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Re: THEORY: A possible Proto-World phonology

From:Lars Henrik Mathiesen <thorinn@...>
Date:Friday, June 30, 2000, 13:24
> Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2000 16:42:26 +0200 > From: BP Jonsson <bpj@...>
> (*As I said yesterday I adhere to the view that the whole > [Afro-Asiatic] family originated in the Nile area, Semitic entering > Asia from Ethiopia through Arabia. The sea-level in the Red Sea was > lower in the Stone Age. I find it harder to believe that PS speakers > passed through Egypt without leaving a trace before Egyptian > established itself there, or that the family originated in the Near > East and entered Africa through Egypt. AFAIK the recorded history of > Mesopotamia and the archaeology of the Eastern Med seabord speak > against that.
Well, it looks to me as if the whole Nostratic hypothesis basically falls apart if IE and AA can't be related, since those are the two families where the most derivations by far have been adduced. For illustration, I'll quote a few etymologies from Illich-Svitych's "Opyt sravnenija Nostraticheskix jazykov", Part I (b-K'), as typed in by Miguel Carrasquer Vidal on the Nostratic list back in November 1997: 4. bal3/u/ "to swallow": AA bl3 "to swallow" ~ Alt. balgu-/bilga- "to swallow, throat" AA || Arab. <bl3> (impf. <-bla3>) "to swallow", Geez <bl3> "to eat", OHebr., Aram. <bl3> "to swallow" || OEgypt. <b`n.t> (with metathesis) "bird's neck" || Cush.: Beja <bala> "throat", Chara (S.Cush.) <borka:> "neck" || Cf. Cohen 176, Ember 33, 45, Calice 144, Ges. 101, Leslau Har. 41, Dolgopol'skij ASb. 54. Semantic development: "swallow" --> "throat" --> "neck". Alt. || Lit.Mong. <balGu-> "to swallow"; Buryat <balga> "gulp"; Buryat <balga>, Kalmyk <balga~-> "to swallow" || Tung. *bilga: Manchu <bilxa> "trachea"; Nanay <belga> "oesophagus"; Ulch. <bildz^a>, Orok. <bilda>, Oroch. <bigga>, Negidal <belga>, Evenk. <bilga>, Even. <belga> "throat" || Cf. Ramstedt KW 31, Cinc. 297, Vas. 54. The variant with -i- vocalism (Tungus) is likely secondary and connected with a change in the ending of the root, cf. Alt. *siba < *sawe [*] (Part II). [] Cf. Dolg. 12. Original *-3- regularly gave Alt. *-g-. [*] Subsequently, the author changed the reconstruction of this form, taking *siwa as original; the author considers Ural. *s'awe secondary, cf. #228 [Editor's note] 5. balq'a "to sparkle": AA brq "to sparkle, lightning" ~ Kartv. berc'q'- "to sparkle, be bright" ~ IE bhelg-/bhleg- "to sparkle, be bright" ~ Alt. [balkV- "to shine, be bright"]. AA || Semit. *brq "to lighten": <brq> in all Sem. lgs. (Arab. impf. <-bruq>/<-braq>, Akk. praet. <-briq>); "lightning": Arab. <barq>, OSArab. <brq>, Shahri, Mehri <barq>, Tigre <ba"raq>, Tigrinya <ba"rqi>, Syr. <barqo:>, Ugarit. <brq>, OHebr. <bA:rA:q>, Akk. <berqu> || Oegypt. <b3q> (< *brq>) "be bright" (Later Egypt. <brq> < Semit., see Ward JAOS 80, 323) || Cush. *m-brq "lightning" (with prefix m-; Geez, Amh. <ma"-bra"q> likely formed under the influence of the Cush. model): Bili <mirka:> (<mark> "to sparkle"), Hamir <mirqa:>, Kemant <ma"rk>, Kuara <merk>, Kabenna, Kambatta <banqu-ta>, Hadiya, Sidamo <banqo> (*m-barq-, with nasal metathesis; Sidamo <ba"la"qo> "lightning", Mocha <p'ariqq(i)- "to sparkle" etc. < Semit., see Leslau Moc^a 46) || Chad.: ? Hausa <wa`lk'i'ja:'> (prefixed *w-brq?) f. "lightning"; Buduma <ba`rme'l> (Talbot), <baramil> "thunder, lightning" (compound word); Musgu <bara> "to shine", <abera> "thunder, lightning" || Cf. Behnk ZDMG7, 139, Ember 98, Greenb. 