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).
- Rise and development of Slavic accentual paradigms (2009)
- It appears that the complexity of Slavic historical accentology is prohibitive for most non-specialists in the field. It may therefore be useful to approach the subject from a number of different angles in order to render it more accessible to a wider audience. In the following I shall discuss the separate accent paradigms and their development from the Late Balto-Slavic system, which is structurally similar to that of modern Lithuanian, up to the end of the Proto-Slavic period, when the system resembled what we find in modern Serbo-Croatian. The numbering of the stages 1.0 through 10.12 is the same as in my earlier publications (1989, 2003, 2005, 2006a, 2008b). For the rise and development of the accentual system up to the end of the Balto-Slavic period I may refer to my discussion (2006b, 2008a) of Olander’s dissertation (2006). It resulted in a system of four major and two minor accent types.
- West Slavic accentuation (2009)
- At the time of the earliest reconstructible dialectal divergences, which belong to the Late Middle Slavic period of my chronology (stages 7.0 - 8.0 of Kortlandt 1989a, 2003, 2008), the West Slavic languages represented the most conservative part of the Slavic dialects (cf. Kortlandt 1982b: 191 and 2003: 231).
- All's well that ends well (2009)
- A few years ago, Jasanoff adopted the central tenet of my accentological theory, viz. that the Balto-Slavic acute was a stød or glottal stop, not a rising tone (cf. Kortlandt 1975, 1977, 2004, Jasanoff 2004a). Of course, nobody will believe Jasanoff’s claim that he arrived at the same result independently thirty years after I published it and ten years after we discussed it when he came to Leiden to visit us. Though at the time he haughtily dismissed “the tangle of secondary hypotheses and “laws” that clutter the ground in the field of Balto-Slavic accentology” (Jasanoff 2004b: 171), he has now recognized the importance of Pedersen’s law, Hirt’s law, Winter’s law, Meillet’s law, Dolobko’s law, Dybo’s law and Stang’s law and largely accepted my relative chronology of these accent laws, including the loss of the acute shortly before Stang’s law (cf. Jasanoff 2008). He has also accepted my split of Pedersen’s law into a Balto-Slavic and a Slavic phase (to which a Lithuanian phase must be added), my thesis that the tonal contours of Baltic and Slavic languages are post-Balto-Slavic innovations (cf. Jasanoff 2008: 344, fn. 10), and the rise of a tonal distinction on non-acute initial syllables before Dybo’s law which I discussed at some length in my review (1978) of Garde’s monograph (1976). This is great progress.
- Balto-Slavic accentuation revisited (2009)
- There is every reason to welcome the revised edition (2009) of Thomas Olander’s dissertation (2006), which I have criticized elsewhere (2006). The book is very well written and the author has a broad command of the scholarly literature. I have not found any mistakes in Olander’s rendering of other people’s views. This makes the book especially useful as an introduction to the subject. It must be hoped that the easy access to a complex set of problems which this book offers will have a stimulating effect on the study of Balto-Slavic accentology.
- More on the chronology of Celtic sound changes (2009)
- Graham Isaac’s recent monograph (2007) deals with the chronology of Celtic sound changes. Remarkably, the author completely disregards the relative chronology which I published 28 years earlier (1979). In the following I shall discuss the main issues on which our views differ.
- Hittite hi-verbs and the Indo-European perfect (2008)
- In an earlier study (1983) I argued that unlike aorists and athematic presents, Indo-European perfects and thematic presents originally had a dative subject, as in German mir träumt ‘me dreams’ for ich träume ‘I dream’, e.g. Greek oida ‘I know’ < ‘it is known to me’, édomai ‘I will eat’ < ‘it is eatable to me’. On the basis of Oettinger’s epoch-making book (1979), I proposed that the Hittite hi-flexion originated from a merger of the perfect, where *-i was added to 3rd sg. *-e in order to supply a new present, with the thematic flexion of causatives and iteratives, where the final *-e of 3rd sg. *-eie was dropped before the loss of intervocalic *-i- (1983: 315).
- C. C. Uhlenbeck on Indo-European, Uralic and Caucasian (2008)
- In his early years, C. C. Uhlenbeck was particularly interested in the problem of the Indo-European homeland (1895, 1897). He rejected Herman Hirt’s theory (1892) that the words for ‘birch’, ‘willow’, ‘spruce’, ‘oak’, ‘beech’ and ‘eel’ point to Lithuania and its immediate surroundings and returned to Otto Schrader’s view (1883, 1890) that the original homeland must rather be sought in southern Russia and may have included some of the later Germanic and Iranian territories. It is clear that the Mediterranean region and the area around the North Sea can safely be excluded because the arrival of the Indo-Europeans was comparatively recent here, as it was in Iran and the Indian subcontinent. It is difficult to be more specific within the limits of central and eastern Europe and central Asia. Uhlenbeck was impressed by the lexical correspondences between Indo-European and Semitic which had been adduced in favor of an eastern homeland but pointed out that borrowings from Semitic may have reached the Indo-Europeans through an intermediary. He agrees that the Indo-European words for trees and animals point to a moderate climate but questions the possibility of a more specific localization as well as the concept of homeland itself.
- Issues in Balto-Slavic accentology (2008)
- After the very well-organized Leiden conference for which we must be grateful to Tijmen Pronk, it seems appropriate for me to review some of the papers, as I did after the previous conferences in Zagreb and Copenhagen. The aim of this review is merely to point out some of the differences of opinion which require further debate.