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This week we remember the great Russian poet, singer and bard Vladimir Vysotskij (January 25, 1938–July 25, 1980).
“Russian actor, lyricist, and folk-singer whose social and political satire spoke of the ironies and hardships of a strictly regulated Soviet society. While risking official displeasure, he became an immensely popular figure who was revered by the Russian people even after his death” Read more about Vladimir Vysotskij here Read the rest of this entry »
I would like to recommend this popular article “Making Archaeology Speak – Archaeology and Linguistics” by Maciej Mateusz Wencel (born in Gdynia, northern Poland, currently reads an Undergraduate Course in Archaeology and Anthropology at Oxford University). It is very well written and well balanced. I have arrived to very similar ideas and agree with most of what he has written.
Here are some extracts: Read the rest of this entry »
In my previous post I gave a list of some Sanskrit-Russian cognate verbs which showed a remarkable phono-semantic affinity. This closeness also extends to grammatical endings. I would like to demonstrate it here taking as an example one Sanskrit verb jīvati ‘lives, is or remains alive’. For Russian I chose a less used form живать živat‘ which in modern Russian is predominantly used with prefixes e. g. про–живать pro–živat‘. It is an exact analogue of Sankrit jīvati and Avestan ǰvaiti. To make the comparison more obvious I also included Lithuanian and Latin cognates. Hopefully, this comparison is self-explanatory.
There are many theories on the nature of verbal systems in the ancient dialects that are commonly referred to as ‘Indo-European’ and ‘proto-Indo-European’. As I have already written in the comments, I do not accept the idea of a uniform ‘proto-language’. I do use these terms but only as ‘umbrella terms’ meaning a certain simplified generalisation.
There is a general consensus that ‘Indo-European’ verbs were conjugated (at least in the present tense) by person (First, Second and Third) and by number (Singular, Dual and Plural). These grammatical categories were expressed by means of special endings which were added to the verbal stem . It should be noted that ‘verbal stem’ as well as ‘verbal root’ are abstractions. For example, ancient Sanskrit grammarians did not single out the root. Instead they operated with dhātu ‘constituent part, ingredient, element’. The notion of a verbal root was brought in by Western scholars inspired by Semitic monosyllabic CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) roots. So when we see in a modern dictionary a root jīv, according to Pāṇini, this would be a dhātu jīva ‘living, existing, alive’. From the point of Western linguists it would be viewed as a CVC root jīv + a so-called ‘thematic vowel‘ –a. Together they would form a ‘stem’ which may be taken as an equivalent of dhātu. For convenience I mark the root in italic, thematic vowel in blue and the personal ending in red. I also added hypothetical (reconstructed) thematic vowels and personal endings based on a more traditional interpretation of Fortson (Indo-European Language and Culture. Blackwell Publishing. 2004).
Sanskrit j is [ɟ͡ʝ] (similar to j in jam], ḥ is a visarga ‘sending forth, letting go, liberation, emission, discharge’. It is a voiceless ‘breath out’ like an energetic [h]. In certain positions at words conjunctions visarga becomes /s/ or /r/. Long vowels are marked with a bar above so ī is [i:]. Because Russian stressed vowels are primarily characterised by length, I transliterate them in the similar manner so ā is a stressed a . By the way, Sanskrit a अ should be pronounced as [ɐ] or [ə] which exactly corresponds to the Russian unstressed a.
I transliterate here Cyrillic using the same system of Latin transliteration as commonly used for Devanāgarī so Russian ш [ʂ] commonly transliterated as š or sh, appears here as ṣ. This is particularly justified because Sanskrit ṣ is also a retroflex sibilant. Also I transliterate here ж [ʒ] (ž or zh) as j. However, Lithuanian j is [j]. Lithuanian g is [g] and y is [iː].
|Singular||Hypothetical “IE”||Plural||Hypothetical “IE”|
|2nd (you)||Skr.||jīvasi||*-esi||2nd (you)||jīvatha||*-ete|
|3rd (he/she/it)||Skr.||jīvati||*-eti||3rd (they)||jīvanti||*-onti|