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Griffen - Nostratic and Germano-European (1989)

Griffen - Nostratic and Germano-European (1989)

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NOSTRATIC AND GERMANO-EUROPEAN
Toby D.
Griffen
1.
INTRODUCTION
In
the
past few decades, comparative linguists have been examining entire language families
and
the
reconstructions
of
their protolanguagesto achieve insights into relationships among families,
as
in the work
of
Levin (1971)
on
Indo-European
and
Semitic. This has resulted in agrowing
number
of
theories that combine these families into larger families, such as
the
Lislakh suggested by Hodge ( 1978) to account for
the
relationships between Indo-European
and
Hamito-Semitic.
As
noted by Kaiser
and
Shevoroshkin (1988a), the comparison
of
language families in search
of
common sources has been particularly intense
and
has yielded particularly impressive results in the work originated in
the
USSR by such investigators
as
V.M. Illit-Svityt
and
A.B.Dolgopolsky. Indeed, the Soviet-American Conference
on
Language
and
Prehistory held
at
the University
of
Michigan in 1988 was dominated by
the
subject
of
Nostratic.
2.
NOSTRATICNostratic
is
a combination
of
several language families heretofore considered distinct. Strong evidence has been presented for including IndoEuropean, Afro-Asiatic (Hamito-Semitic), Kartvelian, Uralic, Altaic,
and
Dravidian (Kaiser
and
Shevoroshkin 1988a). Moreover,
an
increasingbody
of
data
is
being collected to
support
a close relationship (at least
through
borrowing) between Nostratic
and
some
other
families, including Sino-Caucasian (Starostin 1988)
and
even Australian (Blazek1988).A concise summary
of
the
Nostratic theory with supporting
data
can
be
found
in Kaiser
and
Shevoroshkin (1988a). While some morphological evidence
is
provided, the most extensive evidence
is
found
in
the
comparison
of
the
phonological systems
of
the participant languagefamilies. For example,
the
following correspondences
are
presented to
support
the reconstruction
of
the
labial obstruents:
GENERAL LINGUISTICS,
Vol.
29, No. 3, 1989. Published by
The
PennsylvaniaState University Press, University Park
and
London.
 
140 GENERAL LINGUISTICS
Wonls
with
**p'-
[58]
**p'i'Ywe
or
**p'[i]"we 'fire' > IE paXwor
or
*paxwor (Ht.
pahhuwar
'fire', Grk.
pur
'id', Anglo-Saxon fyr 'id'); AA *p"w 'fire';Kart. *pxw-'warm'; Ural. *piwe 'warm, hot' (13, p. 353)
**'Y
is
a stable Nostr. uvular fricative:
**-'Yu-
>
IE
*-xw-
> Anatolian
-[*hw]-;
see
the
section
on
laryngeals, below.
v
[59] **p'unja 'to plait' > IE *pen-, *spen-'to plait, weave'; AA *pn'to rotate, spin, wind'; Ural. *puna-'to spin, twist/roll, rotate (tr.)';Drav.
*put;t-
or
*pot;t-
'tie together' (13, p. 354). For IE *e,see
the
section
on
Vowels,
below.
Words
with Nostratic
**p-
[60] **pelHi 'to shiver, shake,
be
afraid' > IE *pelH-/*pleH-'toshake (tr., intr.),
be
afraid'; (Grk. pelemidzo
'I
shake', OE eal-felo'baleful, dire' all incorrectly booked by Pokorny [23, p. 801]
under
IE *pel-'to pour'); AA: *plH 'be
afraid'(>
'to
be
in awe'); Alt. *peli'get scared' > Turkic *peli-g 'easily frightened', Tung.: Nep.Evenki hal-'to
not
dare' (h
<
*f); Ural. *pele-'be afraid'; Drav.*pirV-'shiver, shake,
be
afraid' (15, p. 98ff).[61j **put'V
'hole'>
AA
*p
1
wt 'hole'; Kart. *put'-'hole'; Alt. *piitV'hole; vulva'; Ural. *putV 'rectum'; Drav. *pott-'hole' (13, p. 340;using additional data Dolgopolsky reconstructs **pU[H]t'E).
Wonls
with
Nostratic
**b
[62] **bari 'take' >
IE
*IY'er-
'take, bring, carry'; AA *br-'to seize,catch'; Alt. *bari-'take' > Turk. *bary-'(obtain) property', Mong.*bari 'grab, seize';
(?)
Drav.
*per
'pick up, gather' (*a > e beforerE) (14, p. 176ff). This entire entry has been translated in Ref. 18,
i>-
36.[63] **berg/il 'tall' > IE
*bherg"-/bhreg"-
'id'.; AA *brg
'tall';
Kart.*brg-e 'high, tall'; Ural. *pEr-kV
'tall';(?)
Drav. *per-'high, tall' (14.p. 177). (Kaiser
and
Shevoroshkin 1988a:321-22)-
The
obstruent system reconstructed for proto-Nostratic
is
presentedin table
1.
1
The
symbols
p',
t',
k'
represent the glottalized consonants,
and
pc,
tc,
kc
represent heavily aspirated consonants. Once again,
'Y
is
used
for the
uvular fricative.
As we
can see in table
1,
the obstruent systems
of
the various languagefamilies correlate strongly. This correlation holds not simply in
the
kinds
of
systems (which could be a typological coincidence),
but
even in
the
precise lexical items,
as
demonstrated in
the
extended quotation
on
the
labials, above.At first glance, the Indo-European obstruent system appears to
be
compatible with those
of
the
other
Nostratic languages, affording a regular set
of
correspondences. However, this similarity
is
misleading,
forthere
are
problems in
the
traditional reconstruction from
the
work
of
--------------------------------
 
