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REVIEWS Die wichtigsten konsonantischen Erscheinungen des Vorgriechischen, mit einem Appendix über den Vokalismus. By Edzard J. Furnée. (Janua linguarum, series practica, 150.) The Hague: Mouton, 1972. Pp. 461. /96.00. Reviewed by Wolfgang Dressler, Universität Wien This erudite book is a doctoral thesis elaborated by a disciple of F. B. J. Kuiper over a period of two decades. As it contains the analysis of well over 4000 words (far beyond most of Furnee's predecessors), it represents the most comprehensive investigation to date for Greek words of unknown or uncertain origin. The vastness of this enterprise precludes a detailed critique, and forces a short review to limit itself to a general appraisal concentrating on theoretical and methodological questions. F's introduction intends to refute the tracing of Greek words to an IndoEuropean substratum (or prehistoric superstratum)—the so-called Pelasgian theory : Kretschmer, Georgiev, van Windekens, Heubeck, Merlingen, and others are criticized in a rather mild and cursory way,1 with approving references to sharper critics. The only new element of F's critique is the insistence on by-forms—found in other dialects, in glosses, or names—which make Pelasgian etymologies seem much less attractive. The same criticism is directed, throughout the book, against well-established Greek etymologies, i.e. etymologies referring directly to the IE heritage. This negative part is followed by a favorable short review of scholarship based on the alternative hypothesis that the pre-Greek substratum lexicon was exclusively non-IE. This leads to F's own related hypothesis : that a large part of the Greek vocabulary (traditionally labeled pre-Greek) must be of pre-IE origin, dating from the dismemberment of the Proto-IE community and the Proto-Greek emigration from the original homeland, down to the Greek documents of the first millennium b.c. Words introduced into Greek after the historic settlement in Greece are considered only if they seem to come from a pre-Greek population in Greece itself; hence Semitic loanwords are neglected. F thinks that the vocabulary of pre-Greek origin can be treated as a homogeneous stratum ; in any event, a study of the 'intriguing problem' (30) of different strata is said to be premature. Since several pre-Greek languages undoubtedly existed, and their mutually distinctive character is very probable, one might ask F when time will be ripe for the necessary investigations. Who else is likely—in the foreseeable future—to devote twenty years to a painstaking study of the Greek lexicon in its totality, as F has done ? Does he want to wait for the rather improbable discovery of ample documents written in various pre-Greek languages ? If F had not stopped reading secondary literature in the mid-sixties (despite the date of his preface, November 1971), and if he had not restricted his addenda to three pages,2 he could not have avoided approaching this problem of subdivision—in view of Gindin 1967, where the lexical and onomastic materials of pre-IE, Anatolian, and Pelasgian origin are differentiated. So the long tradition of unitarian 1 Heubeck 1961, in particular, is judged in very friendly terms. In contrast, the first of Merlingen's books is called 'fast mehr eine Pikanterie als eine ernsthafte Theorie'. 2 And there not even the article written by F's teacher Kuiper (1968) is cited, much less Chadwick's judicious survey (1970), the long retrospective by Hester (1968), and recent studies of specific questions. 736 REVIEWS737 pre-Greek hypotheses—running counter to the information given by Greek authors or found in historical and archaeological research, and to linguistic common sense—is not yet broken after all. The remainder of the introduction (§7 ff.) sets up F's principles of expressive and nonexpressive sound alternations. Expressive alternations are said to occur in many pre-Greek words: either they belong to affective vocabulary, or else expressive sound substitutions are generalized so as to affect non-affective vocabulary. Potentially expressive alternations include all phonetic substitutions (always optional) which seem to have an expressive character in any language which F has studied for this purpose. Non-expressive alternations consist of all sorts of assimilatory and dissimilatory change, including monophthongization. However, F disclaims all earlier attempts to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 736-738
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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