Paired Horse and PIE breakup

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Nov 9 22:38:52 UTC 1998

>>From R. Drews, The coming of the Greeks: The Indo-European conquests
>>in the Aegean and the Near East, Princeton UP, 1988:
>> Today many linguists are quite aware that linguistic change has not
>>always proceeded at a glacial place. In preliterate societies,
>>may change rather rapidly:

    M. C. Vidal wrote
    >Or extremely slowly.  What is clear is that language change
    >at highly unpredictable rates.

>>literature has a conservative influence
>>upon both vocabulary and grammar, and a people without literature
>>might be relatively uninhibited  in its linguistic innovation [22].

   The rate of language change in preliterate societies is
   usually high, rather than "extremely slowly".
   In subsaharan Africa, thousands of  nonliterary languages/dialects
   in the Bantu family exist because they did not develop writing.
   Writing definitely has a conservative effect.

   Once Andree Sjoberg, the linguist who studies Altaic, Dravidian
   languages told me something like:
   "Look at English grammar, it has changed greatly in the last
   500 years. Whereas agglutinative languages like Dravidian
   don't change that much. The amazing thing about India is
   even though Sanskrit became the 'prestige/high status' language
   after ca. 1500 B.C., the effect on its grammar by 'low status'
   Dravidian is remarkable. From Vedic to Middle IA to NIA.
   It is the nature of IE languages."
   Now, scholars say that Vedic is more innovative than
   previously thought.

   Could Hittite, being an IE language, innovated faster in a
   1000 years or so? Then a 3000-2500 B.C. PIE breakup from
   Pontic-Caspian would certainly become possible.

   N. Ganesan

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