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0

I know I'm a little late, but I do a similar thing you do and would like to contribute. I'm not a professional *Proto-IndoEuropeanist, but am a philologist and I actually do the same thing you do of using etymology to memorize vocabulary. To your specific question about definite reconstructions, user fdb is absolutely correct that there is no unanimity among ...


-1

Venderna (Swedish) or the Wends could have been coming with the Goths that went back from Rome to Scandinavia in the fifth or sixth century after the Huns came from the east. The Goths lived in former Yugoslavia in the fourth and fifth century. Geto- Dacians they were called and the Romans called us Geatae in the south of Sweden. We call us Östgötar and ...


2

Fortson, Indo-European Language and Culture is organized like you’re looking for.


1

I don't know of an explanation. V is not the only letter that has developed alternative forms based on its position in a word; this kind of development seems to just happen sometimes, without there necessarily being a reason why a single form "couldn't" be used instead. In the Latin alphabet, another example is the development of ſ and s (although ...


-3

According to Cornelio Tácito tells us in his De origine et situ Germanorum ("Of the origin and territory of the Germans"), the gentilicio Germans comes from the eponymous of a god: "They celebrate the ancient songs, which is the only kind of memories and annals they have, to a god named Tuiston, born of the earth, and his son Manno, who is ...


11

The other answers have all touched on different aspects of the question, but I'll try to combine them. Thousands of years ago, the Romans named much of north-central Europe Germānia, and the people who lived there Germānī (and things from that area Germānicus). It's unclear where this word came from; it's probably not related to the native Latin word ...


26

It's also worth pointing out the term originates in German as Urgermanisch or Protogermanisch, and that the German for German is Deutsch, not Germanisch. It was intended to be more neutral w.r.t. living Germanic (germanische) languages than it ended up sounding in English.


5

This addresses the last question, namely Is there anything else interesting about the history of 'u'? The Roman emperor Claudius introduced three additional letters to the Latin alphabet, among them the letter inverted digamma Ⅎ, distinguishing between the vowel V and the consonant Ⅎ. The Claudian letters were short-lived and not used after Claudius' reign....


26

Roman authors, at the latest from the time of Caesar, used "Germani" to identify all the "Germanic" tribes on both sides of the Rhine. So this usage has been established for a long time.


7

Names are to a good part conventions. It is historically long established to name the group of languages consisting of the Scandinavian languages (Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic; but not Finnish or Sami), German and Dutch, Frisian and English, Gothic and some more related languages "Germanic". The protolanguage is named Proto-Germanic ...


3

The question appears to be whether there are any properties of human language which are directly attested in all human languages and "sufficiently similar" then one would say that they are essentially the same. But, this apparently should exclude anything that is arguably due to an innate property of the human language faculty, thus is intended to ...


2

Russian anthropologist Nicholas Miklouho-Maclay spent 15 months in what is now Madang, Papua New Guinea, among speakers of Bongu. None of them had had any kind of exposure to any of the Old World languages before they met Miklouho-Maclay. He ended up having some limited command of Bongu, enough to get by in everyday life, but not having mastered the grammar ...


4

I recently learned about William Buckley on the Futility Closet podcast. Buckley was an English escaped convict who lived with Indigenous Australians for decades. He learned the language of the people with whom he lived, and as far as I know neither of the parties knew each other's language beforehand.


4

I bet historically that was not an uncommon occurrence up to the early 20th century. Nakahama Manjirō springs to mind, who was shipwrecked off the coast of Japan and then immersed himself in the United States (though he was 14 so barely meets your criteria). A key factor that spurred his situation, in addition to Japan being an island country, is that it was ...


6

Do linguistic field workers count? In this case I offer the case of Daniel Everett who learned the Pirahã language from scratch by contact with the native people without having any common language. Of course, Everett had some preparation and training in doing field work, he wasn't completely naive in this respect.


5

The first thing you need to realise is that there is no unanimity about proto-IE. Robert Beekes is the patriarch of the “Leiden school”, which operates notably with the hypothesis that PIE had three laryngeals and that no PIE word begins with a vowel. The admirable “Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series” applies these principles to various ...


12

Labiovelars like /kʷ/ (that is, the Latin qu- sound) and /ɡʷ/ have turned into labial stops in at least some environments in a few different languages (almost exclusively in European Indo-European languages); it happened in Greek after the Mycenaean period (compare e.g. the verb ἕπομαι hépomai 'to follow' with its Latin cognate sequor, both reflecting the ...


12

The change of /kʷ/ > /p/ is moderately common, cross-linguistically. It also happened in Osco-Umbrian aka "P-Italic" (Oscan pis ~ Latin quis "who"), the "P-Celtic" languages (Welsh pen < *kʷennom "head"), and most dialects of Greek (Attic hippos ~ Mycenaean i-qo "horse"). The usual explanation is that /...


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