17 Sept 2008

Here's what happened to me

In a nutshell: I've been painfully busy. I've had little time due to working, socializing (yes! a shocker, hehe!), and coming down with a nasal cold from hell (honestly I don't have the heart to blow into one more kleenex, bleh!!).

So the Etruscan database update has been unfulfilled for September 15 as I had originally planned. To be honest, I just haven't updated much to it so adding an updated draft seems pointless as yet. However, that doesn't mean my task is done. As usual, my data-mining is a neverending hobby for me that won't stop until the Good Goddess in the sky shuts me up for good and takes me away to the land beyond. For whatever reason, my mind has been stuck on Pre-IE, the Neolithic period and the phonetics of Semitic loanwords. I'll get back to Etruscan soon but my mind likes to wander from time to time.

Anyways, I'd also like to thank everyone so far for some great, tough questions. It's nice to see that you're all still interested in my blogrants, even those from a while back, and that it's getting people thinking and discussing.

For now, I need some Neo-Citran, a warm blanket, and a good night's sleep.


  1. Ah that pesky life, just coming around the corner reminding you that there's something else besides prehistoric languages :P

    Anyway get well soon, as soon as you get back to life on the internet, there will be quite a few Blog posts waiting for you on my blog which might interest you. ;)

  2. Hey, Don't really know where to put it, but I guess I'll just do it here.

    I'm currently working on my own 'grammar of Early Indo-European' in a pdf file. And I'm trying to get pre-Indo-European reconstructions of the main indo-european stems.

    Then I got to the neuter s-stems and hit a dead end.

    Let's take Gk. μένος Skt. manas मनस्
    Conventional Indo-European reconstructions give:
    Nom. *ménos, Gen. *m(e)nesós

    So we have an ablauting -es -os suffix which would betray an unaccented schwa *a.

    But to have the *s to become voiced, and turn the *a into an *o you need a super-short schwa after it.

    *ménasa, but this bring along a problem: That's penultimate stress! To explain the placement of the accent we need to reconstruct **ménas, but that would give **ménes and not *ménos.

    So, how do you think this happened?

  3. PhoeniX: "Hey, Don't really know where to put it, but I guess I'll just do it here."

    It don't matter none as long as it's on-topic, which it is.

    Phoenix: "I'm currently working on my own 'grammar of Early Indo-European' in a pdf file.

    Awesome. Vive la revolution internet! I've also been thinking about doing reconstructions of Mid IE stems and keeping track of their etymologies online. So far I've only got this info on my computer offline in the same database as Etruscan. (I figured that since I was keeping track of Etruscan, I may as well keep track of Rhaetic, Lemnian, Eteo-Cypriot, Eteo-Cretan, Minoan, Indo-European, Semitic, Middle Egyptian, and Mid IE as well under the same system I created.)

    "Then I got to the neuter s-stems and hit a dead end."

    Yes, they're tricky little things, aren't they? :)

    "So we have an ablauting -es -os suffix which would betray an unaccented schwa *a."

    Yes, I agree.

    "But to have the *s to become voiced, and turn the *a into an *o you need a super-short schwa after it. *ménasa, but this bring along a problem: That's penultimate stress!"

    Ah, but now you see what you've done, haven't you? You've assumed that the root is ancient without any modifications. The next step is to ponder on intermediary modifications. So *ménos < *ménəz < *menáz < Late MIE *mənásᵊ-sᵊ < mid MIE *manása-sa..

    I don't know if there's proof to substantiate this but it seems to work for now.

  4. That was indeed the best thing I could come up with for now as well, some kind of influence from the *o-stems.

    It's not quite satisfying, so finding proof somewhere would be great, but I'll indeed stick to this solution for now.

    Especially the masculine s-stems seem to also indicate such a reconstruction
    *menḗs or something along those lines. Which, if masculine s-stems are at all archaic, rather than an innovation, would also be a motivation to consider your explanation of the neuter s-stem as correct.

  5. Shouldn't these stems in *-ḗs be reconstructed rather as *-éh₁s?

  6. Oh I only just noticed your comment now, now I'm reworking on my pre-indo-european grammar, (which is common along somewhat slowly, but hey it's progress).