59, Conti Rossini Kem. 231, Bergstr. 185, Aistl. 59-60, Leslau Soq. 97, Leslau Har. 46, Moreno Sid. 207. In AA -r- instead of expected *-l- (*blq-) possibly under the influence of *br- "to shine" (Semit. *brr, *brx, *brs., see Soden AW106). Kartv. *berc'q'-/*br.c'q'- || Geo. <brc'q'-in-> "to shine, sparkle", OGeo. <na-berc'q'-al-> "spark" || Megrel. <rc'k'-in-> "to shine" || See Kl. 50, Schmidt St. 99. In Kartv. one can propose secondary epenthesis of -c'- in the rare cluster *-rq'-, to turn it into the more usual harmonic cluster -c'q'-. IE || OI <bha'rgas-> n. "blinding shine", <Bhr.'gavas> pl. "mythical lightning priests" || Grk. <phle'go:> (< *bleg-, root-type II) "I burn" || Lat. fulg- (< *bhl.g-) "to sparkle, be bright", <fulgus> (gen. <fulgeris>; more often secondary <fulgur>) n. "lightning" || OHG <blechazzan>, MHG <blecken> "to sparkle" || OLith. <blingiti> (with infix) "to be bright" (against Fraenk. 48) || Toch. AB <pa"lk-> "to burn, to light" || Cf. Pok. 124-125. IE *bhelg-/ *bhleg- hardly connected with the root found in OI <bha:lam> "shine", Latv. <ba~ls> "pale" (against Pok.): these forms derive from *bheh-l-, extended from *bheh- "to shine" (see Vas. 1, 73). Alt. || Turk. *balky-: Gorno-Alt. (Teleut.) <malkyl> (m- instead of b-) "clear, shiny"; Kazakh., Tatar., Karaim., OKipch. (Cum.) <balky-> "to shine"; OOghuz (Qis..), OTur. <balky-> "to be bright" (Zaja,czkowski Kor. 79), Turkish (Edirne, see Eckmann ASAL 49) <balkyz> "lightning" || ? Kor. <pa_lg-> "be clear, bright (we would expect *palg-) || Cf. Ramstedt SKE 186, Radl. 4, 1499. ?Ural. Interesting is Xanty (N.) <paGa~l> "lightning" (noted only by Pa'pal-Beke 57), which might reflect Ural. *palkV. Cf. Tromb. 401 (AA ~ Kartv.). Original *-l-, reconstructed on the basis of the IE and Alt. data, regularly gave Kartv. -r- (in compounds), and was possibly changed in AA by analogy. In IE, the structure of voiced aspirated with voiceless was, as usual, reshaped: *bhelk- > *bhelg-. Judging by IE velar *-g-, the ending of the root had a central vowel *a; Turk. *-y- would then in all likelihood be secondary. The original semantics, as shown by the majority of languages, denoted a brief outburst of bright light (lightning, spark). 6. ? balV "blind": AA bll "blind" ~ Alt. balV "blind" AA || Egypt.: Copt. (Bocheir.) <belle>, (Said.) <b@lle> "blind". || E.Cush. "blind": Galla <ba"lla>, Sidamo <ball-ic^c^a>, <bal'-ic^c^a>, Darasa, Burji <balla'a> (Cush. > Sem.: Harari <ba"lla>, E.Gurare <balla>) || See Leslau JNES 21, 47, Leslau Har. 41, Moreno Sid. 207, Moreno RStO 17, 380. Alt. || Mong. *bal-ai: MMong, Lit.Mong. <balai soqor> "blind" (<soqor> "blind"), Lit.Mong. <balai> "dark, unknowing", <balai-ra-> "to become blind"; Dagur. <balie:>, Xalxa <bala~e:>, Buryat, Kalmyk <bala":> "blind" (Mong. > Yakut <balai>) || Tung. "blind": Manchu <balu>, Nany <bali>, Ulch. <ba:li> (possibly with metathesis of vowel-length < *bali:), Oroch., Udei., Orok., Negidal <bali>, Evenk. <bali:>, Even. <bali:kac^> || Cf. Ramstedt SKE 145, Ligeti AOH 14, 18, Cinc. 296, Vas. 49. [] Cf. Dolgopol'skij ASb. 57-58. Doubtful because of the rareness of the AA forms. 