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The Avestan Paradigm of vaiiu- 'Air, Wind' in the Context of Irregular Accusative Singular Forms of Vowel Stems with °ąm and °∂m

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The paradigm of Avestan vaiiu- 'atmosphere, wind' is puzzling because of the seemingly thematic accusative sg. vaēm and because of its short root vowel a that stands in contrast to both the Old Indic counterpart vāayú- < Indo-Iranian *HuaH-iu- and the two parallel Avestan stems pāaiiu- 'shepherd' and tāaiiu- 'thief'. A usually neglected accusative singular form, transmitted only in Ny 1.1 and Ny 1.2, provides a key to the issue: vaiiąm, rather than being an irregular by-form of vāēm, appears to be the original acc. sg., which implies that vaiiu- was originally a long-diphthong inflecting paradigm with Proto-Avestan nom. sg. *uāiāuš, acc. sg. *uāiā(u)m via lex Stang → *uāiām. This preform provides a better context for the shortening of *āia/ā, > *aia/ā, yielding the final root shape of vaiiu-.


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