220.127.116.11:49: 'THEY CAUSE PAIN': INITIAL R- IN AVESTAN
While looking up Jackson's section on epenthetic i in An Avesta Grammar, I rediscovered his section on prothesis (adding a sound to the beginning of a word):
*ri- > iri-: e.g., irinati 'lets go' (cf. Skt riṇakti)
*ru- > uru-: e.g., urūpayeiṇtī 'they cause pain' (cf. Skt ropayanti)
*rv- > urv-: e.g., urvan- 'soul' (cf. Persian روان ravān; Jackson has ruvān!)
But if initial r- was to be avoided, why not avoid it before all vowels: e.g., why Rašnu instead of Arašnu?
*r + high vowel or corresponding glide > high vowel + r + high vowel or corresponding glide
Moreover, why was "[a]n instance [of prothesis] found also before þ"?
*ty- > iþyejō 'destruction' (cf. Skt tyajas)
3.4.1:40: Prothesis before r- is also found in Mongolian which has no initial r- in native words: e.g., Oros 'Russia'.**
But is there a language with prothesis before þ = θ?
*3.6.3:36: Oros was borrowed into Mandarin as 俄羅斯 *Olosï which has been abbreviated to 俄 E [ɤ] in modern standard Mandarin. So Mandarin 俄 E 'Russia' contains nothing corresponding to any part of Russian Россия <Rossija> 'Russia'!
The graph 俄 originally represented an unrelated word 'in a moment' which was *ŋa in 10th century southern Chinese and borrowed into Vietnamese as nga. Hence the Vietnamese word for 'Russia' is Nga.
18.104.22.168:16: AN IMPENETRABLE M-EMBRANE?
Maybe I've just been looking in the wrong places, but I've found more free online resources on long-dead and lesser-known Avestan than on Ukrainian, spoken by over 40 million. I was recently pleased to find new posts on ukrainiangrammar.com after a year-long hiatus. If that site can come back, so can mine, though I've only taken a week off. I have an ever-growing backlog of topics, and I fear that I'll forget about them if I don't cover them soon.
In lesson 4 of his Young Avestan course, Prods Oktor Skjærvø explained that in general,
- i and i̯ palatalized preceding consonants:
- an i was written before these palatalized consonants
- the palatalization was then lost, but the added i remained
This sequence of changes can be symbolized as
*VCY > *VCi̯Y (palatalization) > *ViCi̯Y (epenthesis: i.e., vowel insertion) > ViCY (depalatalization)
V = vowel
C = consonant
i̯ = palatalization of preceding consonantY = either i or i̯
Examples (with intermediate steps omitted)
*api > aipi
*abi > aiβi (with lenition of b to β)
*aēbiš > aēibiš (without lenition of b to β)
*aēti >aēiti*āhuri >āhuiri
(I don't understand why Skjærvø regards sure as an exception. It doesn't have either i or i̯, so I wouldn't expect it to become *suire.)
I would expect an i to develop before *mY since it developed before other labial + Y sequences: e.g., pi and bi above. Yet according to Skjærvø,
Not all consonants show palatalization by epenthesis. Thus, the palatal consonants c and j and the sibilants (s, z, š, ž), as well as m and h, never do.
For instance, ahi 'thou art' did not become *aihi.
Why is m an exception? What makes it like an impenetrable membrane for palatalization? m has more in common with p and b which are not exceptions than with palatals or sibilants or h (which is from an earlier sibilant s: ahi is cognate to Skt asi). In other words, m does not form a natural class with the other exceptions which could be symbolized as S.
Oddly, Skjærvø mentions one case of an epenthetic i before m:
*armi̯e > airime 'in peace'
(Why the superscript *i̯? Because a nonetymological *i̯ is needed to account for the epenthesis? The locative suffix *-i̯e corresponds to Sanskrit -e [not -ye] and is from Proto-Indo-European *-oi, not *-i̯oi.)
So apparently epenthesis could occur before (and within!) the cluster -rm- but not simple -m- or most clusters: e.g, ahmi 'I am' did not become aihimi.