Thursday, May 4, 2017

... on Grimm's Law and PIE vs IE Sprachbund - challenging Jackson Crawford's presentation

Grimm's Law and the Regularity of Sound Change
Jackson Crawford

0:52 "if one sound changes in one word or root, that sound will change in other words and roots - barring some other sound change which prevents the operation of this sound change"

Jung Grammarian dogma.

When a sound change starts, it starts in one word or a few words, and it takes time for it to go through all words of a language, as it takes time for it to become the generational communality of all generations, rather than of some of them.

Same goes for phonetic surroundings.

The sound change r > R in Scanian and Smaalandic originally could have been general, so that Smaalandic rs > sh must have stricken before its operation, but equally, it could originally have been restricted to before vowels (r > R / _V), affecting exactly same words in both languages, and then spread in Scanian to all surroundings, including rs > Rs, which would then prevent a possibly later change of rs > sh to spread from Smaalandic to Scanian.

See Aitchison, Language change, progress or decay.

Example, does presumed original IE yod become h or dz in beginning of Greek words?

zygon, ho = the yoke which, presumed PIE *yugom yod.

Your whale > **tale example ...

You could have dialects which retained audible wh in pronouns, but lost them in less used words, like whale, pronounced wale:

The whale which > the wale which > the wale wich.

For instance. I don't know any dialect which pronounces "the wale which", but there could be one or could have been one.

Obviously, whatever dialect started the process is more likely to have done so the other way round :

The whale which > the whale wich > very quickly > the wale wich.

The other scenario, residual wh in pronouns, is likelier to be in a dialect receiving the change.

This means of course:

dy > dz (as in Zeus) started to spread into y > dz (as in zugon), THEN stopped midway and left room for a later y > h, perhaps coming from another dialect - FOR INSTANCE.

2:35 "at earlier stages of the family"

I suppose you mean of the IE family, supposedly going back to PIE ...?

Well, all sound correspondences you wrote up are quite legitimate to me.

BUT, this does not quite mean all protoforms need to belong to one same language.

When for instance Turkish and Greek borrow words from each other, I suppose you do get regular sound correspondences? Despite very well known fact it is areal feature.

Ergo, IE sound correspondences could also be an areal feature.

3:23 WHen it comes to WH > W, We can tell WHich Lautstand came first, since it is a merger.

Therefore, we can know how the "protoform between these" sounded.

[3:33] When it comes to PIE > Proto-Germanic pre-Verner Lautstand, we do not have mergers, and can not exclude the process went the other way:

HGL's F.B. writings : Original Lautstand (IF Really a Branching Out from a Proto-Language) - Alternative Hypothesis, Mainly a Monologue

AND if either all words could have gone from PIE to pre-Verner Germanic [PVGM], as far as consonants are concerned, OR all words could have gone from pre-Verner Germanic to PIE or related, then it is ALSO possible some went from PVGM to "PIE", some from "PIE" to PVGM - taking here "PIE" as a convenient portmanteau term for non-Germanic branches.

There is one very early Anatolian language which has a quasi Germanic Lautstand, namely Phrygian.

5:08 Examples can be misleading as to how representative they are.

I have somewhere read that 20% of Germanic vocabulary has PIE etyma, 80 % hasn't.

This lends perhaps some credibility to the Sprachbund hypothesis, right?

7:54 The voiced aspirates are one of my reasons for doubting the PIE Lautstand as presented.

Sanskrit has them - and it could be an areal feature involving closeness to Dravidic languages also having them.

Of course, if PIE had them, it is no miracle why most IE langs lost them.

I borrowed a Sanskrit Teach Yourself book at 13, and spent all the bus journey trying to pronounce things like "Bharata" and probably then and there got the reputation for talking to myself.

I gave up.

But I didn't give up the habit of thinking aloud.

8:?? Madhu / Mead - any relation to Latin Mel, mellis?

