30

First, it's worth noting that these are transcriptions, used by linguists, not actual orthographies used by native speakers. The ancient Sumerians didn't write their word for "god" as diĝir; they wrote it as 𒀭. And the people who spoke something like Proto-Indo-European never wrote it down at all. It's only modern scholars who use the Latin alphabet for ...


21

The numbers are specific to Proto-Indo-European. Scholars aren't sure how PIE was pronounced: after all, there are no native speakers around now, or records from the time. All of the sounds in reconstructed words are educated guesses at best. Some sounds were fairly easy to guess. For instance, there was a sound that seems to have become /t/ in most of PIE's ...


21

Not really. English has a lot of words borrowed directly from Latin, or through a close relative (Norman French), which are still spelled almost exactly as they were two thousand years ago. It's easy to see the connection between English "conjunction" and Latin conjunctionem, "a joining-together", even though the pronunciations have ...


19

There are many possible answers to this question. Historically, the comparative method was born from observing the regularity of phonological and morphological correspondences between Classical European languages (that is, Latin and Greek), Germanic languages and dialects on one hand and, on the other hand, Sanskrit and Avestan (two "oriental" languages ...


18

I was going to write you an e-mail but I'll write my answer here instead ;) First, most Indo-European scholars disregard the ergative hypothesis. However, I do not know any other reason for the equation of the neuter nominative and accusative. So, I'd like to present the reason why I believe that a prestage of PIE was an ergative language. In most Indo-...


17

Just a set of words, or is there also a reconstructed grammar letting us speak in Common Proto-European? Absolutely! In fact, one of the best ways to show that a language is Indo-European is through its grammar—words are easy to borrow, swaths of morphology, not so much. The Hittite words wādar "water" and ēd- "eat" were a good clue that the language was IE,...


15

As you noticed, there is something common between modern Romance and Germanic languages which is not shared by other Indo-European languages. It does not come from their ancestral languages (Latin and Proto-Germanic), but to the fact that they are part of a sprachbund, called Standard Average European (SAE). Many characteristics of SAE are obviously absent ...


14

The answer is that we do not know (and possibly never will). There are a number of theories, such as Eurasiatic mentioned in Anixx's answer, and Nostratic (I wasn't aware that there was a theory that includes both of these), but none of them is widely accepted by linguists.


14

This question seems confused. For one thing, you never define what you mean by “such languages”. A precise formulation of the concepts is important. No reasonable linguist would support the idea that, e.g. the resemblance between English “brother” and Latin “frater” (and contemporary French “frère” etc.) is just due to chance. There are too many parallel ...


14

The main problem with these particular reconstructions is that the author of "etymonline" does not use diacritics. In fact, there is a very significant difference between *g and *ǵ (they develop differently in the “kentum” and “satem” languages), and also between *a and *ā (or, if you prefer, *h₂e and *eh₂). The reconstructions in “etymonline” are wrong, ...


14

The problem is, nobody is quite sure how PIE was pronounced! When we talk about PIE phonemes like /*d/, we don't mean it was actually IPA [d]. We mean that "there seems to have been a phoneme, which is pronounced [d] in a lot of descendant languages". But there are also many languages which don't pronounce it [d]: Germanic, Anatolian (an extremely ...


12

As for the centum-satem distinction, nowadays indoeuropeanists usually don't think of it as a west-east dialect division but they rather view the satem palatalisation as an innovation which took place in central IE dialects in opposition to the peripheral or outside IE dialects which did not undergo that change. In such a scenario, following the principles ...


12

Lat. nē 'really, true' and Tocharian B nai 'indeed, surely' seem to be the IE-parallels. The IE demonstrative *(h1e-)no- 'he there, that one' seems to be the root according to Beekes (with a questionmark though) and Babiniotis.


12

Yes. I subscribe to Ed Klima's theory about practical language learning. That is, you learn by being exposed to examples of the language while you're paying attention. And nothing else really counts. So, in regard to your question, if you're interested in etymology and PIE in particular, and if you look at lots of related facts, you'll make associations ...


12

It is not the case that pretty much all PGmc words are from PIE. Many well-known linguists have turned their attention to the problem of precisely why PGmc had such a large proportion of non-IE vocabulary. The classic estimate, as reviewed in Vennemann (2012; 'Was Proto-Germanic a creole language?') was one-third. Vennemann and his student Mailhammer are ...


