Author Topic: Pronouncing certain words in Proto Indo-European  (Read 3253 times)

Offline Cheetaiean

  • New Linguist
  • *
  • Posts: 3
Pronouncing certain words in Proto Indo-European
« on: September 26, 2014, 03:56:30 PM »
I'm new in the field of phonetics/linguistics.
Having a project on the Proto Indo-Europeans and I'm wondering how to pronounce these words:

Horse: *ek*wo-
Man or something like that: *wihxros
family: *génh1es-
earth: *dhéĝhōm


Thanks in advance!
[/size][/size]

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1779
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: Pronouncing certain words in Proto Indo-European
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2014, 05:28:39 PM »
Even for Latin, there are several ways to pronounce it and we don't know exactly how it was pronounced. Reconstructed PIE is less certain, so the phonetics is vague. In terms of the orthography representing contrastive sounds, you can make a fair approximation, which might vary based on certain theoretical details (for example, whether you are using glottalic theory or not). But overall it should be fairly similar to what is expected from phonetic transcriptions in general. As far as I know almost all letters have their IPA values.

This page has some relevant information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Indo-European_phonology

I'd assume that the ĝ you have is the palatal voiced stop (see the wiki page), which might have been pronounced as a front [g] (as in 'gill', not 'go') or as an affricate as in modern English 'judge'. I'm not sure exactly what is said about that detail.

For h1 (and h2 and h3), see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laryngeal_theory

The sequences <bh>, <dh>, etc., represent voiced aspirated sounds (as in modern Hindi, or earlier in Sanskrit), but I believe there's some controversy over exactly how they were produced. You might want to take a look at this page as well:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glottalic_theory

The rest are their standard IPA values, I believe.


Remember, these reconstructed phonemes are meant to be the origin of sounds found in modern languages, so they are more accurately connected to those (at least some of them) than they are really representations of how PIE was pronounced. So in addition to learning how to pronounce these reconstructed words, you should also pay attention to the sounds they relate to in the modern languages. So <p> was pronounced roughly as /p/, and is preserved in many daughter languages, but in Germanic it is found as /f/ (see Grimm's Law). So while knowing that <p> is pronounced [p] in that reconstruction is somewhat important, it is at least as important to know that it relates to /p/ in most daughters and /f/ in Germanic.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2014, 05:32:00 PM by djr33 »
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.

Offline freknu

  • Forum Regulars
  • Serious Linguist
  • *
  • Posts: 397
  • Country: fi
    • Ostrobothnian (Norse)
Re: Pronouncing certain words in Proto Indo-European
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2014, 11:18:22 PM »
Also:

*h₁ék̑wos m. "horse" ← possibly *h₁ék̑u- "quick, swift"
*wiHrós m. "man" ← possibly *wih₁rós m. "hunter" ← *weyh₁- "to hunt"
*dʰg̑ʰm̥mō m. "human (lit. earthling)" ← *dʰég̑ʰōm f. "earth"
*g̑énh₁os n. "race, lineage" ← *g̑enh₁- "to produce; to beget, give birth"


Arial kind of sucks for more complex typesetting :( And the subs/sups are all wonky, far too low/high :/

Offline Cheetaiean

  • New Linguist
  • *
  • Posts: 3
Re: Pronouncing certain words in Proto Indo-European
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2014, 02:06:40 PM »
Thank you for the responses  :)

As I mentioned, I have basically no idea about phonetics, but I am interested in the evolution of languages (about time to learn some phonetics, right? XD) and language itself. Interesting speculation for the derivation of the words listed; I already knew about the earth - human relation but the others I had no idea. The word for horse from a word that means quick/swift is especially interesting and makes sense lol.

Just still have one or two questions: So for  *wihxros, for example, how would you pronounce it using English sounds? Is the x a normal x and the h a normal h? Because that would make a pretty messed up sound...




Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1779
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: Pronouncing certain words in Proto Indo-European
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2014, 02:42:23 PM »
It'll be faster for you to learn IPA, at least for the relevant sounds, or to see the website I linked to above.

'x' is, I believe, a voiceless velar fricative, as in German "Buch" or "Bach", or Scottish "loch"-- not a sound in standard English, but sort of a "rough k".
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.

Offline Cheetaiean

  • New Linguist
  • *
  • Posts: 3
Re: Pronouncing certain words in Proto Indo-European
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2014, 05:05:38 PM »
Thank you! :D What amazes me is all the sounds used for language and how English for example doesn't use all possible sounds (obviously, but still); the huge diversity of language sounds is amazing in itself.

Do you know of any websites that teach IPA or where I could find it?

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1779
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: Pronouncing certain words in Proto Indo-European
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2014, 06:46:17 PM »
International Phonetic Alphabet-- you'll easily find lots of links.

There's a book by ladefoged called "sounds of the worlds languages" if you want more info.
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.

Offline freknu

  • Forum Regulars
  • Serious Linguist
  • *
  • Posts: 397
  • Country: fi
    • Ostrobothnian (Norse)
Re: Pronouncing certain words in Proto Indo-European
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2014, 10:56:38 PM »
Just still have one or two questions: So for  *wihxros, for example, how would you pronounce it using English sounds? Is the x a normal x and the h a normal h? Because that would make a pretty messed up sound...

It's *wiHrós with an unknown laryngeal (H), or *wih₁rós if you derive it from *weyh₁-.

International Phonetic Alphabet-- you'll easily find lots of links.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPA
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_phonology

A very good start. Studying English phonology should help getting a grip on IPA from a more concrete/practical point of view.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2014, 10:59:04 PM by freknu »