Re: 3rd Slavic palatalization [was: Are hares grey? [was: ka and k^

From: pielewe
Message: 41026
Date: 2005-10-04

--- In,

I'd written:

> > The 3d palatalization in Slavic has received a fairly wide range
> > formulations in the course of time, the overwhelming majority of
> > which conform to the "neogrammarian" requirement of regularity.

Then Grzegorz Jagodzinski wrote:

> I do not think that any of these formulation is correct. I mean
that there
> are plenty of counterexamples. For example, it was assumed that
final -U
> (hard year) had prevented palatalization. It is very easy to show
that it is
> not correct formulation, and even double suffixes like -IkU ~ -IcI
> (cf. Polish -ek and -ec, both with floating "e"). It was also
assumed that
> final -y and -Q had prevented that process. It is not true when
> declension: we have both otIcI < *otIkU 'father' and instr. plur.
otIci <
> *otIky 'with fathers' in OCS.

This caricatures the situation way beyond what is still enlightening
or fun. In otIcI < *otIkU 'father' and instr. plur. otIci
*otIky 'with fathers' the velar is stem final, so the modified velar
in the attested forms can easily be analogical. No historical
linguist in his right mind uses that kind of material to evaluate a
difficult sound law. One should concentrate on cases that can't
easily be explained as analogical.

Unfortunately there is not a great amount of suitable material
around. This is caused by the fact that the Progressive
Palatalization is progressive: as a consequence most instances of
velars potentially subject to it stand in stem-final position.
Informative examples or counterexamples are very few and very far
between. But they aren't completely absent either.

The traditional formulation (actually a range of formulations) is
based on a tiny number of forms that cannot well be analogical and on
general considerations involving the shape of the vowel system at the
stage the Progressive Palatalization took place.

The assumption that *y blocked the Progressive Palatalization is
based on the retained velar in *kUneNgyn/i 'princess, queen' (not in
OCS, but early attestations in Old Russian and elsewhere), a
derivation from _kUneNdzI_ 'prince, king'. It is the only example of
a retained velar in this stem and cannot conceivably be analogical.
The first to see this was Josef Zubaty/ (Sborni/k filologicky/ 1,
1910, 150-153). To the best of my knowledge it has never been
questioned since.

The assumption that *U blocked the Progressive Palatalization is
based on the retained velars in _lIgUkU_ 'light' and _meNkUkU_ 'soft'
(as first adduced in this context by Aleksandar Belic/,
Juz^noslovenski filolog 2, 1921, p. 26) coupled with the
consideration that at the stage involved, *U was still the short
counterpart of *y and is most likely to have behaved the same (which
is, I think, already present in Zubaty/).

The case of the other conditions is similar. There are some residual
uncertainties that are purely the outcome of the limitations of the
material. It is not clear, for instance, whether or not *u < *ou
blocked palatalization. It may or may not have done so, npbpdy can

A lot has been written about the Progressive Palatalization, perhaps
too much, but it makes no sense to just brush everything aside and
start where we were back in 1880.

Then GrzJ writes:

> Inversely, the 3rd palatalization is a typical example of a limited
> change. It was limited because it occurs only after some front
vowels - ex.
> after nasal e, but not after oral e (nor e^).

Not true, it is limited to instances of nasal e that reflect earlier
*i plus nasal, so that it can to be assumed that it preceded the
merger of the reflexes of *eN and *iN. Jan Baudouin de Courtenay
appears to have realized this as early as 1893. As a result of this
it can be assumed that the Progressive Palatalization was triggered
exclusively by high front vowels (unless it was blocked by high
rounded vowels). From a phonetic point of view this is simple and


> We can observe also dialectal
> limitations, namely all examples of palatalization after r.'
(syllabic soft
> r) are probably South Slavic, and little or no examples of the 3rd
> palatalization are known from northern Ruthenian dialects (esp.
Novgorod /
> Ilmenian) where also 2nd palatalization did not occur.

All examples of palatalization after *r' occur in derived
imperfectives (aka iteratives), which is a productive formation, and
can easily be analogical, all the more so because it is clear that
the alternation caused by the Progressive Palatalization has been
productive in iteratives in South Slavic. OCS has even an example
after *y: navycajemU 'we are learning' (Supr 373, 11-12). This too is
an old insight. (Modern SCr has numerous examples after *y and *e^
and nobody has ever regarded those forms as anything else than

All local differences involve reflexes of velars in stem-final
position, where analogical levelling explains results perfectly well.
It just is not true that Novgorod differs from the remained of Slavic
in this respect.


> In a number of
> instances both forms of a given word preserved in a given dialect,
like in
> OCS sicI ~ sikU 'such'.

The pronoun _sikU_ is not OCS, quite the contrary, OCS has only
_sicI_. The form _sikU_ is late and Serbian and can easily be
explained as analogical on the basis of _takU_ and _kakU_, with which
it is correlated. As far as OCS is concerned, _sikU_ is a ghost form.
See particularly Vaillant, Revue des Etudes Slaves, 34, 1957, pp. 137-
138, who traces the persistence of this ghost form back to Vatroslav
Jagic/'s famous glossary of the Codex Marianus (1883).

The remainder of GrzJ's discussion adds nothing new to the above.

The problem about the Progressive Palatalization is primarily
logistic: it is too complicated to explain in an introductory
textbook. You need at least 15 pages to explain it properly without
leaving loose ends and/or room for misunderstandings. I know what I'm
talking about because I've tried to write a "Progressive
Palatalization for Dummies" (in Dutch) for my students. The result
was a 22 page text that was still too concentrated for the poor runts
to understand.

Given the logistic difficulties, writers of introductions are forced
to cut corners, leaving the wrong impression that the subject is a
mess and needs attention, which it emphatically doesn't. As far as I
can see the last scholar to have added a worth-while new idea to the
debate was Milewski in 1937. What has happened since then can be
characterized as:

(1) Mopping up operations, e.g. the monographs by Maria Jez.owa, or
my own work.

(2) The reinvention of old ideas (too frequent and depressing to

(3) The invention of new ideas too far out to deserve serious
consideration, e.g. Martinet's assumption that the Progressive
Palatalization preceded the First Regressive Palatalization.

(4) Some new material, notably Russian examples involving *x, but
nothing to change the general picture.