Laryngeal Loss (was Does Koenraad Elst Meet Hock´s Challenge?)

From: Richard Wordingham Message: 17145
Date: 2002-12-12

--- In, "tgpedersen <tgpedersen@...>"
<tgpedersen@...> wrote:

> All true.
> Let me try to recapitulate. I wondered why IE, unlike AfroAsiatic,
> has done away with their laryngeals. You, Piotr, then assure me,
> many examples from various IE branches, that the loss of laryngeals
> is a natural process. It seems to me that you have thereby declared
> the AfrAs languages to be unnatural, which I don't think was your
> intended purpose? Which takes me back to my original question: why
> and not AfrAs?

I believe loss is underway in Maltese. I vaguely recall that <gh>V
and V<gh> are now pronounced as long vowels. Unfortunately, I can't
remember for certain whether the consonant digraph represents ain or
the voiced velar guttural.

In the time of Jesus Christ, the laryngeals of Gallilee (so
presumably, essentially of Aramaic) were collapsing. At the very
least, /h/, /?/ and ayin had merged.

Finally, though perhaps of less relevance because of probable
substrate effects, I believe Modern Hebrew, at least in Ashkenazi
mouths, has no more laryngeals than German, i.e. only /h/ and /?/.