(L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here [2010-2019]

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Zekoslav
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Zekoslav »

I've got a question on Ancient Greek pitch accent (shudder) and would like to know if anyone has some info or previous knowledge on this.

It's widely accepted that the underlying accent is a high tone, short vowels have one mora and can only be H so there's no tone contrast on short vowels, long vowels and diphthongs have two mora and can be HL or LH so there's a tone contrast between falling (circumflex) and rising (acute) tones.

Traditionally short H and long LH tones are both marked with the same diacritic, the acute, instead of, say, LH being ˇ like HL is ^ and only H being ´. This, and the fact that, as is written here, musicians often set the circumflex to a falling melisma, while rarely setting the long acute to a rising melisma, made me think that the long acute was maybe a level high tone, HH. Wikipedia suggests the same, citing some grammarians as evidence.

On the other hand, the way accents are written may just be a way to reduce redundancy, and what grammarians say may be based on the orthography rather than pronunciation, especially if they're from a post-pitch accent period.
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KaiTheHomoSapien
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien »

Why are the personal pronouns in Indo-European suppletive (with the exception of the 2nd singular)? Why *eǵoH as well as *mé? Are there any theories out there? Any books on IE that postulate on this? I've just always been curious about it. I think I read in one source (though I can't remember which one) that the oblique forms are the originals, that because IE is pro-drop the "nominative" forms are essentially special emphatic forms and thus not as intimately linked with the paradigm. Additionally, to some extent you can perhaps see some of the verbal endings in the oblique forms: *-mi vs. *me; *nos (perhaps generalized from *ns which was originally *ms) vs. *mos.

I've often noticed that in English (and other IE languages), the oblique form isn't so much an "object" form as much as it's a "not-subject" form and is the default used in syntactically unclear situations like exclamations or topic-marking.

Anyone know any papers that discuss this? I'd love to learn more.
Last edited by KaiTheHomoSapien on 25 Oct 2019 19:04, edited 2 times in total.
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Zekoslav
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

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KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 25 Oct 2019 06:34 Why are the person personal pronouns in Indo-European suppletive (with the exception of the 2nd singular)? Why *eǵoH as well as *mé? Are there are any theories out there? Any books on IE that postulate on this? I've just always been curious about it. I think I read in one source (though I can't remember which one) that the oblique forms are the originals, that because IE is pro-drop the "nominative" forms are essentially special emphatic forms and thus not as intimately linked with the paradigm. Additionally, to some extent you can perhaps see some of the verbal endings in the oblique forms: *-mi vs. *me; *nos (perhaps generalized from *ns which was originally *ms) vs. *mos.

I've often noticed that in English (and other IE languages), the oblique form isn't so much an "object" form as much as it's a "not-subject" form and is the default used in syntactically unclear situations like exclamations or topic-marking.

Anyone know any papers that discuss this? I'd love to learn more.
I've read several articles on this, and all are necessarily very speculative... there's been a lot of comparative work on PIE and other language's pronouns, which happen to be uncanningly similar (see this speculative and this not so speculative page), but no definite answer so far. I can't remember anything concerete and the moment, other than Frederik Kortland't Indo-Uralic papers. I also remember reading somewhere that the 1st person singular pronoun is essentially an exclamation or a deictic.

Concerning English I vs. me, and similarly in French je vs. moi, I have a hunch that this development is essentially because those two languages lost case marking and aren't pro-drop anymore. So the original nominative pronouns are basically restricted in use to become subject agreement markers, while the original accusative/dative pronouns are used as direct and indirect objects, after prepositions... basically in all other situations. So it's no longer subject vs. object, it's clitic subject agreement marker vs. free-standing pronoun with various uses. It's easy to extend these various uses to include emphatic, free-standing subject pronouns. (c. f. the old-fashioned it is I vs. it's me). I don't know if this applies to other languages which have cases or aren't pro-drop. IIRC correctly Spanish and Italian still use the original nominatives as emphatic pronouns (pro-drop), as does Croatian (cases, pro-drop), but I don't know enough about other languages with similar features.
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Sequor
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Sequor »

