Wednesday, February 8, 2017

With Crawford on Nature of Language Groups

Old Norse, Its Relatives, and Runes: A Timeline and Introduction
Jackson Crawford

Hans-Georg Lundahl

I suppose skog and hult are PIE words?


A little comment : how do we tell if two languages have shared and diverging vocabulary whether this is because ancestral identity broke up and new languages were formed with new words (case of Romania in historic sense of Latin word), or whether diverse languages pushed towards a not achieved unity, as Balkan (Romania as a proper name belonging to both)?

Still on your video you linked to: Uralic not related? Take a good look at conjugation endings in Uralic, spec. Finnish ... I suppose you know Greek and Latin and perhaps some Lithuanian?

+ the word Attas in Anatolian and Ojciec in Slavonic can be the same as more even Turkic Ata than Finnish Isä.

Jackson Crawford

If I understand what you mean to ask, it can sometimes be hard to tell if the similarities between two languages are genetic or the result of borrowing or areal features. For instance, Armenian was long though to be an Iranian language because there is so much Iranian vocabulary incorporated into it. But examination of the core vocabulary (the words least likely to be borrowed, like basic verbs, family members’ names, numbers) revealed that these words had undergone sound changes that preceded any sound changes that had occurred in the language since the Iranian borrowings had come in.

Hans-Georg Lundahl

OK, what exact features rule out that IE language community could be an areal feature (I suppose you mean Sprachbund, as in Balkan)?

Note, I am not necessarily saying an areal feature in the times we have IE texts from, could be earlier, but a Sprachbund feature nonetheless?

When it comes to Armenian and Indo-Iranian, that is a thing decided on the theory the proto-language really existed and both came from it. And of course the idea that certain sound laws preceded certain other sound laws.

Let's take a case from Swedish dialectology, since you know it and since vatterholm made me challenge my previous ideas on the subject.

It is commonplace that Scanian r>R spread north before r+dental could become retroflex of same mode as previous dental (r+s > Eng. sh) in Scania, but after they had gone that way in Småland or, I suppose at least, Halland too.

Reason : första rörande lifstecknet (first touching sign of life) would in Scania be föRsta RöRande and in Småland föSHta Rörande. Diagnosis as I hitherto took it :

Scanian r > R only (leaves no r+dental, since all become R+dental).
första rörande > föRsta RöRande


1) r+dental becomes retroflex
första rörande > föSHta rörande

2) remaining r becomes R.
föSHta rörande > föSHta RöRande

Wait, we were supposed to have föSHta Rörande in Småland, right? The scenario is a splendid diagnosis of how one sound change follows another, but it leaves out facts.

Småland 2, once again: initial r becomes R.
föSHta rörande > föSHta Rörande

Which is what we have.

However, what we no longer have is a diagnoses of which order sound changes came in. Småland could equally well have had:

1) Initial r becomes R (in common with Scanian).*
första rörande > första Rörande

2) r+dental > retroflex (in common with Stockholm and I think the Götamål as well):
första Rörande > föSHta Rörande.

Could any such sequence error account for certain Armenian only soundchanges not really being before Iranian part of vocabulary?

But one more thing is, I was not asking whether community could be ruled out from having a common ancestor, by same procedure which rules out Armenian having one with Iranian but not with Italo-Celtic or Balto-Slavic (i e being Iranian), but rather whether a Sprachbund could be ruled out or remained an unproven, but still possibility.

As far as sound changes go. When it comes to vocabulary, there are so many diverging vocabulary which are nevertheless central enough to make it to a Swadesh list, head and hand being two of them**, that if Sprachbund is possible, it is on lexical grounds preferrable. On your own view that central vocabulary is least likely to be borrowed.

"family members’ names"

pHtehr, meHtehr, sunus, dhug@tehr, breHtehr, swesghwer / sweseghwr

Germanic - all.

Slavic - misses out on father and on -er endings.

Baltic / Lithuanian - misses out on father, mother means woman, same stem without er ending means mother (motine)

Greek - replaces brother and sister with adelphos/adelphe gloss. Retains brother only in fratria sense.

Latin/Romance (and perhaps some more Italic) - replaces son and daughter with the gloss filius, filia.

Celtic famously has tad for father in Welsh and maqqos gloss replacing son, another one replacing daughter, both Welsh and Irish.

Armenian, Sanskrit, Persian - I know too little to speak.

Gothic has fadar gloss meaning daddy (translation of "abba, father") and atta meaning father.