7. bara "big, good": IE bher- "good, big" ~ Ural. para "good" ~ Drav. [par- "big"] ~ Alt. [bara "much"]. IE || Arm. <bari>, <barvok> (ar < *r.) "good" || Grk. (Homer.) phe'r-ist-os (superl.) "best" || Alb. <mbare"> "good, happy" || Lat. <fere:>, <ferme:> (< *ferime:, superl.) "almost; for the greatest part" || OHG <bor->, <bora-> (<or> < *r.) "very" (pref., cf. <bora-lang> "very long"); OSa. <bar> "very" (<bar-wirdig> "fully worthy") || Cf. Pedersen KZ 38, 204, Muller Altit. 177. Usually these forms are seen as derived from *bher- "to bring, to bear" (<-- "fruit-bearing, harvest", cf. Bois. 1021, Pok. 128-131; differently Persson Beitr. 1, 49: connects with *bher- "border, height"); In the light of external comparison it seems more plausible to derive them from "big" (cf. Gmc., Lat.) --> "good". Ural. || Finn. <paras> (superl.) "best", <parempi> (comp.) "better" (forms based on lost *para "good") || Saam. (N.) <buore-> "good" || Mordv. (Moksh.) para~, (Erzy.) <paro> "good, well" || Mari (Gorn.) <pur@^>, (Lugov.) <poro> "good, healthy" || Udmurt <bur> "right"; Komi <bur> "good" || See SKES 490-491, Lytkin 205, Itkonen LChr. 85. Drav. || SDrav.: Tamil <paru> "to become big, to swell", <paruppu> "fatness, highness"; Malayal. <paru> "big, voluminous; abscess, boil" (<-- "swelling"); Tulu <parija> "very much". See DED 267 ||. Alt. || ? Lit.Mong. <bar-da-gan>, Xalxa <barda:n> "wealth, wealthy" || Tung. *bara(n) "much": Manchu <baran> ("numerous"), Orok. <bara>, Solon. <bara>, Evenk. <baran> (cf. <bara-l-> "to become big"). See Vas. 50 || The old meaning "big" is maintained in Drav., Alt. and partially in IE. In Ural. and IE we see a further semantic development towards "good" (as for instance in SCr. <bo``lji:> "better" <-- "bigger"). 8. bari "to take": AA br- "to seize, to catch" ~ IE bher- "to take, to bring, to carry" ~ ? Drav. per_- "to choose, to collect" ~ Alt. bari- "to take in the hand". AA || Semit.: Akk. (Babyl.) <b'r> (praet. <-ba:r>) "to catch (fish)", <ba:'iru> "fisherman"; probably a secondary extension of original *br, cf. Mehri, Shahri <btr> (< *t-br) "to angle for fish" (it is likely that <3> is secondary in Sokotri <b3r> "to angle"; cf. Leslau JAOS 82,2) || Berber: Tuareg <aber> (praet. <-uber>) "to take a handfull"; -b- < *-bb- < *w-b-, cf. without prefixal *w, which conditioned the doubling and retention of -b-, Tuareg <e-ha"re> (h < *-b- with weakening as in the cases described by Beguinot RANL 33, 186-100) "possession, goods, cattle" || Cush, *brj; Beja <bari> "to get, collect, to have, possess"; Saho (Irob, see Plaikowski-Wagner ZDMG 103, 198) <bar.-> "to seize, hold", Afar (Tajurax, see Lucas JSAfr 5, 198) <ber-> "to carry away" || Chad.: Ngla (Kotoko group) <birre> "to seize" || Cf. Roessler Oriens 17, 215 IE || OI <bha'arati>, Av. <baraiti> "carries"; OI <bha'ras> "winnings" || Arm. <berem> "I carry, bring" || Phryg. <ab-beret> "brings" || Grk. <phe'ro:> "I carry" (Myc. 3sg. praes. <pe-re>, see Morpurgo 240) || Alb. <bie> (< *bhero:, cf. imper. <biere">) "I bring, carry" || Lat. Osc. <fer-> "to carry" || OIr. <biru> "I carry" || Goth. <bai'ran> "to carry, to bring" || OCS <bero,> (inf. <bIrati> "I take" || Toch. AB <pa"r-> "to brig, carry" || Cf. Pok. 128-132 (In Pok. formations are considered from an originally different root, with the meaning "to be born, offspring", see #32). In the light of the external comparisons it is seen that the meaning "to take" in Slavic, usually considered an innovation, must be