Szemerényi's law (or Szemerényi's lengthening) is a Proto-Indo-European phonological rule, named after Hungarian linguist Oswald Szemerényi, according to which word-final clusters of vowels (V), resonants (R) and of either */s/ or */h₂/ are simplified by dropping the word-final fricative (*/h₂/ was phonetically itself probably a back fricative), with compensatory lengthening of the preceding vowel.
This law affected numerous nominative singulars of masculine and feminine nouns, as well as the nominoaccusatives of neuter collectives in *-h₂
After the application of the law, any resulting word-final *-n was also dropped, at least if the preceding segment was (unaccented) *ō. The resulting long vowels had already begun in PIE to spread analogically to other nominative singular forms in which they were not phonologically justified by the law (e.g. PIE *pṓds 'foot'), and word-final sonorants other than *-n were sometimes dropped, which demonstrates that this law was already morphologized in the period of "PIE proper".
- Trask, Robert Lawrence (2000). The Dictionary of Historical and Comparative Linguistics. Routledge. ISBN 1-57958-218-4.
- Benjamin W. Fortson (2004). Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing. p. 64. ISBN 1-4051-0316-7.
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