The rule acted on word-final clusters of resonants and fricatives, as follows:
- -VRs, -VRh₂, -VRh₂s > -VːR
That is, word-final *s or *h₂ is lost when preceded by a resonant and a vowel, and the vowel receives compensatory lengthening. After the application of the law, any resulting word-final *-ōn was reduced further to *-ō.
The law affected the nominative singular forms of any masculine and feminine nouns whose stem ended in a resonant, which were numerous:
- PIE *ph₂térs "father" > *ph₂tḗr (Ancient Greek patḗr, Sanskrit pitā́)
- PIE *ǵénh₁tors "parent" > *ǵénh₁tōr (Ancient Greek genétōr, Latin genitor)
- PIE *dʰéǵʰoms "earth" > *dʰéǵʰōm (Ancient Greek khthṓn, Sanskrit kṣa, Hittite te-e-kán)
- PIE *h₂éḱmons "stone" > *h₂éḱmō
- PIE *gʷénh₂s "woman" > *gʷḗn
The rule also affected the nominative-accusative forms of neuter plural/collective nouns, which ended in *-h₂:
- PIE *ǵénh₁monh₂ "seeds" > *ǵénh₁mō
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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