On Wed, 30 Jul 2003, H.M. Hubey wrote:
> You mean if you found these
> Language A Language B
> atui patui
> okuzi pokuzi
> esitu pesitu
> it would never occur to you that the p was lost in language A?

I'm afraid our friend would feel nicely at home in the field of
Indo-European as it is at the present time. Under the imppression of the
fashion of the day, large sections of the iE field have gone functional
and downplay or simply disregard the possibility of phonetic explanations.
So, faced with data like this, my guess is that the field would develop a
consensus that the p- meant something, and the quest for its function
would grow ten competing schools each advocating a particular idea about
the original function of the "initial p complex". There seem to be very
few who realize that a problem of diachronic linguistics that *can* be
solved by a phonetic rule, practically always *is* of a phonetic. In fact,
counterexamples hardly come to mind, so I find it difficult to follow the
tide. Am I being unfair?