"basic verbs"

Sleep, dream and die would be basic enough.

Germanic has for sleep partly a not clearly IE gloss (the one just cited), partly, Norse, the one which in Latin means dream (sofva / somniari).

The common IE gloss for die is not die, and if there is one, it is absent from Germanic (mori seems common to Latin and Sanskrit and to Slavic too, and there is at least one derivative in Greek).

The Germanic gloss just might be related to the Greek one. But diverse stem suffix (-n, vs -w). [I must be referring to thnein and dawjan > die]

Slavic has san/sen for noun sleep/dream, but spac, spavati, for verb sleep. For dream, the verb seems related to somniari.

On the other hand, Greek has a seemingly unrelated word.

Numbers - teens are very unequal, thousand is stated diversely, though Germanic, Baltic and Slavic share a gloss (areal feature?) ... with Finnish.

If twenty is cognate with viginti and eikosi, it seems there was felt some need to clarify with tw- from two in English.

For Nordic, I heard that tjugu comes from tetugu, a dual of the gloss in -ty, which is not identic to the -ginta or -konta elements. Celtic is divided on twenty, fichead having and ugain lacking an obvious connection to viginti (I could be wrong on ugain).

The usual IE word for one - oinos - is lacking in Greek where oios means "ace" on a dice, but "one" is sth else, namely a cognate of "same" ...

A scenario : as you know doubt know James Mallory has theorised that nomads of the steppes, living in yurts or sth like that and burying in ... hear Gimbutas ... kurgans were the earliest IE language speakers.

What if they were instead the federating ones? Like Latin, French, English, locally for Scandinavian and Baltic regions also German have played the role of federating West European languages.

Why would numbers be international vocabulary? For trade passing through the nomads or whoever.

Why would family relations be that? Because agreements were not limited to goods but also involved marriages.

Result : Italo-Celtic, Germanic, Balto-Slavic, Indo-Iranian, Greek, Armenian all draw closer to each other and to federating language without having evolved from a proto.

Before that, there could have been some federation between Anatolian, Greek and Indo-Iranian, esp. if Crete when writing Linear A was writing in Indo-Iranian.***

Indo-European features in all languages due to mutual influence, either mediated through Aegean area, or through nomads, or through Danube-Balkan area.°

Difficulties in reconstructing a single coherent proto-religion or proto-mythology due to ecumenic and syncretistic nature of the mutual influence. What - if any - are the obstacles?°°

* Scanian 1 = equal to Småländska 1, Scanian 2 = generalisation from initial to all positions.

** Other examples being good and bad. Lithuanian blogas means bad, Slavonic blago- in compositions means good - and then there are all the cases in which there are no cognates at all, between branches.

*** And in the earlier stage, Nesili or Luvian can have been the federator. Note, Luvian might go back directly to the Semite Lud in table of Nations.

° + Atlantic coast for Celtic, as already noted by [Barry] Cunliffe.

°° So far, not answered.

How do we determine what languages are related?
Jackson Crawford

Picture on 0:02 sound correspondences.

Words borrowed between languages already in a social relation (as dialects of English) tend to do that without existing proto-forms.

For some of the morphemes, any word formed by them gets instant sound changes according to the phonemes.

Any word in -tion can be pronounced -sh@n (English), -syõ (French), -shoon (Finland Swedish, while regular Swedish gets sth between -shoon and -whoon, yes, our sj sound is terrible for foreigners), -tsyo:n (German), -çyoun (Danish), -syoon (Monegasque, unless that is -shoon like Finland Swedish).

What are the chances such borrowings can have been more wide across even phoneme correspondences if the writing system was a syllabary, like Hittite or Luvian Hieroglyphs?

6:43 In areas with lots of bilinguals and oral language culture, structures do tend to get borrowed too. Balkan languages tend to merge genitive and dative and tend to replace infinitive with subjunctive "I want that I go" instead of "I want to go".

In English, if English speakers of California were all there were and the written language were lost, you might get eventually structures like "thee lovoe" or "ye loveo" in imitation of Spanish.

You have gone to school and can read and are aware of lots of areas where the Spanish construction "te amo", "os amo" (or quiero?) are totally unknown and where therefore "thee lovoe" or "ye loveo" would be totally incomprehensible.

While you are at reluctance to borrow structure, take a look on Finnish personal endings, add the fact that Finnish like Germanic has present and preterite, while other IE groups usually have different preterites, Slavic being closest, since the two preterites are two different verbs with same preterite endings (these being participles).

