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1 answer
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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 ...
Aryaman's user avatar
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15 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
A-K's user avatar
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14 votes
4 answers
1k 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. ...
Louis Rhys's user avatar
  • 8,551
13 votes
1 answer
300 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 ...
TRiG's user avatar
  • 752
11 votes
2 answers
878 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 ...
Pavel Jetušek's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
587 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 ...
TKR's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
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) ...
Brandon Minton's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
515 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 ...
dROOOze's user avatar
  • 459
9 votes
2 answers
690 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. (...
Tochtli's user avatar
  • 680
8 votes
2 answers
201 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 ...
Qwertuy's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
Qwertuy's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
890 views

Why do some Proto-Germanic nouns end with *-az?

This ending is common among PG words, but is not present in any descendent or ancestor. Take, for example, this: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Reconstruction:Proto-Germanic/%C3%BEunraz There is no *-...
Tiiba's user avatar
  • 71
7 votes
1 answer
347 views

Limits of historical linguistic reconstruction

It is a well-known and widely repeated fact that the linguistic reconstruction associated with the comparative method is no longer effective for large temporal depths (informally estimated to be ...
Davius's user avatar
  • 570
7 votes
2 answers
599 views

Why is the proto-italic reconstruction of "corpora" "*korpezā"?

I was studying rhotacism and I came across the word corpora (plural of corpus). I would reconstruct the proto-italic form as *korpoza, but I saw the entry on Wiktionary and it says that the actual ...
Ergative Man's user avatar
  • 1,446
7 votes
2 answers
705 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 ...
Simon Korneev's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
702 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 ...
zwiebel's user avatar
  • 1,030
7 votes
0 answers
155 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 ...
shabunc's user avatar
  • 919
6 votes
2 answers
389 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 ...
Draconis's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
961 views

Why does PIE *ǵn̥h₁tós yield Latin nātus?

I'm an undergraduate classicist doing a PIE paper! It's absolutely fascinating, but I'm still getting there with my understanding, so apologies if my questions are a bit silly! I have been looking at ...
fruitcheesy's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
820 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,...
zwiebel's user avatar
  • 1,030
4 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
Matthew T. Scarbrough's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
252 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 ...
Draconis's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
83 views

What is the state of Sino-Tibetan lexical reconstruction?

To those who are specialists (or even have a passing knowledge) in the state of Sino-Tibetan lexical reconstruction, are you able to provide off the top of your head a rough number (round to hundreds) ...
Noble_Bright_Life's user avatar
3 votes
5 answers
1k 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 ...
Number File's user avatar
  • 1,561
3 votes
3 answers
329 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 ...
Newbie's user avatar
  • 311
3 votes
2 answers
233 views

Criteria to posit a protolanguage has a phoneme not found in its daughter languages

As the title says, I am wondering what the criteria are that must be satisfied before accepting a linguist's claim that a proto-language's phoneme is actually different from any of the different ...
Noble_Bright_Life's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
201 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, ...
Number File's user avatar
  • 1,561
3 votes
1 answer
394 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 ...
MMastro1610's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
221 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 ...
Owen_AR's user avatar
  • 203
3 votes
1 answer
214 views

Why do so many ancient/reconstructed languages lack labial fricatives?

[I saw this question somewhere else (where it wasn't answered at the time) but I don't remember where and I'm unable to find it.] So there are a number of ancient and/or reconstructed languages that ...
Mellifluous's user avatar
  • 1,389
3 votes
1 answer
254 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.
unknown_person_1000's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
69 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 ...
tmaj's user avatar
  • 131
2 votes
2 answers
551 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 ...
Simon Korneev's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
161 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-...
Number File's user avatar
  • 1,561
2 votes
2 answers
235 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 ...
called2voyage's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
1k 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 ...
Daniel Briggs's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
603 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 ...
vectory's user avatar
  • 1,412
1 vote
3 answers
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 ...
Anixx's user avatar
  • 6,685
1 vote
2 answers
276 views

How Did the Palatovelar /*ḱ/ Consonant in PIE Become a Sibilant in Satem Languages?

In Indo-Iranian and Balto-Slavic languages (which are conveniently all Satem languages), there is a sibilant or affricate sound in places where Centum languages usually have a velar consonant. It ...
Топор Перуна's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
231 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) ...
lmc's user avatar
  • 939
1 vote
2 answers
689 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 ...
Nana Khan's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
300 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/. ...
hansioux's user avatar
  • 113
1 vote
2 answers
175 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, ...
John Cave's user avatar
  • 111
1 vote
0 answers
86 views

Is Etruscan zivas "to live" a borrowing from some IE language?

The Etruscan zivas looks similar to PIE *gʷih₃wós and its decendants, like Greek zōós, Latin vīvus, Proto-Italic and Proto-Hellenic *gʷīwos. Is it known to be a borrowing from an IE language?
Anixx's user avatar
  • 6,685
1 vote
0 answers
150 views

Are PIE *yóh₁r̥ "spring, summer" and Proto-Turkic *yāŕ "spring, summer" cognates?

In Turkic it seems to be related to the word for "half" (yarım in modern Turkish). The semantic development looks more likely into the direction half->spring rather than the opposite.
Anixx's user avatar
  • 6,685
1 vote
0 answers
197 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 ...
vectory's user avatar
  • 1,412
1 vote
0 answers
122 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?
Midas's user avatar
  • 2,562
0 votes
2 answers
344 views

Apparent sound crespondences between Eurasian, Trans-New-Guinean, Pama-Nyungan and Burushaski

It seems to me that there can be regular sound correspondences between Eurasian, Trans-New-Guinean, Pama-Nyungan and Burushaski. I would call the hypthetical proto-language of these "proto-mitian&...
Anixx's user avatar
  • 6,685
0 votes
1 answer
327 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 ...
Anixx's user avatar
  • 6,685
0 votes
1 answer
113 views

How to do Practice Problem for Basque

Link to Problem(both Problems and Answers[but no explanations]) https://sites.google.com/site/paninilinguisticsolympiad/Resources/sample-problems-and-solutions My question is about the problem titled &...
MeltedStatementRecognizing's user avatar