[language] Quantification and Reconstruction

H. Mark Hubey HubeyH at Mail.Montclair.edu
Tue Oct 10 19:22:44 UTC 2000

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Here is an example of what might be a start of reconstruction
for Turkic languages.

		Turkish		Kazak 		Uighur
		-------		------		------		
useful		faydali		paydali		paydilig
notebook	defter		dapter		daptar
idea		fikir		pikir		pikir
elephant	fil		pil		pil
lid		kapak		qaqpaq		qapqaq
book		kitap		kitap		kitab
cost		paha		bagha		baha	
cook		pishir		pisir		pishur
flea		pire		bUrge		bUrga

Now let us reconstruct what prototurkic was for the
/pbf/ that we see in the words above.

Method 1:: There must have been a consonant cluster /pf/. In Turkish
 pf > f and in Kazak and Uighur pf>p. Doerfer does this when
he reconstructs *pokurz (ox,bull). From this, it is possible to
derive OkUz and hOkUr.

Method 2:: There were two p's in Turkic, p1 and p2. Thus all
p1 > p in all Turkic languages but p2>p in Kazak and Uighur and
p2> f in Turkish. We can find such words attested in various
languages, for example, a name like Pfeister, or pflug. This
also seems to be a popular mode of reconstruction, and
Turkic is allegedly have had l1,l2,r1,and r2.

Method 3:: There was a special phoneme in Turkic languages that
was neither p, nor f, nor even a bilabial fricative like in
Japanese. It was similar to the IE larygeals except it was
a cross between a fricative and a plosive and a cross between
a bilabial and a labio-dental. Let's call this /$/. This sound
gave rise to Turkic p, and f depending on what followed this
sound. In some cases it became p in all Turkic. In other cases it
became f in Turkish. The latter case might have been due to an
accent which Turkish had innovated. This seems to be important
for reconstruction of *PIE. The Hittite laryngeals might belong
to this method.

Method 4::: Turkic did not have an /f/. The /f/s that were
in Arabic and Farsi that Turkic borrowed became /p/. However in
Anatolian Turkish because of the long period of living amongst
people who had /f/ (Iranians, Kurds, Arabs, Greeks, Bulgarians,
Armenians) Turkish eventually did pick up an /f/. This was
accomplished in about 150 years in Kazak because, the people
became bilingual (Russian as a second language). Of course, the
older words borrowed from Farsi/Arabic did not change. It is
the Russian words that were copied that have the /f/ in them.

physics		fizik		fizika		fizika
geography	cografya	geografiya	jughrapiya
paralysis	felch		paralich	palachlik

This also happens to be the truth of what happened. This we
know, because it happened in historical times, and Arabic
and Farsi still exist.

What if Farsi was a dead language. Ditto for Arabic and
its relatives, Hebrew, Aramaic, etc, and if Akkadian was
not known.

What would have been the results of reconstruction?

What reasons are there to prefer various rules (heuristics)
as above? I think these are all very interesting questions
which could possibly be quantifiable.

This does not seem to be used at all in reconstruction. If it
is used, it does not seem to be used often. I call this the
"getting rich" scenario.

PS. Please notice that this is cross-posted. I'd prefer that
the discussion continue on the Language list probably because
I think it belongs there. The real questions are not really
Turkic. That was merely an example.


hubeyh at mail.montclair.edu

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