The UPenn IE Tree

Larry Trask larryt at
Tue Aug 24 09:55:46 UTC 1999

On Sat, 21 Aug 1999 X99Lynx at wrote:

> My questions were specifically addressed to the assumptions behind the
> Stammbaum.  According to Sean Crist's response, that graph appears to be
> based on shared innovations over time rather than intelligibility.

Yes.  All linguistic trees are based upon shared innovations, the only
plausible basis we've ever discovered for constructing trees.
Intelligibility is not a factor: it cannot be quantified in any useful

> That is why after Anatolian splits off on the Stammbaum, we are told
> the appropriate language for what remains is "the innovations shared
> by all the IE branches except Anatolian".

Yes, providing you accept the Herkunfthypothese.  This hypothesis holds
that all of the several features absent in Anatolian but present in all
other branches were absent from broad PIE and were innovations in narrow
PIE after the split of Anatolian.  But there is another view, the
Schwundhypothese, which holds that all these features were present in
broad PIE but then lost in Anatolian.  I'm afraid I don't know if
anybody is defending the Schwundhypothese today.

Larry Trask
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QH

larryt at

More information about the Indo-european mailing list