Lactose Intolerance/Renfrew

proto-language proto-language at
Wed Apr 18 13:25:28 UTC 2001

Dear Steve and IEists:

----- Original Message -----
From: <X99Lynx at>
Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2001 9:25 AM


> <<To me, the likeliest scenario is that Caucasians, speaking a Caucasian
> language with characteristics similar to Kabardian (reduced vowel inventory),
> came into contact with speakers of a non-Semitic Afrasian language, adopted
> it (mangled it, mostly); and that the northernmost group became
> Indo-Europeans, while the southerners became Semites.>>

> Just a comment that the notion is that the flow of ideas and know-how both
> motivates and is made possible by a change in language.  So the whole thing
> sort of pivots on what new ideas and things language has made possible.

> So is the scenario above it kind of helps to ask why the Caucasians would do
> this and what it appears they got out of it.  If you buy the idea that the
> majority of modern Europeans are descended from a European paleolithic
> population (not saying that you should), then what could have motivated that
> early language shift?  Or did they bring it with them in paleolithic times,
> meaning that Pre-IE got there soon after the ice-age ended.

As for what motivated the Caucasians to adopt a mangled Afrasian, I believe the
explanation woudl be that they were a dominant minority, and it was easier for
them to learn the language of the majority.

The advantage to them is that they were able to 'herd' Afrasians (i.e.
'enslave' or at least 'enserf' them) into a work-force that allowed large
accumulations of surplus production. I believe it likely that the Caucasians,
in their northern mountain-vallleys, had been animal-herders primarily; and
easily adapted to 'herding' humans.

I further suppose that the wave of small-scale agriculturalists that spread
through Europe were speaking a non-IE language, descended from Afrasian, which
was superimposed on a earlier version of Afrasian spoken by the
hunter-gatherers that preceded them there.


PATRICK C. RYAN | PROTO-LANGUAGE at (501) 227-9947 * 9115 W. 34th
St. Little Rock, AR 72204-4441 USA WEBPAGES: PROTO-LANGUAGE: and PROTO-RELIGION: "Veit ec
at ec hecc, vindgá meiði a netr allar nío, geiri vndaþr . . . a þeim
meiþi, er mangi veit, hvers hann af rótom renn." (Hávamál 138)

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