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This hypothesis accounts for the primary role of the genitive/inessive within the Ossetic case system and the relatively wide variety of theta- and locatival roles which it can express.
Citing as a parallel the distribution of stress in Iron Ossetic (on which see section 3 below), Gershevitch (1948: 62-63) proposed that the Rhythmic Law was connected to the placement of stress in pre-Sogdian: "words kept or lost their vocalic endings according as the endings were stressed or unstressed.
Given that Sogdian and Ossetic share a number of lexical and morphological isoglosses (cf.
In general, the placement of stress in Ossetic is conditioned by the distinction between "weak" and "strong" vowels, whose distribution is given below:
vowels Ossetic shows a striking conservatism" (Thordarson 1989a: 459).
To test this hypothesis, we next reconstruct a relative chronology of the Ossetic stress shift and related sound changes, much as Sims-Williams has done for the Rhythmic Law in Sogdian (see section 2).
Before turning to comparative and internal reconstruction, let us examine the meager sources for medieval Ossetic and assess their value for Ossetic historical phonology.
The other source for medieval Ossetic consists of two lines in the Byzantine court official Ioannes Tzetzes's Theogony (twelfth c.
It is clear that the characteristic Ossetic rounding of *a to *o before nasals has not yet occurred in this text: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], corresponding to modern D doe bon xwarz, I doe bon xorz "your day be good," contains an a in ban ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) "day" vs.
I argue below on the basis of data from contemporary Ossetic that the reflex of word-final *-ah was high front *-i, as in pre-Sogdian (cf.
stress distribution postulated in section 3 might have evolved at a sufficiently early date to be a common innovation of Ossetic and Sogdian is to construct a relative chronology of relevant sound changes.
forms cannot be simply dismissed as an epenthetic vowel: Although Ossetic provides many examples of prothetic oe- before initial clusters of metathesized fricative + *s or *r + obstruent (Miller 1903: 36, Thordarson 1989a: 465), e.
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