Ix-nay on the ostratic-nay

Glen Gordon glengordon01 at hotmail.com
Sun Feb 7 22:32:44 UTC 1999

On the subject of IE 1p singular and the "N-word",

>From what I know of Bomhard, he has various reconstructions of the
Nostratic 1rst person plural, Nostratic being the proposed mother of IE
and various other languages in Europe and Asia, for those unaware. I
recall 5 reconstructions for the pronoun: *wa, *?iya, *?a, *na, *ma. Now
looking at that, one has to wonder how many pronouns there are suppose
to be. And this is just Bomhard. Taken in concert with Greenberg's *-Ha
1p and others who reconstruct the 1rst person Nostratic pronoun with
*m-, there is a distinct pattern involved here.

The reconstructions revolve around two pronouns only: *nu/*mu and
*?u/*hu. Both pronouns are attested in IE as 1ps secondary *-m (as well
as enclitic *me) and 1ps perfect *-H3e (*H3 = /hw/). Bomhard has already
put forth the overall idea. They are also attested in Uralic
subject/object conjugation, leaving me to conclude that a Steppe
proto-language had suffixed the two pronouns into a verbal conjugation
but prefered one over the other as an independant form except for a
possible alternation between *mi and *wi for 1pp (?) that would have
derived from this two-form pronoun.

Bomhard mentions an IE *e- 1rst person pronoun that I don't recall
actually attested. We should expect IE **u: instead as we find *tu: for
2ps. Unless it, for some strange reason, only survived as an enclitic
conveniently undistinguishable from a demonstrative, it's

I have assimilated Alemko's idea because it is superior to my IE-Semitic
connection of the pronoun. Thus *e- would be nothing more than a
demonstrative as is attested and untheoretical.

I'm not against the "N-word" but it can't be applied to every situation
without exception. One must look for better solutions, whether it
involve Nostratic or not. In this particular case, I question it.

Glen Gordon
glengordon01 at hotmail.com


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