Wednesday, 2 October 2013

h₂áu̯ei̯ h₁i̯osméi̯ h₂u̯l̥h₁náh₂ né h₁ést, só h₁éḱu̯oms derḱt

Let's look at the first sentence of Schleicher's fable:

h₂áu̯ei̯ h₁i̯osméi̯ h₂u̯l̥h₁náh₂ né h₁ést, só h₁éḱu̯oms derḱt

Here are some notes on the words, as far as I can tell. Corrections are welcome.

dative (why dative?) singular of *h₂ou̯i- "sheep"
derivatives: ovine, ewe

dative? of the relative pronoun *i̯o-

suffixed zero-grade form of *h₂u̯elh₁- "wool" (Watkins *welə-¹)
wool, lanolin

sentence negator

root aorist? of *h₁es- "to be"

demonstrative pronoun

thematic accusative plural? of *h₁eḱu̯os "horse" (Fortson *eḱu̯os)
equine, hippo

root aorist of *derḱ- "to see"

So the first sentence can be glossed like this:
h₂áu̯ei̯ h₁i̯osméi̯ h₂u̯l̥h₁náh₂ h₁ést h₁éḱu̯oms derḱt
sheep on-which wool not was it horses saw
"a sheep that had no wool saw horses"


Glen Gordon said...

A word like *h₂u̯l̥h₁náh₂ could be written as *h₂u̯l̥h₁néh₂ if we insist on a purely phonemic spelling that distinguishes between underlying "true" *a and the coloured *a (from *e).

Of course, a more reader-friendly orthography would be nicer (say, *xwl̥hnéx) but I realize that IEists still persist on making everything look so convoluted to scare away the neophytes. Lol.

goofy said...

How do we know that *-nah₂ was phonemically *-neh₂? Since *a was a phoneme.

Glen Gordon said...

Offhand, I can't think of a convincing proof for *e instead of *a in the feminine/collective ending other than that it is a well known fact that *a is rare in PIE. (I conclude that this is due to most instances of *a in Pre-IE shifting to *o leaving some instances of *a remaining.)

Glen Gordon said...

Oh wait, maybe there is an argument to be had using thematic vowels. Not a proof but more of an aesthetic perhaps.

There is an *e/*o alternation seemingly dependent on whether the thematic vowel precedes a voiced consonant, whether that be in nouns or verbs.

So we see *bʰér-e-ti and not **bʰér-o-ti, yet we see *bʰér-o-mes and not **bʰér-e-mes. If the vowel of the feminine-collective in *-eh₂ is a thematic vowel too (... and why wouldn't it be since we find *-h₂ alone or *-ih₂ with a different theme vowel?) then we should expect *e before unvoiced *h₂ as per the aforementioned pattern. Coincidentally we never see feminines/collectives in *-oh₂.

In my theory, thematic vowels go back to schwa, lengthening slightly before voiced sounds to produce this later vowel alternation. Despite Allan Bomhard's claim of a (semi)voiced laryngeal, I believe these laryngeals to originally be strictly voiceless in PIE.

Stephen C. Carlson said...

I would suggest that the reason for the dative is that is a dative of possession like the Latin mihi est construction.

goofy said...

Stephen: then what is the function of *h₁i̯osméi̯?

Stephen Carlson said...

OK, the dative of possession accounts for the relative pronoun. I don't know now why the first word is dative; the other versions of the fable I've been able to consult all have it as nominative.

If a Greek text, I might suggest case attraction to that of the relative, but I don't know if that applies to PIE

Unknown said...

Taking the ending to contain the thematic vowels raises a couple of questions

- how to explain the first person singular of thematic verbs?
- how to explain the vocative ending?
- why aren't the special endings for instrumental and locative plural not used?

Anonymous said...

I suppose he puts the referent in the relative clause and therefore has "so" in the main clause.