A Coursebook in the History of a Science
Joe Voyles & Charles Barrack
University of Washington
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.
ISBN 9783862886517. LINCOM Coursebooks in Linguistics 23. 130pp. 2015.