Munda in Early NW India

proto-language proto-language at
Fri Apr 6 20:49:15 UTC 2001

Dear Miguel and IEists:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Miguel Carrasquer Vidal" <mcv at>
Sent: Tuesday, April 03, 2001 2:41 AM
Subject: Re: Munda in Early NW India


> The only
> reasonable solution that I see is that PIE had no voiced consonants at
> all (as indeed suggested by two of the most archaic members Hittite
> and Tocharian). That would make *dh [th], and *d [t] (or,
> equivalently, *dh = [t] and *d = [t']: in a binary opposition, the
> unaspirated member can become polarized to ejective or the
> non-ejective member can become polarized to aspirated).  If so, then
> *t must have been [tt] (and in Hittite is indeed spelled that way
> medially), a fortis (geminate) stop, unaspirated and unglottalized.
> The replacement of fortis/lenis by voiceless/voiced would have
> resulted in an unstable system *t = [t], *dh = [d:] (murmured) and *d
> = [`d] (preglottalized).  If, at the time, the clusters of
> stop+laryngeal were already acquiring phonemic status (as in the
> Indo-Iranian area), a four way system as found in Sanskrit could
> become possible: [t(')] ~ [th] / [(')d] ~ [dh].  The three other
> alternatives would be (1) to lose the distinction between murmured and
> preglottalized in the voiced series (resulting in [t] ~ [d]), as in
> the case of Balto-Slavic (although *d causes lengthening of the
> preceding vowel, and *dh doesn't); (2) fortition of the aspirated
> member, resulting in Greek/pre-Italic *t => [t], *dh => [th], *d =>
> [d]; and (3) fortition of the unaspirated member, resulting in
> Armenian/pre-Germanic *t => [th], *dh => [d], *d => [t(')].

An alternative view might be that (agreeing with Miguel), Nostratic had only
voiceless obstruents but that they patterned as glottalized stop (*b),
aspirated stop (*p), glottalized affricate (*bh), aspirated affricate (*ph) -
typologically, few problems that I can see.

In view of the affricates in many derived IE languages, I am amazed that IEists
seem so unwilling to entertain the idea of affricates as a part of the earliest

It seems to me that the fricative element of the affricates has become [h] so
that the distinction could be maintained in the glottalized series but was lost
in the aspirated series.


PATRICK C. RYAN | PROTO-LANGUAGE at (501) 227-9947 * 9115 W. 34th
St. Little Rock, AR 72204-4441 USA WEBPAGES: PROTO-LANGUAGE: and PROTO-RELIGION: "Veit ec
at ec hecc, vindgá meiði a netr allar nío, geiri vndaþr . . . a þeim
meiþi, er mangi veit, hvers hann af rótom renn." (Hávamál 138)

More information about the Indo-european mailing list