SV: SV: Paired Horse and PIE breakup

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal mcv at WXS.NL
Sun Nov 8 21:50:37 UTC 1998

Paul Kekai Manansala <kekai at JPS.NET> wrote:

>Well at the risk of annoying Miguel and others, the Nostratic theory
>and Greenberg's new theories (which demolish his old classification).

Which one?  Greenberg has classified the languages of Africa (1950,
1954, 1963), New Guinea (1971) and the Americas (1987).  His
forthcoming book (announced, but not yet published) will attempt to
classify the languages of Eurasia.

The Nostratic theory (a term invented in 1903 by the Danish linguist
Holger Pedersen), was developed by the Russian linguist V.M.
Illich-Svitych in the 1960's, and claims that Afro-Asiatic,
Kartvelian, Indo-European, Uralic, Altaic and Dravidian languages are
ultimately related.  This is based on systematic sound
correspondences between the reconstructed proto-languages.  The
Nostratic theory is far from generally accepted, and much further
work needs to be done (not easy, given the number of languages
involved), but interest in it is steadily growing as more information
becomes available (Illich-Svitych's work has never been translated
from the original Russian).  Given its scientific basis, the
Nostratic theory is testable in principle, and we are now finally
beginning to see critiques of Nostratic by people who have actually
studied the evidence.

The following fragment from Illich-Svitych's etymological dictionary
of Nostratic ("Opyt sravnenija nostraticheskix jazykov", Moscow 1971)
may serve as an example of what the Nostratic theory is actually
about.  I can assure you that the rest of the book (245 etymologies)
is similar.  Neither Mt. Ararat, Kennewick Man nor Adolf Hitler are

PN *bari "to take": AA *br- "to seize, to catch" ~ IE *bher- "to
take, to bring, to carry" ~ ? Drav. *per_- "to choose, to collect" ~
Alt. *bari- "to take in the hand".

   AA || Semit.: Akk. (Babyl.) <b'r> (praet. <-ba:r>) "to catch
(fish)", <ba:'iru> "fisherman"; probably a secondary extension of
original *br, cf. Mehri, Shahri <btr> (< *t-br) "to angle for fish"
(it is likely that <3> is secondary in Soqotri <b3r> "to angle"; cf.
Leslau JAOS 82,2) || Berber: Tuareg <aber> (praet. <-uber>) "to take
a handfull"; -b- < *-bb- < *w-b-, cf. without prefixal *w, which
conditioned the doubling and retention of -b-, Tuareg <e-ha"re> (h <
*-b- with weakening as in the cases described by Beguinot RANL 33,
186-100) "possession, goods, cattle" || Cush, *brj; Beja <bari> "to
get, collect, to have, possess"; Saho (Irob, see Plaikowski-Wagner
ZDMG 103, 198) <bar.-> "to seize, hold", Afar (Tajurax, see Lucas
JSAfr 5, 198) <ber-> "to carry away" || Chad.: Ngala (Kotoko group)
<birre> "to seize" || Cf. Roessler Oriens 17, 215

   IE || OI <bha'rati>, Av. <baraiti> "carries"; OI <bha'ras>
"winnings" || Arm. <berem> "I carry, bring" || Phryg. <ab-beret>
"brings" || Grk. <phe'ro:> "I carry" (Myc. 3sg. praes. <pe-re>, see
Morpurgo 240) || Alb. <bie> (< *bhero:, cf. imper. <biere">) "I
bring, carry" || Lat. Osc. <fer-> "to carry" || OIr. <biru> "I carry"
|| Goth. <bai'ran> "to carry, to bring" || OCS <bero,> (inf. <bIrati>
"I take" || Toch. AB <pa"r-> "to bring, carry" || Cf. Pok. 128-132
(In Pok. formations are considered from an originally different root,
with the meaning "to be born, offspring", see #32).  In the light of
external comparisons it is seen that the meaning "to take" in Slavic,
usually considered an innovation, must be ancient.  From this meaning
developed the semantics that are more widely represented in IE: "to
bring" --> "to carry".

   ? Drav. "to choose, collect" || S.Drav. *per_ukk-: Tamil, Malayal.
<per_ukku>, Toda <per_k->, Kodagu <pori"k-> || Telugu <pedz^ipi>,
<pedz^dz^u> || C.Drav.: Kolamo <petk->, Naiki <pett->, Parji <ped->,
Gadaba (Salur) <pidz^->, Gondi (Adilabad) <per->, Konda <per_->, Kui
<pebg-> (< *peg-b-) || Kurux <pes-> || See DED 293.

   Alt || Tur. *bary-: OTur., OUigh. <barym> "possession"; Azer.
<baryn-> (Gazax) <barym-> "to make use of, to receive advantage";
OTur. (TS 2, 104) <baryn-> "to earn a living", Turkish (Edirne)
<bary-> "to care for, protect"; Cf. Hung. <barom>, OHung. <barum>
"cattle" (<-- "possessions"), borrowed from OBulg. (Gombocz BTL
40-41) || Mong. "to take with the hands, to seize" (and further "to
offer s.o. s.t."): MMong. <va:r->, Kalmyk <ba"r'->, Moghol <bari->;
see Poppe Mong. 26, Zirni 89 || Cf. Ramstedt KW 38 (where, as in Ram.
56, a connection of the Mong. words is also suggested with Tur.
*barNak "finger").  In Turk., the semantic development was "to take"
--> "to get (possessions)"

   <> Cf. Ramstedt JSFOu 53(1), 23, Dolg. 12 (IE ~ Alt).  The basic
meaning "to take" is maintained in Alt., Drav. and partially IE.  In
Drav., *a > e umlaut apparently took place under influence of a front
vowel in the second syllable in the position before <r_> (as with
Drav. *e:r_- "to rise" < *Hora", #116).

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
mcv at

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