Three-Way Contrast of Secondary Articulations in PIE

proto-language proto-language at
Sat Mar 17 17:10:20 UTC 2001

Dear Rich and IEists:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Rich Alderson" <alderson+mail at>
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2001 5:36 PM

>> On 10 Mar 2001, Pat Ryan wrote:


>> Without rehearsing my arguments, why do you not tell us a few IE words in
>> which you believe /i/ and /u/ are primary?


> Any word in which *i or *u can be reconstructed.  That they may alternate in
> morphophonological rules with *y and *w is irrelevant to their phonemic
> status, though the consonantal forms may have originated in fortitions of
> originally vocalic segments.  (For the concept of fortition processes, see P.
> Donegan's Ohio State dissertation, still available I believe as a working
> paper from the linguistics department there.)


If an IE word with [i] could be related convincingly as a cognate with an AA
word containing [y] in the same position, would that influence your opinion of
the phonemic status of [i] in IE?

The idea, of course, being that the AA [y] would represent a Nostratic [y].

And, I also wonder if, perhaps, we are talking past each other. I do not doubt
that, at some point, [i] became phonemic in IE. It is just that I favor the
idea that in earliest IE, what became [i] must have been [y]. Does that make
any difference in your position?


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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