Questions tagged [reconstruction]

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16
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0answers
316 views

What are the different schools of PIE reconstruction?

I have read some works on Proto-Indo-European which mention different schools that advocate for different paradigms of reconstruction, such as the Leiden and the Erlangen schools. I'd like to know if ...
15
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3answers
1k views

Did Ancient Greek have a rising intonation for questions?

Unlike English, Ancient (e.g. Attic) Greek does not reorder words to formulate a question. The particle "ἆρα" does modify a statement into a question, but is not always present. In that case, I ...
14
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4answers
880 views

How does a linguist determine whether a pattern is grammatical in a language?

How does a linguist determine whether a pattern is grammatical in a language? Is there some kind of standard test? This is assuming that there is little documentation of the language and no authority. ...
12
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1answer
232 views

To what extent has Martha's Vineyard SL been reconstructed?

Martha's Vineyard had a large deaf population and a native sign language. I read that this had been partially reconstructed by looking at the differences between ASL and LSF, as modern ASL is ...
10
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2answers
578 views

Difference between “Leiden school” and “mainstream” Indo-Europeanists?

Recently, I've been asked what the difference between the "Leiden school" and "mainstream" Indo-Europeanists is. The asker is planning to study in Leiden and has been concerned with the many vague ...
10
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2answers
429 views

Did PIE *h3 cause voicing in any other words than the “drink” word?

The Proto-Indo-European "third laryngeal", *h3, is often assumed to have been a voiced sound based on the fact that some reflexes of the "drink" root *peh3- appear to show voicing assimilation of p to ...
10
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2answers
1k views

Pre-Proto-Basque: is there a methodology to establishing its vocabulary?

For example, say I have a list Basque/Euskera words, is there a way I can reconstruct these modern Basque words into a Pre-Proto-Basque version? beo (hot) lur (earth) izotz (ice) izuga (fear) ...
9
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2answers
416 views

Understanding the reflexes of PIE *ǵneh3- in Sanskrit, Latin and Greek

Today I was trying to reconstruct some PIE roots by myself and I came across the word for '(to) know' in different indo-european languages. Here are some examples: Eng. (to) know It. conoscere Lat. (...
9
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2answers
338 views

Are any of the Old Chinese reconstructions for「能」plausible descendants of Proto-Sino-Tibetan /*dɣwjəm/?

(Apologies if this is off-topic.) The Chinese character「能」was originally a picture of a kind of bear. The character was once used to represent a word meaning bear, but this word doesn't appear to ...
8
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2answers
161 views

Can computational techniques solve historical problems that couldn't otherwise be solved?

Recently I've read that machine learning has been used to apply the Comparative Method (example with references here). Also, there are other mathematical approaches that have been applied to the ...
7
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3answers
994 views

Advances in Glottochronology

I have read some old works on lexicostatistics and glottochronology, like Swadesh's original articles or this work, where using Swadesh's basic assumptions, the author obtains a temporal estimation ...
7
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2answers
444 views

What is the oldest language that we know enough about to construct a plausible sentence in it?

One exciting way to track the evolution of our understanding of Proto-Indo-European is to look at the different versions of Schleicher's fable from different years. The more time we spend studying the ...
7
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2answers
525 views

Why can verbal roots in PIE only contain the vowel e?

Verbal roots of PIE are generally reconstructed as (C5) (C3) C1 e C2 (C4) (C6); with certain phonetical restrictions, especially on the outmost consonants. I wonder why only "e" should be allowed as ...
6
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1answer
117 views

What is Proto-Semitic *x̣?

In his Akkadian grammar (specifically the appendix on phonology), Huehnergard lists the following Proto-Semitic consonants: Most of this looks familiar to me. However, *x̣ caught me by surprise; I'm ...
5
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0answers
106 views

“Reconstruction” of an attested and well studied language

I wonder has anyone ever tried to reconstruct Latin language via data on modern Romance languages as if we know nothing about what Latin actually was. Both as a fun exercise and as a method to test ...
4
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2answers
567 views

Were the so-called aspirates of PIE ever aspirated?

In the thread Is unvoiced & unaspirated a category of speech? it was pointed out to me, that the aspirates in Indic languages, notably Sanskrit, are from a truly phonetic perspective not aspirates,...
4
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1answer
603 views

Why Is It That Ancient Greek Reconstructed Pronunciation Is Always Used For Koine?

By the time of Koine greek, in general, it was much the same as today, but I always see the Ancient Greek pronunciation being taught, why is this? Is is it because most people learning koine in ...
4
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1answer
111 views

Is there any reflex of initial *h₁?

It's commonly posited that all PIE roots consist of two groups of consonants, neither of which can be empty. For example, the root *h₁ed- has the groups *h₁ and *d. However, I'm not aware of any ...
3
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1answer
118 views

When was Proto-Austronesian spoken?

I read on Wikipedia that the language that Hawaiian comes from, distantly, is called Proto-Austronesian. It says that it had more sounds/phonemes was spoken around Taiwan and Southern China. However, ...
3
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2answers
208 views

Would it be possible to discover through linguistics if any non-human languages influenced known language families?

Suppose some recent hominins such as Neanderthal had a spoken language (currently, as far as I'm aware, we are uncertain if they did, but suppose we knew they did). If this were the case, would it be ...
3
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1answer
194 views

Use of forks/chopsticks and sound change?

