SV: method of dating RV, III

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal mcv at WXS.NL
Mon Oct 26 00:05:14 UTC 1998

"N. Ganesan" <naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

>From R. Drews, The coming of the Greeks: The Indo-European conquests
>in the Aegean and the Near East, Princeton UP, 1988:
>p. 36
> Today many linguists are quite aware that linguistic change has not
>always proceeded at a glacial place. In preliterate societies, language
>may change rather rapidly:

Or extremely slowly.  What is clear is that language change proceeds
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].
>Arabic, for example, has changed less in thirteen hundred years
>than some nonliterary languages have changed in the last two centuries.

This ignores spoken Arabic, which has changed very considerably in
that time.

>A specific linguistic argument takes us much further. [...]
>it also suggests that the splintering of the PIE community
>may have been an event of the second millennium rather than the
>third (to say nothing of the fourth and fifth millennium dates posited
>in Gimbutas's thesis) ..."

I fail to see any mention here of the oldest recorded IE language,
Hittite, or of Mycenaean Greek, for that matter, which being both
second millennium languages themselves, and showing differences
between them which amount to several millennia of separation even by
the fastest observed rates of change, completely exclude a second
millennium date for the breakup of PIE.  Especially the gap that
separates Hittite (and to a lesser extent, Tocharian) from the rest
of IE suggests a date which might even go beyond Gimbutas' proposals.
I favour a sixth millennium date.

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
mcv at

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