7 Jul 2008

How long was the contact between Pre-IE and Proto-Semitic?

It's cloudy and rainy today in Winnipeg. So since I can't suntan, it's a perfect day for more rants about Pre-IE! Hooray!

In a previous post entitled Semitic and IE in the Neolithic: How intensive was the language contact?, I began to wonder how important the contact was between these two language groups. I can't help to this day that there is much much more to this topic than understood so far by current linguists. I'm going to dare to push this topic further however by assuming that the Semitic-PIE language contact indeed was intensive and by now trying to ascertain the duration of the contact in terms of date range. Now that I've made my pdf of my theories on Pre-IE, I want to make it more accurate.

I figure that 5800 BCE is as good a time as any for this contact to have started since this is the heart of the Neolithic and, archaeologically speaking, there is ample evidence showing cultural contact between people of the Near East and those of Eastern Europe by this time. Within the context of my theory, this is the Mid IE period preceding the rule of Syncope by several generations. Let's assume for now that these are the upper bounds of contact (until I find reasons to move the start date, that is).

I forgot that, in my aforementioned article, if I'm correct that Semitic *gádyu "kid" is specifically loaned into Late IE as *gä́id̰ə-, rather than into Mid IE where we would have rather expected **géid̰a- based on its theorized vowel inventory (as well as other loans showing the same vocalic sound correspondence), then this provides a new lower bounds of circa 4800 BCE of this contact. In early Late IE, I've already felt the need to propose an extra low-front vowel that arises just before Syncope due to a deletion of some pretonic laryngeals (e.g. late MIE *mᵊxéd̰ᵊ- > early Late IE *mäd̰- > PIE *mad- "to be moist, to be drunk"). So this extra vowel in the system would explain the later vocalism in *a (PIE *ǵʰáido-) which I can't currently explain with Mid IE phonology.

This is something else I have to change in my current pdf on Pre-IE sound changes apparently.


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