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Thread: Language as a Clue to Prehistory

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Kóryos
    The kóryos (Proto-Indo-European: "army, people under arms" or "detachment, war party") refers to the Proto-Indo-European brotherhood of warriors in which unmarried young males served for a number of years before integrating their host society, in the context of a rite of passage into manhood.

    Subsequent Indo-European traditions and myths feature parallel linkages between property-less adolescent males, perceived as an age-class not yet fully integrated into the community of the married men; their service in a "police-army" sent away for a part of the year in the wild (where they hunted animals and raided foreign communities) and defending the host society during the remaining part of the year; their mystic self-identification with wolves and dogs as symbols of death, promiscuity, lawlessness, and warrior fury; and the idea of a liminality between invulnerability and death on one side, and youth and adulthood on the other side.
    *kóryos < *kóros ("cutting, section, division") > Old Persian kāra ("people, army"), Lithuanian, kãras ("war, army")

    *kóryos > Greek kouros ("youth, boy"), Baltic *kāryas ("army"), Celtic *kóryos ("troop, tribe"), Germanic *harjaz ("host, troop, army, raiding-party")

    Some Gallic tribe names: Uo-corri ("two-armies"), Tri-corii ("three-armies") and Petru-corii ("four-armies")

    West Central IE has a derivative with the suffix -nos -- *koryonos ("leader of the *kóryos") > Ancient Greek koíranos ("army leader"), Old Norse Herjan (< PGmc *harjanaz; "leader of the army"), and Brittonic Coriono-totae ("people of the army-leader")

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lpetrich View Post
    Kóryos
    The kóryos (Proto-Indo-European: "army, people under arms" or "detachment, war party") refers to the Proto-Indo-European brotherhood of warriors in which unmarried young males served for a number of years before integrating their host society, in the context of a rite of passage into manhood.

    Subsequent Indo-European traditions and myths feature parallel linkages between property-less adolescent males, perceived as an age-class not yet fully integrated into the community of the married men; their service in a "police-army" sent away for a part of the year in the wild (where they hunted animals and raided foreign communities) and defending the host society during the remaining part of the year; their mystic self-identification with wolves and dogs as symbols of death, promiscuity, lawlessness, and warrior fury; and the idea of a liminality between invulnerability and death on one side, and youth and adulthood on the other side.
    *kóryos < *kóros ("cutting, section, division") > Old Persian kāra ("people, army"), Lithuanian, kãras ("war, army")

    *kóryos > Greek kouros ("youth, boy"), Baltic *kāryas ("army"), Celtic *kóryos ("troop, tribe"), Germanic *harjaz ("host, troop, army, raiding-party")

    Some Gallic tribe names: Uo-corri ("two-armies"), Tri-corii ("three-armies") and Petru-corii ("four-armies")

    West Central IE has a derivative with the suffix -nos -- *koryonos ("leader of the *kóryos") > Ancient Greek koíranos ("army leader"), Old Norse Herjan (< PGmc *harjanaz; "leader of the army"), and Brittonic Coriono-totae ("people of the army-leader")
    Pure Romanticist speculation.

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by lpetrich View Post
    Kóryos
    The kóryos (Proto-Indo-European: "army, people under arms" or "detachment, war party") refers to the Proto-Indo-European brotherhood of warriors in which unmarried young males served for a number of years before integrating their host society, in the context of a rite of passage.
    ...
    ...
    Pure Romanticist speculation.
    How so?


    Now to "karma". The word is borrowed from Sanskrit, where it is an an-stem noun. The ending -ma / man- is cognate with Latin -men / min- and Greek -ma /-mat-, all < IE *mn-

    English "name" and numerous other IE cognates are derived from IE *Hnomn- with that suffix.

    It literally means "action", and it is formed from root kr "to do, make". This is from PIE *kwer- "to do, make, build"

    Another descendant that found its way into English is Greek teras / terat- ("sign, marvel, wonder" / "divine sign, omen, portent" / "monster")

    Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/kʷer- - Wiktionary

    Wiktionary is a good reference on Indo-European roots.

  4. Top | #84
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    It's remarkable that we have a fairly good idea of how Proto-Indo-European was pronounced, though some aspects continue to be controversial.

    Indo-European sound laws
    Proto-Indo-European phonology

    The first reconstructions of it were rather Sanskrit-like, and that is reflected in the traditional reconstruction of the stop consonants: *T, *D, *Dh. As I mentioned earlier, that is typologically awkward: lots of *p but hardly any *b. That is what has led to hypotheses like the glottalic one: *T(h), *T', *D(h) -- where T' is glottalic or ejective -- the consonant sound with a short pause between it and the following vowel.

