General classification Discussion: How many
vowels
 did Nostratic have, three or five ? A focus on Dravidian and Kartvelian
Arnaud Fournet (2019) [draft]
 
 Copyright October 2019 v1 2
0. Summary
Re: See here a recent version of Bomhard’s approach: https://www.academia.edu/5901593/Bomhard_- _A_Comprehensive_Introduction_to_Nostratic_Comparative_Linguistics_3rd_edition_2018_4_volumes_2_763 _pp._combined_into_a_single_PDF_  Re: See here my assessment of Bomhard’s approach written in 2010. It is available here: https://diachronica.pagesperso-orange.fr/TMCJ_vol_1.1_Fournet_Review_of_Bomhard_2008.pdf  Re: I wrote a more recent assessment of Bomhard’s approach in 2019. It is available here: https://www.academia.edu/s/13d0e91451/reasons-why-bomhards-model-of-nostratic-cannot-be-accepted Bomhard’s model of Nostratic has the following main features: - It has five cardinal vowels: *
a
, *
e
, *
i
, *
o
, *
u
. - It has a hyper-complex system of 50+ consonants. The present paper discusses the number of vowels of Proto-Nostratic, especially the existence of *
e
. According to Allan R. Bomhard, “cumulative evidence” supports five cardinal vowels: *
a
, *
e
, *
i
, *
o
, *
u
. My claim is that only three suffice. The paper focuses on Dravidian and Kartvelian, which Bomhard claims support the existence of *
e
. It compiles and analyzes the roots already collected by Bomhard that are simultaneously present in both groups and contain *
a
 or *
e
. To jump to the conclusion, as a rule, the roots collected by Bomhard are acceptable, but a good number of roots can (in fact must...) be reconstructed otherwise with only three vowels and fewer consonants. As a rule, Kartvelian *
e
 only appears when *
 H 
1
 is present, which therefore is an areal feature shared with PIE. In that case, Dravidian often has long
ā
 or a retroflex consonant. Indeed, Dravidian retroflex consonants have  probably emerged in contact with laryngeals, especially *
 H 
1
 and *
 H 
4
. The ancient presence of laryngeals is often  betrayed by alternations between short vowels followed by geminated consonants and long vowels followed by single consonants across Dravidian languages. As a result, non-existing phonemes like *
 y
 and *
 y
 or *
 y
 can be removed. On the whole, the present survey confirms a number of my previous claims: - There is no basis for Nostratic *
e
. Kartvelian *
e
 is linked to contact with *
 H 
1
. - Bomhard’s consonantal system is twice too complex, and must be drastically simplified. - The correct values for laryngeals are *
 H 
1
 [ḥ], *
 H 
2
 [ġ], *
 H 
4
 [ˀ]. The presence of *
 H 
1
 [ḥ] or *
 H 
4
 [ˀ] causes respectively aspiration or glottalization in Kartvelian. For that matter, the system of Kartvelian consonants can also be simplified. There is no need for *
q
h
 or *
qˀ 
, among others.
A. Nostratic *ă
Labials Bomhard (2019:t3–1038) 878. *
mar-
‘man’ Dravidian *
mar-i
‘male child (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:423, no. 4764) Kartvelian: Svan
māre
‘man (male)’ Bomhard (2019:t3–949) 808. *
wan-
‘period, time’ (AF: *
wawn-
)
1
 Dravidian *
(v)ontu-
‘turn, time’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:93, no. 979) Kartvelian *
wona-
(better *
wawna-
) ‘time’ Bomhard (2019:t3–687) 800. *
wal-
‘to go (away)’
1
 Cf. Egyptian
wnw.t 
 ‘hour, division of time’.
 
 Copyright October 2019 v1 3 Dravidian *
valaca-
‘emigration’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:477, no. 5278) Kartvelian *
wal-
/*
wl-
‘to go’ Bomhard (2019:t3–941) 801. *
wal-
‘to flow, to wet’ Dravidian *
ol 
- ‘to flow’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:96, no. 999), *
ōl 
- ‘to bathe’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:101, no. 1068), *
vāl-
‘to drip, drizzle’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:486, no. 5367) Kartvelian *
wlṭ-
‘to wet, to become wet’ Bomhard (2019:t3–956) 814. *
war-
‘to comb’ (AF: ? *
waH 
2
-r 
-) Dravidian *
vār-
‘to comb’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:485, no. 5357) (!? with
ā
)
 
