Fortunatov's Law and tolkAppiyar's rules

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal mcv at WXS.NL
Thu Jul 30 19:06:49 UTC 1998

Vidhyanath Rao <vidynath at MATH.OHIO-STATE.EDU> wrote:

>And nobody has even touched .s, the most commonly retroflexed sound in
>Sanskrit. I see no way of getting there from s-hacek.  And why would
>Dravidian, with prominent lack of sibilants in the earliest stages
>lead to a split in sibilants? I am yet see any one pick up this
>In sum, it is quite premature to assume that Dravidian origin of
>retroflexes is established fact. If you have not explained .s, you have
>explained nothing about the origin of retroflexes in IA.

Certainly the development of <s^> (Ascii-IPA [S]) out of PIE *s after
<i>, <u>, <r>, <k> has nothing to do with Dravidian, as it also
happened in Iranian, Slavic, Baltic and possibly Armenian.  The
development of this <s^> ("sh") to <s.> (retroflex) has nothing to do
with Dravidian either, but with the development of PIE *k^ to the
palatal shibilant <s'>.  This, as has happened relatively recently in
Polish, Russian and Mandarin Chinese, caused the old shibilant to be
backed to <s.> (Polish sz vs. s', Russian sh vs. shch, Mandarin sh
vs. x).  In Proto-Slavic RUKI /s^/ was backed to /x/ (velar
fricative) [except when palatalized] instead.  In Baltic RUKI /s^/
was allowed to merge with /s^/ < *k^.  In Iranian *k^ appears as /s/,
presumably by way of k^ > c^ ("ch") > c ("ts") > s [without a stage
as s^].   In tabular form:

        *s^ (RUKI)  *k^ (SATEM)
Skt.    s.          s'
Iran.   s^          s < c
Slav.   x           s < s^
Balt.   s^          s^

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
mcv at

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