    Shouldn't these stems in *-ḗs be reconstructed rather as *-éh₁s?

    Would they? I always assumed that they were simply 'Szemerenyi's Law' variants of the neuter *s-stems. Whether this is a true example of Szemerenyi's Law, or rather an analogy to all the other long-vowel = animate short-vowel = neuter formations, I don't know. I'm inclined to the idea that it's indeed an analogy.

    I don't see a direct reason why it would be reconstructed *-éh₁s.

  7. Maybe you're right but the vocalism stumps me. We might surmise that the "Ceres" type of animate s-stem is some sort of a deadjectival formation then (to help explain the shift of accent to the ultimate syllable) but why instead of long ? I guess I'm still perplexed about this caper.

  8. Does the *e-vocalism in the r-stems surprise you? What if the adjectival s-stems were actually older than the nominal ones? And the original vocalism of the suffix was actually *es, it would be retained in the adjectives. Than later to create a noun, the accent was retracted, and the final *es became unaccented, and thus *e > *ə which later ended up as an unaccanted *o. The accent retraction to make a noun from an adjective would also be in line with the process we see in *uĺkʷos from an earlier *ulkʷós.

    I am actually busy writing a blog post about this process. It solves some problems with the *s-stems I think.

  9. PhoeniX: "Does the *e-vocalism in the r-stems surprise you?"

    Touché. But still something isn't working here. Maybe I should talk this out...

    The ending *-ér- appears to be simply an oxytone variant of underlying *-or- which comes from earlier *-ər- which in turn should be the thematicized derivative of even earlier early Late IE inanimate *-r̥ as in *wád̰r̥ "water" (> *wódr̥). The animate nominative long vowel would simply be caused by the application of the case ending *-s à la Szemerényi. We might deduce then that a parallel development exists for all similar suffixes, including for *-és- and its unaccented counterpart *-os-.

    So if the vocalism is expected because of ablaut-accent alternations in early-to-late-mid Late IE, then still... What caused the oxytone accent?

    Is it really because of something deadjectival? How does that work grammatically and semantically? It's not completely solved yet for me, I must admit. I have to ponder some more. Thanks for unravelling the knots in my brain, hahaha.

  10. I'm still thinking it through these past few minutes, hahaha. I think the deadjectival origin may give fruit.

    On page 111 under "r-stems", IELC talks about the semantic difference between the suffix pair *-tor- and *-tér-. So I've been reading this paragraph in relation to my theories on Late IE ablaut. Here's what it looks like so far to me...

    The suffix *-tor- is denominal and so *déh₃-tor- should be from earlier mid Late IE *d̰éhʷ-tər-, a synthesis of *d̰éhʷ-t “act of giving (n.)” and the animate agent *-ər.

    The suffix *-tér- however would be of deadjectival origin. Thus *dh₃-tér- is the product of the mLIE participial adjective *d̰əhʷ-tá- “given” (> PIE *d(ə)hʷ-tó-) and *-ər-.

    However in order to make any sense out of the resultant vocalism and accent, I've just realized today thanks to your questions that maybe there's an accent rule happening here such that a deadjectival noun places accent on the very last syllable. The last syllable in question here is the suffix *-ər- which should regularly become *-ér-... if given a valid reason to be accented, that is. So now I believe we have a valid reason for why this ending and similar endings were accented. Hooray!

  11. Hi-

    I find your topics fascinating--especially concerning Etruscan language and culture. But I have found that I cannot download your language documents because the web site [e-snips] where they are stored requires a Windows based downloader to be installed in order to download documents. I have a Mac computer, so I will not be able to study these documents. Do you have another way of accessing the documents?

  12. Those pdfs are now outdated and I've replaced it with my searchable Etruscan-to-English dictionary (Flash applet). The link is listed in the Lingua Files section. I now update through that applet instead.

  13. I've since reviewed my neglected Lingua Files section and must admit that I've been obtuse. I have other files that may not be accessible to Mac users.

    So I've migrated it all away from Esnips to Google. I'd rather that I not have everything all in one basket but there appears to be no competition to Google's bloated global monopoly (which should disturb us all).