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 25 Oct 2019 06:34I've often noticed that in English (and other IE languages), the oblique form isn't so much an "object" form as much as it's a "not-subject" form and is the default used in syntactically unclear situations like exclamations or topic-marking.
Zekoslav wrote: 25 Oct 2019 10:37Concerning English I vs. me, and similarly in French je vs. moi, I have a hunch that this development is essentially because those two languages lost case marking and aren't pro-drop anymore. So the original nominative pronouns are basically restricted in use to become subject agreement markers, while the original accusative/dative pronouns are used as direct and indirect objects, after prepositions... basically in all other situations. So it's no longer subject vs. object, it's clitic subject agreement marker vs. free-standing pronoun with various uses. It's easy to extend these various uses to include emphatic, free-standing subject pronouns. (c. f. the old-fashioned it is I vs. it's me). I don't know if this applies to other languages which have cases or aren't pro-drop. IIRC correctly Spanish and Italian still use the original nominatives as emphatic pronouns (pro-drop), as does Croatian (cases, pro-drop), but I don't know enough about other languages with similar features.
You're right about Spanish and Italian. Latin also uses the nominative for exclamative functions (A. Egomet?? B. Tu, tu inquam! "Me!??" "Yes, you!").

For topic marking, Spanish, Italian and Latin use prepositions (Latin dē + ABL, ad + ACC; Spanish acerca de, en cuanto a, a propósito de, en lo que respecta a), although Latin also can also use a bare ablative.

I believe that what Kai is talking about is an innovation shared between English and French that is uncommon in IE.

EDIT: grammar
Last edited by Sequor on 12 Nov 2019 03:11, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien »

I was also thinking of the "accusative of exclamation" in Latin, but it seems that this is not a strict rule and that Latin sometimes uses the nominative in similar expressions (and it's not specific to pronouns).

Thanks for your answers [:)]
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien »

So in Ringe, he makes the argument that the PIE locative singular thematic ending was -ei and that it and the vocative singular were the only two in the e-grade because the e-grade was used only when the case form was endingless (as in the vocative). The locative in PIE as we know sometimes appears as endingless (Ringe says that the familiar -i of the locative in daughter languages is the hic-et-nunc particle). About the original locative singular ending Ringe says "[the locative singular] seems to have been characterized by an ending which had an underlying accent but no segmental portion to 'carry' it, with the result that the accent had to be linked leftward to the last syllable of the stem". What does this mean exactly? That the original PIE locative singular ending was an accented null? In his table of reconstructed endings he does show a null symbol with an accent mark for the locative singular. I just don't get how that could've actually been an ending. It seems weird to reconstruct such an ending.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Zekoslav »

I think this is attested in Vedic. Unlike other oblique cases, the locative singular had full grade instead of zero grade and was accented on the last syllable of the stem, and this is true whether it ends in -i or in -Ø.

Sadly, Wiktionary has no Vedic (only Classical Sanskrit) declension of "stone", but the Proto-Indo-European one shows this as well even if it's not attested, rather than reconstructed. Ringe's explanation that the endingless locative was underlyingly accented but since it was -Ø the accent could only surface on the last syllable of the stem can be contested. Kiparsky has posited the so-called Oxytone rule for Vedic that all polymorphemic, derived stems have automatic accent on the last syllable of the stem, which also explains the accent of the endingless locative*.

*In Vedic, and in at least some words in Greek, this rule applies to both full and zero grades, as long as there's a syllabic segment (vowel or syllabic sonorant) in the last syllable of the stem: Vedic pitṛ́ṣu and Greek πατράσι both suggest *ph₂tŕ̥su, accented according to Kiparsky's Oxytone rule, while Wiktionary has *ph₂tr̥sú which is actually an internal reconstruction based on the supposition that zero grades are a result of syncope and therefore can't be accented (at least not originally).

Edit: Continued in this thread. -Aevas, 2020-09-06
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