Proto-Indo-Iranian language

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Proto-Indo-Iranian
PIIr
Reconstruction ofIndo-Iranian languages
RegionEurasian Steppe
Eralate 3rd m. BCE
Reconstructed
ancestor
Lower-order reconstructions

Proto-Indo-Iranian or Proto-Indo-Iranic[1] is the reconstructed proto-language of the Indo-Iranian/Indo-Iranic 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 Sintashta culture of the Eurasian Steppe and the early Andronovo archaeological horizon.

Proto-Indo-Iranian was a satem language, likely removed less than a millennium from its ancestor, the late Proto-Indo-European language, and in turn removed less than a millennium from the Avestan and Vedic Sanskrit of the Rigveda, its descendants.

Proto-Indo-Iranian has been considered to form a subgroup along with Greek, Armenian and Phrygian on the basis of many striking similarities in the morphological structure. However, this issue remains unsettled.[2]

It is the ancestor of the Indo-Aryan languages, the Iranian 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 *ć *č *k
voiced *b *d *ȷ́ *ǰ *g
aspirated * * *ȷ́ʰ *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 * could function as the syllabic core.

Two palatal series[edit]

Proto-Indo-Iranian is hypothesized to have contained two series of stops or affricates in the palatal to postalveolar region.[3] The phonetic nature of this contrast is not clear, and hence they are usually referred to as the primary or first series (*ć *ȷ́ *ȷ́ʰ, continuing Proto-Indo-European palatovelar *ḱ *ǵ *ǵʰ) and the second or secondary series (*č *ǰ *ǰʰ, continuing Proto-Indo-European plain and labialized velars, *k, *g, *gʰ and *kʷ, *gʷ, *gʷʰ, in palatalizing contexts). The following table shows the most common reflexes of the two series (Proto-Iranian is the hypothetical ancestor to the Iranian languages, including Avestan and Old Persian):[4][5]

PII Proto-Indo-Aryan Sanskrit Proto-Iranian Avestan Old Persian Nuristani
*ć ś ([ɕ]) ś ([ɕ]) *ts s θ ċ ([ts]) / š
*ȷ́ j ([ɟ]) j ([ɟ]) *dz z d j ([dz]) / z
*ȷ́ʰ źh ([ʑʱ]) h ([ɦ])
*č c ([c]) c ([c]) *č č č č
*ǰ j ([ɟ]) j ([ɟ]) *ǰ ǰ ǰ ǰ / ž
*ǰʰ źh ([ʑʱ]) h ([ɦ])

Laryngeal[edit]

Proto-Indo-European is usually hypothesized to have had three to four laryngeal consonants, each of which could occur in either syllabic or non-syllabic positions. In Proto-Indo-Iranian, the laryngeals merged as one phoneme /*H/. Beekes suggests that some instances of this /*H/ survived into Rigvedic Sanskrit and Avestan as unwritten glottal stops as evidenced by metrics.[6]

Accent[edit]

