Re: Indo-European Studies

Gerold Firl (
14 Jul 1995 14:11:47 -0700

In article <> (@#$%!?!) writes:
>: like a case of extreme splitting. At one time, the speakers of proto-IE
>: undoubtedly consisted of a cohesive cultural unit, which I picture as a
>: large tribe or primitive "nation". They certainly had distinctive cultural

>Actually, there are doubts. Benviste argued PIE might have been a
>creole, a trading language developed among many distinct cultures
>of central europe through the steppes.

Don't creole languages generally have a simplified syntax compared to the
languages from which they were formed? The IE languages, aside from
english, which can be considered a creole, seem very structured to me. On
what basis does benviste make this claim?

I would argue that the PIE people were a very mobile, nomadic culture which
existed over a very large geographical area - the entire eurasian steppe
belt. How homogeneous they were, prior to the breakout, is difficult to
say. As you say, linguistics can tell us only so much. The racial
differences between the eastern and western branches may have been small,
or they may have been comparable to what is seen today. The light/dark
division between aryan and dravidian found in the vedas suggests that the
melanin gradient from hindi/farsi - irish/swedish is greater now than it
was 5000 years ago between east and west indo-europeans, but that is of
limited value towards understanding the physical anthropology of the dim
past. A culture with this kind of mobility would be expected to be
well-mixed both linguistically and genetically, but these are open

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf