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Posted January 7, 2004
As a minimal qualification for understanding the relationship of the Indo-European languages and being able to write about it, what is required? It is my opinion as well as that of many others qualified in the field, that one must possess, at a very minimum, complete fluency in and a thorough knowledge of the grammar of: 1) Sanskrit. 2) The older (Homeric) Greek. 3) Latin. 4) One or two of the Germanic languages, preferably today¿s German and English (or more preferably, Anglo-Saxon (Old English)). 5) One of the Slavic languages. 6) One of the Baltic languages (Latvian or Lithuanian). 7) One of the Indo-European-base languages of India (preferably Hindi). That¿s the equivalent of taking a course in Indo-European 101, without which one is simply not qualified to write on the subject. And it is quite evident from a reading of this book that the author does not possess this minimum qualification. (Needless to say, this reviewer does possess this qualification, and more.) And if one does have this minimal qualification, one cannot but come to the conclusion, upon a review of the above languages, that one of the languages in the above list (Sanskrit) is the parent of all the others. And not just a parent, but a parent which is much more complex and highly structured than any of its descendants. The proof is as irrefutable as mathematical equations (in fact, some of the grammatical relations are very much like mathematical equations). That is the inescapable conclusion the very first European reviewers of these languages came to in the 18th and 19th centuries in their dispassionate analysis (they weren¿t fools, and, needless to say, they possessed much better scholarship than today¿s linguists). Their views held sway until, suddenly, around 1950, their views became ¿politically incorrect¿. Among other inescapable conclusions one would come to, e.g. from the overwhelming presence of the dual number in the root language and in no other language, and its extreme inflectional character, is that the people who spoke this root language were linguistically isolated for thousands of years, before abruptly being made to end their isolation and move. Without taking into consideration this fundamental fact, one cannot write about the presumed geographic or other origins of the root Indo-Europeans. And if one does take this fact into consideration, one must then account for the several clear celestial events (e.g. congruence of planets) cited in the RgVeda, the oldest written work in the root language, which can all be dated to about 5300 B.C., and the older descriptions in this text, which point to a homeland somewhere either in the region of modern-day Uzbekistan or the southern steppes of Central Asia (the latter substantiating the ¿Kurgian horsemen¿ hypothesis somewhat). Today, truth has been turned on its head in virtually all publications on this subject, and the authors of all and sundry works thereon are confident in the knowledge that they are safe because nearly all their readers are even more ignorant and unqualified than they. And the very few qualified readers shake their heads in dismay. Today, one dare not use the words ¿Aryan¿ or ¿root language¿ without immediately being branded a racist, even if one emphasizes that ¿Aryan¿ today has about as much relevance as ¿Tyrannosaurus rex¿, both being long extinct. An example of a recent publication by authors completely unqualified to write about Indo-European languages is the recent (2003) article in a prominent scientific journal hypothecating on Anatolian origins of the Indo-Europeans by using a statistical analysis of cognates employing the techniques of evolutionary biology, without at all considering the linguistic relationships of these cognates! Though I can write reams more on the subject, I¿ll conclude here. Basically, what I¿m saying is that the basis and thesis of the book is fundamentally unsound, not unlike many other books on the subje
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Posted September 8, 2001
This is a good introductory overview which synthesizes in a readable manner much scholarship which has been done in Indo-European studies. Some particularly interesting discussions include possible early homelands of Indo-European speakers, and cultural backgrounds of Indo-European groups. Some information has been superseded by more recent archaeological and linguistic findings, but the book still is a good introduction and based on sound scholarship. Contrary to the views of some politically-motivated critics, the author is fair, balanced and presents much factual information. The illustrations are also helpful and well-chosen.
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Posted January 3, 2000
Mallory uses evidence selectively for his synthesis. Furthermore, his work is based on the discredited paradigm that languages are derived from a single ancestral language, a belief based ultimately on the Biblical view of descent of man from the Garden of Eden. Mr Mallory belongs to the Orientalist school of anthropology!
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Posted December 30, 2010
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