Proto-Indo-Iranian language

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Proto-Indo-Iranian is the reconstructed proto-language of the Indo-Iranian branch of Indo-European. Its speakers, the hypothetical Proto-Indo-Iranians, are assumed to have lived in the late 3rd millennium BC, and are often connected with the early Andronovo archaeological horizon.

Proto-Indo-Iranian was a Satem language, likely removed less than a millennium from the late Proto-Indo-European language, and in turn removed less than a millennium from the Vedic Sanskrit of the Rigveda. It is the ancestor of the Indo-Aryan languages, the Iranian languages, the Dardic languages and the Nuristani languages.

Descriptive phonology[edit]

Proto-Indo-Iranian consonant segments
Labial Coronal Palatal Velar Laryngeal
dental/

alveolar

post-

alveolar

first second
Plosive

voiceless

*p *t *ĉ *č *k  
voiced *b *d *ĵ *ǰ *g  
aspirated * * *ĵʰ *ǰʰ *  
Fricative

voiceless

*s *š *H
voiced (*z) (*ž)  
Nasal *m *n  
Liquid *l *r *  
Semivowel *y *w  
PII vowel segments
High *i *ī         *u *ū
Low     *a *ā    

In addition to the vowels, *H, and *r̥ could function as the syllabic core.

Two palatal series[edit]

Proto-Indo-Iranian is hypothesized to contain two series of stops or affricates in the palatal to postalveolar region.[1] The following table shows the most common reflexes and origins of the two series (Proto-Iranian is the hypothetical ancestor to the Iranian languages, including Avestan and Old Persian):[2][3]

PIE PII Sanskrit Proto-Iranian Avestan Old Persian Nuristani
*k̂ ś ([ɕ]) *ts s θ ċ ([ts]) / š
j ([ɟ]) *dz z d j ([dz]) / z
*ĝʰ *ĵʰ h ([ɦ])
*k/kʷ c č č č
*g/gʷ j ([ɟ]) ǰ ǰ ǰ / ž
*gʰ/gʷʰ *ǰʰ h ([ɦ])

Laryngeal[edit]

Proto-Indo-European is usually hypothesized to have three to four laryngeal consonants, each of which could occur in either syllabic or non-syllabic position. In Proto-Indo-Iranian, the laryngeals merged as one phoneme /*H/. Beekes suggests that some instances of this /*H/ survived into Avestan as unwritten glottal stops.[4]

Accent[edit]

Like Proto-Indo-European and Vedic Sanskrit (and also Avestan, though it was not written down[5]), Proto-Indo-Iranian had a pitch accent, indicated by an acute accent over the accented vowel.

Historical phonology[edit]

The most distinctive phonological change separating Proto-Indo-Iranian from Proto-Indo-European is the collapse of the ablauting vowels *e, *o, *a into a single vowel, Proto-Indo-Iranian *a (but see Brugmann's law). Grassmann's law, Bartholomae's law, and the Ruki sound law were also complete in Proto-Indo-Iranian.

A fuller list of some of the hypothesized sound changes from Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Indo-Iranian follows:

