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View Diary: Let Them Eat Metaphors, Part 1: The Indo-European Hypothesis (69 comments)

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  •  Great diary, thanks. (9+ / 0-)

    Pre-Christian Europe (other than Greek and Latin civilization) is an epoch and place far too little studied. It's a shame, because most contemporary Western languages basically evolved then and there.

    OK, I haven't read the rebuttals to the PIE theory of Western languages. The first question a devil's advocate--perhaps a naive one--would ask is simply about the importance of trade routes and trade practices in the early development of modern languages. Perhaps that's speakers of these early languages mingled, and their languages came to resemble each other for this reason.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 02:13:07 PM PDT

    •  There's no doubt: (15+ / 0-)

      that's partially why PIE is a theoretical construct rather than a real, reconstructable language.  We look for those clusters of phonemes and morphemes and whateveremes that seem to go as far back as we can take them.

      e.g. We have English "milk" and German "milch" and Russian "moloko" and we theorize some way-way-back cluster of "mlk" (technically melg) that develops differently as it spreads outward and evolves.   The theorized melg may have begun here or there, and it may or may not have been part of the same originating language as other PIE constructions, but locating it in a single space in a single language isn't really what PIE is doing.  

      I think this is what the diarist means about it being conceptually a bit much to wrap one's head around.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 02:31:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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