Reflexes of PIE labialized and aspirated stops

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Triginta Septem, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. Triginta Septem Member

    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    English - America
    Having not really looked at Greek until just recently, I had seen no problem with English "four" and "five" being related to Latin "quattuor" and "quinque" through something as simple as Grimm's Law (k > x (h) > f (I had assumed this wasn't impossible, h and f being similar sounds)), but now I see that the Greek is "tetra" and "penta"... So what were the original consonants, and how did "t" and "p" happen? There seems to be a lot of that in Greek...

    Also, simpler questions: why (how) do some letters just disappear, as in *?TWR > feower (missing t), and why is there an m in "mono" (cf. one, unus, etc.)?
  2. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    The /f/ in four is "not fully explained" as we read in etymonline. The expected initial consonant would be /wh/. The Classical Greek tettares is fully regular as PIE /kʷ/ in syllable onset became /t/ some time between Mycenaean and Classical Greek. In the case of five, Latin seems to be the irregularity here. The reconstructed PIE form is with initial /p/ (penkʷe).
  3. eamp Member

    German (Austria)
    For (Attic) Greek the rule is (roughly) that initial /kʷ/ becomes /t/ before front vowels and /p/ before back vowels, so it is regular, as bernd said already.
    Latin has a rule, apparently shared with Celtic, that /p/ is assimilated to a following /kʷ/ so:
    quinque < *kʷenkʷe < *penkʷe, likewise: coquo < *kʷekʷō < *pekʷō and quercus < *perkʷus. So this is also a regular correspondence.

    I am not sure what caused the loss of Germanic /d/ < PIE /t/ in the word for four in NorthWest-Germanic, but it's still there in Gothic fidwor. Probably it's irregular, I can't think of another word right now where a sequence /dw/ becomes /w/ at least.
    Another numeral, seven is missing a /t/ also, this time however in all Germanic languages and the loss must be early since it shows a Verner's law shift of /f/ > /b/ in *sibun < *sefún < *sept'm. The retention of final /n/ in the words seven, nine and ten is not strictly regular either, but one can easily imagine it being restored from the corresponding ordinals. Still, for Germanic, one simply has to accept a certain amount of irregular development in the numerals, I guess.

    "mono" simply is unrelated to Latin unus, English one etc.
  4. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    Gothic preserves a reflex of the PIE *t, as "four" is fidwor, but it disappeared in both West Germanic (four, vier) and Norse (fjórir). I'm not sure why: it's not what I recognize as a regular development, but I'm no expert.

    I don't know what mono- relates to in IE, but the common IE for "one" was preserved on Greek dice as oinos. Otherwise it was replaced by forms like hen which are from an IE root *sem-. (Cf. Latin semel "once".)

    Cross-posted with eamp, so I must have been camped here for 20 minutes thinking about it (or working, heaven forbid).
  5. Triginta Septem Member

    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    English - America
    So kw to t is normal in Greek? I suppose it's sorta like the opposite of Hawaiian t > k > glottal stop, though. I had figured mono was related, being it shares the VnV pattern. That's interesting. As for the disappearing t, it's weird that it does exist in fidwor. So it's just an explainable change that happened before most Germanic languages got it, but after Gothic?

    EDIT: Just found on Wiktionary: "From pre-Grimm *petwṓr, with an irregular consonant change from *kʷetwṓr, the neuter form of Proto-Indo-European *kʷetwóres. The consonant change was probably caused by the influence of the p- in "five"." So, it's simply analogy, like the m in novem?
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013
  6. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    We careful, PIE /kʷ/ is ONE phoneme and not the sequence /k/+/w/.
  7. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    ... that it it happened after East-Germanic split from other Germanic languages but before North- and West-Germanic separated.
  8. Triginta Septem Member

    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    English - America
    Yeah, I'm just to lazy to copy/paste the superscript w... Anyways, I know that through Grimm's Law, plosives become unaspirated, devoiced, and then became fricatives, but where do aspirated Germanic plosives come from, and what would their equivalents be in other languages (specifically Latin)?
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2013
  9. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    It is not that. You wrote it was kind of a reverse /t/>/k/ but in Greek there never was a /k/>/t/ shift; there was a /kʷ/>/t/ shift and that is something completely and utterly different.
    No, not plosives became fricatives but voiceless stops became fricatives. But PIE had two additional series of stops: the voiced/ejective (depending on whether or not you follow the glottalic theory) and the aspirated series. They became, according to Grimm's law, the voiceless and the voiced series, respectively (aspiration does not constitute a separate series in Germanic; aspiration is a secondary characteristic of voicelessness).

    Classical Greek maintained all three series while in Latin the voiced/ejective and aspirated series merged and created the voiced series.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2013
  10. Triginta Septem Member

    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    English - America
    Okay, I see your point.. ^^' Aside from the mention of the "reverse", though, I was kinda just saying they both don't really seem to make sense, yet they happened.

    And oh my.. I just realized what I had wrong. There are no aspirated voiced plosives any more... I had the chain mixed up, sorry. ^^''' I get it now..
  11. Triginta Septem Member

    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    English - America
    Okay, I guess what I was thinking of was the opposite. PIE *bʰew became English "be" and Spanish "fui"... But shouldn't that be "be" and "bui"? How did /b/ become /f/ in Italic (and Hellenic, cf. φύω)?

    EDIT: Maybe I'm asking a stupid question. I assume that's a constant rule? Is there a name for it?
  12. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    It is not /b/ that became /f/ in Latin but /bʰ/. As you said, there is a similar process in Greek: PIE /bʰ/ > Classical Greek /pʰ/ > Modern Greek /f/.
  13. Triginta Septem Member

    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    English - America
    So what happened with *gʷḗn in Greek? It became gunē, but I thought that *gʷ only became g if followed by u in PIE​. Does that mean that the u appeared before the consonant shifted?
  14. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    It seems to me that Greek gunḗ could reflect the zero-grade form *gʷnā, since many cognates of this word show an alternation between e-grade *gʷen- in some case forms and zero-grade *gʷn- in others: cf. Old Irish ben "woman", genitive sg. mná (with mn- < *bn-). I'm not an expert in the development from IE to Greek, so there may be problems with this hypothesis that I'm not aware of.

    Some Greek dialects have an alternate form banā (accented on the final vowel*) that shows the expected initial consonant, but the vowel in the first syllable still doesn't seem completely straightforward.

    *For some reason, I can't get the accented ā character to display in the WR text field, though I don't have this problem with or .
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2013
  15. Triginta Septem Member

    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    English - America
    Huh.. Well that seems to make sense. I've been hearing "zero grade" and "e grade" a lot, too. What exactly does that mean? Obviously some change in vowels, but what?
  16. CapnPrep Senior Member

    This is a fundamental question that is probably off-topic here (as you deduced, it has to do with vowels, and your original question is about consonants). This Wikipedia article will get you started.

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