Dear Danny and Nostraticists:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Danny Wier" <dawier@...>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, July 04, 2001 3:40 PM
Subject: [nostratic] Origin of IE e~o~0 ablaut

> I'm not alone on the list am I? Hello?
> I've been scouring Bomhard's book like mad lately. He has six vowels
> reconstructed, three pairs of allophones. He reconstructs for Indo-European:
> PN > PIE
> i > i, e
> @ > e, a, @
> u > u, o
> e > e
> a > a, o, @
> o > o
> The front and back vowels I expected. But notice that the central pair (@ ~ a)
> can correspond to the ablaut pair e ~ o in IE (if not a which occurs with
> laryngeals, or @). By the way, Afro-Asiatic merged the high vowels with @ and
> the low vowels with a, so a @ ~ a ablaut pair may exist for AA.
> So I'm asking if the stress shifts that produce IE ablaut didn't come from an
> earlier source found in IE, AA, and possible Kartvelian. And should I have
> posted this on [tied] instead?

In my opinion, this table is one of the worst examples of Bomhard's proposals.

As Lehmann pointed out many years ago, a stage must be postulated for IE in which there was only one peak of sonority, termed by him "syllabicity". In a private communication, Lehmann conveyed to me that this "syllabicity" was probably realized phonologically as <a>, i.e. a low central vowel. Perhaps this vowel had an allophone like <6>, a high central vowel, or perhaps not.

But as you can see, this proposal has the strong advantage of coordinating vocalic developments of IE with Semitic (and perhaps AA, though perhaps not).

After the "syllabicity" stage, IE was free to develop *e/*o-Ablaut as a morphological device, which did not affect the basic meaning of the root.

What is so utterly ridiculous about Bomhard's proposal is that <e, a, o> in Nostratic are _NOT_ morphological markers but semantic markers. CeC in Nostratic has a different meaning than CoC or CaC. In IE, Ce/oC is one root with one meaning with different syntactic employment, and CaC is not part of the Ablaut-series.

Therefore, there can be _NO_ continuity between Nostratic <e,a,o> and Nostratic <e,a,o>.

This is so utterly basic that it is amazing that Bomhard could have missed it.

Nostratic <e> has a connection with IE only in one way. With a Nostratic D(orsal)+e, this shows up in IE in those barnches which differentiate, as a dorsal palatal, i.e. /g^, k^, g^h, k^(h)/.

Something which I believe Lehmann missed is that a Nostratic sequence of CVH, i.e. CV + "laryngeal", lengthened the vowel in IE, and preserved the **Nostratic** vowel quality, whether <e>, <a>, or <o>. Thus, all IE <a> is a result of a reduction of <a:, e:, o:> from Nostratic <a, e, o>+"laryngeal", or proto-IE <a>+<H>.

As for Nostratic <i> and <u>, they do not exist.


PATRICK C. RYAN | PROTO-LANGUAGE@... (501) 227-9947 * 9115 W. 34th St. Little Rock, AR 72204-4441 USA WEBPAGES: PROTO-LANGUAGE: and PROTO-RELIGION: "Veit ec at ec hecc, vindgá meiði a netr allar nío, geiri vndaþr . . . a þeim meiþi, er mangi veit, hvers hann af rótom renn." (Hávamál 138)