Saturday, June 02, 2007

LARYNGEAL THEORY - LexiLine Journal 457

Ishinan wrote:

While writing a paper on guttural letters my research eventually touched upon the Laryngeal theory, specifically "PIE Reconstruction: *h2enti; Hittite hanti; Latin ante (before, against)". Considerable debate still surrounds the pronunciation of the laryngeals. Many believe that they represented some sort of glottal stop or pharyngeal. I am sure you are all familiar with this continuous argument.

In that respect, I discovered the following:

(Pre-Islamic) Classical Arabic has the very same term `nd (transliterated as : H2nd) spelled with a voiced pharyngeal fricative initial letter `ayn (see the attached JPEG below).
INDO -EUROPEAN ETYMOLOGY: "Ante- prefix meaning "before," from L. ante (prep. and adv.) "before, in front of, opposite" from PIE *anti "facing opposite, near, in front of, before. From L. ante "before," from PIE *anti "facing opposite, near, in front of, before" (cf. Skt. antah "end, border, boundary," Hittite hanti "opposite," Gk. anta, anten "opposite," anti "over against, opposite, before;" O.Lith. anta "on to;" Goth. anda "along;" O.E. and- "against;" Ger. ent- "along, against"). Thus PIE (traditional) *anti "in front of and facing" > Greek antأ­ "against"; Latin ante "in front of, before"; (Sanskrit أ،nti "near; in the presence of"). In Hittite there is a noun ل¸«ants "front, face", with various derivatives (ل¸«antezzi "first", and so on, pointing to a PIE root-noun *hâ‚ent- "face" (of which *hâ‚‚enti would be the locative singular)"
As you can see, the Arabic term has the range of meanings included in the Indo-European terms.
While the Arabic term is of great antiquity, it is still widely used to this day. Moreover, to my knowledge, it is unique to Arabic and not shared with its sister languages (like Hebrew, Aramaic, Ugaritic etc.) Thinking I was dealing with typical Nostratic material, I checked "Early Reconstructions of Nostratics" by V.M. Illic Svitycs (translated by Mark Kaiser), but found that it was not included.
The question I would like to pose to Indo-Europeanists is the following:
In your opinion, If PIE *anti is shared with a non-Indo-European language, is it still eligible to be counted as PIE?
The same question, addressed to Nostratists:
Does the existence of this term in Arabic alone among A. A. languages qualify it to be counted as Nostratic?
Any thoughts?

Andis Kaulins wrote:

At the Ancient Egypt Weblog I provide my explanation for the Egyptian hieroglyphs for vowels as follows ( ):

The above graphic shows my discovery that the labeal, pharyngeal, velar and uvular sounds in Pharaonic Egyptian were represented by four separate hieroglyphs that correspond to the later matres lectiones of the Hebrew alphabet. Here we see that 'ayn was preeceded by a Pharaonic hieroglyph represented by a predatory bird, viz. ērglis in Indo-European (e.g. meaning "eagle" in Latvian) which is a word that is homophonic (same-sounding) with ieriklis or ierikle "in the throat" (in Latvian), so that 'ayn was most assuredly preceded by the eagle (vulture) hieroglyph representing the pharyngeal sound "in the throat".

A discussion concerning the current pronunciation of 'ayn is found at the Word Reference Forum.

The alleged PIE root 'hanti- viz. *anti- relates to two distinct ancient concepts,
namely "behind, back of" and "in front of, opposite of".

At the Bantu Basic Vocabulary Database
we find words comparable to Indo-European for the idea of "behind":

Bantu Bemba kùŋkì
Bantu Bukusu kóòŋgò
Bantu Koyo ŋgɔ̀ŋgɔ̀

or "back (of)"

Bantu Bukusu kóòŋgò
Bantu Kinyamwezi gɔ̀ɔ̀ŋgɔ̀
Bantu Lega gòŋgò

That corresponds to Indo-European, e.g. German gegen "against, opposite"
and English "against" from Middle English againes from ongeagn.
As the comparable Bantu terms show, this is a very old term in human language.

The question then arises whether the whole panoply of terms at the
"PIE Reconstruction: *h2enti; Hittite hanti; Latin ante (before, against)"
can be viewed to have the same word origin as ongeagn
or whether they have a different word origin.

Note here that *Hanti- is a term which in our opinion is already found as Hntj or Hntt in the Old Kingdom hieroglyphs of Pharaonic Egypt, e.g. in describing the concept of "in front of" in the names of the Nomes .

For example, the name of the nome that I decipher as
"14. Front of Cetus - Diphda, Hntj-j3btj, "front Eastern nome"
is seen to mean "in front of"
Hntj has also been transcribed as xntj and as Khent.

The main city of this nome was Tjaru, Greek Sile,
and in Arabic surely this was QANTaru.

We find that the Bantu Bukusu term èènì meaning "in front of" would support the Old Kingdom Pharaonic hntj "in front of", so that we would suggest that the original root of *hanti- viz. *anti- goes back to an original concept meaning "in front of", i.e. "opposite from" the viewer. The Pharaonic versions of the term would suggest a pharyngeal origin but the Bantu term would not.

In our view, all languages of the world are related in origin, a conclusion which conforms to modern genetic evidence, so that we do not turn here to the question of what here should be assigned to Proto-Indo-European (PIE) and what should be assigned to Nostratic. Egyptologists to our surprise still do not yet recognize the Indo-European stratum clearly present in Old Kingdom Pharaonic language and until they do, the whole thing is rather moot.

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