An historical study of the Proto-Indo-European nominal derivational morpheme *-ti-. (2019)
Type of ContentElectronic Thesis or Dissertation
Degree NameMaster of Arts
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
AuthorsWilliams, Hughshow all
In this thesis I shall be discussing the nominal derivation suffix in *-ti- which has a fairly major role in many of the so-called “late” Proto-Indo-European (Proto-Indo-European hereafter may be abbreviated as PIE) languages–especially in forming action and result nouns. I shall first give a thorough literature review which will examine the various threads of scholarship up to the present day, focussing particularly on notions of form and function. Much of the scholarship predated the discovery and decipherment of the Anatolian languages, which are among the oldest attested Indo- European languages, so I feel that there is a need for such a discussion. The likely fact that Anatolian split off from Proto-Indo-European much earlier than the other Indo-European families and the potential that it preserves a much better and more archaic picture of early Proto-Indo-European really drives this need for an overhaul of scholarship. Following my literature review I will discuss some linguistic theories that seem particularly relevant. I will begin with a discussion on phonological matters (including accent and ablaut) and follow on with those concerning semantics. In particular I introduce the theory of grammaticalization. I believe that Proto-Indo-European had a morpheme in *- ti- that was used to form instrumental and ablative case endings, which had developed from the morpheme in *-ti that helped to form instrumental and ablatival adverbs. This is important because I ultimately try to show that this morpheme is not to be connected with the *-ti- nominal derivational morpheme. Following my linguistic discussion, I shall discuss many of the individual Indo-European language families. For different reasons I neglect Balto-Slavic, Tocharian, and Armenian: I leave out Balto-Slavic because of my incompetence in modern Baltic and Slavic languages (the works in German and English I did not find particularly helpful); I leave out Armenian and Tocharian partly because of unfamiliarity with these languages, and partly because I could not see a lot of evidence one way or the other that the ti-stems existed in these languages (I assume they were in Armenian, but you can seldom be sure what you are dealing with one because of phonetic developments). A major theme central to a number of different theories regarding the ti-stems1 is that the ti- stems are closely linked with the formation of compound nouns (e.g. usually preverb + (root + suffix)). Looking at the oldest stages of many Indo-European language families, I have found that this is not the case at all. In fact, in the earliest stages of Celtic, Germanic, Greek, Italic, and Vedic, there is a marked tendency for any given verbal root to produce ti-stem simplex (non-compound) rather than a ti-stem complex (compound). The only exception I found to this was in the Iranian family. A more thorough diachronic study of Iranian may explain this finding better, although I must assume this was a development that occurred after Proto-Iranian split from Proto-Indic.
My study agrees with all scholars, as far as I am aware, that the *-ti- suffix is most commonly added to a zero-grade root. At this stage this is still best explained by Jochem Schindler’s ablaut model.2 Olsen and Rasmussen theorize that ti-stems were zero-grade because the accent fell on the first element of a complex.3 As I mentioned above, I consider it unlikely that ti-stems were only found in complexes, so I seriously challenge this view.
Each of my chapters on the various language families begins with a short introduction on the source materials and key reference works, followed by the major findings. Below this I include my data for the language family. Some of these datasets are immense (e.g. Avestan and Vedic in particular), and the length was generally determined by my source materials. It was a struggle to decide how best to organize my data, but I opted ultimately to list each entry first by PIE root. I include references to major reference works in order to simplify the discussion. I will leave it to the reader to follow these references, if he or she would like to learn more about the rich debates surrounding much of the data. I often make some comment on contentious items, and I weigh in where reference sources disagree or remain silent. My section on Anatolian differs a little from the rest of my sections. First, there are many more uncertain items compared with other language families. For this reason, I list alphabetically the Anatolian data by the word attested, not by PIE root. I also include Anatolian items that have phonetics that could potentially signal a *-ti- stem. I keep my net fairly wide in this respect, so I include much data that I ultimately dismiss. Considering ti-stems in Anatolian have barely been discussed in any PIE literature, this chapter is one of the most important chapters in this thesis, and consequently I spend much more time discussing the data. There are three suffixes in Hittite (and other Anatolian languages) that are traditionally reconstructed as ti-stems: -zil- (*-ti-l-), -uzzi- (*-u-ti-), and –ašti- (*-as-ti-). A major tendency in the Anatolian languages is to stack suffixes on top of one another. Ultimately I find, for example, that the complete lack of *-u- suffixed substantives corresponding with nouns in –uzzi- strange. Likewise, when we have examples of Anatolian st-stems that must reflect *-s-t-, I find it odd that we would need to reconstruct a ti-stem – particularly considering how Anatolian loved to add the i-Motionssuffix to nouns. Similarly, when Anatolian has plenty of t-stems, and plenty of il-stems, and very little evidence of ti-stems, it is strange that -zil- is analysed as *-ti-l- and not *-t-il-. My overall conclusion is that Anatolian never had the *-ti- nominal derivation suffix to begin with. This supports the idea that Anatolian was one of the first branches to split off from PIE. I believe the ti-stems must have developed in the period soon after the split, which explains how widespread the ti-suffix is in the later-PIE languages.