--- In nostratic@yahoogroups.com, "etherman23" <etherman23@...> wrote in
Message 927:
> PIE has been pretty well reconstructed up to the time of the breakup
> into Hittite, Indo-Iranian, Proto-Germanic, etc. We also have some
> tantalyzing clues to its earlier structure.Perhaps before trying to
> link PIE with other language families we should come up with a
> reconstruction of Pre-PIE.
> Some issues to be addressed:
> How many laryngeals and what was their manner of articulation?

There seems to be a general consensus that there were three of them, with
some inconclusive evidence of voicing to complicate the picture. Precise
phonetic articulation is difficult to identify. I'm not even sure we can
disprove the hypothesis that the vowel colouring we see is in fact the
preservation of original vowel contrasts otherwise lost in the development
of qualitative ablaut.

> PPIE was apparently an ergative language. What was the structure of
> nominal morphology?
> Was there a feminine gender?

I thought it was generally agreed that Indo-Hittite had animate v. inanimate
and that Indo-European proper innovated the feminine gender.

> How many vowels were there?
A 3-vowel system, short and long, can be used as a basis which also explains
some consonant alternations. Less ambitiously, one can also work with a
4-vowel system (2-vowel if you regard /i/ and /u/ as syllabic consonants),
without original length. Such analyses cry out for Nostratic material to
constrain them.

> What was the origin of e~o alternation?

If you trawled Cybalist, you'd find a consistent set of explanations with at
least 3 different origins for /o/:

1) For the thematic vowel, /o/ before voiced consonants, /e/ before
voiceless consonants, so the nominative singular animate ending should be

2) Influence of stress.

3) A strong suggestion that is some formations /o/ derives from an infixed
element that was originally prefixed.

Another alternative is that the ablaut is a very ancient morphological
contrast, not to be explained by accent effects.

> What, if any, function did thematic vowels have in nouns and verbs?
> How, if at all, does nominal morphology relate to pronomial
> morphology?

Not too well - see for example
<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Nostratic-L/files/Tour of Nostratic
Grammar.txt> . (Non-members will have to look at the individual postings
starting at groups.yahoo.com/group/Nostratica/messages/545 ).
> What was the function of heteroclitic declension?

There's a lot to be said for the view that the heteroclisis derives from a
sound law along the lines of n > r | _(C)#.

> Lots and lots of other issues...