Re: Human Language. (long post)

MSCob (
19 Jan 1997 18:24:03 GMT

John Halloran wrote:

PIE did have several laryngeal consonants, however, that are no longer in
modern languages.

I believe the original source meant that these consonant are no
longer in modern Indo-European languages. We aren't sure just what the
phonetic natures of those laryngeals were, but they may well have
resembled laryngeals found in other modern languages. In fact, one may
have been "h." Of course, it's possible that Indo-European was
extraordinarily primitive and unlike human language today. Maurice
Swadesh suggested back in the 20s or 30s, I think, that the Semitic word
pattern was a relic of earlier stages of language evolution. But these
are speculations. You can't show primitiveness in these languages on
linguistic grounds. Furthermore, one hypothesis has Proto-Indo-European
as recent as 2000 BC. Mary Coberly

Mary Coberly