11

Typing these characters is fairly straightforward, if you have an appropriate keyboard (or can customize yours): they're simply the lowercase Latin letters <e a o>, followed by the character U+032F Combining Inverted Breve Below. This second character can't be copied and pasted on its own, since it's combining, but it should be available in any decent IPA ...


11

Proto-Indo-European has gone through different stages of development historically, which represent higher levels of abstraction. In particular, the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laryngeal_theory, which dates from 1879 but which gained widespread acceptance only after it was used to make sense of Hittite in the 1930s, did away the reconstruction of long ...


10

From the quote in your question you can see that and derives from Proto-Germanic so I don't think that we can call it "recent". Also, according to the quote in your question, and is related to Latin ante and not to Latin et. PIE *-kʷe (IELex) is generally given as "and" which is related to Latin -que and, according to Wikipedia, to English (thou)gh. I ...


10

Proto-languages are indeed theories, the way that Evolution or Gravity is a theory. Confirmation of theories comes through their fit of the data, as @sumelic argues. As theoretical constructs, they are unstable, and subject to refinement—as the iterations of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schleicher%27s_fable illustrate. They are best guesses, and they are ...


10

Generally speaking, Tocharian was not quite a game changer. Tocharian languages are the most-eastern IE languages; and yet they belong to the centum group, although they share with the satǝm group at least one phonetic feature – the unrounded velars where the western group has labio-velars. Tocharian shows us clearly, that the reconstruction of PIE is still ...


10

A simply approach to the question is to find which language (if any one language can be determined) has the most similar noun paradigm to PIE. The phonology of the suffixes can also be concidered. The PIE noun paradigm inflects nouns based on case, number, and gender. Case: There is some disagreement over how many noun cases exactly PIE had, but it ...


10

Your proposed statistical test would not actually provide evidence (much less proof) for the laryngeal theory. You might use statistical methods to compute the significance of certain correlations, for example is there a significant correlation between patterns in Sanskrit like pūrṇa and patterns in Latin like plēnus? At the level of individual letters, the ...


10

Definitely! The most common are direct loanwords from one language into another, or Wanderwörter, words that spread over long distances via trade. For the first category, look at sabbatum, the Latin word for the Jewish day of rest. This is quite definitely borrowed from Hebrew שַׁבָּת‎ (shabbāth), since Latin didn't have a good word for "one day out of ...


9

In PIE we have dheĝhr day (root dheĝh- "cycle") dhoğhos burning (root dheğh- "to burn") dius sky, daylight (root dei̯- "sky") All three are not related or their relation is unknown. Traditionally English "day" is considered to derive from the PIE root for "burn", although the author whom you link in the question points out that it is more likely to ...


9

Even if these languages belong to the Indo-European family, there's a huge gap of time and space standing between Pre-Italic and Pre-Germanic languages. "A probable cladistic tree of the IE family"(a) shows e.g. that the Italo-Celtic subfamily and the "Central IE" subfamily (including Germanic) diverges long before Germanic and Indo-Iranian diverged. "...


9

The question raises three terminological issues: what is "language", what is "invented" and what is "once"? It does presuppose that there was a prior state without language, and a later state with it (no controversy about that). To answer the question, we need to understand exactly what is being asked. Language is one aspect of a more general set of ...


9

English is generally regarded as having the following 7 inflectional suffixes. All of them have been suffixes since Proto-Indoeuropean, but most have followed a rather circuitous path along the way. This is rough outline: plural -s: < AS -as 'masc. a-stem nom.-acc. pl.' < PGmc -anz 'acc. pl.' < PIE -(o)ns 'acc. pl.' third person singular -s: &...


9

Semantically it seems easier to start from PIE *negʷ- "dark" (the source of the word for "night" in many languages), though of course it's possible that this and the "naked" root are actually the same -- a semantic link doesn't seem impossible. Such an etymology for niger has in fact been suggested by Frisk, specifically from *negʷ-ró- (with the common ...


8

Usually the most close relative to PIE among other Eurasiatic languages is considered Chukchi-Kamchadal family. You probably know this already, but the idea of a "Eurasiatic" language family isn't widely accepted. Nor is the idea of Indo-European being related to Austronesian, or Afro-Asiatic, or really anything else. The problem is, the comparative method'...


8

There are very many opinions of the "meaning" of the letters used to represent PIE reconstructions. One approach treats them as algebraic abstractions, where e.g. bh represents some sound that corresponds to φ in Greek and f in some positions in Latin, and b in English: there is no claim as to phonetic value. The other approach is that these are approximate ...


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