Dear Camilla,

I have seen the site now. It appears to represent a kind of simpleminded
ethnocentricity we believed had been abandoned long ago. For some reasons
Latvian is to be styled as the closest thing we have to the primeval
Indo-European protolanguage. That certainly blurs the picture. The
structural points discussed are all relevant for the silly point made:

1. No initial clusters, may be right for the Nostratic prestage as we can
see it though the filter of later changes; it is definitely not right for
PIE, nor for Latvian. True, Greek is special in admitting some initial
clusters most of us find uncomfortable like pt-, km-, chth-, and that puts
Latvian in a seemingly more archaic light.

2. Roots CV or CVC, must apply to a distant prestage of PIE which itself
has many much more complicated roots; so by the way does Latvian which
just is a fine IE language.

3. No aspirated stops, is certainly not correct for PIE, and only
secondarily for Balto-Slavic (within which it is in no way specifically
Latvian), viz. via loss of aspiration of the old voiced aspirates. That
the aspiration was once there in a post-PIE prestage of BSl. is seen from
"Winter's Law": Vowels are lengthened after old unaspirated voiced stops,
but not after old aspirated voiced stops.

4. The vowel was a schwa - I don't see the relevance, nor the Latvian
connection. I do agree that the PIE vocalism is strikingly monotonous,
with /e/ of overwhelming frequency.

5. Roots were verbal; that indeed largely seems to be true, but it's
largely true of all IE. But are there verbs underlying *gWo:w- 'cow',
*H2ow-i- 'sheep', *H3aw-i- 'bird', *saH2-wl 'sun'? Also most botanical
terms are unanalyzable, but they could all be foreign.

6. Loss of vowels: Happens in all languages. IE ablaut is nothing special,
only the exact set of alternations it amounted to is specific of IE, just
as the umlaut events of Germanic contribute to the overall impression of
that branch.

7. Determinatives used to form longer roots. Of course that happens
everywhere, and of course the resulting PIE extended root forms are
reflected in Latvian as in all the other IE languages.

8. Verbal inflection in Pharaonic and Nostratic. Frankly, I don't see much
similarity. I do not understand what the silly cup (Latv. kauss) is doing
here, and why it has to evoke <kas> 'who, what', and of all things as a
2nd person marker, if I read the chart correctly. Can it only happen once
that a language develops a word for 'cup' containing a /k/? If so, is
English <cup> also interesting here - and in what capacity? This is
plainly idiotic.

The astronomical interpretation of the rock carvings is out of a
boyhood-book world which ought not to trouble serious minds. Since there
is no independent motivation for the choice of the specific constellation
to be depicted by the carvings, the writer has been at liberty to go
compare the main outline of any segment of carvings with all the
constellations known to man, so small wonder if he finds one that almost

The dating of the carvings seems at odds with other information. I read in
a recent encyclopedic article that the carvings from Tanum in Bohusla"n in
Sweden are from about 800 BC and not from anything approaching the 3400 or
3100 BC mentioned in the website. I guess that also better fits the
presence of manned ships among the pictures.

I believe there is a Nostratic background to IE, and of course an IE
background to Latvian, so some of the observations are correct and have
been known for many years. But making Latvian the mother of all
interesting languages, if that is what the site is meant to express, is


On Thu, 22 May 2003, camilla_sayf wrote:

> Hi everybody,
> I came across this link
> & while reading the summary got very confused. Please, have a look &
> give me your opinions - whatever comes to mind, to clear up my
> confusion :) If you happen to have evidence to support or refure the
> hypothesis, please, share.
> Camilla.
> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to