LINGUIST List 6.1195

Fri Sep 1 1995

Disc: Kinship terms, Re: 1170

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <>


  1. Alexis Manaster Ramer, Kinship terms and etymology

Message 1: Kinship terms and etymology

Date: Tue, 29 Aug 1995 12:55:24 Kinship terms and etymology
From: Alexis Manaster Ramer <amrCS.Wayne.EDU>
Subject: Kinship terms and etymology

Surely the point is simply that the English kinship terms
in -er are all of IE vintage, that we do not KNOW anything
for sure about the internal analysis of IE etyma like
*pte:r (=schwa) or *pHte:r (H=laryngeal) and that anything
that is said on the subject is pure speculation, and that
the OED is not a reliable authority on etymology (although
we hope that new edition now being prepared will be).

(On a side note, it appears that the recent work of the
Danish Indo-Europeanists Olsen and Rasmussen may offer a
way of deciding between the schwa and the laryngeal in
the 'father' word, in favor of the schwa, as I understand it.
Thus, at least we would be in a position to reject SOME of
the speculations.)
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