Kartvelian *
warcḫ-
‘to comb’ (? metathesized from *
waH 
2
-rc
-) Bomhard (2019:t3–960) 817. *
war-
‘to burn, to blaze’ Dravidian *
ur-
‘to burn’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:63, no. 656) Kartvelian *
war-
‘to glow, to light’ Bomhard (2019:t3–947) 805. *
wal 
 y
-
‘bright, shining’ (AF: better *
waH 
1
-) Dravidian *
oḷi-
‘open space, outside’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:98, no. 1016) (with *
ḷ 
 < *
 H 
1
) Variant: *
vāḷ 
 (with long
ā
) (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:487, no. 5377) Kartvelian *
(w)el-
‘to flash (lightning)’ (AF: < *
waH 
1
- with *
e
 < *
aH 
1
) Svan variant
hel 
 supports the presence of *
 H 
1
 Bomhard (2019:t3–973) 829. *
wel 
 y
-
‘open (space, field)’ (AF: better *
waH 
1
-)
2
 Dravidian *
veḷi-
‘open space, outside’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:500—501, no. 5498) (with *
ḷ 
 < *
 H 
1
) Kartvelian *
wel-
‘field’ (AF: < *
waH 
1
- with *
e
 < *
aH 
1
) Bomhard (2019:t3–973) 826. *
waǯ-
‘to flow abundantly’ (AF: better *
waǯaH 
1
-)
3
 Dravidian *
vac-
‘rain ; to flow’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:471, no. 5214) Kartvelian *
weǯ-
‘mineral water’ (AF: < *
waǯ-H 
1
- with *
e
 < *
aH 
1
) Bomhard (2019:t3–98) 83. *
 p
h
ač’ 
- (AF: *
 paH 
1
-
č 
-) Dravidian Tamil
 paccai
 ‘skin, hide, Tuḷu
 pāca
 ‘skin of the leg’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:343, no. 3833)
4
 Kartvelian *
 peč’w
- ‘skin, hide’ (AF: < *
 paH 
1
č 
- with *
e
 < *
aH 
1
) Bomhard (2019:t3–99) 85. *
 p
h
ak 
h
- (AF: *
 paǩ 
-) Dravidian Tamil
 pakku
 ‘scab of a sore, dried mucus of the nose’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:341, no. 3811) Kartvelian *
 pakl 
- ‘scab’ Bomhard (2019:t3–125) 102. *
 p
h
ar 
- (AF: *
 par 
-) Dravidian Tamil
 para
 (
 parapp
-,
 parant 
-) ‘to fly, to flutter’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:353, no. 3963) Kartvelian *
 par 
- ‘to fly’ Bomhard (2019:t3–129) 106. *
 p
h
ar 
 y
- (AF: *
 paH 
4
-
r-
5
 ‘to cover’) Dravidian *
 paṛ-
 ‘to cover’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:357, no. 4008) (with *
ṛ 
 < *
 H 
4
) Kartvelian *
 par 
- ‘to cover’ Dentals Bomhard (2019:t3–175) 106. *
da
- Dravidian *
daḍḍ-
 ‘female (of animals)’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:264, no. 3044) Kartvelian *
da
- ‘sister’
2
 Cf. Greek ἠλύσιον (with
ē 
) ‘the Elysian fields’, Hittite
wellu
- ‘meadow’.
3
 Cf. Arabic
wazaġ 
- ‘shower’, Egyptian
wzš 
 ‘to urinate’ with palatalized
 š 
 < *
 H 
1
.
4
 With alternation
acc
 ~
āc
 <
aH 
1
-
č 
.
5
 This reconstruction eliminates the pseudo-phoneme *
 y
.
 
