- Indogermanische Sprachen (7) (remove)
- The Indo-Uralic verb (2002)
- C.C. Uhlenbeck made a distinction between two components of Proto-Indo-European, which he called A and B (1935a: 133ff.). The first component comprises pronouns, verbal roots, and derivational suffixes, and may be compared with Uralic, whereas the second component contains isolated words, such as numerals and most underived nouns, which have a different source. The wide attestation of the Indo-European numerals must be attributed to the development of trade resulting from the increased mobility which was the primary cause of the Indo-European expansions. Numerals do not belong to the basic vocabulary of a neolithic culture, as is clear from their absence in Proto-Uralic (cf. also Collinder 1965: 112) and from the spread of Chinese numerals throughout East Asia. Though Uhlenbeck objects to the term “substratum” for his B complex, I think that it is a perfectly appropriate denomination.
- Indo-Uralic consonant gradation (2007)
- Koivulehto and Vennemann have recently (1996) revived Posti’s theory (1953) which attributed Finnic consonant gradation to Germanic influence, in particular to the influence of Verner’s law. This theory disregards the major differences between Finnic and Saami gradation (cf. Sammallahti 1998: 3) and ignores the similar gradation in Nganasan and Selkup (cf. Kallio 2000: 92).
- Hittite ammuk 'me' (2005)
- In the Indo-European department of Leiden University, Alwin Kloekhorst has initiated a discussion on Hittite ammuk ‘me’. The central question is: where did the geminate come from? This has led me to reconsider the origin of the Indo-European personal pronouns against the background of my reconstruction of Indo-Uralic (2002: 221-225). For the historical data I may refer to Schmidt (1978).
- Noises and nuisances in Balto-Slavic and Indo-European linguistics (2005)
- It is gratifying to see that Jay Jasanoff has now (2004) adopted my theory that "the Balto-Slavic acute was a kind of stød or broken tone" (p. 172), which I have been advocating since 1973. Unfortunately, his acceptance of my view is not based on an evaluation of the comparative evidence (for which see Kortlandt 1985a) but on his desire to derive Balto-Slavic “acute” and "circumflex" syllables from the "bimoric" and "trimoric" long vowels which he assumes for Proto-Germanic as the reflexes of the Indo-European "acute" and "circumflex" tones of the neogrammarians. Since the original "circumflex" was limited to Indo-European VHV-sequences, Jasanoff proposes a whole series of additional lengthenings yielding "hyperlong" vowels in Germanic, Baltic and Slavic, which still do not suffice to eliminate the counter-evidence (cf. Kortlandt 2004b: 14). The reason for this failure is his unwillingness to recognize that lengthened grade vowels are circumflex in Balto-Slavic (cf. Kortlandt 1997a).
- 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).
- On the relative chronology of Slavic accentual developments (2007)
- Last year Georg Holzer proposed a relative chronology of accentual developments in Slavic (2005). Here I shall compare his chronology with the one I put forward earlier (1975, 1989a, 2003) and discuss the differences. For the sake of convenience, I first reproduce the relevant parts of my chronology, omitting asterisks before pre-historic Slavic forms. 1. Proto-Indo-European. 2. Dialectal Indo-European. 3. Early Balto-Slavic. During this period the characteristic lateral mobility of Balto-Slavic accent patterns came into existence. 4. Late Balto-Slavic. During this period the Balto-Slavic accent patterns obtained their final shape.
- The origin of the Goths (2004)
- Witold Ma´nczak has argued that Gothic is closer to Upper German than to Middle German, closer to High German than to Low German, closer to German than to Scandinavian, closer to Danish than to Swedish, and that the original homeland of the Goths must therefore be located in the southernmost part of the Germanic territories, not in Scandinavia (1982, 1984, 1987a, 1987b, 1992). I think that his argument is correct and that it is time to abandon Iordanes’ classic view that the Goths came from Scandinavia. We must therefore reconsider the grounds for adopting the latter position and the reasons why it always has remained popular.