11

(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 working on reconstruction). The consensus in the field is that glottochronological estimates are outdated and not particularly useful. In current presentations, ...


8

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 widely accepted. Nor is the idea of Indo-European being related to Austronesian, or Afro-Asiatic, or really anything else. The problem is, the comparative method'...


8

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 with their help. So for instance, do the sound laws for "two" carry over to the numeral for "ten"? What about other basic words reconstructed with a PIE *d?


7

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 predictable. In other words, it's pretty clearly not a phoneme of the language. If you want to show that laryngeals survived in some language, you'll need to ...


7

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 that automatic methods have not brought anything old. To have confidence in such a method, linguists would need to compare the classifications it comes up with ...


7

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’; *saḫānum > šaḫānum ‘to be warm’;      *x̣apārum > ḫepērum ‘to dig’; *rax̣āṣ́um > raḫāṣ́um ‘to wash’. The reference is to the author's 'Akkadian ḫ and ...


6

It's not that PIE roots always contain the vowel e, it's that PIE roots don't contain vowels. This is a common misconception, unfortunately aided by the traditions of IE lexicography. Take a root like lei̯kw- 'leave'. This root is found in: e-grade, e.g. Gk. pres. leip-ō o-grade, e.g. Gk. pf. le-loip-a zero-grade, e.g. Gk. aor. e-lip-on What this shows is ...


6

Although fdb is correct that a symbol like *bh should not be taken to imply any specific phonetic content, these phonemes obviously had such content, and it's possible to speculate about what it was. The facts that lead people to think that the PIE "voiced aspirates" were breathy voiced stops as in Indic have to do with their reflexes in the daughter ...


6

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 *ǵn̥h₃- forms the present *ǵn̥-ne-h₃-ti > *janāti (cf. Avestan zanā-) > jānāti (with ā in the first syllable by analogy to forms with *ǵn̥h₃- > jā-).


6

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 archeological findings and aren't determined by linguistic methods.


5

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 I think this question is incredibly open ended and subjective. However, I appriciate the opportunity to share some of my favorite etymologies. Afro-Asiatic ...


5

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 out, there is none! And no, we can't be sure. We know nothing at all about PIE phonetics except for a few informed guesses. The reconstructions you're talking ...


5

There are several approaches of these word-lists. Some people like J. Greenberg deemed them practical, but attached no extra value to them. Some others assign them more methodological values than just being practical. Among present-day comparatists, only the Moscow School still "believes" in that kind of word-lists and calculations. Most linguists ...


5

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/zaliznyak-drevnenovgorodskiy-dialekt-2-e-izd-m-2004 (this is the official website of the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences) There’s an ...


4

Turns out there's at least one other suggested, but controversial, case of voicing by *h3, involving the "Hoffmann suffix" *-Hon- or *-h3on-. Piotr Gąsiorowski discusses it here. The same suffix may be responsible for the voicing alternation in Latin pairs like vertex, vertic- vs. vertigo. I don't know how far these ideas are currently accepted, though.


4

The proposal is complete science-fiction. Not only is it too far in time (and it is, by almost an order of magnitude, as the proto-language we know the most about was maybe spoken in 3500BC whereas the most studied recent Hominid group, Homo neanderthalensis, disappeared roughly 35,000 years ago) but the correct analogy would be to ask someone who is ...


4

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 Austronesian languages and didn't know that there was an Austronesian phylum. But we've know about Austronesian for many years, and automated reconstruction is not an ...


4

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 at all confined to inherited words that are reconstructed as starting with a laryngeal in PIE. It also appears at the start of borrowed words: my understanding ...


4

@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 any laryngeal became a long vowel; which long vowel resulted depends on the specific laryngeal: *eh₁ > ē, *eh₂ > ā, *eh₃ > ō. (In Attic-Ionic, most instances of ...


4

Sumerian and Egyptian are attested in texts from about 3000 BC onwards. These are real languages, not reconstructed ones like PIE.


4

Indo-European and Uralic are low-level families, the existence of which is not questioned by linguists and has been recognized for at least three centuries now, even by people with no particular training (merchants, soldiers, etc.), on the sheer comparison of word lists. The issue of comparing PIE and PU is more challenging, as it involves non-obvious ...


4

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 laryngeals were known. Later, reflexes in Hittite were discovered, showing that internal reconstruction was a valid method. See laryngeal theory.


4

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 the speech community. Language in small (and small means really small here) speech communities changes faster than in larger ones.


3

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 language teachers and linguists have been exposed to pre-Modern Greek. There was not a strong impetus for a separate tradition of pronouncing Koine in teaching to ...


3

According to this description, http://ocbaxtersagart.lsait.lsa.umich.edu/BaxterSagartOCbyMandarinMC2014-09-20.pdf the round parentheses indicate that the content enclosed in them may be omitted. The square brackets indicate that one is uncertain about the sound enclosed and it could have been something else with the same meaning, too. They mention an ...


3

I see from your link that this story was launched by a food writer. Is there any archaeological evidence for this supposed sudden change in human physiology? It doesn't really fit in with evolutionary theory, does it? By the way the fork was not invented "around 250 years ago". Table forks have been in common use in the Near East and (somewhat later) in ...


3

Some help may come from the earliest punctuation systems, which used a upward rising line to indicate a question (an early form of our question mark); the shape of this line is supposed to be a quasi-music note and to indicate to the reader that (s)he needs to fluctuate the voice. Granted these come from well into the common era and are mostly confined to ...


3

A very interesting and intriguing question. First one has to distinguish between open questions (Where have I put my car keys?) and yes-no-questions (Have I forgotten my car keys at your place?). In open questions the question is marked by interrogative adjectives, pronouns (τίς) or adverbs (ποῦ, πότε) which probably had a different pronunciation than their ...


3

Nobody knows what PIE sounded like. The symbols used to represent PIE phonemes are essentially "algebraic" symbols. When we propose a PIE phoneme *bh, this is merely shorthand for "the PIE phoneme which is reflected by Skt /bh/, Greek /ph/, Latin /f/ etc." The conventional transcription has no phonetic content.


3

Leiden school are people who propose some strict rules for PIE and strictly adhere to them. Strict root structure, no vowels except /o/ and /e/, three laryngeals etc. Their opponents are conservatives who are either skeptic about some of the Leiden rules or those who supports more loose rules (for instance, vowel /a/ in borrowed words, 4 laryngeals, some ...


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