Like Proto-Indo-European and Vedic Sanskrit (and also Avestan, though it was not written down[7]), Proto-Indo-Iranian had a pitch accent system similar to present-day Japanese, conventionally 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 *ḱ *ǵ *ǵʰ are fronted or affricated, eventually resulting in PII *ć, *ȷ́, *ȷ́ʰ, while the PIE labiovelars *kʷ *gʷ *gʷʰ merge with the velars *k *g *gʰ.[8]
PIE PII Sanskrit Avestan Latin English Glossary
*ḱm̥tóm *ćatám śatám satəm centum hund(red) id
*ǵónu *ȷ́ā́nu jā́nu zānu genū 'knee' id
*ǵʰimós *ȷ́ʰimás himá ziiā̊ hiems 'winter' / 'snow'
*kʷós *kás kás ka quis who id
*gʷṓws *gā́wš gaus gao bōs 'cow' id
*gʷʰormós *gʰarmás gharmás garəma formus warm 'warmth, heat'
  • The PIE liquids *l *r *l̥ *r̥ merge as *r *r̥.[9]
PIE PII Sanskrit Avestan Latin English Glossary
*ḱléwos *ćráwas śrávas srauua clueō 'fame, honour, word'
*wĺ̥kʷos *wŕ̥kas vŕ̥kas vəhrka lupus 'wolf' id
  • The PIE syllabic nasals *m̥ *n̥ merge with *a.[9]
PIE pre-PII PII Sanskrit Avestan Latin English Glossary
*déḱm̥ *dáĉm̥ *dáća dáśa dasā decem ten id
*gʷm̥tós *gm̥tás *gatás gatá gata ventus come 'come, gone'
*n̥bʰrós *n̥bʰrás *abʰrás abhrá aβra imber 'rain, cloud'
  • Bartholomae's law: an aspirate immediately followed by a voiceless consonant becomes voiced stop + voiced aspirate. In addition, dʰ + t > dᶻdʰ.[10]
PIE PII Sanskrit Avestan English Glossary
*ubʰtós *ubdʰás sámubdha ubdaēna (web, weave) 'woven' / 'made of woven material'
*wr̥dʰtós *wr̥dᶻdʰás vr̥ddʰá vərəzda 'grown, mature'
*dʰéwgʰti *dáwgdʰi dógdhi *daogdi (daugh·ter) 'to milk'
  • The Ruki rule: *s is retracted to *š when immediately following a liquid (*r *r̥ *l *l̥), a high vowel (*i *u), a PIE velar (*ḱ *ǵ *ǵʰ *k *g *gʰ *kʷ *gʷ *gʷʰ) or the syllabic laryngeal *H̥.[11] Its allophone *z likewise becomes *ž.[9]
PIE PII Sanskrit Avestan Latin English Glossary
*wisós *wišás víṣas viša vīrus 'poison, venom'
*ḱeHs- *ćH̥šam aśiṣam sīšā 'teach!'
*ǵéwseti *ȷ́áwšati jóṣati zaošō gustus 'to like, taste'
*kʷsép- *kšáp- kṣáp- xšap- 'darkness'
*plúsis *plúšiš plúṣi *fruši pūlex 'flea, noxious insect'
*nisdós *niždás nīḷá/nīḍá *nižda nīdus nest 'nest'
  • Before a dental occlusive, *ĉ becomes *š and *ĵ becomes *ž. *ĵʰ also becomes *ž, with aspiration of the occlusive.[12]
PIE pre-PII PII Sanskrit Avestan Latin English Glossary
*h₁oḱtṓ *Haĉtā́ *Haštā́ aṣṭá ašta octō eight 'eight'
*dr̥ḱtós *dr̥ĉtás *dr̥štás dr̥ṣṭá dərəšta 'seen, visible, apparent'
*mr̥ǵt- *mr̥ĵd- *mr̥žd- mr̥ḷ-/mr̥ḍ- mərəžd- 'to forgive, pardon'
*uǵʰtós *uĵdʰás *uždʰás ūḍhá *užda vector weight 'carried'
  • The sequence *ĉš was simplified to *šš.[13]
PIE pre-PII PII Sanskrit Avestan Latin English Glossary
*h₂éḱs- *Háĉšas *Háššas ákṣa aša axis axle 'axle, shoulder'
  • The "second palatalization" or "law of palatals": *k *g *gʰ develop palatal allophones *č *ǰ *ǰʰ before the front vowels *i, *e.[10] through an intermediate *kʲ *gʲ *gʲʰ.
PIE pre-PII PII Sanskrit Avestan Latin English Glossary
*-kʷe *-kʲa *-ča -ca -ča -que 'and'
*gʷih₃wós *gʲiHwás *ǰiHwás jīvás juuō vīvus quick 'alive, living'
*gʷʰénti *gʲʰánti *ǰʰánti hánti jaiṇti -fendit 'slays'
PIE pre-PII PII Sanskrit Avestan Latin Glossary
*deh₃tórm̥ *daHtā́rm̥ *daHtā́ram dātā́ram dātārəm datōrem 'giver' (accusative singular)
  • 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 Latin English Glossary
*dédeh₃ti *dádaHti dádāti dadāiti dat 'to give'
*h₃dónts *Hdánts dant dantan dēns tooth 'tooth'
*bʰréh₂tēr *bʰráHtā bhrā́tr̥ brātar frāter brother 'brother'
*wṓkʷs *wā́kš vā́k vāxš vōx 'voice'
  • In certain positions, laryngeals were vocalized to *i. This preceded the second palatalization.[15][16]
  • Following a consonant, and preceding a consonant cluster
PIE PII Sanskrit Avestan Latin English/Glossary
*ph₂tréy *pitráy pitré piθrē patrī 'father' (dative singular)
  • Following a consonant and word-final
PIE PII Sanskrit Avestan Glossary
*-medʰh₂ *-madʰHi -mahi -maidī/-maiδi (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.[17]
PIE PII Sanskrit Avestan Latin English
*ph₂tḗr *pHtā́ pitā́ ptā pater 'father'
  • According to Lubotsky's Law, *H disappeared when followed by a voiced nonaspirated stop and another consonant:[18]
PIE PII Sanskrit Avestan Glossary
*bʰéh₂geti *bʰáǰati bhájati bažat̰ 'to divide, 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 Proto-Iranian is the de-aspiration of the PIE voiced aspirates.

