linguistic features

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal mcv at
Sat Mar 13 17:41:47 UTC 1999

----------------------------Original message----------------------------
Larry Trask <larryt at> wrote:

>On Thu, 11 Mar 1999, H. Mark Hubey wrote:
>> The languages being spoken in the ME before the proto-AA peoples
>> migrated to the ME lacked initial liquids which can be seen in the
>> lack of initial r in Hittite and Akkadian, in Linear-B, and in the
>> lack of them in the toponyms of Mesopotamia region before the
>> Sumerians and Akkadians (see von Soden). Altaic and Dravidian lacks
>> initial liquids. That means the people who lived in the ME did not
>> all get absorbed and at least some of their relatives are still
>> around and kicking.
>Fanciful, I'm afraid, even if the reports are true, which I doubt.

Rightly so.  Akkadian does not lack initial liquids at all: both
r- and l- are perfectly acceptable.  Hittite has initial l- but
lacks initial r-, a feature simply inherited from PIE, where
initial r- seems to have been very rare indeed.  And as you said,
Greek ("Linear B") has both l- and r- (the latter largely from
PIE *sr-, but examples of *r- can be given).  What we have is
simply a universal tendency to avoid rhotics (and to a lesser
degree laterals) in initial position.

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
mcv at

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