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
"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
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 Amazon.com, 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
"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
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
Do You Yahoo!?
Get Yahoo! Mail - Free email you can access from anywhere!