Proto-Indo-European and Indo-Iranian Phonological Correspondences[19]
PIE O.Indc/VS Av PIE OInd/VS Av
*p > p p *ph̥₂tḗr "father" pitā́ "father" pitar- "father"
*b > b b *bél- "strong" bálam "strength"
*bʰ > bh b *réh₂tēr "brother" bhrā́tār- "brother" brātar- "brother
*t > t t *tuHóm "thou" tuvám "thou" tvəm "thou"
*d > d d *dóru "wood" dā́ru "wood" dāru- "wood"
*dʰ > dh d *oHnéh₂- "grain" dhānā́- "grain" dāna- "grain"
*ḱ > ś s * "ten" śa "ten" dasa "ten"
> j z *ǵónu "knee" jā́nu "knee" zānu- "knee"
*ǵʰ > h z *ǵʰimós "cold" himá- "cold, frost" zəmaka- "winterstorm"
*k > k ~ c x ~ č *kruh₂rós "bloody" krūrá- "bloody" xrūra- "bloody"
*ket "may he run" tačat̰ "may he run"
*g > g ~ j g ~ ǰ *h₂éuges- "strength" ójas- "strength" aoǰah "strength"
*h₂ugrós "strong" ugrá- "strong" ugra- "strong"
*gʰ > gh ~ h g ~ ǰ *dl̥Hós "long" dīrghá- "long" darəga- "long"
*dleHistos "longest" drā́ghiṣṭha draǰišta- "longest"
*kʷ > k ~ c k ~ č *ós "who" káḥ "who" kō "who"
*e "and" ca "and" ́ča "and"
*gʷ > g ~ j g ~ ǰ *ou- "cow" gav- "cow" gau- "cow"
*ih₃wós "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"
*h₁ésti "is" ásti "is" asti "is"
*y > y y *yugóm "yoke" yugam "yoke" yuga- "yoke"
*w > v v *wéǵʰeti "drives, rides" váhati "drives" vazaiti "travels"
*m > m m *méh₂tēr "mother" mātár- "mother" mātar- "mother"
*n > n n *nós "us" nas "us" nō "us"
*l > l ~ r r *kʷeleti "moves" carati "moves" caraiti "moves"
*r > r r *réh₂tēr "brother" bhrā́tār- "brother" brātar- "brother
*n̥ > a a *- "un-" a- "un-" a- "un-"
*m̥ > a a *tóm "hundred" śatám "hundred" satəm "hundred"
*l̥ > ərər *wĺ̥kʷos "wolf" vŕ̥ka- "wolf" vəhrka- "wolf"
*r̥ > ərər *ŕ̥d- "heart" hŕ̥d- "heart" zərəd- "heart"
*i > i i *linékʷti "leaves" riṇákti "leaves" irinaxti "releases"
*e > a a *déḱm̥ "ten" dáśa "ten" dasa "ten"
> ā ā *h₂nr "man" nā "man" nā "man"
*a > a a *h₂éǵeti "drives" ájati "drives" azaiti "drives"
> ā ā *méh₂tēr "mother" mātā́ "mother" mātar- "mother"
*o > a ~ ā a ~ ā *ǵómbʰos "tooth, peg" jā́mbha- "tooth, tusk"
*ǵónu "knee" jānu "knee" zānu- "knee"
> ā ā *oHnéh₂- "grain" dhānā́- "grain" dāna- "grain"
*u > u u *yugóm "yoke" yugám "yoke" yuga- "yoke"
> ū ū *mū́s "mouse" mū́ṣ- "mouse" NPer mūs "mouse"
*h₁ > *h₁ésti "is" ásti "is" asti "is"
*h₂ > *h₂ŕ̥tḱos "bear" ŕ̥kṣa- "bear" arəša- "bear"
*h₃ > *h₃ókʷs(i) "eye" ákṣi "eye" aši "eye"
*h₄ > *h₄órǵʰis "testicle" ərəzi- "testicle"
Proto-Indo-Iranian Old Iranian (Av, OP) Vedic Sanskrit
*Háćwas "horse" Av aspa, OP asa áśva
*bʰaHgás "portion, share" Av bāga bhāgá
*bʰráHtā "brother" Av, OP brātar bhrā́tr̥
*bʰúHmiš "earth, land" OP būmiš bhū́mi-
*mártyas "mortal, man" Av maṣ̌iia, OP martiya mártya
*mā́Has "moon" Av mā̊, OP māha mā́s
*wásr̥ "spring" Av vaŋhar vásara "morning"
*Hr̥tás "truth" Av aṣ̌a, OP arta r̥tá
*dʰráwgʰas "lie" Av draoγa, OP drauga drógha "using malicious words"
*sáwmas "pressed (juice)" Av haoma sóma-