TOBY D. GRIFFEN
141
Table
1:
The
Obstruents
of
Nostratic
Nostr.
IE
AA
Kart. Alt.Ural. Drav.**p'-*p *p
*p',*p
*p'
*p*p
**-p'-
*p
*p*p *p/*b *pp/p*pp/v**p-*p/*b
*p1
*p/*b
*p
*p
*p1
**-p-
*pl*b
*pi
*p!(p/b) *b
*p
*pp/v**b-
*bi'
*b *b *b*p *p**-b-
*bh
*b*b*b
*w
*[pp]/v**t'-*t*t'(t) *t' *t'*t*t**-t'-*t
*t'*t'
*t *ttlt*t(t)**t-*d *t *t *t *t *t**-t-*d *t*t*d *t*t(t)**d-
*dh
*d*d *d*t *t**-d-
*dh
*d *d *d
'!'8
*t(t)**k'-*k,l,kw*k' *k' *k'*k*k**-k'-*l,k,kw*k' *k' *kl*g*kklk*k(k)**k-
*g,g,gw
*k *k *k*k *k**-k-
*g,g,gw
*k *k *g *k*k(k)**g-
*gl',~,ghw
*g *g *g *k *k**-g-
*~,gh,ghw
*g*g*g
*-y
0**q'*k,l,kw*k' *q'*k *k *k**-q'-*l,k,kw*k' *k'*k*kk *kklk**-q-*x*x *q *kl*g *k*k
**--y-
*-y
*-y *-y
*:0/*-y
*-y
0
Grimm (1822-37), Verner (1876),
and
others
(compare
Brugmann
1972).
The
traditional
Indo-European
reconstruction included
in
table 1
is
based
upon
some
outmoded
assumptions. First, since Sanskrit was
the
oldest written
Indo-European
language,
the
early comparatists assumed
that
it maintained
the
most conservative system. Hence,
the
reconstruction
is
heavily weighted toward Sanskrit (and
the
other
classical lan
guages-Latin
and
Greek). Second, these researchers believed
thatthe
original
Indo-European
language was spoken by a 'race'
that
camefrom
the
East,
further
bolstering
the
position
of
Sanskrit. Finally, theybelieved
that
language degenerates
from
a
pure
to a
corrupt
form.
If
the
earliest written
(=
pure) form
was Sanskrit,
then
the others must
be
degenerate
and
hence
more
innovative
in
their
systems.Linguists have recently
determined that
the
traditional reconstructionis unlikely
at
best.
No
attested language precisely maintains
the
system
represented
in
the
reconstruction (although Sanskrit may
be
closest toit).
Thus,
some linguists have devised typologically
more
plausible systems, relying
upon
a glottalic realization
of
what has traditionally
been

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