    If more recent linguists were reconstructing PIE for the first time, they would label the consonants *T1, *T2, *T3 with numbers.

    That is what they do with the most controversial aspect of PIE phonology, laryngeals.

    First a departure into PIE vowels. The first reconstructions were Sanskrit-like, using a in many cases. But it turned out that Latin and Greek e, a, and o correspond to each other, and that in Germanic and Slavic, L&G e correspond to e and L&G a and o correspond to one vowel, either a or o.

    So PIE is reconstructed as having vowels *e, *a, and *o, along with vowels *i and *u, related to semivowels *y and *w.

    In the ancestor of the Indo-Iranian languages, languages like Sanskrit, *e, *a, and *o got merged into a.

    PIE is also reconstructed as having short and long vowels, a common distinction.

    So far so good.

    But there are some oddities.

    Like Sanskrit i ~ other IE langs e, like in pitar- "father" ~ Latin pater, Greek patêr, Old English fadar, ...

    That led to the reconstruction of a schwa sound in such places.

    Root shape is a further problem.

    Most PIE word roots have structure CVC- where C is a consonant or a cluster of consonants.

    But some have structure VC-, like *okw- "eye" and C(long V)-, like *dhê- "to put, place"

    Almost as if there were some missing consonants.

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    In 1879, linguist Ferdinand de Saussure first proposed the missing-consonant theory in the form of "coefficients sonantiques". Then in the early 20th cy., Hittite was discovered, with a sound usually written as ḫ - h with a downward-curving line underneath it. This sound did not correspond to any sound present in most other IE langs, but it did correspond to Saussure's "coefficients sonantiques".

    Some linguists speculated that it was pronounced like various throaty consonants or "laryngeals" in some languages, and the name stuck.

    There are three of them usually reconstructed, *H1, *H2, and *H3.

    *H1 either disappears or turns into a schwa. It was likely a glottal stop.
    *H1es- > *es- ("to be", imperfective root)

    *H2 is a-coloring, turning a vowel into "a". It was likely some throaty sound, like "kh" but farther down.
    *H2egwnos > *agwnos ("lamb")

    *H2 is o-coloring, turning a vowel into "o". It was likely like H2, but with lips rounded, to make a "w".
    *H3ekw > *okw- ("eye, to see")

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    How so?
    Because there is no menaingful evidence for all this supposed cultural reconstruction. It has more to do with European imaginations about the lost virility and race purity of days gone by than any sort of tangible evidence that could be deduced from language.

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    Early human migrations
    Pre-modern human migration
    Indo-European migrations

    A note: "Mesolithic" is an intermediate state between Paleolithic (foraging: hunting and gathering) and Neolithic (farming) - Mesolithic societies often emerged around rivers with lots of fish, like in the Pacific Northwest of North America, and also in some places in Europe.

    A plausible ancestral population for the Proto-Indo-European speakers was the Dnieper–Donets culture (E Ukraine, ca. 5000-4200 BCE). It started off as Mesolithic, but moved to the Neolithic late in its existence, with the acquisition of domestic cattle, sheep, and goats, and some crop plants.

    It became the Sredny Stog culture (same place, ca. 4500-3500 BCE). Its people were one of the first to have domesticated horses.

    Emerging from it was the Yamnaya or Yamna culture (E Ukraine to the Ural Mtns., 3300–2600 BCE). Its people likely spoke Late Proto-Indo-European dialects.

    An offshoot was the Corded Ware culture (N Europe between Belgium and Moscow area, with S Scandinavia, 3100-2350 BCE).

    -

    Sredny Stog / Yamna is the mainstream hypothesis for the Proto-Indo-European homeland, and IMO the most successful one.

    The homelands of its descendant families have been a less contentious issue.

    Proto-Germanic language
    Corded Ware culture
    Nordic Bronze Age (Denmark, S Sweden, S Norway coast, 1700–500 BCE)
    Jastorf culture (Iron Age, 750 BCE – 1 CE). Successor of the Nordic Bronze Age. By 1 CE, it spread to Belgium, Netherlands, N Germany, and N Poland.

