Vardan Z. Petrosyan
1/ Like the occlusive-fricatives of other Indo-European languages, the Armenian occlusive-fricative phonemes are the result of the nasalization of the back-lingual occlusives of the common Indo-European language. In fact, common Indo-European language possessed two back-lingual categories – *G and *K with their aspirated and non-aspirated subcategories (comp. *g/*gh, *k/*kh) and three types – post-palatal, palatal and labio-velar (comp. *g, *g՛ , *gṷ, *k, *k՛ , *kṷ). The latter could freely interchange with each other. The prototypes of occlusivefricatives with a dental occlusive and with i̭semi-vowel are, in fact, the result of analogical processes.
2/ Apart from Armenian, occlusive-fricative phonemes were common in all old languages of the Satem group, in particular in Old Indian. However, they were also typical of Old Greek and Phrygian which have traditionally been ascribed to the western Centum dialect group. This provides evidence to conclude that either the process of the formation of occlusive-fricatives had already started during the period when the language bearers were leaving the Indo-European homeland (in Western Asia) or, as some comparative linguists claim, these languages belonged to the eastern dialect group. In either case, the existence of occlusive-fricatives in Old Greek and Phrygian provides evidence for their deeper relations with eastern languages than a simple contact or sub-layer inter-penetrations.
3/ The process of the origin of occlusive-fricatives had started much earlier before the Old Balkan peoples (Greeks, Phrygians, Thracians and others) abandoned their Indo-European homeland. Therefore, it started towards the end of the 3rd millennium or at the start of the 2nd millennium B.C. We have solid grounds to suppose that at least in Armenian that process lasted rather long – until the middle of the 1st millennium B.C.
4/ The fact that, according to the approaches accepted in comparative linguistics, sibilant sounds are considered to be the result of the first nasalization, and fricatives – of the second one in Armenian and Indian, while in old Slavic languages it is the opposite (in the languages mentioned their origin is ascribed to the time periods too remote from each other (about two to three thousand years) we believe, it comes to suggests that the two types of nasalization were parallel processes or at least, the second started while the first one was already in progress.