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> Date:         Wed, 7 Jun 2000 12:12:12 -0400
> From: Vasiliy Chernov <[log in to unmask]>

> More exactly, old IE langs have no special vocative form for neutra and
> plurals. PIE non-neuter o-stems (mostly m., but also f.) have a distinct
> vocative equal to the stem with /o/ altered to /e/; this form is
> preserved also in Latin (_amice_, etc.). PIE -stems (mostly f., but
> also m.) had vocative ending in shortened -a. This form merged
> phonetically with nom. in Latin, but is mostly kept distinct from nom. in
> Greek, Slavic, Lithuanian, etc. Besides, non-neuter consonantal stems
> with lengthened vowel in Nom. usually have no such lengthening in voc. -
> a feature partly preserved in Greek, Sanskrit, etc.

That all sounds like some sort of old accent phenomenon, causing
different ablaut in o-stems and shortening of the final syllable in
a:-stems and long-vowel cons.-stems. Perhaps vocatives started out as
nominatives with initial accent? Calling for someone might cause that.

Lars Mathiesen (U of Copenhagen CS Dep) <[log in to unmask]> (Humour NOT marked)