Posted by Dennis » 1 Comment »
This, from Wolfgang David Cirilo de Melo’s review of Michiel Arnoud Cor de Vaan’s Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the Other Italic Languages, is the best and most insightful comment I’ve read in the BMCR in quite some time:
Pater is said to go back to a nursery form *pa, phonologically *pH2. Much as I like the laryngeal theory in its modern form, a phonological representation of babies’ first babbling seems slightly over the top. Exactly the same could be said about atta “daddy” < *H2et-o-.
I told that to my wife and her friend this afternoon as though it were a knock-knock joke, but they didn’t find it as funny as I did.