Den 16. des. 2010 kl. 19.54 skreiv John Vertical:
> It's more complex than that. I've a synthesis paper of the  
> glottalic theory of Kortlandt

Any reference?

> which lists no less than eight different attested systems for the  
> initial position in Armenian (and six intervocalically). The *T- 
> series is aspirated everywhere and does not seem to interfere with  
> the developments of the two *voiced series.
> Standard PIE "*D *Dʰ"
> Glottalic PIE = Proto-Armenian *D' *D
>> Proto-East Armenian (= Classical Armenian) T' D
>>> dialectal EA T' T
>>> Standard East Armenian T D
>>>> dialectal EA > T T; D D; T Dʰ; D Dʰ
>> Pre-West Armenian *D' *T
>>> Archaic West Armenian D T (still attested)
>>>> Standard West Armenian D Tʰ
>>>> dialectal WA > D D
> The Urianian situation seems similar, except from a more Greek-like  
> starting point (and with aspirate spirantization):
> Late PIE *T *D' *Dʰ
>> Pre-Urianian *T *D' *Tʰ
>>> Proto-Urianian *T *D' (*F)
>>>> Low Urianian T D
>>>> Pre-High Urianian *T *T'
>>>>> High Urianian D T' > D T

That looks neat, and worthy of consideration. I must say I haven't  
thought much of the glottalic theory, but I do recognise that we are  
in desperate need of an alternative theory for PIE. So maybe I should  
look more into it.

> But since you don't have aspirates getting in the way, you could do  
> the same that way too:
> Proto-Urianian = Low Urianian T D
>> Pre-High Urianian *T *Dh > *T Tʰ
>>> High Urianian D Tʰ > D T
> (IMO the unconditional voicing of the *T-series even seems better  
> motivated here.)

That is encouraging.
I'm still trying to understand the discrepancies in the southern  
highlands. It looks like there may be mergers. My stats reveal a  
shortage of voiced velars, and in a smallish middle region also of  
voiced labials. Etymological analysis seems to confirm this, as  
several names identical or related to ones having g's in the north  
have k's in the south. But voiced velars (or labials) aren't wholly  
absent, so perhaps there are environmental influences. I have to look  
closer into that. Anyway there is a likelihood that it is a late  
secondary phenomenon. Although as it makes many southern highland  
words look a lot like the cognate words from the (adjacent) lowland,  
where PIE qualities are preserved (although they too may be modified  
into aspiration contrasts), I wouldn't bet all my properties on it.

>> Anyway, the universal tendency for vowel systems to maximise  
>> contrasts was one of the first cross-linguistic properties to be  
>> noticed about them. All these central vowels and nothing  
>> peripheral is extremely bizarre.

All this weirdness results from me trying to fit my name lists upon  
PIE roots, and trying to contstruct an historical development that  
could happen. But maybe it does need more work. I would think that  
they could be a little more open, respectively front than the most  
typical examples of the centralised vowels I mentioned. The exact  
vowel colours vary from language to language. And it seems to me  
there are languages that do have more or less contrast than others.  
Maximising contrast offers the reward that your speech will be more  
distinct and easy to perceive. But if you need to express yourself  
rapidly, there is some conflicting reward in reducing contrast, too.

Most of the Urianian vowel changes happen after CE 1000. The  
consonants start transforming much earlier. The early vowel changes  
that do happen are the simplifying of the e- diphthongs, the  
shortening of long unstressed vowels and dropping of short unstressed  
ones. Some vowels also change colour in the presence of changing  

One specific mystery here is why the commonest Old Urianian  
marker survives, a short, unstressed i.

> Agreed. In particular, a distinction between i > ə but u > ɜ is  
> rather
> weird. OK, say you first have a > ɜ, o > a; then the hi-V reduction  
> begins: i > ɪ, u > ʊ; then e > i. At this point you'd have /i ɪ  
> ʊ ɜ a/. It seems rather odd your only back rounded vowel ʊ would  
> lower "faster" than ɪ; from here, I would expect trajectories more  
> akin to ɪ > ɜ, i > ɪ, ʊ ==, which would leave you with a neat  
> triangular vowel system /ɪ ʊ ɜ a/.

It is neat, but is it what I need? I consider my name lists  
authoritative. But thanks for your hints. I'll see what I can do with  

One addition to the scheme that I set up last time is that the PIE / 
i/ usually fits the Modern Urianian _u_, but sometimes it fits an  
_i_, which is more usually the reflect of PIE /e/ or /ei, oi/, and  
sometimes it's absent.

Another addition is that only the short diphthongs undergo the early  
simplification. The long ones develop as a sequence of a long vowel  
and a semivowel.

> It gets worse if long vowels are supposed to do the same. Long vowels
> spontaneously centralizing just doesn't really happen.

My theory is that they are first shortened, then they follow the  
(other) short vowels through their changes.

The lowland vowel system seems to be more healthy. Here, PIE length  
distinction remains, and long and short vowels have undergone  
different shifts.

> You may want to look into Tocharian which goes approximately like  
> this:
> *i, *e > *ji\
> *u > *i\ + rounding of preceding vowels
> *o > *e
> *a, a: > *a
> *i: > i
> *u: > u
> (I've not quite found out what happens with *e: *o:)
> or Coptic, where the vowels' unconditional development from  
> Egyptian is like
> this:
> *i, u > ə > e/a (per dialect)
> *a > o
> *i: > i:
> *u: > u:
> *a: > o:
> or Samic, which goes approximately like this (some umlauts not  
> included):
> *i > ə
> *u > o
> *i: > i
> *u: > u
> *e, e: > ie
> *o, o:, A, A: > uo
> *æ, æ: > a:

Thanks for the examples. It reminds me that I should perhaps look for  
umlaut phenomena. Maybe that will make some more pieces fall into place.