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Vowellessness... grunty?

From:Edward Heil <edwardheil@...>
Date:Monday, April 12, 1999, 20:07
Bryan Maloney <bjm10@...> wrote:
> > That's where the "no vowels in early PIE" idea comes from. And it do=
> > mean that it was pronounced without vowels; if you listened to it it'=
d sound
> > more or less like any other modern natlang. It's that vowels weren't=
parts of
> > roots the way they are in most modern languages, at least at an early=
> =
> If the vowels weren't in the roots, then weren't they pronounced withou=
> vowels, or were the roots never actually pronounced (simply "implied") > but always given some form of alteration (I hesitate to say "inflection=
> specifically) when actually used?
Um, think of it this way. According to scholars such as Winifred Lehmann= , proto-Indo-European didn't have vowels, the same way that modern English doesn't have tones. You still pronounce each English word at some particular pitch, with some= particular pitch contour, but a given pitch or pitch contour is not tied distinctively to a word the way it is in Chinese. You don't have to memo= rize the pitch or pitch contour as part of the word, as you would in Chinese. Similarly, in very early PIE, you still had syllable nuclei ("vowels") in= the words, but the quality and to some degree the location of those vowels we= re not tied to the roots. They showed up in pronunciation in various ways (= that I don't yet understand, cause I don't own Lehmann's 1974 work, "The Phono= logy of Proto-Indo-European" (can anybody help me here?)), but they weren't ti= ed to the word. Ed ____________________________________________________________________ Get free e-mail and a permanent address at 1