LINGUIST List 26.4746

Mon Oct 26 2015

Books: On Laryngealism: Voyles, Barrack

Editor for this issue: Sara Couture <>

Date: 21-Oct-2015
From: Ulrich Lueders <>
Subject: On Laryngealism: Voyles, Barrack
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Title: On Laryngealism
Subtitle: A Coursebook in the History of a Science
Series Title: LINCOM Coursebooks in Linguistics 23
Published: 2015
Publisher: Lincom GmbH

Book URL:

Author: Joseph Voyles
Author: Charles Barrack
Paperback: ISBN: 9783862886517 Pages: 130 Price: Europe EURO 52.80

This book is a much-needed refutation of the laryngeal theory of Proto-Indo-European (PIE) phonology. It is intended for both linguists and non-linguists, particularly scholars interested in the history and logic of the sciences. Each chapter concludes with exercises and a key with answers to the exercises.

Chapter 1 "Terminology and method." explains the approach to both synchronic and historical linguistics taken in this work. Chapter 2 "The Indo-European (IE) background." gives a survey of the major IE languages as well as a summary of reconstructed PIE phonology. Chapter 3 "Laryngealism." presents a history of the development of laryngeal theory from Saussure (1878) until contemporary times. Chapter 4 contains two examples of laryngealist methodology, namely the reconstruction of the original PIE vowel system as well as a laryngealist explanation of the varying reflexes of the class-7 reduplicating verbs in Proto-Germanic. Both these laryngealist accounts are negatively critiqued; and alternative explanations are proposed. Chapter 5 "The case of Hittite." treats of the Hittite evidence, often adduced in support of laryngealism. This evidence is found to be specious. Chapter 6 "Logic and laryngealism." places the laryngeal theory within the spectrum of other false theories which have been proposed from time to time in various sciences - such as the phlogiston theory in chemistry. Hence laryngealism is shown to have been one of the growing pains in the history of the science of linguistics.

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
                            Linguistic Theories

Subject Language(s): Hittite (hit)
Language Family(ies): Indo-European

Written In: English (eng)

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