User talk:Angr

di- vs dí- prefixEdit

We currently have Category:Old Irish words prefixed with di- and the entry di-, but in some instances the i is actually long. What is the real underlying vowel here, and where does the change in length come from? Should we use the long-vowel form as the lemma? —CodeCat 20:21, 1 October 2016 (UTC)

Matasović reconstructs the preposition as *dī, connecting it with Latin (though if that's right, then our etymology of isn't), and says it was shortened in unstressed position, and Thurneysen says it was also shortened before a vowel, and both shortened and lowered to de- before ro-. So I guess the main entry for the prefix should be dí-. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:41, 1 October 2016 (UTC)
DIL seems to be a bit inconsistent with the length. For do·guid it has at the start of the entry, but for do·gní it has di instead. Is there any significance to this? —CodeCat 20:48, 1 October 2016 (UTC)
I don't think so. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:19, 2 October 2016 (UTC)


What would Proto-Celtic ē become in Proto-Brythonic? UtherPendrogn (talk) 19:35, 5 October 2016 (UTC)

It became . —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:37, 5 October 2016 (UTC)

Old Irish noun inflection overhaulEdit

I've redone the template for Old Irish noun inflections, and made it more like the verb template. Now the parameters are named instead of numbered, so that it's no longer necessary to add comments; it's self-explanatory. Forms can be given a special tag to indicate initial mutations that accompany it. There's also a parameter for the inflectional class, which categorises. See {{sga-decl-noun}}. —CodeCat 22:43, 11 October 2016 (UTC)

OK, thanks. Is the idea that it should be used instead of more specific templates like {{sga-decl-o-masc}}? Or do the more specific templates call on the general one? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:19, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
No, they can both be used. This template is for when you'd rather specify each individual attested form, like for the verbs. It's useful for me because I can add declension templates that indicate the declension class and categorise accordingly, without having to interpret any of the attestations on DIL. I can just not specify any forms, and leave that to someone more experienced. —CodeCat 15:54, 12 October 2016 (UTC)


Hey @Angr, I could use your help in the etymology of *kumbā. It seems there's a lot of confusion around it and its alleged cognates. Do you think *kumbaz could be an early borrowing or merger from PCelt? Also, could campus be a cognate? Thanks. --Victar (talk) 16:43, 12 October 2016 (UTC)

