Hear What the Ancestor to Our Language Sounded Like

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Secret Alias
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Hear What the Ancestor to Our Language Sounded Like

Post by Secret Alias » Fri May 05, 2017 6:35 pm

“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

lpetrich
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Re: Hear What the Ancestor to Our Language Sounded Like

Post by lpetrich » Mon Jun 12, 2017 2:58 pm

That's a reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European. It's [wiki]Schleicher's fable[/wiki], composed by August Schleicher in 1868. A recent one is The king and the god. Both are intended to illustrate features of reconstructions with connected text.

English version:
The Sheep and the Horses

[On a hill,] a sheep that had no wool saw horses, one of them pulling a heavy wagon, one carrying a big load, and one carrying a man quickly. The sheep said to the horses: "My heart pains me, seeing a man driving horses." The horses said: "Listen, sheep, our hearts pain us when we see this: a man, the master, makes the wool of the sheep into a warm garment for himself. And the sheep has no wool." Having heard this, the sheep fled into the plain.
August Schleicher's German version:
Das] schaf und [die] rosse.

[Ein] schaf, [auf] welchem wolle nicht war (ein geschorenes schaf) sah rosse, das [einen] schweren wagen fahrend, das [eine] groſse last, das [einen] menschen schnell tragend. [Das] schaf sprach [zu den] rossen: [Das] herz wird beengt [in] mir (es thut mir herzlich leid), sehend [den] menschen [die] rosse treibend. [Die] rosse sprachen: Höre schaf, [das] herz wird beengt [in den] gesehen-habenden (es thut uns herzlich leid, da wir wissen): [der] mensch, [der] herr macht [die] wolle [der] schafe [zu einem] warmen kleide [für] sich und [den] schafen ist nicht wolle (die schafe aber haben keine wolle mehr, sie werden geschoren; es geht ihnen noch schlechter als den rossen). Dies gehört-habend bog (entwich) [das] schaf [auf das] feld (es machte sich aus dem staube).
From Lehmann and Zgusta:
Owis eḱwōskʷe

Gʷərēi owis, kʷesjo wl̥hnā ne ēst, eḱwōns espeḱet, oinom ghe gʷr̥um woǵhom weǵhontm̥, oinomkʷe meǵam bhorom, oinomkʷe ǵhm̥enm̥ ōḱu bherontm̥. Owis nu eḱwobh(j)os (eḱwomos) ewewkʷet: "Ḱēr aghnutoi moi eḱwōns aǵontm̥ nerm̥ widn̥tei". Eḱwōs tu ewewkʷont: "Ḱludhi, owei, ḱēr ghe aghnutoi n̥smei widn̥tbh(j)os (widn̥tmos): nēr, potis, owiōm r̥ wl̥hnām sebhi gʷhermom westrom kʷrn̥euti. Neǵhi owiōm wl̥hnā esti". Tod ḱeḱluwōs owis aǵrom ebhuget.
(Copied from the Wikipedia article. I haven't tried to translate it into some more easily readable spelling.)

Note that Proto-Indo-European had no definite article, no word for "the". Also note that the preferred overall word order in a sentence is subject-object-verb, not subject-verb-object.

ETA: The Wikipedia article on this fable has versions in several different languages, with translations in them. I'm half-thinking of posting some of them, like the Latin, Proto-Germanic, and Proto-Slavic versions that I found in them.

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