(Continued from The trouble with the PIE 1st & 2nd person plural endings.)
My goal in this latest blog rant is to find a pleasing reconstruction of the Old IE (OIE) objective conjugation, that is, the antecedent of Proto-Indo-European's (PIE) *mi-conjugation. I'll be referring back to Pre-IE sound changes as I've defined them in my online pdf in order to find my solution. Before we can arrive at a solution, however, we must piece together what happened with the first and second persons plural endings. I guess to keep this topic together, we first might peck off a few options of possible ancient protoforms. Here we go.
The first, most obvious post-IE innovation is *-mosi/*-mos/*-mo as might be based on Latin -mus or OIr. -m, for example. This must be a new phenomenon that, at the very least, postdates Schwa Diffusion since in order for *o to have developed in an unstressed syllable, *s would have to be voiced at the time. Yet, this is not possible because we know that the plural had unvoiced *s throughout the Late IE period, that it was unaccented and that its preceding vocalism was *e as a result. Likewise, just in case some may think that *-mes was instead the product of 1ps *-m and 2ps *-s “you” (i.e. “I and you” → “we (inclusive plural)”), the same problem arises and *e is yet again the expected vocalism since it is afterall what is found in the 2ps thematic presentive ending, *-e-si (never **-o-si). So no matter how you slice and dice the 1pp ending, forms like *-mo[s(i)] must be patterned on something else, something later. Indeed, it is no doubt affected by the independent pronoun *nos “we” (in turn a late derivative of unaccented PIE *n̥s < MIE *mas). Surely this is a post-IE form and has no bearing on PIE, let alone Pre-IE. So let's toss these endings in the trashcan straight away!
Next up are the 1pp variants *-més/*-mé and 2pp *-té. In this grouping, we observe an accent that should not be there since etymologically speaking, the 1pp ending is surely nothing more than *-me- [first person pronominal stem] and *-(e)s [plural]. Judging by QAR, the plural marker was unaccented because it contained no word-final vowel in the stages preceding Syncope . In other words, even before Syncope, *-as was the MIE plural ending, not **-ésa. Further, this word-final *s is testimony to a most ancient event which I call Indo-Aegean Sibilantization. Ultimately this plural is related to Uralic plural *-t. The sibilantization of early Indo-Aegean *t would not have happened unless *t was word-final at the time (n.b. Sibilantization also explains the origin of *s/*t-heteroclitic stems in PIE like participles in *-wos). Subsequently as a result of a lack of word-final vowel in the Mid IE (MIE) plural, the plural could never have been voiced to **-ez in the Late IE period. Yet... we find accented athematic presentive 1pp and 2pp endings nonetheless. Why??? How??? And if the primary form were *-mési and secondary were *-més, then despite unexpected accent, the source of the pattern might be a little more transparent. However, the primary form was apparently *-més without *-i and the secondary was *-mé. The absence of *-i in the primary marker adds to the strangeness but it might suggest an archaicism. The loss of *-s in the secondary is no doubt by analogy with other late innovations such as the secondary middle endings with its similar loss of *-r ultimately inspired by the inherited loss of final *-i in secondary active forms from pre-IE times. At first glance, it's impossible to tell what exactly was going on with this particular group of endings because of a few things obscuring the problem, so let's move on and come back to this group of endings later on.
Next up: the *-mén(i)/*-tén(i) group. More later.
(Continue reading The trouble with the PIE 1st & 2nd person plural endings (3).)