Natural languages, communication, etc

Archive for December, 2012

Short and long vowels in ancient languages

If you assume oral Vedic transmission and the ancient Sanskrit

grammarians’ prescriptions are correct, short and long a,i,u are

securely known for Sanskrit.  Even the graphemes reflect that

अ, आ – short and long a

इ, ई    - short and long i

उ, ऊ  - short and long u

Sanskrit writing is generally considered to be not all that old – but

are long and short vowels securely known for supposedly older texts in

Hittite, Mycenaean greek etc.?

.
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The utter bankruptcy of boilerplate reconstruction

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/41289017?uid=3739832&uid=2&uid=…

It is so frustrating that one cannot get more than one page of this

paper.  But if this pans out – what does that say about the grotesque

theories ("labiovelars", "glottalic cconsonants", uvulars,

"laryngeals" and so on and on) that have been spun in order not to

accept that the "PIE" sound system has been staring everybody in the

face from day one in the only anciently attested language with 25

stops moving from the velum to the lips with their place and manner of

articulation known also from ancient times.

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For Franz – "bear" and "fur" redux

Take a look at

http://languagecontinuity.blogspot.com/2010/04/witold-manczak-critici…

There is a comment from a German Dziebel

"And another interesting one illustrating the identity of H2 and

palatalized velar. Comp. IE *H2rkto- ‘bear’ (Hitt hartagga, Gk arktos,

Lat ursus (< *urksus, *urkstus?), Skrt rksa, Arm arj) and IE

*k’er(es)-/*k’rst- ‘fur, animal hair’ (OHG hursti ‘crest’, OCS srusti-

‘fur’, Lith serys ‘bristle, animal hair’) with the resulting

*H2(=k’)rst-/*H2(=k’)er-. Borrowings into Uralic (Finn karhu ‘bear’)

attest for a velar in place of a laryngeal. The etymology of bear as

‘hairy one’ can’t get any better in view of frequent tabooing of this

animal species across the IE area. Finally, the "fur" isogloss covers

precisely the northwestern IE area in which the bear isogloss is not

attested. This makes the two isoglosses not only historically related

but geographically complementary."

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Isn't it about time that the Middle East went the "Mumbai" ,"Beijing" etc. route?

To my ears "Lubnan" seems more accurate than "Lebanon"

"Ghazza" rather than "Gaza"

and so forth.

The least the Arabs can do to get out from under Western neo-

imperialism is to insist on their names being said correctly (Its

funny that Fowler complains about depriving British li’l ol’ ladies of

"Mahomet" – he kvetches about "Mohammed" – but "Muhammad" with a dot

under the h was a bit too much for him).

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have Comments (2)

morphology versus syntax

I have been looking at Ignaciano (Mojo), an Arawackan language spoken

in north-east Bolivia, and I observed something I think deserves to

mentioned somewhere.

Ignaciano is an agglutinative language of the kind where a verb has a

couple of dozen suffix slots (21 in Ignaciano) which are filled,

sparsely, from a set of easily-separated morphemes (39 in Ignaciano)

which add various and diverse nuances to the clause.

What is different in Ignaciano is that all these slots follow every

word – not just verbs – nouns, pronouns, conjunctions, etc. It seems

that these slots have jumped, in Ignaciano, from morphology to syntax.

In other words they have changed from suffixes to enclitics.

So far as I know this situation is not found in any other Arawakan

language and must be an Ignaciano innovation.

I am still looking at neighboring languages to see if I can suggest a

borrowing. Ignaciano has at least one other striking innovation – a

completely reworked systems of 3rd person references.

This example would increase the likelihhood that there is no real

separation between syntax and morphology. Does anyone else know of a

similar situation?

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have Comments (2)

Short and long vowels in ancient languages

If you assume oral Vedic transmission and the ancient Sanskrit

grammarians’ prescriptions are correct, short and long a,i,u are

securely known for Sanskrit.  Even the graphemes reflect that

अ, आ – short and long a

इ, ई    - short and long i

उ, ऊ  - short and long u

Sanskrit writing is generally considered to be not all that old – but

are long and short vowels securely known for supposedly older texts in

Hittite, Mycenaean greek etc.?

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have No Comments

The utter bankruptcy of boilerplate reconstruction

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/41289017?uid=3739832&uid=2&uid=…

It is so frustrating that one cannot get more than one page of this

paper.  But if this pans out – what does that say about the grotesque

theories ("labiovelars", "glottalic cconsonants", uvulars,

"laryngeals" and so on and on) that have been spun in order not to

accept that the "PIE" sound system has been staring everybody in the

face from day one in the only anciently attested language with 25

stops moving from the velum to the lips with their place and manner of

articulation known also from ancient times.

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have Comments (4)

For Franz – "bear" and "fur" redux

Take a look at

http://languagecontinuity.blogspot.com/2010/04/witold-manczak-critici…

There is a comment from a German Dziebel

"And another interesting one illustrating the identity of H2 and

palatalized velar. Comp. IE *H2rkto- ‘bear’ (Hitt hartagga, Gk arktos,

Lat ursus (< *urksus, *urkstus?), Skrt rksa, Arm arj) and IE

*k’er(es)-/*k’rst- ‘fur, animal hair’ (OHG hursti ‘crest’, OCS srusti-

‘fur’, Lith serys ‘bristle, animal hair’) with the resulting

*H2(=k’)rst-/*H2(=k’)er-. Borrowings into Uralic (Finn karhu ‘bear’)

attest for a velar in place of a laryngeal. The etymology of bear as

‘hairy one’ can’t get any better in view of frequent tabooing of this

animal species across the IE area. Finally, the "fur" isogloss covers

precisely the northwestern IE area in which the bear isogloss is not

attested. This makes the two isoglosses not only historically related

but geographically complementary."

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have No Comments

Isn't it about time that the Middle East went the "Mumbai" ,"Beijing" etc. route?

To my ears "Lubnan" seems more accurate than "Lebanon"

"Ghazza" rather than "Gaza"

and so forth.

The least the Arabs can do to get out from under Western neo-

imperialism is to insist on their names being said correctly (Its

funny that Fowler complains about depriving British li’l ol’ ladies of

"Mahomet" – he kvetches about "Mohammed" – but "Muhammad" with a dot

under the h was a bit too much for him).

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have Comments (2)

morphology versus syntax

I have been looking at Ignaciano (Mojo), an Arawackan language spoken

in north-east Bolivia, and I observed something I think deserves to

mentioned somewhere.

Ignaciano is an agglutinative language of the kind where a verb has a

couple of dozen suffix slots (21 in Ignaciano) which are filled,

sparsely, from a set of easily-separated morphemes (39 in Ignaciano)

which add various and diverse nuances to the clause.

What is different in Ignaciano is that all these slots follow every

word – not just verbs – nouns, pronouns, conjunctions, etc. It seems

that these slots have jumped, in Ignaciano, from morphology to syntax.

In other words they have changed from suffixes to enclitics.

So far as I know this situation is not found in any other Arawakan

language and must be an Ignaciano innovation.

I am still looking at neighboring languages to see if I can suggest a

borrowing. Ignaciano has at least one other striking innovation – a

completely reworked systems of 3rd person references.

This example would increase the likelihhood that there is no real

separation between syntax and morphology. Does anyone else know of a

similar situation?

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have Comment (1)