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Sat Nov 29, 2014, 05:52 AM

"The Horse, The Wheel, and Language" by David Anthony.

Anyone who is into archeology and linguistics should read it, great book! It talks about the Neolithic and early Bronze Age cultures of the steppes to the north of the Black and Caspian Seas that were the source of the Indo-European languages that now dominate Europe, Northern India, and Iran. Anthony takes archeological data together with linguistic reconstruction of the Proto-Indo-European language and also anthropological data from the mythologies and cultures of various early Indo-European peoples (like the ancient Vedic Indians, the ancient Greeks, the ancient Celts, and the Scythians) to piece together what these early steppe people were like.

2 bits in the book really stand out to me:

First, he argues that a mixed culture that developed in Romania called the Ustavo Culture spoke the dialect which would eventually become the Germanic languages, including English. The culture that existed there before the steppe people moved in was the great Cucuteni-Tripolye Culture, the creators of the first cities in all of Europe. Interestingly those cities emerged from those people consolidating themselves into walled urban centers in order to fend off raiders from the Steppes. It didn't work, the raiders eventually conquered and assimilated them into the Indo-European culture. The mixed nature of this culture may be the source of the various things that make the Germanic languages different than other Indo-European languages, like the retention of Proto-Indo-European verbal ablaut in the oldest layer of verbs, the so-called "strong" verbs. Sing-sang-sung. Drink-drank-drunk. Drive-Drove-Driven. Shake-shook. Get-got-gotten. Fall-Fell. Fly-flew-flown. Grow-grew-grown. Give-gave-given.

Secondly, the Central Asian Sintashta Culture of 2000 BC fits almost perfectly the society described by the Rig Veda, the Hindu religious text, right down to the details of warrior burials with their horses and chariots.

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Reply "The Horse, The Wheel, and Language" by David Anthony. (Original post)
Odin2005 Nov 2014 OP
dixiegrrrrl Nov 2014 #1
Odin2005 Nov 2014 #2
SheilaT Nov 2014 #3
Sweeney Dec 2014 #4

Response to Odin2005 (Original post)

Sat Nov 29, 2014, 07:21 AM

1. I love books like this!

Will check it out.
Many thanks for the info.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 29, 2014, 05:38 PM

2. No problem!

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Response to Odin2005 (Original post)

Sun Nov 30, 2014, 06:22 PM

3. I adore books about language.

 

Just put this one on hold at my library. Actually, the library system owns two copies, but neither is held in my closest branch, so I'll have them get it off the shelf for me.

I also have checked out Finding Our Tongues: Mothers, infants, & the origins of Language by Dean Falk. It's a few books down in the pile, but I should get to it before I finally have to return it.

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Response to Odin2005 (Original post)

Tue Dec 2, 2014, 08:13 PM

4. I must have this book

It is right up my alley, where I would like to park my head. Language is culture. And of course, culture is knowledge. If you can't say it you don't know it.
Thanks...Sweeney

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