
the word has eroded from *e-ge to *eg. And perhaps I'm mistaken,
but I recall no language that has come to use "here" as a reference
to the 1ps, even though the semantics might seem vaguely possible.

This latter view appears to me to be so much more inferior for
these above reasons. Could somebody please address these questions
properly? I honestly don't get it.

- gLeN

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