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Stang's Law and the Indo-European word for 'cow'

Filip De Decker (UGent)
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Abstract
The present article investigates the etymology of the Indo-European word for "cow" and looks at two types of reconstruction, with and without laryngeal: *g(w)ous and *g(w)eh(3)us (suggested by Kurylowicz in 1927) or *g(w)h(3)eus (as already suggested by de Saussure in 1878). By assessing the instances where Stang's Law operated and failed to operate, we find that the correct reconstruction is *g(w)ous. The accusative singular of the word "cow" in Doric and Homeric Greek, Sanskrit, Sabellic and the Greek epsilon x alpha tau o mu beta eta are additional evidence in favour of this reconstruction. The article also looks at two possible arguments against that reconstruction (the short vowel a in the oblique cases and the disyllabic scansion of the first syllable in Vedic poetry): an ablaut type *nokwts, *nek(w)ts can account for the short a in the Indo-Iranian weak cases, and the absence of a disyllabic scansion in Avestan proves that the Vedic metre is the fruit of a poetic licence. Consequently, we see no reason why *gwous could not be kept.*
Keywords
Latin, Indo-European, Greek, Indo-Iranian, Italic, morphology, Stang's Law, laryngeals, phonology, declensions

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
De Decker, Filip. 2011. “Stang’s Law and the Indo-European Word for ‘Cow’.” Indogermanische Forschungen 116: 42–59.
APA
De Decker, F. (2011). Stang’s Law and the Indo-European word for “cow.” INDOGERMANISCHE FORSCHUNGEN, 116, 42–59.
Vancouver
1.
De Decker F. Stang’s Law and the Indo-European word for “cow.”INDOGERMANISCHE FORSCHUNGEN. 2011;116:42–59.
MLA
De Decker, Filip. “Stang’s Law and the Indo-European Word for ‘Cow’.” INDOGERMANISCHE FORSCHUNGEN 116 (2011): 42–59. Print.
@article{8101102,
  abstract     = {The present article investigates the etymology of the Indo-European word for {\textacutedbl}cow{\textacutedbl} and looks at two types of reconstruction, with and without laryngeal: *g(w)ous and *g(w)eh(3)us (suggested by Kurylowicz in 1927) or *g(w)h(3)eus (as already suggested by de Saussure in 1878). By assessing the instances where Stang's Law operated and failed to operate, we find that the correct reconstruction is *g(w)ous. The accusative singular of the word {\textacutedbl}cow{\textacutedbl} in Doric and Homeric Greek, Sanskrit, Sabellic and the Greek epsilon x alpha tau o mu beta eta are additional evidence in favour of this reconstruction. The article also looks at two possible arguments against that reconstruction (the short vowel a in the oblique cases and the disyllabic scansion of the first syllable in Vedic poetry): an ablaut type *nokwts, *nek(w)ts can account for the short a in the Indo-Iranian weak cases, and the absence of a disyllabic scansion in Avestan proves that the Vedic metre is the fruit of a poetic licence. Consequently, we see no reason why *gwous could not be kept.*},
  author       = {De Decker, Filip},
  issn         = {0019-7262},
  journal      = {INDOGERMANISCHE FORSCHUNGEN},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {42--59},
  title        = {Stang's Law and the Indo-European word for 'cow'},
  volume       = {116},
  year         = {2011},
}

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