Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: THEORY: A possible Proto-World phonology

From:Ed Heil <edheil@...>
Date:Thursday, June 29, 2000, 4:43
>===== Original Message From Constructed Languages List
<CONLANG@...> =====
>Oskar Gudlaugsson wrote: >> >> Lars: >> >> What's Nostratic? Something Pre-IE? I haven't heard of it, so please inform >> me :) > >IIRC, Nostratic is IE and a whole bunch of other languages, some that >are thought to be isolates, the Siberian langs, etc. I don't know which >languages are included beyond that. Nostratists (?) are basically trying >to prove that IE is related to many more languages, that all share a >common ancestor, which probably would indeed be pre-IE.
And in case everything wasn't confusing enough, Winifred Lehmann rides up and claims "Pre-Indo-European" as a technical term for an older stage than Proto-Indo-European but one which has nothing to do with Nostratic; Pre-Indo-European was active, though Proto- became accusative; Pre-Indo-European had no reconstructible phonemic vowels*, while Proto- had e and o. Basically anything that is a really radical bit of reconstruction, and which is not *directly* reflected in the IE languages but is theoretically elegant or compelling in some way, he throws into Pre-Indo-European. *RE the lack of reconstructible phonemic vowels: Lehmann has been criticized on this list and elsewhere for this point, which seems rather like structuralism pushed too far -- it's rather like pointing out that because they are in complementary distribution, english [h] and [N] could be regarded as two different realizations of the same phoneme; while it's perfectly good on a certain theoretical level it is intuitively abhorrent. I'm not sure I feel that strongly about the "lack of vowels reconstruction" but in any case, Lehmann doesn't claim that Pre-IE was *pronounced* without distinctive vowels or anything nutty like that, only that the vowels were completely conditioned in quality by their context. ------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------