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jmccr8

The Spread of Indo-European language

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I came across this article and wasn't sure what thread it should be added to so I am starting a new thread,if the moderators choose to move it to a relevant thread it would be appreciated.The subject of the article is did the Indo-European languages spread before farming, and the article poses some interesting questions.

http://www.esd.ornl.gov/projects/qen/Indo2.html

jmccr8

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That is interesting.

I've always been a fan of the Kurgan theory. But the Farmer theory has merits to it also.

I can see the logic behind a blend of the various theories. And it always seems that nothing is ever simple and direct when history is involved.

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Just goes to show you that journals will publish anything. I think the article can basically be summed up as, "climatic change probably caused population shifts, though we don't know what those shifts actually comprised. But, hey, maybe they're related to the spread of IE languages!"

As the authors themselves are aware, there's no linguistic support for this, and I think that's a problem for a theory of linguistic spread. The earliest suggestion, a spread following the end of the Younger Dryas, puts it at an age that many linguists would argue to be too old for reliable linguistic comparison.

I think I'll stick with the ol' Kurgan hypothesis. (David Anthony published a nice article last year proposing specific archaeological migrations for the early IE splits, available here.)

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Now I always thought they spread because they domesticated the horse and invented the wagon. That is I think the predominate view. They aren't much associated with warfare and marauding though.

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Thanks for the input,I personally haven't spent much time looking at linguistics but as of late have been entertaining some thoughts that I may get to later.For now what I will do is add a couple of links to maps of the ice age and vegetation to help visualize the effect these climatic changes may have had on de-population

http://donsmaps.com/icemaps.html

http://www.esd.ornl.gov/projects/qen/nerc.html

The second link is the source of the op and there are several other links on the page that may help in understanding these population movements.One thing that comes to mind for me is did hunter-gatherers move south looking or scouting for land that was favorable for farming and did farming start in more northern regions and move south?

jmccr8

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Now I always thought they spread because they domesticated the horse and invented the wagon. That is I think the predominate view. They aren't much associated with warfare and marauding though.

??

The horse not much associated with warfare and marauding?

Out of interest, could you expand on that, please.

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Of course the horse is associated with maurauding and all those bad things; the "they" that was the antecedent to my pronoun was intended to be the Proto-Indo-Europeans. I just wanted to be clear I wasn't saying they were a warfare culture more than others by the statement that they may have domesticated the horse.

Sorry about my English.

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Thanks for the input,I personally haven't spent much time looking at linguistics but as of late have been entertaining some thoughts that I may get to later.For now what I will do is add a couple of links to maps of the ice age and vegetation to help visualize the effect these climatic changes may have had on de-population

http://donsmaps.com/icemaps.html

http://www.esd.ornl....s/qen/nerc.html

The second link is the source of the op and there are several other links on the page that may help in understanding these population movements.One thing that comes to mind for me is did hunter-gatherers move south looking or scouting for land that was favorable for farming and did farming start in more northern regions and move south?

jmccr8

Farming started in two small regions (the Levant and the Zagros regions) where ancestral crops grew wild, for what became the neolithic package of crops.

http://neareast-prehistory.com/html/earlier_neolithic.html

http://neareast-prehistory.com/html/ppna.html

PPNA (Pre-Pottery Neolithic A) is the phenomenon where the "neolithic package" was assembled -- i.e. a wide enough variety of domesticated crops and animals to provide a healthy diet for humans.

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What spread of Euro-Indian language?

I thought it was only since Babylon that the languages diverged.

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Farming started in two small regions (the Levant and the Zagros regions) where ancestral crops grew wild, for what became the neolithic package of crops.

I'm not a fan of the "farming began in just one region" hypothesis, as it creates an impression that a people living in one region were somehow 'smarter' than people living elsewhere. The Neolithic world had wild precursors of various food crops in many locations, and I'm sure farming of those crops began in many places independently. The crops that grew predominantly in the fertile crescent, however, probably proved to be more nutritionally valuable and so it was the distributing of the crops - rather than the distributing of farming itself - that began in the ancient middle-east.

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Just goes to show you that journals will publish anything. I think the article can basically be summed up as, "climatic change probably caused population shifts, though we don't know what those shifts actually comprised. But, hey, maybe they're related to the spread of IE languages!"

As the authors themselves are aware, there's no linguistic support for this, and I think that's a problem for a theory of linguistic spread. The earliest suggestion, a spread following the end of the Younger Dryas, puts it at an age that many linguists would argue to be too old for reliable linguistic comparison.

I think I'll stick with the ol' Kurgan hypothesis. (David Anthony published a nice article last year proposing specific archaeological migrations for the early IE splits, available here.)

Very well said.

--Jaylemurph

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Hi Everdred,

Thanks for the link,I read the first eight pages before signing in and will read the rest tomorrow as it is late and I am tired.I may have some questions about it later.

jmccr8

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Hi Leonardo,

I am inclined to agree that farming may have developed in several locations independently,Pyramids did :w00t: ,so did head binding and a great many other developments,even by different hominid groups.Various groups groomed areas to promote growth of desirable edibles like tubers herbs or grains,and have used fire to clear land.That in it self wouldn't be considered farming as they were not actually planting seeds or tilling,although I would consider it a form of horticulture,because they are manipulating the conditions of the surrounding environment to promote growth of a specific plant.

jmccr8

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I will be back tomorrow night to respond to the other posters when I am of fresher mind and thanks for your posts.

jmccr8

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Farming originated a lot of different places with a lot of different foodstuffs. The issue here is the Indo-European language family.

This is a group of languages that can be traced by linguists using a collection of methods as being related, ranging from Sanskrit and other Indian languages to Persian to Hittite to Russian and most of the languages of modern-day Europe.

