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The Horse, the Wheel, and Language by David W. Anthony

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CHAPTER THREE

Language and Time 1The Last Speakers of Proto-Indo-European

Time changes everything. Reading to my young children, I found that in mid-sentence I began to edit and replace words that suddenly looked archaic to me, in stories I had loved when I was young. The language of Robert Louis Stevenson and Jules Verne now seems surprisingly stiff and distant, and as for Shakespeare’s English—we all need the glossary. What is true for modern languages was true for prehistoric languages. Over time, they changed. So what do we mean by Proto-Indo-European? If it changed over time, is it not a moving target? However we define it, for how long was ...

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