Apparently [European] humans had an ape-like bite until relatively recently, with our top and bottom incisors aligned along their edges. With the invention of the fork around 250 years ago, our ...
3
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1answer
163 views

Homophones in Proto-Germanic

Does anyone know reconstructed homophones in Proto-Germanic or where I could look them up? I am interested in clear homophones, not polysemes.
2
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3answers
227 views

Potential gaps in the pIE phonological system?

The phonological system of proto-Indo-European (and of any other proto-language without written records) is reconstructed via the comparative method, which inevitably leaves some questions open. One ...
2
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5answers
455 views

Could Proto-Indo-Uralic be reconstructed?

I am interested in linguistics and how words spread from place to place. I have seen that there are two language families, and that there are signs that they might be related. Proto-Indo-Uralic is the ...
2
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2answers
361 views

What are some of the most divergent cognate word forms?

I'm looking for examples like this pair: Russian for 'grass snake' — уж, [uʂ] Classical Latin for 'snake' — anguis, likely [ˈaŋ.ɡᶣɪs] These word forms are both masculine nouns in the nominative, and ...
2
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3answers
2k views

Is Austronesian the closest relative to PIE?

Austronesian is usually regarded as a separate family, not related to any other. It is never groupped into Eurasiatic or Nostratic. Yet it seems to me that it may be related to PIE. I wonder whether ...
2
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1answer
72 views

How would've the Old Novgorodian language looked like?

I need help reconstructing the Old Novgorodian words for "earth", "hand", "bee" and "bird nest". I'm not good at linguistics at all and don't really understand ...
2
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0answers
36 views

Which books did John read which books? Displacement and reconstruction

In his talk available on YouTube as “Language, Creativity, and the Limits of Understanding” by Professor Noam Chomsky (4-21-16) at 56:36s Noam Chomsky starts talking about the phenomenon of ...
2
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0answers
921 views

Third-person singular suffix [eth] in Middle English

Related: Grammaticalization of third person singular -s in English According to responses to this question, there was a dichotomy between northern -s and southern -th in Middle English. What I am ...
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2answers
335 views

If *h1 were a glottal stop, and virtually all German word initial vowels have an implicit glottal stop

If *h1 were a glottal stop, and virtually all German word initial vowels have implicit glottal stop then would the claim about regular laryngeal loss have to be revised? There's a rather recent ...
1
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1answer
86 views

internal reconstruction before comparative method

I am just curious about the comparative method, and how a simple tool could be so powerful. So, I want to ask if internal reconstruction could be applied to the oldest IE languages (Pre-Latin, Pre-...
1
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1answer
103 views

Proto-Indo-European *nepōts cognate in Old English

From Proto-Indo-European word *nepōts (Latin nepos, Sanskrit napāt) I need to determine what is its cognate in Old English. More precisely, I need to determine whether the result is nefa (Grimm's Law) ...
1
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2answers
567 views

The naturalness principle for [a] and [e]?

I am trying to doing an exercise that requires me to reconstruct a proto language from two languages that has a difference in the [a] and [e] phonemes. I know I cannot use the majority rule because ...
1
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1answer
190 views

What do [ ] mean in the middle of a reconstructed pronunciation?

While looking up Old Chinese reconstructions, I often find square brackets [] in the middle of an reconstruction. For example, Baxter-Sagart system says 寺's old Chinese pronunciation is /*s-[d]əʔ-s/. ...
1
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2answers
161 views

Could a language be reconstructed from a dictionary and lots of natural text?

Let's say aliens (someone completely new to the language) want to talk with users of it. They've obtained a complete dictionary, and a large selection of natural text (for this hypothetical situation, ...
1
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0answers
76 views

Origin of “will” in Germanic, wouldn't it be subjunctive?

Small print: This is language specific about English, but tangential to Germanic to a certain degree that is likely out of ELU's scope. . As a follow-up to this Q and several ones like it about the ...
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0answers
89 views

Literature on the reconstruction of proto-Greek

I usually find scattered proto-Greek word reconstructions, but I never came across literature that focus on the reconstruction of that language. Do you know of any?
0
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1answer
250 views

Can we make a case for Eurasiatic numerals for one and two?

There is a widespread Eurasiatic theory that puts all these families (except PIE) into one group, the case for common numerals for one and two seems more plausible. I also add Chukchi-Kamchadal family ...
0
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1answer
80 views

How does internal reconstruction work?

I remember last night asking about reconstructing proto languages. One of the comments said something about "internal reconstruction". I want to know how to reconstruct pre-PIE by looking at the Indo-...
0
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0answers
37 views

Is there an internal PIE reconstruction online?

I am just curious about internal reconstruction, which is using what is inside a branch to get an earlier proto language. Is there a website/document where this is done? I want this for my Proto-Indo-...
-1
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2answers
159 views

Reconstructing pre-proto languages

I have asked about reconstructing pre-PIE from PIE and possibly using daughter languages for help and got no response. What I remembered is a book about Proto-Afroasiatic that I stumbled upon. First, ...
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0answers
56 views

How one can explain similarities in Fore numerals with those in Eurasiatic languages? [closed]

Here is a table that shows some similarity: Fore PIE Korean Tungusic Burushaski Chukchi PAinu Mongolian OTurkic FU PKartvel One - kanone h₁oinom hana ömen hen ...