  • The Satem shift, consisting of two sets of related changes. The PIE palatals *k̂ *ĝ *ĝʰ are fronted or affricated, eventually resulting in PII *ĉ, *ĵ, *ĵʰ, while the PIE labiovelars *kʷ *gʷ *gʷʰ merge with the velars *k *g *gʰ.[6]
PIE PII Sanskrit Avestan Latin
*k̂m̥tóm *ĉatám śatám satəm centum "hundred"
*ĝónu *ĵā́nu jā́nu zānu genu "knee"
*ĝʰéi-mn̥ *ĵʰimá- himá- zima- hiems "winter" / "snow"
*kʷó- *ká- ká- quis "who?, what?"
*gʷou- *gau- go gau- bos, bovis "cow"
*gʷʰormó- *gʰarmá- gharmá- garəma- formus "warmth, heat"
  • The PIE syllabic liquids *l̥, *r̥ merge as *r̥.[7]
PIE PII Sanskrit Avestan Latin
*wĺ̥kʷo- *wŕ̥ka- *vŕ̥ka- vəhrka- lupus "wolf"
  • The PIE syllabic nasals *m̥ *n̥ merge with *a.[7]
PIE PII Sanskrit Avestan Latin
*k̂m̥tóm *ĉatám śatám satəm centum "hundred"
*mn̥tó- *matá matá- mens, mentis "thinking"
  • Bartholomae's law: an aspirate immediately followed by a voiceless consonant becomes voiced stop + voiced aspirate. In addition, dʰ + t > dzdʰ.[8]
PIE PII Sanskrit Avestan
*ubʰto- *ubdʰa- ubdaēna "woven" / "made of woven material"
*urdʰto- *urdzdʰa- vr̥ddʰá- vrzda- "complete/mature"
*augʰ-tá- *augdʰá- *óhate *augda "he said"
  • The Ruki rule: *s is retracted to *š when immediately following *r *r̥ *u *k or *i. Its allophone *z likewise becomes *ž.[7]
PIE PII Sanskrit Avestan
*wers- *warš- varṣman- "summit"
*pr̥sto- *pr̥šta- pr̥ṣṭhá- paršta "back" / "backbone"
*ǵeus- *ĵauš- joṣati zaošō "taste"
*kʷsep- *kšap- (< *ksep) kṣāp xšap "darkness"
*wis- *wiš- viṣa- viša- "poison"
*nisdo- *nižda- nīḍa- "nest"
  • Before a dental occlusive, *ĉ becomes *š and *ĵ becomes *ž. *ĵʰ also becomes *ž, with aspiration of the occlusive.[9]
PIE pre-PII PII Sanskrit Avestan
*h₂ok̂tṓ *oĉtṓ *aštā́ aṣṭaú ašta "eight"
*h₃mr̥ĝt- *mr̥ĵd- *mr̥žd- mr̥ḍīká- mərəžḍīka "wiped away" / "pardon"
*uĝʰtó- *uĵʰtó- *uždʰá- ūḍhá- "carried"
  • The sequence *ĉs was simplified to *šš.[10]
PIE pre-PII PII Sanskrit Avestan Latin
*h₂ék̂s- *áĉs- *ášš- ákṣa- aši- axis "shoulder" / "axle"
  • The "second palatalization" or "law of palatals": *k *g *gʰ develop palatal allophones *č *ǰ *ǰʰ before the front vowels *i, *e.[8]
PIE pre-PII PII Sanskrit Avestan
*kʷe *ke *ča ca ča "and"
*gʷíh₃weti *gíh₃weti *ǰī́wati jī́vati jvaiti "lives"
*gʷʰénti *gʰénti *ǰʰánti hánti jainti "slays"
PIE pre-PII PII Sanskrit Avestan Latin
*deh₃tór-m *deh₃tṓr-m *dātā́ram dātā́ram dātāram dator "giver" (acc. sg.)
  • The vowels *e *o merge with *a. Similarly, *ē, *ō merge with *ā. This has the effect of giving full phonemic status to the second palatal series *č *ǰ *ǰʰ.
PIE PII Sanskrit Avestan
*kʷe *ča (< *če) ca ča "and"
*gʷʰormó- *gʰarmá- gharmá- garəma- "heat"
*bʰréh₂tēr *bʰrā́tār bhrā́tā brātā "brother"
*wōkʷs *wākš vāk vāxš "voice"
  • In certain positions, laryngeals were vocalized to *i. This preceded the second palatalization.[12][13]
    • Following a consonant, and preceding a consonant cluster
PIE PII Sanskrit Avestan
*ph₂trei *pitrai pitre piθrai "father" (dative singular)
  • Following a consonant and word-final
PIE PII Sanskrit Avestan
*-medʰh₂ *-madʰi -mahi -madi (1st person plural middle ending)
  • The Indo-European laryngeals all merged into one phoneme *H, which may have been a glottal stop. This was probably contemporary with the merging of *e and *o with *a.[14]
PIE PII Sanskrit Avestan
*ph₂tér *pHtā́ pitā́ ptā "father" (nominative singular)
  • According to Lubotsky's Law, *H disappeared when followed by a voiced nonaspirated stop and another consonant:[15]
PIE PII Sanskrit Avestan
*bʰeh₂g- *bʰag- ( < *bʰaHg- ) bʰag- baxša "distribute"


Subsequent sound changes[edit]

Among the sound changes from Proto-Indo-Iranian to Indo-Aryan is the loss of the voiced sibilant *z, among those to Iranian is the de-aspiration of the PIE voiced aspirates.

Proto-Indo-European and Indo-Iranian Phonological Correspondences[16]
PIE OInd/VS Av PIE OInd/VS Av
*p > p p *patēr "father" pitā́ "father" pitar- "father"
*b > b b *bel- "strong" lam "strength" -
*bh > bh b *bhréhatēr "brother" bhrā́tār- "brother" brātar- "brother
*t > t t *tuhxóm "thou" tuvám "thou" tvəm "thou"
*d > d d *doru "wood" dā́ru "wood" dāru- "wood"
*dh > dh d *dhohxneha- "grain" dhānā́- "grain" dāna- "grain"
*k̂ > ś s * "ten" śa "ten" dasa "ten"
> j z *ĝónu "knee" jā́nu "knee" zānu- "knee"
*ĝh > h z *ĝhimós "cold" himá- "cold, frost" zəmaka- "winterstorm"
*k > k ~ c x ~ č *kruharós "bloody" krūrá- "bloody" xrūra- "bloody"
*ket "may he run" - tačat̰ "may he run"
*g > g ~ j g ~ ǰ *haéuges- "strength" ójas- "strength" aoǰah "strength"
*haugrós "strong" ugrá- "strong" ugra- "strong"
*gh > gh ~ h g ~ ǰ *dl̥hxghós "long" dīrghá- "long" darəga- "long"
*dlehxghistos "longest" - draǰišta- "longest"
*kw > k ~ c k ~ č *kwós "who" káḥ "who" kō "who"
*kwe "and" ca "and" ́ča "and"
*gw > g ~ j g ~ ǰ *gwou- "cow" gav- "cow" gau- "cow"
*gwih3uós "alive" jīvá- "alive" OPer: ǰīva

