I saw that Proto Indo Europeans had a word for whispering *(kweys). Did they whisper to each other like people do now? And, did we learn whispering from Proto Indo Europeans?

  • How in the world could anyone decide that based on fact? There are no anthropological field studies of Proto-Indo-European culture? – user6726 Apr 21 '20 at 1:35
  • So, say, uncontacted peoples never whisper?! – Nardog Apr 21 '20 at 6:21
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    Who’s “we”? I would guess that most users of this site are (descendent from) Indo-Europeans. And what makes you think anyone had to learn to whisper from other peoples? Whispering is fairly universal in humans. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 21 '20 at 13:19

The English "whisper" does not in fact have any clear cognate outside of Germanic. Thus, the Indo-European *ḱweys- is a dubious restoration, at least in the sense "whisper". None the less, there is no reason to doubt that PIE people did whisper, like all other peoples.

  • What about Russian свистеть "to whistle"? – jk - Reinstate Monica Apr 21 '20 at 11:50
  • And Sanskrit śvasiti – Bert Barrois Apr 21 '20 at 11:54
  • @BertBarrois. Sanskrit ŚVAS means “hiss” and the like, and it points to an IE *ḱwes-, not *ḱweys-. – fdb Apr 21 '20 at 12:51
  • @jk-ReinstateMonica. The Slavic words mean "neigh", "whistle" and the like, not "whisper". – fdb Apr 21 '20 at 13:02
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    dwds.de/wb/etymwb/wiehern – fdb Apr 21 '20 at 13:13

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