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Abstract

This paper argues that Alwin Kloekhorst’s arguments against the traditional voiced/voiceless contrast in Anatolian stops are not probative and none of his arguments necessarily require a contrast in length. Moreover, transcriptions and loanwords from half a dozen languages (neglected by Kloekhorst) unequivocally and unambiguously show that Hittite and Luwian stops were always perceived as either voiceless or voiced and never as geminates, pace H.C. Melchert and A. Kloekhorst. In other words, there is no reason to assume that the contrast in Anatolian stops was one of length, and consequently the contrast in voice is neither a shared innovation nor a defining feature of the non-Anatolian Indo-European languages (pace A. Kloekhorst).

In: Dispersals and Diversification

Abstract

Mating networks are a new category of measurable human relationships, recently revealed by studies of ancient DNA. Mating networks were regional human populations with distinctive combinations of genetic traits. Because languages usually were learned from the same parental sources that provided genes, languages probably showed at least an equivalent level of regional patterning and diversity. Four genetically defined mating networks are relevant for understanding the genetic characteristics of the steppe populations that probably spoke Proto-Indo-European dialects. These four mating networks are named and described and their changing relationships with each other are reviewed using a combination of archaeological and genetic evidence. The still-undecided question of where the oldest phase of PIE was spoken is reviewed, with suggestions for resolving where and when the separation of Anatolian, the first and oldest split in the Indo-European (IE) language family, occurred.

In: Dispersals and Diversification

Abstract

The semantics of ancient Indo-European noun stems has not yet received enough attention from scholars. However, the noun stems exhibit an inner semantic coherence arranged in accordance with the basic linguistic principles of categorisation. My aim in this paper is to demonstrate the internal semantic coherence of the Ancient Greek οι-stem noun category and to compare it with other well-studied morphosemantic categories in order to suggest a particular meaning structure.

In: Journal of Greek Linguistics

Abstract

The concept of culture is a topic of shared interest for archaeologists and historical linguists alike. Despite its still prevalent usage in both disciplines, the concept of culture is an area of study that is highly problematic, and over the last three decades, increasingly contentious in the social sciences and humanities. There are two primary problems with culture and its application in (Proto-)Indo-European studies as I (and others) see it. First, there is the intellectual packaging and subsequent presentation of culture as a social totality. Participation in such totalities is defined and identified archaeologically by: the use of one or more peculiar items, including but not limited to decorative styles and vessel forms of pottery, the use of certain types of tools and/or weapons, and certain styles of burial rite. The first problem with such a conceptualization of culture is the perpetuation of limits or borders that reify culture as bounded, behavioral, and symbolic totalities that undergo change homogenously. The second problem is how social change is approached as denouement, or climax of cultural progress before rapid change. Such approaches fail to acknowledge and, more importantly, to investigate the juxtaposition of change and continuity experienced by different communities within these supposedly bounded entities. This paper addresses these problems and the subsequent issues that arise when trying to integrate the multiple methodologies employed by archaeologists, historical linguists, and geneticists to help develop more comprehensive understandings of human social action and processes in prehistory.

In: Dispersals and Diversification

Abstract

The 4th millennium BC stands out as a period of increasing interaction between the Caucasus, Anatolia, the Levant and Greece, stimulated by movements of groups of people at land and sea, including the Black Sea coast (Bauer 2011), which had both genetic (Damgaard et al. 2018; Lazaridis et al. 2017; Wu et al. 2018), cultural and linguistic consequences, including Anatolian, which split off during the early to mid 4th millennium BC from early Maykop groups in the northern Caucasus. After the middle of the 4th millennium steppe Maykop expanded north, leading to the formation of the Yamnaya Culture and Proto-Indo-European, which by the beginning of the 3rd millennium saw the development of ancient Tocharian and the first migrations towards the east (Altai) and the west (Europe). Thus, for reasons given below, I argue for the “Indo-Hittite” hypothesis, using “Proto-Indo-Anatolian” for the source of both (Proto-)Anatolian and the rest of the Indo-European languages, reserving “Proto-Indo-European” for the source of the non-Anatolian languages.