- "living"

*gwh > gh ~ h g ~ ǰ *gwhnénti "strike" (pl.) ghnánti "strike" (pl.) -
*gwhénti "strikes" hánti "strikes" ǰainti "strikes"
*s > s s ~ h *septm̥ "seven" saptá "seven" hapta "seven"
*asti "is" asti "is" asti "is"
*i̥ > y y *ugóm "yoke" yuga'm "yoke" yuga- "yoke"
*u̥ > v v *éĝheti "drives, rides" váhati "drives" vazaiti "travels"
*m > m m *méhatēr "mother" mātár- "mother" mātar- "mother"
*n > n n *nos "us" nas "us" nō "us"
*l > l ~ r r *kweleti "moves" carati "moves" caraiti "moves"
*r > r r *bhrehatēr "brother" bhrā́tār- "brother" brātar- "brother
*n̥ > a a *- "un-" a- "un-" a- "un-"
*m̥ > a a *tóm "hundred" s'atám "hundred" satəm "hundred"
*l̥ > ərər *kwos "wolf" vĺ̥ka- "wolf" vəhrka- "wolf"
*r̥ > ərər *d- "heart" hŕ̥d- "heart" zərəd- "heart"
*i > i i *linékwti "leaves" riṇákti "leaves" irinaxti "releases"
*e > a a *dék̂m̥ "ten" dáśa "ten" dasa "ten"
> ā ā *hanr "man" nā "man" nā "man"
*a > a a *haéĝeti "drives" ájati "drives" azaiti "drives"
> ā ā *méhatēr "mother" mātā́ "mother" mātar- "mother"
*o > a ~ ā a ~ ā *ĝómbhos "tooth, peg" jā́mbha- "tooth, tusk" -
*ĝónu "knee" jānu "knee" zānu- "knee"
> ā ā *dhohxneha- "grain" dhānā́- "grain" dāna- "grain"
*u > u u *iugóm "yoke" yugám "yoke" yuga- "yoke"
> ū ū *mū́s "mouse" mū́ṣ- "mouse" NPer mūs "mouse"
*h1 > *h1ésti "is" ásti "is" asti "is"
*h2 > *h2r̥tk̂os "bear" r̥'kṣa- "bear" arəša- "bear"
*h3 > *h3ókws(i) "eye" ákṣi "eye" aši "eye"
*h4 > *h4órĝhis "testicle" - ərəzi- "testicle"
Proto-Indo-Iranian Old Iranian (OP, Av) Old Indic/Vedic Sanskrit
*aĉwa- ("horse") Av, OP aspa aśva
*bʰag- OP baj- (bāji; "tribute") bhag- (bhaga)
*bʰrātr- ("brother") OP brātar bhrātṛ
*bʰūmī ("earth", "land") OP būmi bhūmī
*martya ("mortal, "man") OP martya martya
*māsa ("moon") OP māha māsa
*wāsara ("early") OP vāhara ("spring") vāsara ("morning")
*ṛta ("truth") Av aša, OP arta ṛta
*draugʰ- ("falsehood") Av druj, OP draug- druh-
*sauma "pressed (juice)" Av haoma soma

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Burrow, pp. 78-79
  2. ^ Ramat, Anna Giacalone (1998). The Indo-European Languages (illustrated ed.). London ; New York: Routledge,. p. 134. ISBN 0-415-06449-X. 
  3. ^ Cardona, George; Dhanesh Jain (2003). The Indo-Aryan Languages. London ; New York: Routledge. p. 24. ISBN 0-7007-1130-9. 
  4. ^ Beekes (1988), p. 50
  5. ^ Beekes, p. 55
  6. ^ Burrow, pp. 74-75
  7. ^ a b c Fortson, p. 182
  8. ^ a b Fortson, p. 181
  9. ^ Burrow, p. 91
  10. ^ Burrow, pp. 92-94
  11. ^ Fortson, p. 183
  12. ^ Beekes, pp, 85-86
  13. ^ Lubotsky, p. 53
  14. ^ get ref
  15. ^ Beekes, pp. 88-89
  16. ^ "Indo-Iranian Languages." Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Ed. J.P. Mallory and D.Q. Adams. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997. pp. 305.

Bibliography[edit]