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Inspired by this answer by Arnaud Fournet I have this question: Do Old Indic (Vedic, Sankrit) words beginning with a voiceless aspirated stop (like ph, th, or kh) have cognates in other branches of Indogermanic? What are typical regular sound correspondences?

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    Wikipedia lists Sanskrit ph, th, kh as the regular correspondences for PIE *p, *t, *k before an original laryngeal
    – b a
    May 8 '19 at 14:41
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    Well, yes, but that's circular. Laryngeals are posited in the first place because of their effect on surrounding sounds.
    – jlawler
    May 8 '19 at 21:17
  • @jlawler It's not circular if there's independent evidence for the laryngeals in question, as in some cases there is.
    – TKR
    May 9 '19 at 1:14
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As a rule, the voiceless aspirates are a dialectal feature. In most languages, they cannot be distinguished from plain voiceless. As regards *kh, the typical pattern is Old Indian kh, Armenian x, Greek k(h). For example, in a potentially onomatopeic verb: *kakh- "to laugh", where probably no laryngeal is involved. As regards *th, typically Old Indian th, Armenian t, Greek t(h), very often preceded by initial s- as in *st(h)eH- "to stand", cf. *pont(H)- "path, way through", *ost(H)- "bone". As regards *ph, typically Old Indian ph, Armenian ph, Greek p(h), a good example is *(s-)phol- "to fall".

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    Wikipedia (for what it's worth) agrees with you on /kh/, and lists Skt खादति khā́dati :: OArm խածանեմ xacane, from PIE kʷh₂ed-. May 8 '19 at 23:42
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    What do you mean by "dialectal feature"? Does this indicate an irregular and sporadic correspondence, or can it be consistently traced to certain dialects? May 9 '19 at 8:18
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    It seems that the creation of a fourth series of consonants: the voiceless aspirated series, occurred only in a subset of probably contiguous languages: Greek, Armenian and Indo-Iranian. In the other languages, the phonotaxis of C+H did not create an additional series: voiceless C+H=C. The verb *kakh- "to laugh" has a variant in Germanic *hlah- < *klakh-, so Germanic is somehow close to this subset of "Central Indo-European" languages. So this isogloss is dialectal in the sense that only a few languages are involved.
    – user23769
    May 9 '19 at 10:27

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