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Re: THEORY: A possible Proto-World phonology

From:Vima Kadphises <vima_kadphises@...>
Date:Thursday, June 29, 2000, 0:15
Danny Wier <dawier@...> wrote:
>Surely Luwian is uncontroversially Indo-European? Perhaps you meant >"Hurrian"?
"You're right. Luwian was an Anatolian language like Hittite. Hurrian, along with Urartian, are believed to be early forms of what would become North Caucasian (not South Caucasian/Kartvelian)." Have any of you heard Hurrian music? There exists a tape of several Germans chanting in Hurrian to instrumental accompaniment. The music for this tape and the text were recovered from a Hurrian tablet discovered at Ugarit, one of the few (only a handful, really) tablets uncovered with any sort of musical notation. The decipherment of this notation was one of the greatest and most controversial achievements of Assyriology in the past few decades. The music itself sounds rather like a Gregorian chant, for reasons which must be obvious to the scads of musicologists subscribing to this list, but are somewhat hazy to me. I earn my living conserving (baking, desalinating, and mending) Hurrian tablets, excavated by my employer at the site of Nuzi during the 30s, one of the provincial capitals of the Empire of the Mitanni. The project began at the beginning of my second year in graduate school and I'm proud to say that we have just mended three hundred tablets. There are nearly 20,000 to go, half of which come from Nuzi and the other half from other archives in the Near East. The Nuzi tablets are generally composed in Hurrian or "Peripheral (ie. bad) Akkadian." Thorkild Jakobsen donated the tape to us and we (the two other student conservators and myself) thought that it might be nice to pass the hours listening to ancient Hurrian. Boy, were we wrong. We quickly grew to hate that tape and have not listened to it since. BTW, if any of you would like the references for this tape, I can track them down for you. You won't find it on, though; more likely, you can acquire it through Harrassowitz or Brill, although you might want to take out a second mortgage on your home before you do; you'll need it for the down payment. "Elamite is fairly universally accepted as being the parent language of Dravidian." This is news to me; I thought that the jury was still out on the status of Elamite. My former Old Iranian professor, Dr. Antonio Panaino, used to describe it as an Iranian-Semitic mischsprache. I'm not sure that anyone agrees with him, but my current Old Iranian professor, Dr. Prods Oktor Skjaervo, recently held a seminar on the Elamite language, and he seemed to indicate that the Dravidian (or Proto-Dravidian) nature of Elamite was a minority opinion, possibly only held by one very vocal scholar. "And regarding the Nostratic theory in general: I do accept at least some of it, even to the point where I can call it a hypothesis instead of a theory, for these reasons, expressed in these parallels:" I enjoyed reading this -- it was one of the most cogent defenses of the Nostratic theory that I have seen yet. However, I would still be careful, in regard to point 4. "Laryngealism" in Semitic seems to be an Arabic innovation (which then spread to Aramaic and some dialects of Hebrew); the vogue these days is to reconstruct these consonants as ejectives, as they appear in Ethiopic and (to the best of anyone's knowledge) in Akkadian and NorthWest Semitic. The problem is that most Semitists reconstruct Proto-Semitic along the lines of Arabic. To listen to some of us, you would think that Arabic *is* Proto-Semitic. There still exist some quaint Victorian Orientalist notions among us, so it is not unusual to find Semitists (and also Bible Scholars) claiming that the conservative Bedouin, "clinging to their nomadic lifestyle and existing far from the corrupting influence of the cities, live their lives today as they have since the beginning of time." This is, of course, complete nonsense. -Chollie --------------------------------- Do You Yahoo!? Get Yahoo! Mail - Free email you can access from anywhere!