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It seems that, in all the immense details that I've deduced over the years on Pre-IE, I forgot about Thematicization which is what I call the point at which productive animate suffixes were derived from their inanimate counterparts by infixing a vowel schwa during the middle of the Late IE Period. I presume that the reason for this infixing is not because the schwa was an actual animatizing morpheme but rather by analogy with the fact that most animate stems happened to be thematic (i.e. stems ending in a schwa) while inanimate stems tended to be athematic (i.e. stems ending in a consonant).
I want to talk more on this because it relates to the eventual development of feminine gender in Post-IE dialects. That is, out of the ancient inanimate collective *-h2 would be forged a new animate collective *-eh2 that would later be used as a feminine marker. This also relates to the origin of Indo-European s-stems that Phoenix has recently been pondering on (and which made me ponder on lately).
(14 Oct 2008) Whoops, a teensy typo to fix in the text above. The phrase "while inanimate stems tended to be inanimate (i.e. stems ending in a consonant)" should have read "while inanimate stems tended to be athematic (i.e. stems ending in a consonant)."