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Limited Grassmann's Law in Latin

Michael Weiss

Cornell University

Limited Grassmann’s Law in Latin

Following the lead of Walde 1906, Weiss 2011:156 posits the dissimilation of the first of two successive aspirates when the intervening syllable contained a liquid.  The examples cited are:

*bhardheh2 ‘beard’ (cf. OCS brada, OE beard) > *bardhā >> barba not †farba.

*dhragheti ‘drags’ (cf. OE dragan) > *dragheti > trahit not †frahit

*ghladhros ‘smooth’ (cf. OE glæd ‘bright’, OHG glat ‘smooth’ < PGmc. *glada-) > *gladhros > glaber not †laber.

This talk will examine alternative explanations for this data, investigate the phonetic plausibility of the conditioning environment (why should the presence of a liquid favor dissimilation?) and, following the methodology of Weiss 2010, collect and analyze synoptically the evidence for the reflexes of biaspirate roots in Italic.

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Greek and Latin Linguistics

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