 Copyright October 2019 v1 4 (NB: Kartvelian *
ded(a)
- ‘mother’ is from *
h
aH 
1
- ‘to suck, breastfeed’) Bomhard (2019:t3–203) 106. *
dow/doy
- ‘slack, weak’ (AF: *
h
aw
-(
 H 
4
 )-
)
6
 Dravidian *
doy-
 ‘to grow weak’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1964:308, no. 3513) (< *
h
aw-y-
) Kartvelian *
dowr 
- ‘slow, calm’ (better *
h
aw-(e)r-
): Georgian
m-dovr-e
, Svan
dwer-i
 Bomhard (2019:t3–177) 146. *
dag 
- (AF: *
h
aH 
1
-
 ğ-
 ‘to put’) Dravidian *
taŋk- ~ *takk-
 ‘to stay, to be in place’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:260—261, no. 3014) Kartvelian *
deg 
-, *
dg 
- ‘to stand’ (AF: < *
h
aH 
1
-ğ 
- with *
e
 < *
aH 
1
) PIE *
h
eH 
1
-
‘to put’ Bomhard (2019:t3–179) 147. *
daġ 
- ‘to burn, be bright’ (AF: *
h
ag 
h
(w)-
 ‘to burn, be bright’) Dravidian *
dag-
 ‘to burn, be bright’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:259, no. 2998) Kartvelian *
dġ 
- ‘day’ (Substratic Germanic *
dag 
-) PIE *
h
eg 
hw
-
 ‘to burn’ Bomhard (2019:t3–184) 151. *
daq
h
- ‘(male) goat’ (AF: *
h
ak-
) Dravidian Tamil
takar 
 ‘sheep, ram, goat’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:259, no. 3000) Kartvelian *
daq
- ‘goat’ (Substratic English *
 stag 
 ‘deer’) Bomhard (2019:t3–230) 190. *
h
al 
 y
- ‘to press, push’ (AF: *
taH 
1
-
l-
7
 ‘to cover’) Dravidian Tamil
taḷḷu
(
taḷḷi-
) ‘to push’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:272—273, no. 3135) (with *
ḷ 
 < *
 H 
1
) Kartvelian *
tel-
‘to press’ (with *
e
 < *
aH 
1
) Bomhard (2019:t3–234) 194. *
h
ar 
- ‘to drag’ (AF: *
tar-
) (?) Dravidian *
dar(a)dar-
 ‘sound of dragging’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:269, no. 3093) Kartvelian *
tar 
- ‘to drag’ Bomhard (2019:t3–242) 200. *
h
ar 
- ‘to drink’ (AF: *
tar-
) (?) Dravidian *
tar-
 ‘to drink, swallow’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:275, no. 3174) Kartvelian *
tr 
-, *
tver 
- ‘to drink (wine)’ S(h)ibilants Bomhard (2019:t3–331) 279. *
 s
 y
ew
- ‘to give birth ; child’ (AF: *
 swaH 
1
-
)
8
 Dravidian Tamil
cēy
‘son, child’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:244, no. 2813) Kartvelian: *
 š(k)w-
‘to give birth, to beget’ Bomhard (2019:t3–313) 262. *
hy
am
- ‘bovine’ (AF: *
čaw-m-
) Dravidian *
cawma
 ‘wild buffalo’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:247, no. 2849): note especially Kuwi
homma
‘bison’,
hōma
‘sambar’ Kartvelian: Georgian (Imeruli)
čoma
 ‘cattle’ Bomhard (2019:t3–319) 267. *
ˀy
am
- ‘sour, rotten’ (AF: *
čaH 
4
-m-
)
9
 Dravidian *
cam-
 ‘to rot’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:212, no. 2424) Kartvelian *
mč’aḫ
- ‘sour’ Bomhard (2019:t3–323) 272. *
ˀy
ar 
- ‘to rustle, squeak’ (AF: *
čaH 
4
-r-
) Dravidian *
car-
 ‘to rustle’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:207—208, no. 2355) Kartvelian *
č’(k’)ar 
- ‘to squeak, chirp’
6
 There is no need to posit *
o
 in this word. Cf. PIE *
h
ow-ks-
/*
h
u-ks-
‘to be weary’, *
h
w-en
-(
 H 
4
 )-
‘to die, fade away’.
7
 This reconstruction eliminates the pseudo-phoneme *
 y
, and accounts for Kartvelian *
e
.
8
 Cf. Hurrian
 šeni
 ‘brother’ with
e
.
9
 NB: the pseudo-phoneme *
tˀ 
 y
 does not exist, it is the fusion of *
č 
 and
 H 
4
.
 
 Copyright October 2019 v1 5 Bomhard (2019:t3–405) 272. *
č 
ˀ 
i/er 
- ‘to cut’ (AF: *
čaH 
4
-r-
 and *
čiH 
4
-r-
)
10
 Dravidian *
cēr-
 (< *
čiH 
4
-ar-
) ‘to plow’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:244—245, no. 2815) Kartvelian *
č’ar 
-, *
č’er 
- ‘to scratch, to write’ Bomhard (2019:t3–404) 339. *
č’am-a
‘reed, grass’ (AF: *
čaH 
4
-m-
)
11
 Dravidian *
camp-
‘elephant grass, sedge’
 
