Hittites ~ Phrygians ~ Balkan peoples?

petegray petegray at btinternet.com
Fri Aug 13 19:52:22 UTC 1999

>> (iv) time of attestation.

> I don't understand the problem here; could you say more?

I mean nothing spectacular - only the obvious stuff that much information is
lost, so classification becomes less clear.

Imagine a world in which Latin was attested poorly and only at a late stage.
A researcher finds the word for "a hundred" and one or two other such words,
and so classifies it as a satem language.   Or a world in which Baltic once
had -s- aorists, but lost them before the time of our first texts.   Or a
world in which Albanian originally had reflexes of the Baltic-Germanic -m-
dative plurals, but no trace is left.

There is still a strong tendency to read back into PIE as a whole, the
structures we find in those IE languages which are found very early,
especially Greek and Sanskrit.   If we had Germanic from the same date, our
reconstruction might look rather different.   If we did not have Hittite,
the Greek-Sanskrit model would seem more certain.

So I guess I'm only saying that we need to remember how widely separated
chronologically the IE languages are - which I'm sure you don't anyone to
remind you of!


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