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Re: PIE -> Sanskrit

From:Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>
Date:Saturday, February 12, 2005, 20:46
Steven Williams wrote:

> I was wondering how the Sanskrit retroflexes came > about, since PIE had no contrast between those and > dental phonemes. In one chapter, it points out that > the Sanskrit retroflex plosives were the result of the > erosion of medial [st] and [sd]-type clusters; the [s] > was an alveolar phoneme and quite handily imparted its > alveolar qualities onto the following dental phoneme.
That's possible, though I don't recall hearing about it in the rather hurried IE course I took. IIRC Gamkrelidze and Ivanov are a little controversial--they either espouse/don't espouse the so-called glottalic theory. It's also quite possible that at least some are due to contact/Sprachbund with substrate Dravidian and Munda languages.
> > What I'm wondering is how the retroflex fricatives > came about. My first thought is that they could have > come about through [rs]-type clusters, since that's > how it works in Norwegian, and the [r] in Sanskrit > seems to make following coronals retroflex anyways (as > in 'krsna', where the entire medial consonant cluster > [rsn] is retroflex, if I'm not mistaken). >
This I think is phonologically conditioned wrt to the sibilants at least, and maybe it carries over to nasals-- the so-called RUKI rule (which also affected Balto-Slavic IIRC). An *s following k,r,u and apparently i > retroflexed /s./ So you have ks.atriya (warrior/caste), (flower), krs.n.a, dos.a **/dausa/ (sin) --can't think of any -is.- exs. offhand.
> And how on Earth did Sanskrit get a series of > voiceless aspirates, when, according to both major > theories of PIE phonology, there were none in the > first place? >
IIRC some believe these arose from vl.stop+laryngeal. Don't G&I discuss it? Isn't there a "history of Sanskrit" in one or another of the Great Languages series (Cambridge, or older Faber)? I'm sure all these topics have been discussed at some time or other on Cybalist (a yahoogroup).