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Old November 23rd, 2012, 12:54 PM   #31
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Latin. And it´s not even a contest.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 02:24 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by hazratemahmood View Post
The reconstructed PIE might not have even been a concrete and singular language in its time. It is merely an interpolation of all surviving Indo-European languages, and even today (after all the refinement) we have a number of possible "readings" when applying the comparative method to the data at hand.
Regardless of the accuracy of our current "readings", PIE did exist.
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We have evidence of Pre-PIE
I have no doubt that audible communication existed long before proto Indo-European, but I can't imagine the existence of any tangible evidence. What evidence are you referring to?
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Latin is an ancient language which still lives through its descendants (just like the postulated PIE)
Agreed, in fact, Latin is a subset of IE.

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It (Latin) is a(n attested) full-fledged language capable of expressing all kinds of ideas (and world views), and it has literature, folk tales, calendars and all the other cultural phenomena associated with a natural language.
PIE is attested and in its time was a "full-fledged language capable of expressing all kinds of ideas" and as far as "world view" goes: the IE people made their way to China almost a thousand years before even the Republic existed (and the Romans never made that journey.) So, with the probable exception of literature, PIE shares all the attributes you mention.
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In other worlds Latin presents a civilization, something we will never have with PIE.
Here is where our actual difference of opinion seems to lie (I hope you'll agree that we are only discussing a difference of opinion here.)

I am one of those who rejects the idea of a cradle of civilization in the Levant and I see the Roman Empire (the Republic did have promise) as a hindrance to "civilization" rather than as any kind of genesis.

The (P)IE people actually did create a civilization out of (more or less) thin air, and this civilization lasted longer than the Roman republic and empire combined and spread over a much larger area and population than ever was controlled by Rome - and it did so with a much more democratic form of government than that offered by Rome (or the Greeks.)

Please remember that it was the Indo European tribes which brought about the iron age. Earlier than that, they had tamed and trained the horse which opened the central Asian Steppe to their exclusive use. They had at least 1500 years as the dominant people from the Yellow River to "England" with a good chunk of the Indian subcontinent thrown in.

It is true that the whole of the IE people were not as centralized or as warlike as the Romans but I don't see that as being to their detriment; I see that as a positive.

As far as the historical record is able to tell us, it seems that the IEs got along with each other fairly well until the Romans came along. There were a few battles between Celtic and Germanic tribes during the migrations but no prolonged hostilities such as the Romans are so famous for. The Celts (and Germanics) blended in seamlessly with the Sarmations, archeologists can't determine where the boundary between Celts and Sarmations existed east of Thrace - and there were tribes which were multi-linguistic (the Bastanri were Celt/Sarmation; the Cimbri were Celt/Germanic and the Germanic Vandals teamed up with the Sarmation Alans in their foray through Roman territory.)

IMO Latin is just a small subset of the IE story.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 03:33 PM   #33

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So, are you saying it would be easier to communicate if we had no past or future tense, no conditional, no subjunctive? Maybe no articles, no prepositions?

I don't think you would have been able to communicate half of what you just did without these changes you seem to think only confuse things. Go back through what you wrote, and change all your verbs to present tense; remove all the past and future tense, all the conditional, all the subjunctive, etc. Take out all the prepositions, the adverbs, adjectives. Then, see if what you wrote still means what you intended it to mean.
Actually I find language to be quite remarkable in its ability to communicate any idea. This goes especially for English. When language is used properly (for communication) it is a wondrous thing.

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We need complicated language to be able to communicate complicated ideas.
I don't believe this is really true.

I do think the reason the ancient computer like language didn't survive is it became overly complex to express even simple ideas. It was almost universally overthrown so obviously people preferred the new way to communicate. We've been making changes and correcting problems for 4,000 years and many of the bugs have been worked out of the language. But people think in language and you can't work the bugs out of the way people think except through education. We've had a 4000 year dark ages that is only now drawing to a close because of the invention of computers and computer language.

Yes, trying to express such complex ideas in ancient language qwould be tedious. It would take a lot of time to write it up and then each reader would required focused effort to understand it. But everyone would be on the same page and this is the very purpose of language; communication.

I have no love for the old language and don't see it making a comeback until some smart programmer realizes that there is a difference between machine intelligence and artificial intelligence. AI is mostly about communicating in confused language.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 04:43 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by hazratemahmood View Post
Actually it is not that Arbitrary and POV. A language is more important by these criteria: The number of people who are influenced by the language, the period of time in which the language remained in use, and probably the amount of literary works done in that language.

