----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark Odegard" <markodegard@...>
To: <phoNet@egroups.com>
Sent: Friday, April 21, 2000 12:54 AM
Subject: [phoNet] Lithuanian/Russian: FIXED

> I mean no disrespect to the other languages of Eastern Europe.
> It's just that Lithuanian is the most archaic of the
> languages.
It's just a stereotype, Mark. Of course Lithuanian is a conservative language on a number of counts; for example, it retains some impressively archaic lexemes (like sẽnas 'old' or výras 'man', if you'd like to compare it with Latin); final syllables are remarkably well preserved (-as for PIE *-os in the nom.sg. of thematic masculines); Lithuanian may employ the locative case without a preposition, etc. However, it has also innovated in many important respects. To mention just a few:
Phonology. The voiced and voiced aspirated stops have merged; so have *o and *a; the accent and quantity only indirectly reflect the prosodic features of PIE. There have been substantial transformations of the consonant system (satemic changes and the ruki rule, Baltic palatalisations).
Morphology. There is no trace of the neuter gender in nouns; the declension of adjectives has been reformed; no contrast between 3 sg. and 3 pl. in vrbs; a new conditional mood; athematic presents no longer exist (except for a few fossilised forms); IE aspectual distinctions in verbs have been lost; there has been a radical restructuring of preterite formations.
It's easy to find archaic features in ANY language, also in English: no merger of obstruent series; the unique survival of PIE *w; archaic lexemes like father (lost in Balto-Slavic!), etc.
Of course this list is not the right place to discuss such things; CyBaList (http://www.egroups.com/group/cybalist) would be more suitable.