Munda in Early NW India

proto-language proto-language at
Wed Apr 18 14:02:33 UTC 2001

Dear Douglas and IEists:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Douglas G Kilday" <acnasvers at>
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2001 11:41 PM

> Patrick C. Ryan (6 Apr 2001) wrote:

>> 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.

> Not being a licensed typologist, I must ask how frequently one finds a
> system with two series of affricates and no plain fricatives (or just one,
> if /s/ was already hissing around in this view).

Yes, it is unusual. But I can tell you what I think may help to explain it. I
believe that Nostratic fricatives ([w], [s], and [x]) came plain or aspirated
so that there was only one voiced fricative, namely [w].  Why this lack of
balance, I cannot say. A part of the answer may lie in the development of [ph]
into [f]. Semitic and IE had different outcomes from loss of aspiration in
fricatives; while Nostratic [hw] and [w] both became [w]; [sh] and [s] became
[s] and [z] in Semitic while they became simply [s] in IE. Both [x] and [xh]
were palatalized to [ç] in Semitic, and became [sh]; [x] became IE [gw]; [xh]
became IE [kw].

>> 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 system.

> The same goes for plain fricatives. For decades we've been told that PIE had
> only /s/, with [s] and [z] as allophones. How realistic is this? A language
> with an inventory of stops comparable to Sanskrit ought to have 3 or 4
> distinct fricatives in addition to /h/.

> This brings up another point. What are "laryngeals" supposed to be, if not
> glottal fricatives? How realistic is a system with 4 or more distinct
> (choke!) laryngeals and only one oral fricative?

Well, I believe that [w] should be regarded as a labial fricative, so there
would be two oral fricatives.

However, I also believe that there was only one 'laryngeal', that Nostratic
[h], [H], and [¿] fell together as IE [x] --- the reason Nostratic [x] and
[xh] had to be transformed in [gw] and [kw]. With Nostratic [?], I am not sure
whether it remained [?] in IE, was also transformed into [x], or just became

[ moderator snip ]


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)

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