It seems the languages derive from languages spoken in S. Central Asia although of course it too has a history that linguists are working on, but the further back you go the more difficult the job gets.

It is an interesting question why this particular language family should be so widespread, and I had always thought and still think it is associated with the appearance of domestic horses and wagons about the same time and same region, leading to greater mobility. The business about the development of agriculture seems a red herring to this question since agriculture was by then already widespread.

The displacement of one language by another is not always by conquest, but is often a case of one generation of a population becoming bilingual for one reason or another, their grandchildren forgetting the original language.

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Posted (edited)

Frank, I agree with your "mobility" argument regarding the spread of the IE language, however the rise of farming is relevant to that - if we are to consider options other than the spread of the language via conquest.

Famring enabled settled communities, which facilitates trading, and more than that it enables a production surplus. Prior to the change between primarily hunter-gatherer to settled agrarian society, people would have had little need for regular contact with other groups except to occasionally swap group members for 'marriage' (freshening up the gene pool). Additionally, surplus production of food would have been almost unheard of.

Farming changed all that.

Edited by Leonardo

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It's just that agriculture was all over Europe at least a thousand years earlier. It may have been necessary but it had already happened and so was not part of the cause. Also of course I don't think anyone claims agriculture originated in South Central Asia. More likely the Levant, Egypt, Asia Minor, the Ganges Delta, the Mekong Delta, China, Middle America and the Andes (all more or less separate occurrences plus no doubt several times in parts of Africa).

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It's just that agriculture was all over Europe at least a thousand years earlier.

A thousand years earlier than what, the spread of the IE group of languages?

The timeline of the latter is an estimation only. There is very little, perhaps no, solid archaeological evidence of a specific, narrow, timeframe within which this spread happened, but only evidence that falls within a relatively broad timeframe - and this could quite easily be inaccurate to a degree falling within the timeframe of the rise of agrarian societies. Agrarian societies that would quickly have adopted the domesticated horse (among other domesticated animals) as not only a handy travel animal, but also a general work animal.

This argument depends, of course, on the spread of the IE languages not being by conquest.

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Of course the horse is associated with maurauding and all those bad things; the "they" that was the antecedent to my pronoun was intended to be the Proto-Indo-Europeans. I just wanted to be clear I wasn't saying they were a warfare culture more than others by the statement that they may have domesticated the horse.

Okay, I understand.

Sorry about my English.

Not at all. As English is my only language I have nothing to complain about.

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Are there more voters for the non spread theory?

Come on! This ain't American politics. What do you choose A or B?

C!

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Hi Leonardo,

I am inclined to agree that farming may have developed in several locations independently,Pyramids did :w00t: ,so did head binding and a great many other developments,even by different hominid groups.Various groups groomed areas to promote growth of desirable edibles like tubers herbs or grains,and have used fire to clear land.That in it self wouldn't be considered farming as they were not actually planting seeds or tilling,although I would consider it a form of horticulture,because they are manipulating the conditions of the surrounding environment to promote growth of a specific plant.

jmccr8

You mean they left no evidence for this.

Consider what this evidence might look like and you can see why we shouldn't expect to find it even if they did plant and till.

Fact is, the "evidence" for the first farming is rather large-scale. For all we know, nomads were farming the various spots they stayed at.

Harte

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What spread of Euro-Indian language?

I thought it was only since Babylon that the languages diverged.

The Biblical account doesn't actually match history or archaeology. By the time Babylon was a major place many languages had been around for a long time.

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Hi Harte,

Yes you are correct,I was being cautious in my wording so as to keep the topic on track for the present.There are some other aspects of this discussion that I will add to a little later as I just got in from work and will go through my files to find links to go with my questions.Thanks for bringing it up. :tu: .

jmccr8

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Hi Frank,

I agree that the domestication of horses advanced man's ability for both mobility and agriculture.I am adding these two links, the first is about the domestication of dogs and the second link is about horses.I hope that further discoveries are made about the use of horses in the same region and time.Now to be clear I am not promoting that there was any actual use of horses,but that I have an open mind either way

.http://siberiantimes.com/science/casestudy/news/new-study-shows-siberians-kept-pet-dogs-33000-years-ago/

http://siberiantimes.com/science/casestudy/news/did-ancient-siberians-domesticate-horses-50000-years-ago/

In part the reason that I am adding these links is because it occurred in the norther regions and the time that it would have had to evolve into a common practice that could be relevant to the time period that we are discussing.

jmccr8

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The Biblical account doesn't actually match history or archaeology. By the time Babylon was a major place many languages had been around for a long time.

Question for me is what then happened with the local languages spoken in the area’s where PIE in all it different endforms would have spread into?

All vanished after time, without a trace? What were fi the europeans talking before PIE took the place if it came from outside? Unhabitated or only with apeman making clicking sounds? Do we only have a common ground in our languages just because of the spread of a PIE, or was the common ground maybe allready present and no invasive influence was needed for this. The latter seems more logical to me, unless the invasion from east to west or west to east must have been from the same proportions as what Europeans did to the American continent and native Indian languages. If that must be the case: I proclaim i want my stolen heritage and language back to be restored in honour and despise PIE for taking it :-)

Imo: the above does not rule out the similarities in both tales

  • ‘Babylon’: first a common language and spread made different dialects resulting in languages by which dispersed people could not understand each other anymore
  • PIE spread: offspring and spread of a common language system resulted in a same geographical divergence where the common ground is still noticable but no real understanding between the different locations after time.
  • Instead of common ground in languages due to PIE spread, you could say that the differences were made by it.

Bottom line is the divergence of a former common language into different locations resulting in confusion which we now start to see have similarities in their origin, but next question brings me again at the beginning of my thoughts above.

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