A new attempt of hypothetical restoration 


Vardan Z. Petrosyan

Key words – general Indo-European language, two-sequence system of occlusives, sequence and series, phoneme and subphoneme, Ye. Kurilovich, M. Mayrhofer, P. Hopper, F. Kortland, Gamkrelidze-Ivanov concept, “the Glottalic theory”, “the theory of glottalized stops”.

The traditional comparative linguistics has restored two types of systems of occlusives in the Proto-Indo European language – a three- sequence one: voiced – voiceless – aspirated (comp. *b-*p-*bh) and a four-category one: voiced- voiceless- aspirated voiced – aspirated voiceless (comp. *b-*p-*bh-*ph). The Glottalic theory that developed in the 70s of the 20th century proposed a new pattern of a three-sequence system where the category of simple voiced consonants was replaced by the category of glottalized phonemes (comp. *p’)-*p-*bh). In another, a more advanced version suggested by Gamkrelidze-Ivanov the voiced and voiceless consonants were presented in the sub- sequence of aspirated and non-aspirated consonants (comp. *g/*gh,…*k/*kh…): By the way, the sequence of glottalized stops was viewed as lacking – due to the absence of a labial representative. Before the development of this theory, certain representatives of traditional Indo-European studies (H. Hubschmann, H. Pedersen, A. Meillet) viewed the category of simple voiced consonants deficient/ lacking ( the absence of *b). The followers of the Glottalic theory (P. Hopper, F. Kortland, A. Odrikur and others) believed that they also shared another feature: the sequence of those phonemes was presented in the voiceless version. We believe that it is not right to attribute a glottalic sequence to the Proto-Indo European language and particularly to the general Indo-European stage from the genealogical point of view since such phonemes were not and are not known in any Indo-European language. This sequence was ascribed to the Indo-European languages through the typological generalization of languages with a different system-structure (sematic, Kartvelian, American-Indian), two of which, according to nostratic linguistics, had kinship relations with the Proto-Indo European language. From both genealogical and typological perspectives, the restoration of the system of voiced and voiceless consonants in general European gets more realistic. Each of them will be presented in the voiced and voiceless subcategory. Such system is not just the pattern offered by Gamkrelidze-Ivanov without the sequence of glottalized stops, but is principally a new approach as the acceptance or rejection of the sequence of glottals means a differentiation of a new pattern of the system of Indo-European phonemes which has its full reflection in the morphologicalphonemic structure of the root.

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