    Proto-Celtic language
    Corded Ware culture
    Bell Beaker culture (W Europe, 2800-1800 BCE)
    Unetice culture (Czechia, 2300-1680 BCE)
    Tumulus culture (Czechia, 1600-1200 BCE)
    Urnfield culture (C Europe, 1300-750 BCE)
    Hallstatt (Czechia and nearby, 1200-500 BCE)
    La Tène (iron Age, 450 BCE - 1 CE (Roman conquest))
    By 1 CE, Celts had spread over much of Europe, and even a little bit into Anatolia (the Galatians of the New Testament)

    Proto-Italic language
    Bell Beaker?

    Proto-Balto-Slavic language
    Proto-Slavic
    History of Proto-Slavic
    Early Slavs
    The Slavic homeland's location is a contentious issue - it was somewhere around E Poland - W Ukraine.
    The inherited Common Slavic vocabulary lacks detailed terminology for physical surface features that are peculiar to mountains or the steppe, the sea, coastal features, littoral flora or fauna or saltwater fish.[32]

    Proto-Slavic hydronyms have been preserved between the source of the Vistula and the middle basin of the Dnieper.[33] Its northern regions adjoin territory in which river names of Baltic origin (Daugava, Neman and others) abound.[34][35] On the south and east, it borders the area of Iranian river names (including the Dniester, the Dnieper and the Don).[36] A connection between Proto-Slavic and Iranian languages is also demonstrated by the earliest layer of loanwords in the former;[29] the Proto-Slavic words for god (*bogъ), demon (*divъ), house (*xata), axe (*toporъ) and dog (*sobaka) are of Scythian origin.[37] The Iranian dialects of the Scythians and the Sarmatians influenced Slavic vocabulary during the millennium of contact between them and early Proto-Slavic.[38]

    A longer, more intensive connection between Proto-Slavic and the Germanic languages can be assumed from the number of Germanic loanwords, such as *duma ("thought"), *kupiti ("to buy"), *mĕčь ("sword"), *šelmъ ("helmet") and *xъlmъ ("hill").[39] The Common Slavic words for beech, larch and yew were also borrowed from Germanic, which led Polish botanist Józef Rostafiński to place the Slavic homeland in the Pripet Marshes, which lacks those plants.[40] Germanic languages were a mediator between Common Slavic and other languages; the Proto-Slavic word for emperor (*cĕsar'ь) was transmitted from Latin through a Germanic language, and the Common Slavic word for church (*crъky) came from Greek.[39]
    Another Germanic borrowing in Slavic was Proto-Slavic *xlěbъ (x = kh) "bread", from Proto-Germanic *hlaibaz from which we English speakers get "loaf".

    Littoral = near-shore in the ocean

    The ancestral Slavic vocabulary is consistent with inland Europe.

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    Proto-Anatolian language
    Hittite language
    Bedřich Hrozný
    This family contains the oldest recorded Indo-European language, Hittite, a language interpreted as having very archaic features. Features like a r/n declension being common, when it is rare among other IE languages.

    In the early 20th cy., Czech orientalist and linguist Bedřich Hrozný helped decode it and he showed that it was an Indo-European language. Here is a sample of it:

    nu (BREAD)-an e-iz-za-at-te-ni wa-d-da-ar-ma e-ku-ut-te-ni

    The e-iz-za- part seemed much like English "eat", German "essen", and Latin "edere", from IE *ed-, and that's something that one would want to do with bread. The next word resembled English "water", German "Wasser", and his native language's "voda", all from PIE *wodr, *wedn-. Water would go along with bread, and the next word would be a word for "to drink". Both words have the same ending, suggesting the same action.

    The hint that Hittite was Indo-European helped him a lot, and that text is roughly

    Now let us eat bread, then let us drink water.


    Proto-Tocharian language
    Afanasievo culture (Minusinsk Hollow, 3300-2500 BCE)

    There is an interesting curiosity here. In the Tarim Basin in Xinjiang, China, some Tarim mummies were discovered, dating as far back as 1800 BCE.

    Genetically, the Tarim-mummy people are mixed, with their mitochondria, a female-inherited part, being part West Eurasian and part East Eurasian, and their Y chromosomes, a male-inherited part, being all West Eurasian. This is consistent with Chinese chroniclers describing Western barbarians that had green eyes and red hair -- Northern European features.

    Tocharian-language documents were found in sites in the Tarim Basin, and their language is Indo-European, meaning evidence of an early migration eastward out of the Indo-European homeland.

    Culture Change: War Bands Hooked Up With Neolithic Farm Women | Live Science - to produce the Corded Ware culture. Those were Indo-European kóryos war bands.

