In their huge book _Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans_ Gamqrelidze
and Ivanov also defend the proposal that PIE was active-stative. They
also were among the first proponents of the glottalic theory in PIE

The book reads rather oddly from a Western academic point of view. As
the translator (Johanna Nichols) notes in her preface, the authors
assume that their proposals are correct, and the book is a working out
of this initial group of assumptions rather than a collection of
arguments defending each proposal. The arguments are implicit in how
well the whole story hangs together. This is said to be typical of
Russian academic writing; I found it refreshingly straightforward.


On Fri, 14 Jan 2000, Lars Henrik Mathiesen wrote:

> > Date:         Fri, 14 Jan 2000 13:37:02 -0500
> > From: Vasiliy Chernov <[log in to unmask]>
> > But mostly it dealt with Hettan. I don't remember all details, but it was
> > argued that Hettan neuter nouns are similar to inactive, and epicene nouns
> > (corresponding to masc. and fem. in other IE tongues), to active.
> >
> > It was maintained that Hettan neutra must be replaced in certain contexts
> > with derivatives having the suffix -ant- (resembling the active participle
> > suffix), and that the gender of main actants affects the choice of the
> > verb's conjugation.
> >
> > The situation in Hettan was compared with what the author cited as *active*,
> > and it was claimed that they are basically similar.
> I have read about the first part of this, that neuters tend to be
> replaced in subject position by an 'active' derivative. However, as I
> saw it described, this is a development internal to Hittite (i.e., not
> found in early sources, and increasing in frequency with time).
> There are two 'conjugations' in Hittite, which some say correspond to
> 'primary' and 'secondary' endings in other IE languages --- and those
> are again correlated, depending on language, with 'stative' and
> 'non-stative', or 'imperfective' and 'perfective' aspects. Some (most?)
> verbs can use both conjugations, but I think that changed during the
> recorded history of the language as well.
> Anyway, although I don't remember what the conjugations in Hittite are
> taken to mean exactly, it is not surprising if inanimate subjects
> would tend to be used only with one of them only.
> As ever, the question of primacy can be debated endlessly: People who
> want the stadial theory to be true (that languages develop from active
> to ergative to accusative type) will have to argue that (late) Hittite
> shows the original state; other people will come to other conclusions,
> depending on how they fit their theories.
> Lars Mathiesen (U of Copenhagen CS Dep) <[log in to unmask]> (Humour NOT marked)

Dirk Elzinga
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