And even so, Germanic is supposed to be closer to Italic than to Finnish [despite tense system], and Greek is supposed to be closer to Germanic than to Finnish [despite personal endings].

9:28 For most areas of Swedish you have an advantage while pronouncing wh- different from w-.

The sje-ljud is very close to your wh, closer than to English sh, which is fors-ljud (the sound resulting from r+s merging into sh).

I was looking at older Swedish spelling, trying to pronounce "hvit" (white) according to spelling. My granny passed by and overheard me, and thought I was saying "skit" = "shit". The dialects which still preserved the wh pronunciation of hv a hundred years ago (at least they pronounce v-/hv- as w rather than as v, which is reserved for f spellings) obviously used another word for shit, like "drit" (possibly related to Gmn "Dreck").

In order to make it quite right, there is a difference in the tongue tip between wh and sj. I am trying and think the tongue tip is lower in sj. Pushed down.

9:53 Swedish originally had a spelling reflecting distinctions wh, w, v, spelled respectively hv, v, f/fv. First wh and w merged in nearly all dialects, so hv spellings had to be learned as quirks (fortunately not that many), but if you know English, you will still know which ones. Then nearly all of the rest had w -> v. "I come from Visconsin, my name is Yon Yonson" reflects the pronunciation English got from inter alia Swedes. [During the first generation of immigration.]

10:31 Regular alternation ... German "falsch" and French "faux" go back to same original pronunciation. Either "falsk" or "falso", depending on which of the languages it came from : and you can't from these two say which one it is. Even Swedish actual "preserved" pronunciation "falsk" could be a backformation from German "falsch" (I don't know sufficient either Low German or Medieval Swedish to contradict it, at any rate). In German and French these common words are only a few ... but the commonalities between "different branches" are not all that many either. Of IE, that is.

10:44 Unlikely to arise by coincidence, yes. But unlikely to arise when languages share bilinguals and systematically exchange structures and obviously words, no.

See also Na-Dené-Caucasian possible unity.

Proto-Dené–Caucasian (PDC) /p/
Proto-Caucasian (PC) /p/ Proto–Sino-Tibetan (PST) /pʰ/, -/p/ Proto-Yeniseian (PY) /p/ Burushaski (B) /pʰ/-, /p/ (Proto-)Basque [proto-Vasconian] (PV) /p/ Proto–Na-Dené (PND) /w/

PDC /t/,
PC /t/, PST /tʰ/, -/t/, PY /d/, B /tʰ/, PV /t/, PND /t/.

PDC /k/,
PC /k/, PST /k/, PY /ɡ/, -/k/, B /k/, /kʰ/, PV /h/, 0¹, PND /k/.

PDC /q/,
PC /q/, PST /qʰ/, /ɢ/, /x/, /ɣ/, -/k/, -/ŋ/ PY /q/-, /q/, /ɢ/, B /q/, /qʰ/, /ʁ/, PV /k/, PND /q/.

... PDC /a/,
PC /a/, PST /e/, /a/, /ə/, PY /a/, /ɔ/, /e/, /æ/, /ə/, PV /a/

... PDC /u/,
PC /o/, /u/, PST /u/, PY /o/, /ɔ/, /u/, PV /u/

(For vowels B always ? and PND always left empty)

From: Dené–Caucasian languages
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

See more : Materials for a Comparative Grammar of the Dene-Caucasian (Sino-Caucasian) Languages
John D. Bengtsson, Santa Fe Institute

Shall we conclude we can be certain that Apache and Basque had a common ancestor language?

13:27 disputing a unitary proto-language does not imply disputing a unitary word behind "pater" and "father."

Why would relatives words be borrowed between languages? If they were having royal marriages for instance (exactly as romance cousin has been borrowed later for reasons of the kinship tree in decretum gratiani :

By, Public Domain, Link

13:54 Piscis, Latin, eisc (?) Old Irish, fisk/fish Germanic. But going east of these neighbouring languages, do we find cognates? Ichthys? Ryba? What about žuvis? Or machhalee? Does fish at least have cognates in Sanskrit and Zend-Avestan which I can't check on google translate? On this one, Hungarian and Finnish are closer than different non-Western branches of IE. Finnish kala = Hungarian hal (Hungarian having a kind of Grimms' law).

14:04 why would number words be borrowed? Units up to ten, as well as hundred, can have liturgic implications, whatever the religion. It is also useful (though less so without systematic teen and decade correspondences) for trade.

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