*kumbaz would have to be a fairly late borrowing since it doesn't undergo Grimm's Law. If anything, the Celtic word is related to the PGmc ancestor of hump. I don't see how to connect it to campus since there's no way to get u-vocalism out of *kh₂em-. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:59, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
Ah, good call on hump. It could be that PGmc *kumbaz is unrelated (or at least not closely) and that OE cumb merged with a Brythonic borrowing to adopt the meaning of valley. --Victar (talk) 17:31, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
@Victar: the jump from *ḱewh₂- to *kumbʰo- is pretty strange (the depalatalization of *ḱ, disappearance of *h₂, and extension with *bʰ). Is there more explanation available? —JohnC5 18:39, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
You're right, it's very dubious. I took that from the reconstruction of *kuwos in Matasovic, and elsewhere I've seen it as *ḱówHwos, but it could be that *kumbā and *kuwos derive from different roots, despite all the alleged shared cognates. --Victar (talk) 19:06, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
Oh, so in the entry for *kuwos, Matasovic mentions that *kumbā is also a cognate? —JohnC5 19:23, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
No, he only claims कुम्भ ‎(kumbha, a pot, jug) is a cognate which itself is cited as a cognate for some of the various other alleged cognates. He also goes on to say it might not be PIE in origin, so he wasn't very sure either. --Victar (talk) 19:32, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
(e/c) No, he doesn't. He connects *kumbā with कुम्भ ‎(kumbha, pot) and says Beekes further compares it with κύμβη ‎(beaker) (although since Sanskrit has bh and Greek has b, it seems to me that it can only be cognate with one or the other, but not both, unless the Greek is a loanword from some branch where became b), and he connects *kuwos with शून्य ‎(śūnya, empty, hollow), κύαρ ‎(eye of the needle), cavus ‎(hollow), and Tocharian B kor ‎(throat). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:35, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
Right, exactly. I think the shared origin of PGmc *humpaz ‎(hill, heap), from PIE *kumbʰ- ‎(curved), and OE cumb being influenced by Brythonic makes the most sense. If so, what's the root of *kumbʰ-? --Victar (talk) 19:45, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
But *humpaz has the same problem κύμβη does, namely it shows b instead of . And there is also a कुम्ब ‎(kumba, thick end of a bone or club), which semantically could work with the Germanic, but not so well with the others. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:54, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
I'd missed this, but Beekes points out that the PIE form *kumbʰo- is impossible for a native PIE word since *k and *bʰ may not coöccur in a root. So Beekes prefers a Wanderwort. —JohnC5 02:57, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
A reconstruction of the Proto-Indo-Iranian form I found is *kʰumbʰa-. We also have Albanian sumbull. --Victar (talk) 04:30, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
Ok, so we could account for Celtic, PII, and Greek *kHumbHéh₂, but man, that would be a weird formation and definitely not native.
Orel give *ḱumbéh₂ for Albanian, Celtic, and Greek, but again this would be very weird given the *b. —JohnC5 05:00, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
Here's de Vaan's take on it (page 11). I don't agree with the Latin cognate though. --Victar (talk) 05:07, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
Given all this differing information (*ḱ/k/kʰumb/bʰéh₂), I am very uncomfortable reconstructing a PIE form at all. I would prefer to ascribe this to a Wanderwort. CodeCat, what do you think? —JohnC5 14:08, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
I can't really say anything beyond what has already been said. —CodeCat 14:11, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
I think most certainly there was an original PIE word that was a borrowing from a non-PIE language, as several published works can testify. The verdict is still out on whether the PCelt word is related. --Victar (talk) 16:48, 13 October 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Tantalizing as all these options are, we mustn't forget that the only attested meaning within Celtic is "valley". Of course while it's possible for a word meaning "valley" to be cognate with words referring to pots and bowls and beakers, it isn't particularly obvious that it must be. The second meaning "barrel" seems to be assigned only for the alleged Middle Irish word comm, which Matasović however says does not exist, and which indeed I can find no evidence for in DIL. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:27, 13 October 2016 (UTC)

Matasović says the Old Irish form doesn't exist, not the Middle Irish. It could be simply we've yet to find an older example, or the Middle Irish form is a re-borrowering from Brythonic, retaining an older lost meaning. --Victar (talk) 15:59, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
You're right, he says Old Irish. But if it were attested in Middle Irish, he would say so, and it would be in DIL, which gives Irish words from Old Irish through Middle Irish and up to Early Modern Irish. But the word isn't in the dictionary at all. Not only is there no entry for it, it doesn't occur in quotes in the entries for other words. I think the word isn't attested at all. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:04, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
Weird. I wonder where it came from than. Did someone just make it up? I know de Vaan cites it. --Victar (talk) 16:09, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
I think I found it: there's a word, certainly Middle Irish and possibly Old Irish, coim, which sometimes means "vessel, container", but mostly seems to mean "waist, middle" or "protection, covering", so its semantics make a relationship to the "valley" word questionable at best, and its palatalized m means it can't come from *kumbā anyway. There is also a Modern Irish word com that means "coombe, cirque, mountain recess", but that's probably a loanword from Welsh, either directly or via English cwm, since it doesn't appear in DIL and so is probably a modern word. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:22, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
Hah, I was just about to post this:
Air. coim, coimm (f.), später auch com, comm (m-o) ‘body, breast, bosom, waist’; ‘protection, shelter’; auch ‘vessel, container’ (DIL, S. 129; vgl. LEIA, C-146). – Z.B. ITS V 158.16: a coim na cumhaile ‘(le bébé tombant) du sein de la servante’ (LEIA ebd.).
Here's the etyomology they give:
Air. coim(m) < proto-goidel. *kumbi-, air. comm < proto-goidel. *kumb~ = galloroman. *cumba ‘Tal, Trog’ ( > frz. combe ‘Talschlucht’)7. Vgl. akymr. cum, mkymr. cwm(m), bret. komb, alle der Bedeutung ‘Tal’, < proto-brit. *kumbos (VG I, S. 119; IEW, S. 592; LEIA ebd.).
--Victar (talk) 16:34, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
I'm wondering if coimm, comm is the origin of University of Wales reconstruction *kombo- ‎(cover). --Victar (talk) 16:41, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
Very likely. I've always been suspicious of that wordlist precisely because it doesn't provide the attested reflexes of its reconstructions. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 17:41, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
Strange that Matasovic is so seeming adamant that Old Irish comm never existed. He could have cited coimm, comm and written his opinion on it. --Victar (talk) 18:28, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
Indeed. He doesn't mention coim at all. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:41, 13 October 2016 (UTC)

