Re: Scythian tribal names: Paralatai

From: stlatos
Message: 59489
Date: 2008-07-07

--- In, "Brian M. Scott" <BMScott@...> wrote:
> At 7:53:45 PM on Saturday, July 5, 2008, stlatos wrote:
> > --- In, "Brian M. Scott"
> > <BMScott@> wrote:
> >> At 1:04:13 AM on Saturday, July 5, 2008, stlatos wrote:
> >>> --- In, "david_russell_watson"
> >>> <liberty@> wrote:
> >> [...]
> >>>> 'Aptya'/'Athwiya' is indeed an irregular
> >>>> correspondence, but one on obviously much more solid
> >>>> ground than 'Thraetaona'/ 'Targitaus'.
> >>> Yes, of course, but the principle that changes might
> >>> occur in only one word in a language and still be valid
> >>> and identifiable must be used for both.
> >> It is an empirical fact that irregular changes occur, not
> >> a matter of principle,
> > Are you objecting to my use of the word "principle"?
> I'm objecting to the notion that any principle is involved.
> Obviously this entails objecting to the use of the word, but
> my objection goes well beyond that.

What do you mean? You said it was a "fact" that irregular changes
occurred, so why isn't it a principle that such changes account for
some correspondences?

The lack of such a principle in Neogrammarian Theory led to
insurmountable problems. How else am I supposed to describe its
nature and usage?

Are obvious correspondences like OE blo:d > E blood explained by u:
> U > V not based on principles because the posited changes are
irregular? What is the dif. between an explanation based only on
facts and one including (nonexistent?) principles?

> > It's the same for all historical linguistics. I'm not
> > going to treat irregular rules as rendering all attempts
> > at reconstruction impossible.
> I consider 'irregular rule' an oxymoron. There are regular
> sound changes that fail to go to completion, like /u:/ > /U/
> in <roof>, <root>, and <room> (in my idiolect: in some
> varieties it did occur in these words); but the only puzzle
> here is why the exceptions weren't affected.

I'm not interested in arguing over semantics. If you don't want to
call all regular sound changes "rules" then just call them "regulas"
or assume I'm doing so.

> There are
> sound changes that are too sporadic to be called regular but
> that are none the less well enough attested to be clearly
> identifiable, like /U/ > /V/ in <blood>, <flood>; these give
> the impression of being aborted sound changes. There are
> tendencies, which may just be rules whose conditioning
> factors aren't yet understood. But 'rules' posited to
> account for an isolated change aren't rules at all.

What principles are you using to determine when a change can be
called "regular"? Is it the number of forms with as opposed to
without the change in the (exact?) same environment? How specific
should description of the env. be? Is A:thwiya/A:pt[i]ya able to be
explained by changes p>w and wt>tw with just the provision that both
are irregular and both happened to occur in this one word? If they
are instead given as a result of the very specific environment (say,
VVptV), are they irregular because the env. only occurred once in
surviving words?

> > comfortable, comftrable
> > What caused this?
> > comfortable
> > comfrtable
> > comftrable
> > First came V2 > 0, a common though not necessarily
> > completely regular change, then metathesis to correct an
> > impossible cluster. This intermediate form is
> > undemonstrable because it occurs within the minds of
> > speakers, not in speech or writing, but the stage with frt
> > before ftr is needed to explain the whole.
> That isn't even the only possible path: comfortable >
> comftable followed by misplaced r-insertion in more careful
> speech also works.

That seems unlikely.

> But even if I accepted the necessity of
> your particular sequence of changes, I would not call the
> individual steps 'rules' or treat them as such.

You said u: > U was a regular sound change with exceptions; I'd say
V2 > 0 in a word with 3 or more vowels (usually in non-careful speech)
was the same sort of thing, whatever you want to call it.