Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Nostratic (was Re: Etymology of English 'black')

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Tuesday, June 8, 2004, 20:54

On Sun, 6 Jun 2004 14:08:48 -0500,
Danny Wier <dawiertx@...> wrote:

> True, but what I was referring to is a belief among Nostraticists is that > Indo-European *bh is related to Afro-Asiatic *b. Though Nostratic may or may > not be a valid theory in the 'real world', it is in my conworld, and Tech is > a direct descendant of this.
I am quite undecided about Nostratic. It's not implausible, I can indeed imagine those six families to descend from a single ancestor, but I think the evidence is too weak. There are two different sets of alleged cognates proposed (one by Illich-Svitych and Dolgopolsky, one by Bomhard and Kerns) that are based on different sound correspondences (B & K take PIE glottalic theory in account, while I-S & D don't) - at least one of them must be wrong. The problem lies in the laxitude with which the authors apply the comparative method, I think. Both groups allow for more semantic leeway than in traditional historical linguistics, and often use forms from individual languages rather than forms reconstructed proto-languages. For example, if there are a Greek word, a Hungarian word and a Tamil word that match, they reconstruct a Nostratic form based on "evidence from IE, Uralic and Dravidian". Some other authors (such as Miguel Carrasquer) use the method of system comparison which I also consider the best approach to long-range relationships, in which morphological paradigms are compared, applying the comparative method to pronouns, case suffixes and the like; however, it doesn't seem to me that much more than an IE-Uralic-Eskimo relationship can be established that way. At any rate, though, it is perfectly valid to assume that in a particular conworld, Nostratic is real, and to construct a Nostratic conlang. For Albic (my conlang family), I don't assume that Nostratic is real (nor do I assume the opposite), but Albic is a sister group of Indo-European, whatever else the latter is related to. (This of course means that if Nostratic is real, Albic is also a part of Nostratic.)
> Since the form of Indo-European I'm using is modified according to the > 'glottalic theory', the belief that PIE didn't have triads of p/b/bh, but > p(h)/p'/b((h) (making Grimm's Law a conservatism and not an innovation),
I am also in favour of glottalic theory, and I base "Proto-Indo-Albic", the common ancestor of Indo-European and Albic which I arrive at by internal reconstruction from PIE, on it. Thus, the correspondences are (using the dental series for example): PIA PIE PA *t(h) *t *th *t' *d *t *d *dh *d using the traditional symbols in the case of PIE. The result resembles Grimm's Law.
> there will be some words in Tech that will be similar to Germanic words with > similar meanings!
The same holds for Albic, especially given the fact that, as in Germanic, the voiceless aspirates have become fricatives. (There is no Verner's Law in Albic, though.) There even was a scholar in my conworld who classified Albic as a branch of Germanic on the ground of just that, a hypothesis now considered unsound, though. Greetings, Jörg.


Danny Wier <dawiertx@...>