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Is this How our Ancestors Sounded?

Posted: 2013-09-30, 21:29
by Meera
I'm not sure if this was real or not, but I saw it on the news today and I think people here might be interested in it:

Is This How Our Ancestors Sounded? Linguist Recreates Proto-Indo-European Language (AUDIO) The Huffington Post | By Meredith Bennet-smith Updated: 09/28/2013 12:24 pm EDT

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/2 ... 05545.html


What did our ancient ancestors sound like?

Between approximately 4,500 and 2,500 B.C, the ancestors of much of Europe and Asia once spoke the same mother tongue, a language referred to as Proto-Indo-European, or PIE. Although there is no written record of such a language, linguist Dr. Andrew Byrd recently attempted to reconstruct his own recordings of PIE language for Archaeology magazine, building off three centuries' worth of scholarly work on the topic.

Byrd is an expert in ancient Indo-European linguistics, focusing on phonology, and teaches at the University of Kentucky. For his recording, he edited and recited his own version of a reconstructed PIE fable known as "The Sheep and the Horses," as well as a version of a Sanskrit story called “The King and the God.”

"The Sheep and the Horses" is an interesting case because it was actually written in 1868 by German linguist Dr. August Schleicher, who then translated the story into PIE as a way to experiment with the vocabulary, according to Archaeology.

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Byrd said that his recording of "The Sheep and the Horses" was "an approximation" of what PIE originally sounded like and is largely based on our knowledge of the texts of ancient Indo-European languages, such as Latin, Greek and Sanskrit. Byrd's rendition of the "The Sheep and the Horses" largely derives from a text originally composed by a mentor, UCLA linguist Dr. H. Craig Melchert. That text in Proto-Indo-European, as reprinted from Archaeology, reads thus:

Image

Here is the passage translated into English:
"A sheep that had no wool saw horses, one of them pulling a heavy wagon, one carrying a big load, and one carrying a man quickly. The sheep said to the horses: "My heart pains me, seeing a man driving horses." The horses said: "Listen, sheep, our hearts pain us when we see this: a man, the master, makes the wool of the sheep into a warm garment for himself. And the sheep has no wool." Having heard this, the sheep fled into the plain."

Although there is no way to create a definitive version of the language, Byrd told HuffPost that his pronunciation is "still a very educated approximation."

"Languages differ on how they pattern their sounds together," Byrd explained. "And they use those sounds to create new words. Proto-Indo-European is very guttural."

Somewhat surprised by the viral success of his recording, Byrd said he doubts that he will make any further recordings, in large part because he'd have to create new narratives to translate. The researcher added, however, that he was pleased the media attention has helped bring Indo-European linguistics into the mainstream.

Some of the many modern languages that stem from the Indo-European family include English, Swedish and Farsi. Byrd told HuffPost that this ancient connection is often forgotten in the context of today's geopolitical climate.

"Farsi and English were 6,500 years ago the same language," he said. "That's pretty cool, and it kind of gives you a sense of unity."

Because of the lack of available information, PIE is a debated topic among researchers. Byrd believes PIE was probably spoken on the Eurasian steppes around 6,500 years ago; but, he added, other researchers recently introduced a controversial new theory that it was spoken several thousand years earlier in Turkey.

Asked what it would take to create a completely definitive PIE recording, Byrd just laughed. "A time machine?" he mused.


You can listen to his recording on the link at the top. Again I'm not sure how accurate this is or anything, but I thought it was a really interesting article and I thought everyone here (especially in the ancient language's forum) would be interested too. I hope this was the right place to put this, I didn't know weather to put it here or in the General Language forum.

Re: Is this How our Ancestors Sounded?

Posted: 2013-09-30, 22:00
by księżycowy
This is just as good a spot as any to talk about this. I think Proto-Indo-European (in so far as we know it) qualifies as an ancient language. :wink:

As for your questions, I've read up a bit (though not a great deal) about Proto-Indo-European, but let me read the article before I say anything more.

Re: Is this How our Ancestors Sounded?

Posted: 2013-10-01, 8:44
by Lur
Sounds like Welsh.

There's someone in the comments saying that the idea that Persian and English were once the same language is "just a theory". Where to begin :lol:

Re: Is this How our Ancestors Sounded?

Posted: 2013-10-01, 11:24
by księżycowy
I listened to it twice, and still can't decide what it sounds like. It's like Latin, Welsh and Swedish all mashed together.

Re: Is this How our Ancestors Sounded?

Posted: 2013-10-01, 17:08
by Johanna
księżycowy wrote:I listened to it twice, and still can't decide what it sounds like. It's like Latin, Welsh and Swedish all mashed together.

To me there was a touch of Mandarin every now and then too... But for the most part I guess it's just another native English speaker, who is well-versed in different languages, trying to speak something that he has only learnt from text rather than from also listening to native speakers.

Re: Is this How our Ancestors Sounded?

Posted: 2013-10-01, 17:38
by Allekanger
Haha, houhniehusihenone HÄST housohuo shostoshouhouh houuhuohuoho HÄSTBOG.

EDIT: Also I'm sorry I don't have a more relevant and sophisticated contribution to add to the discussion. I've had a long day and I'm tired. Please forgive me.

Re: Is this How our Ancestors Sounded?

Posted: 2013-10-01, 21:57
by atman
Johanna wrote:But for the most part I guess it's just another native English speaker, who is well-versed in different languages, trying to speak something that he has only learnt from text rather than from also listening to native speakers.


Of course. But the problem is that the last native speaker died about 5000 years ago... :)

Anyway, some time ago I made my own attempt at a translation of Schleicher's fable into Proto-Indo-European. Here it is (without audio, because I don't think I could pronounce it in a passable way):

h₃éwis h₁éḱwōskʷe

gʷrh₁éh₂i h₃éwis, yésyeh₂ey wĺh₂neh₂ né h₁ést, h₁éḱwons dedórḱe, tóm gʷérh₂om wóǵʰom wéǵʰontm, h₂élyom méǵoh₂m bʰórom, h₂élyomkʷe dʰǵʰémonm h₂oh₁ḱú bʰérontm. h₃éwis h₁éḱwobʰos h₁e wewkʷét: “ḱḗrd gláǵʰeti h₁moy widntéy dʰǵʰémonm h₁éḱwons h₂éǵontm”. h₁éḱwōs h₁e wewkʷénd: “ḱludʰí, h₃éwi! ḱḗrdes gláǵʰonti nōs widntbʰós tód: dʰǵʰémon, pótis, wĺh₂neh₂eh₁ h₃éwyoh₁om sébʰoy gʷʰérmom wéstrom kʷrnéwti, h₃éwibʰōskʷe wĺh₂neh₂ né h₁ésti”. tód ḱeḱluwṓs, h₃éwis h₂éǵrom h₁e bʰugét.

Re: Is this How our Ancestors Sounded?

Posted: 2013-10-01, 22:50
by shprakh
Allekanger wrote:Haha, houhniehusihenone HÄST housohuo shostoshouhouh houuhuohuoho HÄSTBOG.


I laughed.

Re: Is this How our Ancestors Sounded?

Posted: 2013-10-01, 23:23
by Lazar Taxon
Is there any convention for writing PIE without the superscript letters and subscript numbers?

Re: Is this How our Ancestors Sounded?

Posted: 2013-10-05, 23:10
by Meera
Johanna wrote:
księżycowy wrote:I listened to it twice, and still can't decide what it sounds like. It's like Latin, Welsh and Swedish all mashed together.

To me there was a touch of Mandarin every now and then too... But for the most part I guess it's just another native English speaker, who is well-versed in different languages, trying to speak something that he has only learnt from text rather than from also listening to native speakers.


Yeah I thought of Mandarin too! I thought it sounded like a mixture of many different languages.

Re: Is this How our Ancestors Sounded?

Posted: 2013-10-06, 19:03
by mōdgethanc
Lazar Taxon wrote:Is there any convention for writing PIE without the superscript letters and subscript numbers?
You can compare different versions here. I think the sub/superscript numbers are widespread because they're vague as to what exactly the sounds in question are, whereas some older reconstructions (before the laryngeal theory became accepted, I guess) went with vowels - Schleicher's original looks like Sanskrit - and the most recent one (Kortlandt, 2007) goes with their assumed IPA values as pharyngeal consonants.
Torlekis est certain pootlose est. Soneki soonum ah welt. So tose ock tellw'm kick it. Suchnus magni oh tam. So tell k'well to leckom evell quit. Orgassmo they wollm well eh known. So lekis they warm well eh known. Opuser sornay nu they warm in'ghetto. Kellusi moyn ah tell well oo'nay. They was well-a-noss cunta they way egg-wet. K'weed well see. Well me soonum told as to woke wet-look host. They was allunos. Like girls potnays soonum guegg on air.
What the fuck is this shit?

Re: Is this How our Ancestors Sounded?

Posted: 2013-10-06, 19:16
by Cornerstone
Sorry, I accidently deleted my previous message instead of editing it.

The audio link posted at the top of this thread didn't work for me so I listened to this sample of Proto-Indo-European http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJ-Ru9djdmU which sounds to me like:

Torlekis est certain pootlose est. Soneki soonum ah welt. So tose ock tellw'm kick it. Suchnus magni oh tam. So tell k'well to leckom evell quit. Orgassmo they wollm well eh known. So lekis they warm well eh known. Opuser sornay nu they warm in'ghetto. Kellusi moyn ah tell well oo'nay. They was well-a-noss cunta they way egg-wet. K'weed well see. Well me soonum told as to woke wet-look host. They was allunos. Like girls potnays soonum guegg on air.

Re: Is this How our Ancestors Sounded?

Posted: 2013-10-06, 19:41
by Levike
It sounds like Latin and Greek had an encounter with German.

Re: Is this How our Ancestors Sounded?

Posted: 2013-10-20, 10:45
by Zarcu Mihai
Our ancestors?depends of which populus do you mention.every folk has an different ancestor or group of ancestors.
For example the ancestors of Romanians are Romans and Dacians.or the ancestors of he near people were proto-sino-Tibetans.or do you meant to say the ancestors of all indo-European nations?
If so bellow then the first language that split from common Language of indo European people(PIE) is the indo-aryan branch from which the oldest language that shares common similarities with other later formed branch and it is still living(and I hope it will) is Sanskrit.It is spoken in northwest from India in a small city.Proto-Indo-European just involved in different Geographical Positions,that's why Latin,Greek,Celtic,Germanic,Slavic...ETC appeared.

Re: Is this How our Ancestors Sounded?

Posted: 2013-11-10, 11:36
by Jurgen Wullenwever
Zarcu Mihai wrote:Our ancestors?depends of which populus do you mention.every folk has an different ancestor or group of ancestors.

Almost every human today should have at least a little descent from Indo-European speakers. Besides, in this case it is enough that the person who said "our" does.

The recording sounds like "Welsh without ddim".

Re: Is this How our Ancestors Sounded?

Posted: 2013-11-15, 5:57
by Zarcu Mihai
Jurgen Wullenwever wrote:
Zarcu Mihai wrote:Our ancestors?depends of which populus do you mention.every folk has an different ancestor or group of ancestors.

Almost every human today should have at least a little descent from Indo-European speakers. Besides, in this case it is enough that the person who said "our" does.

The recording sounds like "Welsh without ddim".

How can you be so sure,maybe not all the mondial population has mixed with Indo-European Nation.
The Haplogroup has prooven that.
And look at this map :http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Indo-European_languages_distribution.png
That red colours mean that Indo-European people speaks Indo European Language.

Re: Is this How our Ancestors Sounded?

Posted: 2013-11-15, 22:35
by Babelfish
Allekanger wrote:Haha, houhniehusihenone HÄST housohuo shostoshouhouh houuhuohuoho HÄSTBOG.
That's pretty much what I thought :lol: assuming that the h's represent various laryngeal sounds. In that case, BTW, although Marcu Zihai's comment is correct, it's probably quite like my Afro-Asiatic ancestors sounded like as well :P