In: Dispersals and Diversification

Abstract

Cladistic hypotheses are ideally based on arguments that use cumulative evidence from a wide range of shared innovations inherited from a more recent ancestor. The majority of historical linguists would agree that the best evidence for subgrouping would be shared phonological and morphological innovations, while evidence from proportions of shared lexical cognacy is less reliable for linguistic subgrouping. Recent high-profile studies have appeared, however, that have been based exclusively on comparative lexical material. The results of these methods have been sharply criticised, but in spite of the criticisms to cognacy-based approaches, there remains some potential that the lexical cognacy may provide some useful data to supplement cladistic hypotheses as part of an overall assessment of the complete bundle of available isoglosses. If lexical cognacy judgements can be treated as a potential source of data for cladistic hypotheses, how can they be implemented in a methodologically rigorous way? This chapter focuses on case studies from methodological issues that have arisen in encoding Indo-European lexical cognacy data on the Indo-European Cognate Relationships (IE-CoR) database project based at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. These issues are illustrated through case studies from problems that have arisen in assigning cognacy coding to lexical data. As such this chapter contributes a discussion towards improving the reliability of cognacy data for cladistic analyses as a supplement to more traditional analyses based on comparative phonological and morphological criteria.

In: Dispersals and Diversification

Abstract

Hittite šeppit(t)- ‘(a kind of) wheat’ can be identified as a borrowing from Akkadian or another Semitic language, identical to the Mediterranean culture-word that has ended up in English as semnel. There is thus no basis for a PIE reconstruction *sép-it meaning ‘wheat’. The very suffix *-it, which Watkins (1978) interpreted as a marker for ‘(basic) foodstuffs’, is likewise a phantom. Balkan Indo-European *álbʰ-it and Iranian *arpucya-, both ‘barley’, are borrowings from separate dialectal reflexes of Turkic *arpa ‘barley’; the former acquired its suffix in analogy with *mél-it ‘honey’ because the two terms were interpreted as *albʰ- ‘white’ and *mel- ‘dark’, respectively—an important distinction in ritual contexts.

In: Dispersals and Diversification

Abstract

Especially in the first half of the twentieth century, language was viewed as a vehicle for the transmission of facts and ideas. Later on, scholars working in linguistic frameworks such as Functional and Cognitive Linguistics, (Historical) Sociolinguistics and Functional Sociolinguistics, have emphasized the social relevance of language, focusing, for example, on linguistic concepts such as deixis, modality, or honorific language, or embedding larger linguistic patterns in their social contexts, through notions such as register, sociolect, genre, etc. The main aim of this article is to systematize these observations, through an investigation of how the central, though ill-understood notion of “social meaning” can be captured. The starting point for the discussion is the work that has been done in the framework of Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL). This framework distinguishes “social” (“interpersonal”) meaning from two other types of meaning, and offers a typology of different types of contexts with which these different meanings resonate. In order to achieve a more satisfactory account of social meaning, however, I argue that we need to connect SFL to a theory of how signs convey meaning. The discussion is relevant for Ancient Greek in its entirety, but focuses specifically on Post-classical Greek: as a case study, I discuss five private letters from the so-called Theophanes archive (IVAD).

In: Journal of Greek Linguistics

Abstract

This paper sets out to explore an idiosyncratic linguistic feature only attested on a number of Linear B documents from Pylos, namely the occurrence of sequences of particles in clause-initial, and sometimes also tablet-initial, position. These sequences are o-a 2, o-da-a 2 and o-de-qa-a 2. In this paper, a contextual analysis of the form and function of these sequences will be carried out in order to arrive at a plausible, and convincing, interpretation of their usage. The examination of their occurrences is conducted by placing the usage of these sequences of particles within the backdrop of recording procedures of the Mycenaean palatial administration.

In: Journal of Greek Linguistics
In: Journal of Greek Linguistics