Munda in Early NW India

Vidhyanath Rao rao.3 at
Sat Apr 21 11:03:30 UTC 2001

I am not sure if "Douglas G Kilday" <acnasvers at> is for or
against *gh etc being affricates. But I will use his post to to hang my
questions on.

> [...] A language
> with an inventory of stops comparable to Sanskrit ought to have 3 or 4
> distinct fricatives in addition to /h/.

Does that mean that Sanskrit itself `should' have had 3 or 4 distinct
fricatives?  [Nor am I sure what distinct means: Sanskrit had voiceless
fricatives produced at various places, but these where all allophones of /s/.
There is the sound commonly transcribed h, but this is voiced and results from
(Brugmannian *gh', and less often from *dh. Then there are three sibilants.]

>[...] OTOH if the traditional (Brugmannian) voiced aspirates were
> "really" voiced fricatives, the transition to voiced aspirates in Indic
> could be viewed as systematic substrate-induced fortition, if the
> Munda-substrate hypothesis is in the ballpark.

How do we explain Germanic? Or for that matter, Iranian where *dh etc
became d etc (at least intervocalic)? And if substratum explanation is
in the ballpark, why did the aspirated series go to a voiced fricative?
[in Vedic, this already had happened with intervocalic *dh in verbal
endings such as mahe (< PI-Ir *madhai), as well as all intervocalic PI-Ir *jh
and this speads to all (intervocalic) voiced aspirates in MIA.]

Comparative IE work usually looks only at Sanskrit because looking at
MIA doesn't seem to be worth the trouble [but this is not sure: Turner's
CDIAL makes it easy locate the data, and there are words attested in
Prakrits which are not found in known Sanskrit lit, at least if we exclude
grammarians and lexicographers.] However, substratum explanations
cannot really do that: Why should the said substratum conveniently
disappear, leaving Prakrits to reverse the whole process?


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