More on the changes made to A Grammar of Modern Indo-European as of January 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009 had an update on January 12 about the state of the textbook as it moves towards version 4 that I wrote about here, but this part made no sense to me:

>Apart from the expected changes in MIE concept (viz. EIE, PIH, etc.)

So I asked what that meant, and received quite a detailed answer. Here's most of it (see their page to read it in its entirety):

...I meant the logical changes that follow the newest conceptions agreed on in our Indo-European revival project.

To understand it, one needs to have followed the previous changes in the Indo-European revival concept, which can be inferred (not easily, that’s true) from recent changes in the grammar and in our websites. Almost every writing in or about MIE “drags” so to speak older (now deemed more or less “wrong”) concepts, and they have to be revised accordingly in new writings and newer versions of the grammar: hence the adjective “expected”, different from - for example - the new section included, “Indo-European in Use”, or some sections deleted, which were not “expected”.

The MIE conceptions are more or less summarized by the different Grammar version numbers, but simplifying them, as in the book, we could say that:

1) “Europaio” (from the first grammar, Europaio: A Grammar of the European Language) was a very simple concept of using a modern (but common) Late Proto-Indo-European language. It was more prescriptive than descriptive, “choosing” - more or less arbitrarily - to use certain cases, to use some (modern) vocabulary and not other, to write laryngeals with their later output, etc.

2) Modern Indo-European was a revision of that simple Europaio concept, trying to bring it to a more natural Late PIE, with the introduction of etymological notes, further explanations, etc. It tried to overcome the “Esperanto-like” appearance of the first (prescriptive) Europaio, but still that revived Late PIE seemed too artificial, as it selected European dialectal nominal and verbal forms.

3) The 3rd version meant a full revision of the verbal system and an introduction to the Late PIE syntax - instead of just a selected modern European one. The inclusion of the concept of the Northwestern dialect was necessary, as it was obvious that we couldn’t use Late PIE, but a common, modern European PIE without laryngeals, and thus we had to select some dialectal form (in our case, EIE). A purer PIE vocabulary was recommended.

4) Following that (v.3) concept of the Europe’s Indo-European language (EIE) to be revived, the necessary emphasis is put on the revival of dialectal Proto-European, as well as on the reconstruction of common Middle Proto-Indo-European or Indo-Hittite (PIH) roots for etymology, as a way to know how to reconstruct the vocabulary for other living PIE dialects at the time when EIE was spoken, i.e. Proto-Greek, Proto-Indo-Iranian and Common Anatolian. Instead of a unified scheme, a plural (natural) one has to be accepted, however difficult it might be to implement.

I think it is more or less evident from each minor change made to the grammar, and obviously in full revisions, that the underlying concept remains the same (a common PIE for Europe), but that it needed (and needs) to be specific about every detail of the language(s) we want to revive, especially taking on account that they are reconstructed (AKA “hypothetical”) proto-languages.

It is, in any case, a revival of a natural language (or, better, its dialects), and prescription should be used only when necessary.


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