Miguel Carrasquer Vidal mcv at
Tue Feb 9 06:30:57 UTC 1999

JoatSimeon at wrote:

>>mcv at (Miguel Carrasquer Vidal)

>>Likewise comparing the linguistic, archaeological and genetic
>>maps of Europe shows a large amount of overlap between
>>Indo-European, the initial agricultural expansion from Anatolia
>>to Holland, and the main genetic component.

>-- post hoc propter ergo hoc.  The initial agricultural colonization of Europe
>probably carried _some_ language, but there's no evidence whatsoever it was IE
>and plenty that it wasn't.

Such as?

>The time-frame is wrong, for instance.

Renfrew's 7000 BC is too early [for PIE], Mallory's 4000 BC is
too late [for Anatolian].  Putting the date for the split of
Anatolian ~ non-Anatolian at c. 5500 BC (second stage of European
Neolithic: LBK) looks exactly right to me.

>>or all the linguistic facts (why the gap between Anatolian and the rest of IE

>-- "they moved first" seems adequate.

The earliest we can push steppe influences in the Balkans back is
c. 4200 BC.  The latest possible date for the entry of
proto-Greeks in the Balkans is c. 3200 BC.  Adequate for
Armenian, totally inadequate for Anatolian.

>>why Germanic

>-- why not?

As I have tried to explain in another message, the Germanic
verbal system is highly archaic, and has little to do with the
Greek/Indo-Iranian or even the Balto-Slavic one.  Ditto Germanic
phonology.  If we compare Germanic with Balto-Slavic, the
linguistic data strongly suggests the following scenario:

- Germanic became isolated from the main innovating body of IE at
an early date, much earlier than B-S [phonology, verbal system].

- Proto-Germanic speakers assimilated a sizeable non-IE
population, while B-S did not [the famous pre-Germanic

- Germanic and Balto-Slavic came into contact again at a stage
where there was still a measure of mutual intelligibility (ca.
2000 years of separation or less) [evidence for G-B-S

If I try to correlate this with the archaeological evidence, my
proposal would be:

- Eastern IEans move into the steppe lands [either Dnepr-Donets
c. 5000 BC or Sredny Stog 4500 BC], leaving behind
Pre-Proto-Germanic speakers and others in the LBK area.

- Germanic as we know it starts to evolve after the assimilation
of Ertebo/lle-Ellerbek people by IE-speaking LBK/Roessen farmers
[i.e. TRB culture, from 4000 BC]

- Germanic-Balto-Slavic Sprachbund in the Corded Ware/Fatyanovo
stage, from c. 3000 BC.

I'd be interested in your counter-proposal.

>>Furthermore, history shows that steppe invadors have never penetrated
>>linguistically beyond Hungary and the Balkans.

>-- the situation in the late Neolithic had few historical parallels --
>population densities were much lower, there were no states, etc.

Which is precisely why an "elite dominance" model doesn't work.
It worked in the Balkans (as well as for instance the
Indus-Ganges system) where population densities were high and
cities/tells promised rich booty (or where the internal collapse
of the system had left a power vacuum).  I don't see it working
for the LBK/TRB area, which, like Dravidian Southern India, had
population densities high enough to ensure the survival of the
language of the earliest farmers [in my opinion, Western IEans],
but too scattered and too disorganized economically and
politically to provoke invasion.  The situation in Europe differs
from that in India in that the invadors, like the invaded, spoke
IE languages which were still mutually intelligible to some
degree (except Anatolian), which makes the linguistic situation
far more complex.  The western languages (Germanic, Italic and
Celtic) were probably influenced by the eastern ones.

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
mcv at

More information about the Indo-european mailing list