Paired Horse and PIE breakup

H.M.Hubey hubeyh at MONTCLAIR.EDU
Fri Nov 6 05:02:19 UTC 1998

N. Ganesan wrote:

>    Finally, there is simply no internal phonetic or
>    morphological evidence for borrowing within the
>    relevant Indo-European vocabulary. None of these
>    terms - and there are at least 35, when the six roots
>    are multiplied by the number of IE languages in which
>    they appear - is a phonological or morphological
>    misfit within its language lineage (Gamkrelidze &
>    Ivanov 1984: 718-38; Meid 1994; Mallory & Adams
>    forthcoming). If the wheeled-vehicle vocabulary
>    originated in an Indo-European daughter language
>    after the separation of the IE languages into
>    numerous distinct phonological and morphological
>    systems, then the phonetic and morphological traits
>    of that language should be detectable in at least
>    some of the borrowed vocabulary, given the
>    phonological distinctiveness of the IE daughter
>    languages. The absence of such evidence indicates
>    that the IE wheeled-vehicle vocabulary was not
>    borrowed, but inherited from PIE.

I bet all or almost all Altaic languages have some word
like "radyo", "radiyo", "radio", "aradiyo" or something
like it for radio, but it hardly means that they invented
it or that they did not borrow the word.

Words like this are tricky. Look at the word "cek" (where
c is the voiced fricative i..e dg) in Karachay-Balkar.
It means to 'hitch' an animal, or to get something or
someone to pull something and sounds remarkably like
'yoke'. Furthermore, it is very close to /chek/ which
in Turkish means "to pull". Does this mean that it is
impossible that /cek/ came from IE for 'yoke' or that
/chek/ meaning 'to pull' came from /cek/? No.

The word for the ox-collar (or even the yoke) for
animals is 'boyunduruk' clearly from 'boyun' meaning
neck. Does this mean that they invented the yoke and
did not borrow it? No.

Things like this can't be done in isolation. Other languages
have to be also involved in conclusions of this type.

Furthermore, the first time something is noted in writing
does not mean that the word belongs to that language.

>    None of these problems has been explicitly addressed
>    or acknowledged in print, beyond a brief discussion
>    in Current Anthropology (Renfrew 1988). While the
>    diffusionary scenario for IE wheeled-vehicle
>    terminology remains an assertion, largely unanalysed
>    and undefended, the genetic-inheritance explanation
>    has been researched and supported in specialized
>    studies by linguists (Specht 1944: 99-103;
>    Gamkrelidze & Ivanov 1984: 718-38; review in Anthony
>    1991: 198-201; Meid 1994; Mallory & Adams
>    forthcoming).

It can be researched as much as possible. The conclusions
do not follow without uncertainty from the evidence.

The simplest and most widely accepted
>    explanation of the linguistic evidence is that the
>    speakers of PIE were familiar with and had a
>    vocabulary for wheeled vehicles. Coleman's (1988)
>    brief linguistic dissent stands alone against a body
>    of scholarship to which he did not refer. If we
>    accept the majority interpretation, PIE should have
>    existed as a unified speech community after wheeled
>    vehicles were invented. Archaeological evidence
>    places this event after 3500 BC.

It would be very helpful to know what these words are supposed
to be derived from. After all, it is hard to know if the words
that these cart-chariot words are supposed to be derived from
are not really words derived from the words referring to cart-chariot.

For example, one cannot be sure that some word meaning 'nail'
is derived from a similar word meaning 'penis' assuming that
the word for body parts came first. it could be other way around
because the word for penis might have been named in slang after

I have a paper on things like this in .doc format which I would
email to people who want to read it as an example to what I am
talking about.

Best Regards,
hubeyh at =-=-=-=
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