Greek question & the pre-history of *nekwt

Glen Gordon glengordon01 at
Wed Feb 24 07:23:54 UTC 1999

I hope that one day I will be unhyphenated from the debate of
Patrick-Alexis. I really do not wish to pursue the catfight and won't
tolerate my name being abused any further by the moderator who
carelessly let's these messages to pass. Thank you, Mr. Moderator.

>> Without getting too entangled in a flimsy Nostratic explanation
>> that ignores all IE laws as Patrick has done, *nekwt is similar to
>> words in Uralic...I recall there might be similar words in
>> Altaic?

>But Nostratic evidence could resolve the question of which
>velar to posit in IE.  It is not just IE laws that need to be
>followed but also the Nostratic ones.

...but IE laws must be obeyed first and foremost. Odd reconstructions
with a voiced aspirate must first be fully supportable internally within
the IE data before pulling Nostratic into this.

If we maintain the traditional IE reconstruction of the sort *nekwt,
this may not necessarily disobey any Nostratic sound correspondances. It
all depends on what external cognates you bring into the ante. I've seen
Bomhard's *nitl- for instance which I personally would re-reconstruct as
Nostratic *nukw (with trailing labiovelar). I have a hard time accepting
something that evolves so strangely as *tl seems to, in context with the
fact that more straightforward sound correspondances seem to still offer
difficulty in this budding Nostratic field. What's more, the scantily
attested *tl can evolve into a plethora of different ways and makes it
too easy for anyone to say anything about the etymology especially since
this phoneme doesn't seem to survive in any reconstructed Nostratic
daughter language, let alone a written one.

As Nostraticists seem to accept for the most part, a form like *nukw
would uneventfully become IE *nekw- as indeed we have in *nekwt with
additional neuter ending. Perhaps, the form exists in Uralic of the form
*nuk- although all I have seen is Finnish nukkua.

[ Moderator query:
  Neuter ending?  This is not a neuter in Latin, Greek, Sanskrit or Germanic.
  What neuter ending do you have in mind?
  --rma ]

I think IS or Dogolpolsky had a similar reconstructed item, one with an
Altaic language with */negu"/? I'll have to verify my info.

Note: Under Bomhard's *nitl, there is a Dravidian cognate *nik- that
would, if valid, seem to show a vowel shift of *u > *i like the one I
mentioned for the pronouns (cf. Nostratic *?u > *i-n > ya:n/yan-).
Sorry, Dr. Krisnamurti, Dravidian may have laryngeals (ie yaHn) but I am
still not sure that they can explain every instance of long vowel.

At any rate, back to IE, IE *nekwt could come from earlier *nukw with no
insult to Nostraticists and yet no odd comparisons with Egyptian and
other unlike languages. A labial MUST be posited for both IE AND
Nostratic (if we are to include IE *nekwt in a Nostratic cognate
series). Even when positing a form with *gh, we still can't hide from
the labial and in Nostratic terms, this means a labial must be posited
in some way (in my case, a velar labialized by preceding *u which
evolved to *e in IE but left behind the labial quality).

Glen Gordon
glengordon01 at

Kisses and Hugs

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