Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Two More QQ Specifically on Proto-Indo-European

Two More QQ Specifically on Proto-Indo-European · Three QQ on Comparative Linguistics (quora)

How do we know that a Proto-Indo-European language really existed? What is the evidence?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
Answered 21h ago
The language group is a clear group with common traits observable in all supposed “branches” of Indo-European.

For a language group, the options are, as far as I can see:

  • Common superstrate (Latin was that for West European languages)
  • bilingualism in vicinity (Balkan model)
  • language family, descending from a single language (Romance group descends from Latin, hence Romance family).

Now, the IE group definitely is a group, has commonalities beyond what pure chance could cause.

This means, if it is not a family, it needs to either have had a common superstrate or a common area of more than one language (representing later on more than one “branch of Indo-European”).

I consider, it could very well have had both, namely Hittite for common superstrate and Anatolian-Balcanic-Aegean area for original language vicinity.

Both Anatolian and Greek branch are here, if Germanic is a “desatemised Phrygian” or “pre-Satemised Phrygian” that would have been here too, someone considered Linear A Cretan as Aryan, which would add a third/fourth major group, one can at least add Armenian a bit east of Anatolia, you also have Aryan Mitanni in East part of Anatolia (if note on Crete).

Also, the Black Sea is very recent, and before there was the Black Sea, there was no major barrier between the said area and the one where majority of scholars consider Indo-European came from, where Aryans left for Persia and India, while Slavs remained and others moved West. To me, between Babel and the Black Sea flood (a minor regional Flood compared to that of Noah, and after it) this could be one reason why the language group developed by Sprachbund.

However, most scholars would disagree with me, especially on branches not documented near here, and they would disagree with my connecting Germanic to Phrygian. That is one reason they argue against other types of groups and for the family type, for the existence of a single Proto-Language. For my part, I think the area pointed at and the superstrate pointed at sufficiently answers this argument.

Another one is, common words are typically submitted to diverging sound laws after a proto-language diverges, but when they are borrowed between languages, they are taken over in the receiving language irrespective of the order of its previous sound laws and without much of its sound laws being relevant at all, except as to phoneme inventory and morphotactics.

I’d answer,

  • partly, many of the sound laws actually existing per groups have played a part, but this could be because they came after borrowing,
  • or as per “instant sound laws” (if Swedish were to borrow “pige” from modern Danish, it would definitely not borrow it as “pie” and it is possible that both Swedish “piga” and Norwegian “pike” is as per instant sound laws, like a feel from words where Norwegian has k and Danish g, like uge / uke, which in Swedish is vecka).
  • Partly, the sound law history between any word pairs (involving obviously two different branches of IE) would be less complex than the sound law history reconstructed to account for very complex and seemingly irregular sound correspondences. The phonetic ugliness of PIE as if H1, H2 and H3 are taken as h, ach-laut and uvular labialised voiced fricative (which would be the usual guess) is an argument to me there is something wrong with the reconstruction.

So, I think I have both given the arguments of my opponents (as the question demanded) and inaddition also argued as to why these arguments are insufficient.

EDIT : at the same time, one other negative answer said it was shameful of one giving a positive answer to have as credential “knows proto-indo-european” since the reconstructed language, while it may be wrong about the actual remote past is at least a guess in the present about it which has been worked out in great detail and can therefore be learned as a fragmentary language.

I wonder which version he has learned, the Meillet-Saussure one or the more recent and much closer to Hittite one by Pyysala?

Is Sanskrit the "root" of Proto Indo European?

Quora Question Details Bot
Aug 8, 2017
Someone tried to tell me this, but it was my understanding that the reverse is the case.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
Answered 21h ago
“but it was my understanding that the reverse is the case.”

Supposing Indo-European has a common root, which is not clearly proven, Sanskrit definitely cannot be that one, but has to be one of the branches.

  • Because it is a Satem language, and it is more probable that Satemisation is derivative than de-Satemisation.

  • This means concretely, it is more probable you started off with k q which went to k full qu/kw on one hand and ch q / ch k on the other than that ch k is the original difference.

  • Because it merges e and o into a. These remain separate as such or in different (excuse me) “avatars” in several, indeed most other branches of IE.

  • Because, like Greek, it has a rule where aspirated consonants if paired have first aspiration deleted. This rule cannot have been primitive, since it is non-extant in some other languages.

    A Greek example of the rule : thrix, trikhos. Originally *thrikhs, *thrikha, then khs > ks (x), so thrix has no second aspirate, but *thrikha has, and the first aspirate becomes a mute, *trikha.

And so on.

If however IE started out as a Balkan type group, a very early form of Aryan, spoken by the Mitanni people, could have been involved in receiving and giving such impulses as have become common to diverse branches of IE.

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