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

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CHAPTER FOUR

Language and Time 2Wool, Wheels, and Proto-Indo-European

If Proto-Indo-European was dead as a spoken language by 2500 BCE, when was it born? Is there a date after which Proto-Indo-European must have been spoken? This question can be answered with surprising precision. Two sets of vocabulary terms identify the date after which Proto-Indo-European must have been spoken: words related to woven wool textiles, and to wheels and wagons. Neither woven wool textiles nor wheeled vehicles existed before about 4000 BCE. It is possible that neither existed before about 3500 BCE. Yet Proto-Indo-European speakers spoke regularly about wheeled vehicles ...

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