Script on excavated terracotta seals from Harappa deciphered ????

Jacob Baltuch jacob.baltuch at EURONET.BE
Mon Nov 10 23:57:05 UTC 1997

Vidhyanath Rao wrote:

>Ifthe IE root did not end i/u/r/l, the Sanskrit root as given in
>dhatupaa.thas will have an `a' in them, like badh, pad, pat (from *bhedh,
>*ped, *pet).

Right. I wrote too fast. (Incidentally I think you probably want "if the
IE root did not end in a cluster beginning with y/w/r/l" rather than
"if the IE root did not end y/w/r/l")

>The real fun part is explaining such things as bhuu. This seems to
>depend on the flavor of the laryngeal theory that the explainer
>is believing in at the moment.

Not only those ending in long vowels but any Sanskrit root having
intrinsically a long vowel must receive some kind of explanation
beyond the thing you say above since samprasaarNa can't explain the
long vowels of say puuj 'worship' or maan 'honor' etc. Are laryngals
always invoked in such cases?

Another puzzling thing are roots which are given with an intrinsic
guNa or vRddhi vowel: gai 'sing', sev 'serve', veST 'cover', lok 'see',
hve 'invoke'...

How is one to interpret them in the normal scheme of things where the only
vowels you should be able to find in the reduced (non-guNa non-vRddhi)
grade should be {a, aa, i, ii, u, uu, R, RR}

Of course grammarians are free to posit roots in any way it makes
the description covenient, but I wish they didn't do stuff like that :)

Or should one understand gai say as a shorthand for gaay, sev for sayv,
veST for vayST, hvee for hvay, lok for lavk, etc.? In other words that
all those roots which appear with guNa or vRddhi vowels are simply roots
with vowel a (for those in guNa) or aa (for those in vRddhi)? If you look
at their ppp that's not the impression you get: giita, huuta feel more
like they belong to roots in -ii-, -uu-, but I thought I'd ask anyway...

>> Just like an IE roots has 5 basic forms in which it can be used
>> (CeC, Ce:C, CoC, Co:C, CC),
>Is Ce:C a variant of CeC or from a totally different root (CeHC)?

I meant Ce:C as variant of CeC. That's the implication of the notation.
Which is not to say that in a daughter language a long e might not
come from a eH. Still the two things are distinct in principle.

Btw in practice it seems IEists can tell most of the time
from internal considerations and from comparison. For example the
-tHr- of Gk. pa-tHr ('father', nominative) is supposed to come from
a lengthened degree. No one I've read says there's a laryngal hidden there.

On the other hand (I've got only an example with an a-coloring laryngal
so no long e: but long a:) Hittite pahz- 'protect' correspond to *pa:s-
("elsewhere") and I would presume to Sanskrit paa. Sorry couldn't find
an example with an e: but you get the idea.

IEnists apparently can find evidence for laryngals even in ways which are
now independant from Anatolian data and even internal reconstruction
so I doubt there's much confusion between e: coming form a lengthened
grade and e: coming form a laryngal, but of course you'd have to ask
an IEist.

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