Greek question

Patrick C. Ryan proto-language at
Sun Feb 28 14:08:34 UTC 1999

Dear Birgit and IEists:

-----Original Message-----
From: Birgit Anette Olsen <bao at>
Date: Saturday, February 27, 1999 11:37 AM

[ moderator snip ]

>Actually I have an alternative theory for the instrument suffix. In my
>opinion the suffixes are not *-tlo- (*-tro-) and *-dhlo- (*-dhro-), but
>rather *-tlo- (*-tro-) and *-thlo- (*-thro-) where *-thlo- (*-thro-) is
>the result of "pre-aspiration" by a preceding voiceless consonantal
>laryngeal, *h1 or *h2, e.g. *stah2-tlom > *stathlom > stabulum vs.
>*poh3(i)tlom > po:culum. In the oldest layer the -l-variants seem to be
>unmarked and the r-variants connected with roots containing a liquid (e.g.
>the word for "plough"), so we arrive at one basic suffix, *-tlo-.

That seems like a very interesting idea, And perhaps it can be applied to
what I think the sequence might have been.

I would like to point to *dhe:l- (dheH1el), 'work', which seems to me to be
the ultimate source of *-dh(H)lo, which, on that basis, I believe is the
original form.

Of course, *-dh(H)lo might become **-tlo if a combination of a preceding
laryngeal from the root of the word to which the formative is being added
terminated in one, so that the sequence Root-H-dh-H-lo was brought into

On the other hand, -tlo may just be the result of a sporadic devoicing
produced by the H of the formant: -dheHelo -> -dhHlo -> -t(h)lo.


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