Ix-nay on the ostratic-nay

Patrick C. Ryan proto-language at email.msn.com
Wed Feb 24 22:07:29 UTC 1999

[ moderator re-formatted ]

Dear Glen and IEists:

-----Original Message-----
From: Glen Gordon <glengordon01 at hotmail.com>
Date: Wednesday, February 24, 1999 3:05 PM

>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.

Personally, I have no problem with those circumstances at all. IMHO, the truest
appraisal of the situation in Nostratic is that it had *NO* pronouns only a
variety of nouns which were used in various contexts. A paper on the subject is
available at my website if anyone is interested: wa, 'hearer'; -ya, 'speaker';
?a, 'this (one)', na, 'one', and ma, 'converser'.

>Bomhard mentions an IE *e- 1rst person pronoun that I don't recall
>actually attested.

This is the demonstrative H4V, 'here', but because H4 did not inhibit
apophony, it appears in the IE dictionary as e-; H1V, 'there', would also
have yielded e-, and so the distinction between proximal and distal was

[ Moderator's comment:
  *H_4 is the "a-coloring" laryngeal that does *not* appear as <HH> in Hittite,
  so would not lead to *e- in any dictionary.
  --rma ]

>We should expect IE **u: instead as we find *tu: for 2ps.

First, long vowels are not phonemic in IE. Any long vowel must be the result
of a V + laryngal, or, more rarely, compensatory lengthening.

It is clear from the accusative (really absolute) *te (and other oblique
forms) that the base form is *tV. *tu/u: is a result of the syncope of *te +
we, which is an inflection.



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