ancient. From this meaning developed the semantics that are more fully represented in IE: "to bring" --> "to carry". ? Drav. "to choose, collect" || Sdrav. *per_ukk-: Tamil, Malayal. <per_ukku>, Toda <per_k->, KOdagu <pori"k-> || Telugu <pedz^ipi>, <pedz^dz^u> || C.Drav.: Kolamo <petk->, Naiki <pett->, Parji <ped->, Gadaba (Salur) <pidz^->, Gondi (Adilabad) <per->, Konda <per_->, Kui <pebg-> (< *peg-b-) || Kurux <pes-> || See DED 293. Alt || Tur. *bary-: OTur., OUigh. <barym> "possession"; Azer. <baryn-> (Gazax) <barym-> "to make use of, to receive advantage"; OTur. (TS 2, 104) <baryn-> "to earn a living", Turkish (Edirne) <bary-> "to care for, protect"; Cf. Hung. <barom>, OHung. <barum> "cattle" (<-- "possessions"), borrowed from OBulg. (Gombocz BTL 40-41) || Mong. "to take with the hands, to seize" (and further "to offer s.o. s.t."): MMong. <va:r->, Kalmyk <ba"r'->, Moghol <bari->; see Poppe Mong. 26, Zirni 89 || Cf. Ramstedt KW 38 (where, as in Ram. 56, a connection of the Mong. words is also suggested with Tur. *barNak "finger"). In Turk., the semantic development was "to take" --> "to get (possessions)" [] Cf. Ramstedt JSFOu 53(1), 23, Dolg. 12 (IE ~ Alt). The basic meaning "to take" is maintained in Alt., Drav. and partially IE. In Drav., *a > e umlaut apparently took place under influence of a front vowel in the second syllable in the position before <r_> (as with Drav. *e:r_- "to rise" < *Hora", #116). 9. berg/i/ "high": AA brg "high" ~ ? Kartv. br.g-e "high" ~ IE bhergh-/bhregh- "high" ~ Ural. [p/e/r/-kV/ "high"] ~ ? Drav. pe:r_- "high". AA || Berber: Tuareg <burg'@t> (aor. praet. <-bburg'@t>) "to stand up" (suggests *w-brg-) || Cush.: Beja (Almkvist) <birga> "high", Galla (Tutsehek) <borgi> "mountain top" || ? Chad.: Yegu <bu|lgi^t> m. "high" || ?Kartv || Geo. <brge> "grown, tall". Formation with suff. -e. Gam.-Mach. 99 suggest a link with Svan <b@gi> "hard". IE || OI. <br.h-a'nt-> "big, high", Av. <b@r@z-ant-> "high" || Arm. <barjr> "high" || Hitt. <parkus^> "high" || OLat. <forctus> "strong" (< *bhr.g^h-to-) || MIr. <bri:> (acc. <brig>) "hill", We. <bry> "high" || OIce. <bjarg>, OHG <berg> "mountain"; OE <brego> ("root type II" *bhreg^h-) "mister" || Toch. AB <pa"rk-> "to rise" || Unclear are forms with IE velar instead of expected palato-velar -- Alb. <Burg> (in mountain names, see Jokl ZONF 10, 183-186), Slav. *ber~gU "bank, height" (OCS <bre^gU>, SCr. bre~g etc.); possibly, these are borrowings from "centum"-langugaes. See Pok. 140-141, Vas. 1, 76. Ural. || Samoyed *pi:r (and derivations) "high": Nenets <pi"rc'a> (<pi:r> "height"), Enets (Xantajka) <fid'e>, (Bajxa) <fize>, Nganasan <fira>, <firaga>, Selqup (Taz) <perga"> (<pi:re> "height"), Kamas. <pu.rz^e>, Koibal. <pric'e>, Motor. <hirge>, Taigi <hu"rke>; see Lehtisalo MSFOu 56, 84, Castre'n Sam. 236. The Samoyed form could reflect Ural. *perkV or *pirkV. ? Drav. || S.Drav.: Kota <pe:r> "steep inclination", Toda <po":r_> "rock, cliff" || See DED 294. Here also, apparently, Kuvi <pe:r.h-> "to lift" (<-- "high"; less convincing the link with *pe:r_- "to load, heap", as suggested in DED 294). [] Cf. Tromb. 399 (Cush ~ IE ~ Ural), Vogt NTS 9, 337 (Kartv ~ IE). The e-vocalism in the first syllable is based on the Drav. data (cf. also Uralic). The length of Drav *e: probably compensates for the simplification of the *-rk- cluster. IE palatal *g^h suggests a front vowel in the auslaut.