Darwin-L Message Log 5:226 (January 1994)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.

<5:226>From CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu  Sun Jan 30 21:02:10 1994

Date: Sun, 30 Jan 94 21:10 CDT
From: Tom Cravens <CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu>
Subject: Re: Who, what, where, when, etc, Re: DARWIN-L digest 132
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

In response to Iain Davidson, may I ask what was so roundly criticized
before? (That's not meant the way it probably sounds; I'm just curious.)
The PIE (and other) interrogators are a reflection of a common development
in language history. I know embarrassingly little of the (P)IE history, but
it appears that kw- would once have had lexical meaning (i.e. kw- + vowel
would actually have been a self-contained word), and eventually came to be
interpreted as a question-forming particle in combination with other words
('place', 'time', etc.) as Sally suggested. After a period of transparency,
during which the two bits would have been analyzable, they came
to be understood as a single entity. This is totally normal in language
change (witness th- in thence and wh- in whence, which, for a sensitive
minority, may still carry some meaning, but for others are opaque; analyzable
meaning of 'thence' and 'whence' is just about lost; also, all the tw-
of two, twain, twin, betwixt, between [thus the--today pedantic--distinction of
'between' and 'among' ). In light of the IE developments, what would
be surprising (or at least interesting) would be to find a
language with a full series of unrelated question-words, no? (Oh my, this
really does read like a diatribe; it isn't, believe me!)

Tom Cravens

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