Re: [tied] Re: Laryngeal Loss (was Does Koenraad Elst Meet Hock´s

From: Miguel Carrasquer
Message: 17199
Date: 2002-12-16

On Mon, 16 Dec 2002 11:15:53 -0000, "tgpedersen
<tgpedersen@...>" <tgpedersen@...> wrote:

>Now back to my question: Is loss of laryngeals a sign that there was
>once a substrate?

Not necessarily. Loss of laryngeals is a completely natural process
which can happen, or not, with or without any external motivation, and
at any time. In general, the question of _why_ (some soundchange)
[happened] / [failed to happen] is unanswerable, especially when
there's nothing idiosyncratic or peculiar about the change. If things
*can* happen, they eventually will. Blaming it on substrate influence
(especially when nothing at all is known about the substrate) only
begs the question of why the substrate itself had the feature (or
lacked it). Its own substrate? Etc. etc. and turtles all the way

>Arabic having kept all the laryngeals of Semitic
>seems to conform to such a claim, as does Modern Hebrew having lost
>most of them. Or?

In the case of Hebrew, we know which substrates we are dealing with,
and there are indeed more laryngeals (and emphatics) in contemporary
Sephardic variants than in Ashkenazic ones.

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal