Year of publication
- An outline of Proto-Indo-European (2010)
- Indo-European is a branch of Indo-Uralic which was radically transformed under the influence of a North Caucasian substratum when its speakers moved from the area north of the Caspian Sea to the area north of the Black Sea (cf. Kortlandt 2007b). As a result, Indo-European developed a minimal vowel system combined with a very large consonant inventory including glottalized stops, also grammatical gender and adjectival agreement, an ergative construction which was lost again but has left its traces in the grammatical system, especially in the nominal inflection, a construction with a dative subject which was partly preserved in the historical languages and is reflected in the verbal morphology and syntax, where it gave rise to new categories, and a heterogeneous lexicon. The Indo-Uralic elements of Indo-European include pronouns, case endings, verbal endings, participles and derivational suffixes. In the following I shall give an overview of the grammar of Proto-Indo-European as it may have been spoken around 4000 BC in the eastern Ukraine, shortly after the ancestors of the Anatolians left for the Balkans (for more recent developments I refer to Beekes 1995).
- On the history of the genitive plural in Slavic, Baltic, Germanic, and Indo-European (1978)
- A correct interpretation of the genitive plural forms in Slavic and related languages requires a detailed chronological analysis of the material. At every stage of development we have to reckon with both phonetically regular and analogical forms. Analogy operates quite often along the same lines in different periods. Explaining an analogic change amounts to indicating a model, a motivation, and a stage of development for its effectuation. If one of these cannot be indicated, we must look for a phonetic explanation.
- Temporal gradation and temporal limitation (1980)
- In his magnum opus (Syntax and Semantics, Leiden 1978, henceforth: S&S) C.L. Ebeling makes a distinction between temporal gradation (pp 301-308 and 337-339) and temporal limitation (pp 311-315). In the case of temporal gradation “p , q”, the meaning “q” specifies the time during which the referent carries the mean-ing “p”.
- Proto-Indo-European verbal syntax (1983)
- It is argued that the PIE thematic flexion can be compared with the objective conjugation of the Uralic languages. The thematic vowel referred to an object in the absolutive (asigmatic nominative) case.
- Early dialectal diversity in South Slavic I (2003)
- The large majority of the isoglosses which can be established in the South Slavic dialectal area date from the time of the disintegration of Common Slavic and from more recent periods (e.g., Ivi´c 1958: 25ff). The isoglosses have often shifted in the course of the centuries, so that their original position cannot always be determined. In this study I shall concentrate upon the dialectal differences which originated before the 10th century. At that time, Slavic was still a largely uniform language, though it was certainly not completely homogeneous.
- From Proto-Indo-European to Slavic (2005)
- A correct evaluation of the Slavic evidence for the reconstruction of the Indo- European proto-language requires an extensive knowledge of a considerable body of data. While the segmental features of the Slavic material are generally of corroborative value only, the prosodic evidence is crucial for the reconstruction of PIE. phonology. Due to the complicated nature of Slavic historical accentology, this has come to be realized quite recently.1 As a result, much of the earlier literature has become obsolete to the extent that it is based upon an interpretation which does not take the multifarious accentual developments into account. I shall give one example.
- A parasitological view of non-constructible sets (2003)
- The genetic code, the primary manifestation of life, and, on the other hand, language, the universal endowment of humanity and its momentous leap from genetics to civilization, are the two fundamental stores of information transmissible from the ancestry to the progeny, the molecular succession, which ensures the transfer of hereditary messages from the cells of one generation to the next generation, and the verbal legacy as a necessary prerequisite of cultural tradition. Divergent terminologies direct attention to different pattemings; and finding a logically convincing test, acceptable all around, that can determine whether one such system of terms is superior to its rivals, is often impossible. Yet the slow processes of evolution presumably apply to human societies and their symbolic systems as much as to human bodies, so that when logic cannot decide, survival eventually will.
- Semiotactics as a Van Wijngaarden grammar (1984)
- 1. There are two classes of theories of Universal Grammar: (1) Formalist theories, such as the widespread varieties of generative grammar. These theories start from the assumption that certain strings of linguistic forms are grammatical while other strings are ungrammatical. A grammar of this type produces grammatical strings and does not produce ungrammatical ones. All theories of this class fail in the same respect: they do not account for the meaning of the strings. (2) Semiotactic theories, which describe the meaning of a string in terms of the meanings of its constituent forms and their interrelations. The only elaborate formalized theory of this class presently available is the one advanced by C.L. Ebeling (Syntax and Semantics, Leiden: Brill, 1978). I shall discuss some of its mathematical properties here.
- Polabian accentuation (2007)
- From a synchronic point of view, the accentuation of Late Polabian has been clarified by Trubetzkoy (1929) and Olesch (1973, 1974). The stress fell on the last full vowel of a word form, which was found either in the final or in the penulti-mate syllable. In the latter instance, the final syllable contained a reduced vowel. This rule was challenged by Kurylowicz (1955), who maintained that the stress was fixed on the initial syllable of the word. The latter theory has the advantage of accounting for the absence of reduced vowels in initial syllables.