Pronunciation of mathgamainEdit

According to Stifter's Sengoídelc, all vowel letters other than u represented schwa when they stood in unstressed non-final position. Thus, I'd expect this to be /ˈmaθɣəṽənʲ/ instead. What is your take on this? —CodeCat 20:57, 17 October 2016 (UTC)

It's true that unstressed nonfinal vowels don't contrast with each other; their quality is entirely predictable from the quality of the consonants surrounding them. But since we have to assume 5 separate short vowel phonemes in both stressed syllables and unstressed final open syllables anyway, it seems uneconomical to posit a sixth phoneme /ə/ that's found only in unstressed syllables when followed by a consonant. I'd rather keep /a e i o u/ as the short vowel phonemes and posit some sort of restriction on where they may occur. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:06, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
Stifter has no problem doing just that. And this is exactly what we do for Central Catalan, also. Unstressed /e/ and /a/ collapse into [ə], and we denote this with the phoneme /ə/. In fact, you could say that we already do it for English, too. Schwa in English represents an unstressed variant of certain vowels, the exact phoneme of which is unrecoverable, just as in Old Irish and Catalan. —CodeCat 21:09, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
For Catalan and English, we know that the vowel in question actually surfaces as [ə] in pronunciation. We don't know that for Old Irish. We don't know whether /ˈmaθɣVṽVnʲ/ was pronounced [ˈmaθɣaṽɨnʲ] or [ˈmaθɣəṽənʲ]. If the former, then I am disinclined to give the phonemic form as /ˈmaθɣəṽənʲ/. And I think the former is a bit more likely, because the scribes are actually pretty consistent (by Old Irish standards, at any rate) in how these unstressed vowels are spelled: a between two broad consonants, e after a slender and before a broad, (a)i after a broad and before a slender, and i between two slenders. If they were really all pronounced the same, you'd expect more variation than is attested. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:32, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
Even so, I think you'd agree that there is complimentary distribution here, which is a hallmark of allophones of one phoneme. From what I gather, you are inclined to write full vowels because that's what the scribes wrote, and also because the phones happen to agree with similar phones in stressed position. However, it's quite possible for a language to have stressed /a/ and /e/ as full phonemes, but for unstressed [a] and [e] to be allophones of each other. To assign them to the equivalent stressed phonemes would sidestep this allophony, even though it's quite relevant to the phonemic system, which deals primarily with contrasts. —CodeCat 21:39, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
Also note that Wikipedia's article Old Irish makes no mention of the actual pronunciation of the "schwa", but it treats it as a phoneme quite explicitly. —CodeCat 21:48, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
But it isn't just stressed position, it's also unstressed position in absolute final position (where no consonant follows). There, all 5 vowels can follow any consonant. /ˈbaθa, ˈbaθe, ˈbaθi, ˈbaθo, ˈbaθu, ˈbaθʲa, ˈbaθʲe, ˈbaθʲi, ˈbaθʲo, ˈbaθʲu/ are all possible distinct words of Old Irish. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:49, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I'm aware. It doesn't really change much though. —CodeCat 21:50, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
It changes a lot for me. I'm prepared to believe in a merged phoneme in unstressed syllables, but one in unstressed syllables only when followed by a consonant exceeds my ability to suspend my disbelief. When I wrote the Old Irish phonology section at Wikipedia back in 2005, I didn't posit a phoneme /ə/; Benwing did that several years later, probably on the basis of Stifter. It is a defensible theory, but IMO the less economical one. Incidentally, the contrast between broad and slender consonants is lost in word-initial position in Old Irish too—it's always predictable from the following vowel—but because palatalization is contrastive in other positions, we treat the two sets as separate phonemes even in the position where they don't contrast. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:06, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
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