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17 votes

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

We can tell that the ending *-az existed in Proto-Germanic on the basis of direct attestation, internal comparative, external comparative, and loanword evidence. This ending is directly attested in ...
Tristan's user avatar
  • 8,857
14 votes

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

I don't see any regular correspondences in the data you've presented. A regular correspondence involves a series of forms in which, whenever language A has sound X, language B has sound Y. For example,...
TKR's user avatar
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11 votes
Accepted

Advances in Glottochronology

(This was going to be a comment but it got too long. I hope it is useful nonetheless.) I can speak for Austroasiatic linguistics (a fairly large family with a small core of researchers actively ...
legatrix's user avatar
  • 717
10 votes

Limits of historical linguistic reconstruction

You might be interested in Beyond lumping and splitting: probabilistic issues in historical linguistics by Baxter and Ramer (1999). From their abstract: In this paper, we argue that the temporal ...
Draconis's user avatar
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9 votes
Accepted

What are the different schools of PIE reconstruction?

I know that this question has remained unanswered for over four years, but I have decided to revive it considering that it's currently the unanswered question with the most upvotes here on Linguistics ...
Galactic's user avatar
  • 216
9 votes
Accepted

What is Proto-Semitic *x̣?

One page further (p. 587), Huehnergard gives as one of the changes from Proto-Semitic to Old Babylonian: Common Semitic *ḫ and *x̣ merged to ḫ (Huehnergard 2003):      *ḫamisum > ḫamšum ‘five’; *...
Keelan's user avatar
  • 4,221
9 votes
Accepted

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

The e in the oblique stem seems to go back to Proto-Indo-European: compare the Germanic cognate, nom sg *hrefaz, nom pl *hrifizō. Even if the PIt form had been **korpozā, -e- would be the expected ...
Draconis's user avatar
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8 votes

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

Definitely not. Two words only aren't enough to establish any kind of relationship. The best you can do with it is to use them as seeds for possible sound relations and look of regular sound laws ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
8 votes

Is Austronesian the closest relative to PIE?

Usually the most close relative to PIE among other Eurasiatic languages is considered Chukchi-Kamchadal family. You probably know this already, but the idea of a "Eurasiatic" language family isn't ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 67.1k
8 votes

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

In German, a glottal stop is inserted before a vowel-initial morpheme, when that morpheme does not come immediately after a consonant. It never forms minimal pairs, and its distribution is completely ...
Draconis's user avatar
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8 votes

Why does PIE *ǵn̥h₁tós yield Latin nātus?

In earlier Latin the adjective was gnātus preserving the *ǵ as g, but by the classical Latin period g was regularly lost word-initially before n (cf also Classical Latin nōscō for earlier gnōscō) As ...
Tristan's user avatar
  • 8,857
7 votes

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

You say "... some critics say that these methods have not brought anything new ..." From my recollection of some old results (well outside my areas of expertise), I would say the problem is rather ...
Greg Lee's user avatar
  • 12.5k
6 votes

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

In Indo-Iranian both *eh₃ and *n̥h₃ become *ō, which then becomes ā. In Skt jānāti there is an infix *-ne- before the last consonant of the root, in this case the laryngeal. Thus the zero-grade root *...
fdb's user avatar
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6 votes

Potential gaps in the pIE phonological system?

In particular, what is the proof the pIE didn't have retroflex stops? Or that it lacked affricates? In general, can we be sure that there are no major gaps in the pIE phonological system? It turns ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 67.1k
6 votes
Accepted

When was Proto-Austronesian spoken?

This map from Wikipedia assigns dates to the Austronesian expansion, and Proto-Austronesian on Taiwan dates back to before 3000 BC. The line below the map says that the dates are coming from ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

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

I’m not sure there are any specific criteria as such – it’s more about typological likelihood and possible ways to explain all the available material: are the attested reflexes likely to develop from ...
Janus Bahs Jacquet's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

internal reconstruction before comparative method

Yes, and internal reconstruction has been used to great effect in IE studies. Saussure's laryngeal theory was discovered using internal reconstruction, at a time when no direct reflexes of the ...
Greg Lee's user avatar
  • 12.5k
5 votes

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

Much simpler reason. The teaching of Koine Greek is dependent on the local tradition for the teaching of Classical Greek: Classical Greek is more prestigious in language teaching, and is how most ...
Nick Nicholas's user avatar
5 votes

What are some of the most divergent cognate word forms?

Divergent cognates are going to be a feature of any language family (as pointed out in this paper by Larry Trask used in the answer to this question about "mama" and "papa" words), and because of this ...
ⰲⱁⰴⰰ's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

How would've the Old Novgorodian language looked like?

The best reference on Old Novgorod is Andrey Zaliznyak's 2004 monograph, Древненовгородский диалект (Drevnenovgorodskij dialekt, 2nd ed.), freely available online https://inslav.ru/publication/...
Alex B.'s user avatar
  • 8,744
5 votes

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

Below are my comments on the Eurasiatic data, and why I think @Anixx's forms are not Proto-Eurasiatic numerals. As I am not a specialist of Burushaski, Trans-New-Guinean, or Pama-Nyungan, I cannot ...
abhishek's user avatar
  • 159
4 votes

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

there's no particular significance to finding words among them that are reconstructed with the laryngeal. This is exactly the case. The presence of a glottal stop at the start of German words is not ...
brass tacks's user avatar
  • 18.3k
4 votes

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

Sumerian and Egyptian are attested in texts from about 3000 BC onwards. These are real languages, not reconstructed ones like PIE.
fdb's user avatar
  • 24.3k
4 votes

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

@fdb's answer addresses the Indo-Iranian forms, so this one will address the Greek and Latin ones. In Greek, there are two relevant sets of sound changes: PIE *eH > Gk V̄. That is, *e followed by ...
TKR's user avatar
  • 10.9k
4 votes

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

One thing that computational technology might in principle be useful for is managing huge amounts of data. This could be useful if all of the sudden we discovered word lists for a thousand ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.2k
4 votes

Advances in Glottochronology

One of the core assumptions of lexicostatistics, the constant word replacement rate, was questioned be Daniel Nettle (1999) who suggests different rates of language evolution depending on the size of ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
3 votes

Could Proto-Indo-Uralic be reconstructed?

Nope We have only two proto-languages to compare, and the list of attested roots is already sparse. The set of potential cognates is even sparser and leaves not enough material for reconstruction. It ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

Proto-Indo-European *nepōts cognate in Old English

It sounds like this is meant as a puzzle of some sort. So I'll tell you right away—the information you've given isn't sufficient to know where the stress is. Stress in PIE isn't always predictable, so ...
Draconis's user avatar
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