James's Reviews > The Horse, the Wheel and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World

The Horse, the Wheel and Language by David W. Anthony
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
911622
's review
Jun 13, 12


One of the things I did in grad school was to become a Proto-Indo-European otaku, a long, lonely voyage into the dark and uncharted seas of PIE myth and mythology. I did this because I was amused by facts such as the following: (a) the English word "sweat" and its Sanskrit cognate, "svet" are practically homophonic; (b) Erin, the ancient name for Ireland, is a cognate of the Persian word Iran and of the Vedic Sanskrit word Aryan (the 'race' that inspired Hitler). Why should cultures at such distances speak languages in the same family? Why do blonde, blue-eyed Lithuanians speak a language that is closer to India's primordial tongue than is any other European language?

Example:

English:
God gave us teeth God will give us bread.

Lithuanian:
Dievas dave dantis,Dievas duos ir duonas.
Sanskrit:
Devas adat datas,Devas dasyati dhanas.

In fact, it was the contemplation of such puzzles that led humans to discover that there are language families, and thus cognates.

If you think understanding a cultural continuum spanning a swath of geography stretching from ancient India to ancient Ireland might have some bearing on your understanding of your own cultural roots, this volume, though not for sissies, might do.
30 likes · Likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Horse, the Wheel and Language.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Chris (new) - added it

Chris Green In my understanding, the Celts who later occupied Ireland originated in an area south of The Black Sea. Part of the Celtic migration went through the Balkans, overland, to western Europe. A second wave traveled through the Middle East then followed the North African maritime route(s) to Algeria, north to the Iberian Penninsula, and on to the British Isles.
This homeland are has long been named
Arya, and is part of Iran today. And the source of the modern name.
The people who spoke an early form of Sanskrit also originated in or near Arya, and moved south to eventually occupy the subcontinent of India. These Aryans (a term which refers to their language, not 'race') became the dominant group in India as they expanded and overpowered the earlier people(s) whom I ~think~ were the Dravidians. Sanskrit and other 'Indo-European' languages have a common roots in a language referred to by scholars as Proto-Indo-European.
There is a tree-like graphic available on line which shows the ties between many languages and Proto-Indo-European.


message 2: by James (last edited Jul 06, 2014 11:42AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

James Using archaeology, linguistics, comparative mythology, and so on, scholars have been honing in on the Indo-Europeans and Proto-Indo-European past. The latest research can be found in the Journal of Indo-European Studies:
http://www.jies.org/DOCS/jies_index/m...


message 3: by Chris (new) - added it

Chris Green James wrote: "Using archaeology, linguistics, comparative mythology, and so on, scholars have been honing in on the Indo-Europeans and Proto-Indo-European past. The latest research can be found in the Journal of..."

Thanks. I'll see if I can access that journal.


back to top