By those standards Latin is definitely the most influential, as its daughter languages are spoken by nearly a billion people worldwide and it has been in use for at least 2500 years. Even today its influence is growing, as its script is becoming the standard script for nearly all the languages across the globe and words with Latin roots are still being invented (or sometimes rediscovered) and introduced to languages which are not basically members of the Romance family of languages, such as English.
OK, those are objective criteria not included in the OP.

Under such nice criteria, what about Proto-Indo-European?

As Latin comes from PIE, the later has inevitably influenced all Romance language speakers ever, plus those of any other Indo-European language
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 04:50 PM   #35

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Depending on whom you ask, the most imporant language is their own.
my 2 cents
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Old November 27th, 2012, 11:40 PM   #36

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Originally Posted by deke View Post
Since you are from vietnam then classical chinese would be the most important from a vietnamese perspective since most ancient documents there are written in it. Once you know it, you can read ancient documents from china, korea, and japan as well.

http://vi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hán_văn
However , there are little scientist live in ancient China , korea or Japan . Otherwise , in my country we use Latin alphabet not CHinese letters . So it ' s very comfortable with us when learn Latin language .
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Old November 28th, 2012, 04:15 AM   #37

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I have no doubt that audible communication existed long before proto Indo-European, but I can't imagine the existence of any tangible evidence. What evidence are you referring to? Agreed, in fact, Latin is a subset of IE.
I refer you to papers on Nostratic, Eurasiatic and Borian superfamilies. I also refer you to parallels in PIE and Caucasian languages in terms of Consonant diversities in both languages and evidence for Indo-Uralic which appear in the PIE grammar. Mallory himself believes there were several stages in Pre-PIE in which compound words where formed (such as words for "hundred", "daughter" etc.).

By the way, Humans have been anatomically capable of speech from hundreds of thousands of years ago. As the evolution of language takes place continually, why not consider the language of the 1000+ nucleus of Humans living in Africa? Why not consider the language of the 30+ people who originally came out of Africa and populated the rest of the world? I have already pointed out the absurdity of this kind of reasoning in my previous posts.
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PIE is attested and in its time was a "full-fledged language capable of expressing all kinds of ideas" and as far as "world view" goes: the IE people made their way to China almost a thousand years before even the Republic existed (and the Romans never made that journey.) So, with the probable exception of literature, PIE shares all the attributes you mention.Here is where our actual difference of opinion seems to lie (I hope you'll agree that we are only discussing a difference of opinion here.)
I do not understand the first part. It is good that you have found the point of origin for our difference of opinion. PIE is not attested, in that it is not directly written down (the general meaning of attestation when a linguist uses that word).

We have absolutely no evidence for a PIE calendar, although it might have been a solar one and a good deal of their culture is not known.

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The (P)IE people actually did create a civilization out of (more or less) thin air, and this civilization lasted longer than the Roman republic and empire combined and spread over a much larger area and population than ever was controlled by Rome - and it did so with a much more democratic form of government than that offered by Rome (or the Greeks.)
No, writing and city dwelling are prerequisites for a civilization by all definitions of the word "civilization". Indo-European is just a "culture", although it might have achieved some sort of civic features in its latest stages.

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Please remember that it was the Indo European tribes which brought about the iron age. Earlier than that, they had tamed and trained the horse which opened the central Asian Steppe to their exclusive use. They had at least 1500 years as the dominant people from the Yellow River to "England" with a good chunk of the Indian subcontinent thrown in.
The Iron age was brought about by the Hittite and some say the Assyrians. Although Hittites are Indo-Europeans, there was no PIE language in existence by then and Hittite was a separate language; thousands of years away from the original PIE speech. The taming of horse by Indo-Europeans in seriously contested as is the invention of Chariot. What we can say with absolute certainty is that the evolution of the Pastoral-Nomadic way of life was the key factor in the success of the PIIr. people.

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As far as the historical record is able to tell us, it seems that the IEs got along with each other fairly well ...
I am pretty sure this is not true, and I am not going to elaborate on this.

PS: I suggest we hear the OP's opinion in this. Are we just speaking about ancient languages or are reconstructed prehistoric languages included as well?
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Old November 28th, 2012, 04:50 AM   #38

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I vote Latin
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Old November 28th, 2012, 04:52 AM   #39
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I vote Sumerian language.
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Old November 28th, 2012, 05:21 AM   #40

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Proto indo european.Father governs children.
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