Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

Indo-European Lexicon – Pokorny Master PIE Etyma

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 16, 2015

Linguistics Research Center

Indo-European Lexicon – Pokorny Master PIE Etyma

Telling Tales in Proto-Indo-European

Telling Tales in Proto-Indo-European

Soundcloud: Sheep and Horses

Wolf Rites of Winter

By the 19th century, linguists knew that all modern Indo-European languages descended from a single tongue. Called Proto-Indo-European, or PIE, it was spoken by a people who lived from roughly 4500 to 2500 B.C., and left no written texts. The question became, what did PIE sound like?

In 1868, German linguist August Schleicher used reconstructed Proto-Indo-European vocabulary to create a fable in order to hear some approximation of PIE. Called “The Sheep and the Horses,” and also known today as Schleicher’s Fable, the short parable tells the story of a shorn sheep who encounters a group of unpleasant horses.

As linguists have continued to discover more about PIE (and archaeologists have learned more about the Bronze Age cultures that would have spoken it), this sonic experiment continues and the fable is periodically updated to reflect the most current understanding of how this extinct language would have sounded when it was spoken some six thousand years ago.

Since there is considerable disagreement among scholars about PIE, no one version can be considered definitive. Here, University of Kentucky linguist Andrew Byrd recites his version of the fable, as well as a second story, called “The King and the God,” using pronunciation informed by the latest insights into reconstructed PIE.

List of Proto-Indo-European nouns

List of Proto-Indo-European roots

Proto-Indo-European pronoun

Proto-Indo-European particle

Proto-Indo-European numerals


Proto-Indo-European root

Proto-Indo-European language

Indo-European languages


The Horse, the Wheel and Language

Telling Tales in Proto-Indo-European

Discovering the Indo-Europeans

Indo-European Language Family

The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World

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