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6,000 year-old language, reconstructed

language linguists proto-indo-european vocabulary

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#46    Frank Merton

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 06:12 AM

Such reconstruction has been going on for a century, and has had remarkable successes, of which you seem unaware.  It may seem a remarkable claim, but if you know something about the ways languages evolve, it is possible with enough successor languages at hand, to do a pretty good job reconstructing the original.

Pronunciation is a more difficult thing, but not impossible either.


#47    jaylemurph

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 05:32 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 02 October 2013 - 06:12 AM, said:

Such reconstruction has been going on for a century, and has had remarkable successes, of which you seem unaware.  It may seem a remarkable claim, but if you know something about the ways languages evolve, it is possible with enough successor languages at hand, to do a pretty good job reconstructing the original.

Pronunciation is a more difficult thing, but not impossible either.

I'm perfectly well aware of it, actually. And well aware of the specifics of Historical and Comparative Linguistics, and of the historical reconstruction model generally used. And this model, in point of fact, has been used in excess of more than a single century.

However, in my experience, linguists will quickly tell you of the paucity of evidence -- there is no single attestation of a pututative PIE language, so there is no definitive proof for such, and more than one legitimate interpretation of reconstructed data, since the first records we have are already at several removes from PIE -- and are generally reluctant to offer up something certain, let alone definitive as this particular effort tries to be. I'd be happy to point out any one of several introductory texts in the field that echo this viewpoint, such as  Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction or Indo-European Linguistics: An Introduction.

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#48    Frank Merton

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 05:52 AM

You seem determined to downplay the achievement.  I don't see your reasoning and it seems discordant with the reality of what has been determined.


#49    jaylemurph

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 01:37 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 03 October 2013 - 05:52 AM, said:

You seem determined to downplay the achievement.  I don't see your reasoning and it seems discordant with the reality of what has been determined.

Then these people have been particularly adept at convincing you there is an acheivement to downplay.

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"... amongst the most obstinate of our opinions may be classed those which derive from discussions in which we affect to search for the truth, while in reality we are only fortifying prejudice."     -- James Fenimore Cooper, The Pathfinder

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