    Genetically, there is not much genetic contribution from the previous people -- and not much archeological evidence of violence. Instead, the Yersinia plague is a likely culprit. This means that stereotypically Northern European features like blond and red hair, and green and blue eyes, were originally present among the PIE speakers. Some of them went eastward into the Tarim Basin, thus explaining those Chinese chroniclers' accounts of Nordic-looking barbarians.

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    Proto-Greek language

    Proto-Armenian language

    Proto-Indo-Iranian language
    Proto-Indo-Aryan language
    Proto-Iranian language
    Sintashta culture (Caspian Sea - S Ural Mountains, 2400–1800 BCE) - ancestral home
    Andronovo culture (Kazahstan and nearby stans, 2000-900 BC)

    Yamna successors:
    Catacomb culture (2800-1700 BC)
    Srubnaya culture (1800–1200 BC), a.k.a. Timber-grave culture
    Scythians, Sarmatians

    In the S Ural Mtns, around 2000 BCE, the first spoke-wheel chariots were found. Chariots were designed for speed. A chariot is a two-wheeled vehicle pulled by horses. Its body is small, with a floor only large enough for its driver and usually one passenger. It has low walls on the front and side and no wall on the back.

    Chariots spread from there across the Ukraine - South Russia - Kazakhstan steppe zone and southward to the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. PBS NOVA has a documentary on building an imitation of a New Kingdom Egypt war chariot.

    Chariots were likely taken some of the way by some of these people themselves, to the Indian subcontinent, to Iran, and to what is now Kurdistan in Iraq as the short-lived Mitanni kingdom of around 1400 BCE.

    Kikkuli was the author of a Mitanni treatise on horse training. A surviving tablet, written in Hittite, starts with
    um-ma ki-ik-ku-li (lu)a-as-su-us-sa-an-ni sa kur (uru)mi-it-ta-an-ni
    "Thus speaks Kikkuli, master horse trainer of the land of Mitanni"

    Seems like the actual writing was done by a scribe who took down dictation.

    The text had such Indic borrowings as aiga-, tera-, panza-, satta-, nāwa-wartanna (one, three, five, seven, nine turns), almost identical to Vedic Sanskrit eka-, tri-, pañca- sapta-, nava-vartana.

  10. Top | #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by lpetrich View Post
    A plausible ancestral population for the Proto-Indo-European speakers was the Dnieper–Donets culture (E Ukraine, ca. 5000-4200 BCE). It started off as Mesolithic, but moved to the Neolithic late in its existence, with the acquisition of domestic cattle, sheep, and goats, and some crop plants.

    It became the Sredny Stog culture (same place, ca. 4500-3500 BCE). Its people were one of the first to have domesticated horses.

    Emerging from it was the Yamnaya or Yamna culture (E Ukraine to the Ural Mtns., 3300–2600 BCE). Its people likely spoke Late Proto-Indo-European dialects.

    An offshoot was the Corded Ware culture (N Europe between Belgium and Moscow area, with S Scandinavia, 3100-2350 BCE).

    -

    Sredny Stog / Yamna is the mainstream hypothesis for the Proto-Indo-European homeland, and IMO the most successful one.
    Ipetrich: Thanks for the posts on the interesting story of I-E origin and expansion!

    Minor clarifications:
    It was the Samara culture near the Volga River to the north-east of Dnieper-Donets and Sredny Stog that was probably the earliest identifiable homeland of P-I-E culture. At Samara sites are found
    • pit grave burials resembling other early I-E burials and considered to be the earliest "kurgans,"
    • evidence of ritual horse sacrifice,
    • R1b-P297 Y-chromosomes, the same clade that is ancestral to most of Western Europe.

    The Khvalynsk culture, also on the Volga, is considered the link between Samara and Yamna. (However IIRC the Y-chromosomes most common at Khvalnysk are R1a-M417 or its siblings, ancestral to Slavs, Balts, many Scandinavians and India's Brahmin.) The Botai culture, branching eastward from Khvalynsk, while Yamna migrated westward, is often associated with "first domestication of horse."

    Yamna, Sredny Stog and Corded Ware were cultural horizons of great geographic size; Yamna divided into an eastern half (carrying R1a-M417 chromosome and eventually speaking 'Satem I-E') and the western half (carrying R1b-P297 and retaining the 'Centum' language). (Tocharian in the East wasn't Satem but it had split off, perhaps with Botai, before Satem emerged.)

    Western Yamna competed for the same territory as the powerful Cucuteni-Tripillia culture which responded by building fortified towns, some with thousands of dwellings — by far the largest human cities of their time.

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