Morphology[edit]

Proto-Indo-Iranian has preserved much of the morphology of Proto-Indo-European: thematic and athematic inflection in both nouns and verbs, all three numbers of singular, dual and plural, all the tense, mood and voice categories in the verb, and the cases in the noun.

An important innovation in the noun is the creation of a genitive plural ending *-nām used with vowel stems. In verbs, the chief innovation is the creation of a passive conjugation with the suffix *-yá, with middle inflection.[20]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Peter Bellwood; Immanuel Ness (10 November 2014). The Global Prehistory of Human Migration. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-97059-1.
  2. ^ Fortson, p. 203
  3. ^ Burrow, pp. 78-79
  4. ^ Ramat, Anna Giacalone (1998). The Indo-European Languages (illustrated ed.). London ; New York: Routledge. p. 134. ISBN 0-415-06449-X.
  5. ^ Cardona, George; Dhanesh Jain (2003). The Indo-Aryan Languages. London ; New York: Routledge. p. 24. ISBN 0-7007-1130-9.
  6. ^ Beekes (1988), p. 50
  7. ^ Beekes, p. 55
  8. ^ Burrow, pp. 74-75
  9. ^ a b c Fortson, p. 182
  10. ^ a b Fortson, p. 181
  11. ^ F. B. J. Kuiper. 1976. "Old East Iranian dialects." Indo-Iranian Journal 18, p. 242.
  12. ^ Burrow, p. 91
  13. ^ Burrow, pp. 92-94
  14. ^ Fortson, p. 183
  15. ^ Beekes, pp. 85-86
  16. ^ Lubotsky, p. 53
  17. ^ get ref
  18. ^ Beekes, pp. 88-89
  19. ^ "Indo-Iranian Languages." Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Ed. J.P. Mallory and D.Q. Adams. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997. pp. 305.
  20. ^ Fortson p. 205

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]