If so, you have an irregular sound change.

9:19 "almost always" - kind of contradicts the dictum previously referred to, according to which 20% of Germanic has PIE etyma verified as regular outside Germanic.

9:55 For the word "hand", would you consider it as cognate with "hund-red" and the IE etyma as originally connected to counting?

You can use your both hands to count to 100 - or to 99 - if you use thumbs like L and V, other digits like X and I.

Obviously, it is not related to cheir, to manus, to renka - for instance.

Perhaps llaw / lámh is related to palma.

Hands and heads are obviously Swadesh list words with no common PIE etyma.

10:21 You might think my arguments for Sprachbund may be tenuous, a k a thin, but take opposite, thick, and see how many IE etyma you have for that?

I think by now my argument has gathered some thickness ... a k a bulk (IE etymon?)

I was afraid you might beat me to some Lithuanian **tuogas meaning thick, except it doesn't,,apparently, I haven't found it in lexica. Thick in Lithuanian is actually storas - a fair etymon for Nordic stor (big).

And that also takes care of my worry why we would get **tuogas instead of **tuožas. We get neither.

Unless you consider tuokti with reflexive tuoktis as etyma for thick, the verb means to marry. You might be able to piece together how tuoktis "getting oneself/each other thick together" might come to mean marry - but the problem is, I don't find any g in the conjugation, just k, and that even when no t follows:

As for Latin/Greek words in teug, toug, tug, I don't think even tunchano qualifies as well founded (actually the etymon for *PIE is Jung grammatically incompatible with thick, even if meaning and Latin etymon is not quite so).

Tozh or tuzh in Sanskrit? Do you have ANY non-Gmc etymon for thick? I am trying to help you out!


Hans-Georg Lundahl
Madhu / Mead - any relation to Latin Mel, mellis?

If so, you have an irregular sound change.

According to Wiktionary, it doesn't come from *médʰu, it comes from *mélid which is apparently a cognate with *médʰu in the sense of honey.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Not cognate, synonym.

And even half synonym, since mead/hydromel is as common a meaning as honey, if not more.

*médʰu, m

  • 1.honey
  • 2.mead, intoxicating drink, sweet drink.

The Indo-European word was prehistorically borrowed into Finno-Ugric *mete, compare Finnish and Estonian mesi, Hungarian méz. Also possibly borrowed into Chinese: 蜜 (OC *mit > mì, "honey"), possibly via Tocharian languages.

  • 1 Sanskrit and Balto-Slavic for honey (in Sanskrit secondary to mead etc), dito Malay and Indonesian and Uralic
  • 2 Celtic, Germanic, Greek for mead, Persian and Romani for wine

*mélit, n

1.honey Greek, Latin, Celtic, Hittite, Luwian, Albanian and Armenian for honey, also Gothic, in Germanic (outside Gothic) mildew was reanalysed as flour-dew.

In other words : IE languages do not have same word for honey.

Like pater/atta, it is more like two competing words, and in both cases one of them is shared with a more Eastward language family (Uralic, Turkic).

In the case of the meaning father, we also have minoritarian glosses, Baltic tevas/tebbes etc and Welsh tad borrowed into English dad.

I am of course counting the Slavic word as part of the atta gloss.

Actually, Old Irish (Gaulic too?) athi:r could be a compromise between atta (beginning) and pater (ending), and otak a similar one, with -ak replacing -ter (confer matka instead of mater).

If so, the athi:r gloss could have triggered the loss of initial p in other Celtic words (confer Aitchison).

Danish: mjød [ ca. me-oe'th ]

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Within Germanic, I have no doubt about regularity of sound change, unity of term in phonetics and meaning and unity of family from probable original single language alternatively for very massive relexifications in originally non-related ones.

Too bad the other remark I answered has been hidden.

By the way, one IE branch terms honey neither with medhu nor with mellit : Germanic terms it with honey, Honig, honung, etc.

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