(Burrow—Emeneau 1984:207, no. 2347) Kartvelian *
č’am-
‘grass’ (< *
čaH 
4
-m-
) Bomhard (2019:t3–323) 303. *
c
h
ag 
- ‘to prick, to pierce’ (AF: *
cağ 
h
-
) Dravidian *
cak(k)-
 ‘to pierce’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:202, no. 2278) Kartvelian *
cag-
‘to prick, to pierce’ Bomhard (2019:t3–362) 303. *
c
h
ag 
- ‘to prick, to pierce’ (AF: *
cağ 
h
-
) Dravidian *
cak(k)-
 ‘to pierce’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:202, no. 2278) Kartvelian *
cag-
‘to prick, to pierce’ Bomhard (2019:t3–362) 304. *
c
h
aḥ
- ‘to prick, to pierce’ (AF: *
caH 
2
-
) Dravidian Tamil
cāttu
(
cātti
) ‘to beat, to thrash’ (< *
caH 
2
-t-
) (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:214, no. 2450) Kartvelian *
ceḫ-
‘to grind, to crush’ (< *
caH 
2
-
) Bomhard (2019:t3–365) 306. *
c
h
al 
- ‘part, piece’ (AF: *
cal-
) Dravidian
calli
‘small pieces’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:209, no. 2381) Kartvelian *
cal-
‘part, piece’ Bomhard (2019:t3–396) 330. *
 ǯag 
w
-a
‘a small tree, a bush or shrub’ (AF: *
 ǯaH 
1
-ğ 
hw
-
) Dravidian
cak(k)uli
‘the Manilla tamarind tree’
 
(Burrow—Emeneau 1984:201, no. 2273) Kartvelian *
 ǯegw-
‘blackthorn, sloe’ (with *
e
 < *
aH 
1
) Bomhard (2019:t3–402) 336. *
č 
h
an-
‘to grow’ (AF: *
čaH 
1
-n(d)-
) Dravidian *
cand-
‘to grow (up)’
 
(Burrow—Emeneau 1984:205, no. 2329) Kartvelian *
čen-
/*
čn-
‘to grow, to flourish’ (< *
čaH 
1
-n-
) Dorsals – velars Bomhard (2019:t3–534) 457. *
k’ač 
h
-
‘to tie, put together’ (AF: *
ǩaH 
4
c-
, *
ǩiH 
4
c-
) Dravidian *
kacc-
,
 *kāc-
(< *
ǩaH 
4
č-
) ‘to join’
 
(Burrow—Emeneau 1984:103, no. 1099)
12
 Kartvelian: Georgian
k’ec-
,
 
Mingrelian
k’ič-
,
k’ǝč-
(< *
ǩiH 
4
c-
) ‘to put together’ Bomhard (2019:t3–535) 458. *
k’ad-
‘to build, form’ (AF: *
ǩaH 
4
h
-
, *
ǩiH 
4
h
-
) Dravidian *
kaṭṭ-
(< *
ǩaH 
4
h
-
) ‘building’
 
(Burrow—Emeneau 1984:108, no. 1147) (*
ṭṭ 
 < *
 H 
4
h
) Kartvelian: Georgian
k’ed-
,
 
Mingrelian
k’id-
(< *
ǩiH 
4
h
-
) ‘to build, wall’ (*
k’ 
 < *
ǩH 
4
) Bomhard (2019:t3–563) 481. *
k’ar-
‘to bind’ (AF: *
ǩaH 
4
r-
) Dravidian *
kar(r)-
(< *
ǩaH 
4
r-
) ‘to tighten (knot)’
 
(Burrow—Emeneau 1984:130, no. 1400) (*
r(r)
 < *
 H 
4
) Kartvelian: *
k’ar-
(< *
ǩiH 
4
h
-
) ‘to bind, to tie together’ (*
k’ 
 < *
ǩH 
4
) Bomhard (2019:t3–537) 459. *
k’ak’-
‘to laugh, cackle (onomatopeic)’ (AF: *
ǩaH 
4
ǩ-
)
13
 Dravidian Kuwi
kak-
‘to laugh’ (Burrow—Emeneau 1984:102, no. 1080) Kartvelian: *
k’a(r)k’a-
‘to cackle’ (*
k’ 
 < *
ǩH 
4
) Bomhard (2019:t3–537) 460. *
k’ak’-
‘partridge (onomatopeic)’ (AF: *
ǩaH 
4
ǩ-
)
10
 Cf. Semitic *
 ṣar 
-, Cushitic *
 ṣir 
-.
11
 NB: the pseudo-phoneme *
tˀ 
 y
 does not exist, it is the fusion of *
č 
 and
 H 
4
.
12
 Note the alternation -
cc
- ~ -
āc
-.
13
 Indo-European forms are based on *
k(l)aH 
4
-k-
.
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