Schleicher's fable

Schleicher's fable (avis akvāsas ka) is an artificial text composed in the reconstructed language Proto-Indo-European (PIE), published by August Schleicher in 1868. Schleicher was the first scholar to compose a text in PIE. The fable is entitled "Avis akvāsas ka" ("The Sheep and the Horses"). At later dates, various scholars have published revised versions of Schleicher's fable, as the idea of what PIE should look like changed over time. The fable may serve as an illustration of the significant changes that the reconstructed language has gone through during the last 140 years of scholarly efforts.

The first revision of Schleicher's fable was made by Hermann Hirt (published by Arntz in 1939).A second revision was published by Winfred Lehmann and Ladislav Zgusta in 1979 [http://www.ciep.fr/publications/genetique/genetique26.htm] . Another version by Douglas Q. Adams appeared in the EIEC (1997:501). In 2007 Frederik Kortlandt published yet another version on his homepage [http://www.kortlandt.nl] .

The Sheep and the Horses

Schleicher (1868)

"Unicode|Avis akvāsas ka"

:Unicode|Avis, jasmin varnā na ā ast, dadarka akvams, tam, vāgham garum vaghantam, tam, bhāram magham, tam, manum āku bharantam. Avis akvabhjams ā vavakat: kard aghnutai mai vidanti manum akvams agantam. Akvāsas ā vavakant: krudhi avai, kard aghnutai vividvant-svas: manus patis varnām avisāms karnauti svabhjam gharmam vastram avibhjams ka varnā na asti. Tat kukruvants avis agram ā bhugat.

Hirt (1939)

"Unicode|Owis ek’wōses-kʷe"

:Unicode|Owis, jesmin wьlənā ne ēst, dedork’e ek’wons, tom, woghom gʷьrum weghontm̥, tom, bhorom megam, tom, gh’ьmonm̥ ōk’u bherontm̥. Owis ek’womos ewьwekʷet: k’ērd aghnutai moi widontei gh’ьmonm̥ ek’wons ag’ontm̥. Ek’wōses ewьwekʷont: kl’udhi, owei!, k’ērd aghnutai vidontmos: gh’ьmo, potis, wьlənām owjôm kʷr̥neuti sebhoi ghʷermom westrom; owimos-kʷe wьlənā ne esti. Tod k’ek’ruwos owis ag’rom ebhuget.

Lehmann and Zgusta (1979)

"Unicode|Owis eḱwōskʷe"

:Unicode|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.

Adams (1997)

"Unicode|H2óu̯is h1ék̂u̯ōs-kʷe"

:Unicode| [Gʷr̥hxḗi] h2óu̯is, kʷési̯o u̯lh2néh4 ne (h1é) est, h1ék̂u̯ons spék̂et, h1oinom ghe gʷr̥hxúm u̯óĝhom u̯éĝhontm̥ h1oinom-kʷe ĝ méĝham bhórom, h1oinom-kʷe ĝhménm̥ hxṓk̂u bhérontm̥. h2óu̯is tu h1ek̂u̯oibh(i̯)os u̯eukʷét: 'k̂ḗr haeghnutór moi h1ék̂u̯ons haéĝontm̥ hanérm̥ u̯idn̥téi. h1ék̂u̯ōs tu u̯eukʷónt: 'k̂ludhí, h2óu̯ei, k̂ḗr ghe haeghnutór n̥sméi u̯idn̥tbh(i̯)ós. hanḗr, pótis, h2éu̯i̯om r̥ u̯l̥h2néham sebhi kʷr̥néuti nu gʷhérmom u̯éstrom néĝhi h2éu̯i̯om u̯l̥h2néha h1ésti.' Tód k̂ek̂luu̯ṓs h2óu̯is haéĝrom bhugét.

Kortlandt (2007)

"Unicode|ʕʷeuis ʔkeuskʷe"

:Unicode|ʕʷeuis iosmi ʕuelʔn neʔst ʔekuns ʔe 'dērkt, tom 'gʷrʕeum uogom ugentm, tom m'geʕm borom, tom dgmenm ʔoʔku brentm. ʔe uēukʷt ʕʷeuis ʔkumus: kʷntske ʔmoi kērt ʕnerm ui'denti ʔekuns ʕ'gentm. ʔe ueukʷnt ʔkeus: kludi ʕʷuei, kʷntske nsmi kērt ui'dntsu: ʕnēr potis ʕʷuiom ʕulʔenm subi gʷormom uestrom kʷrneuti, ʕʷuimus kʷe ʕuelʔn neʔsti. To'd kekluus ʕʷeuis ʕe'grom ʔe bēu'gd.

English Translation

"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.

Notable Differences

Some of the differences between the texts are just varying spelling conventions: "w" and "Unicode|u" e.g. are only different ways to indicate the same sound, a consonantal "u". However, many other differences are to be explained by widely diverging views on the phonological and morphological systems of PIE.

Schleicher's reconstruction assumed that the "o/e" vocalism was secondary, and his PIE is much more closely based on Sanskrit than modern reconstructions.

Hirt introduced the "o/e" vocalism, syllabic resonants, labiovelars and palatalized velars.

Lehmann and Zgusta introduced a few alternative lexemes (the relative pronoun "Unicode|kʷesjo"; the word "nēr" 'man'), and made some first steps into the direction of accepting laryngeals. Their text features an "h" ("wl̥hnā") for what they seem to accept as a single laryngeal of PIE.

Adams was the first one to fully reflect the laryngeal theory in his version of the fable. Judging from the text, he seems to assume four different laryngeal phonemes. Consequently, Adam's text does not show long "ā" anymore.

Kortlandt's version is a radical deviation from the prior texts in a number of ways. First, he followed the glottalic theory, writing glottalic plosives with a prefixed apostrophe ("'d") and omitting aspirated voiced plosives. Second, he substitutes the abstract laryngeal signs with their supposed phonetic values: "Unicode|h1" = "Unicode|ʔ" (glottal stop), "Unicode|h2" = "Unicode|ʕ" (pharyngeal fricative), "Unicode|h3" = "Unicode|ʕʷ" (pharyngeal fricative with lip rounding). Third, he omits palatovelars, reducing the series of plosives to velars and labiovelars. Kortlandt also has a different opinion about ablaut grades in many verbal and nominal forms, compared to the other scholars.

Various stages of PIE

Carlos Quiles Casas of the Dnghu Group gives versions in various stages of Proto-Indo-European and post-Proto-Indo-European: [http://dnghu.org/indoeuropean/indo-european.htm HTML] , [http://dnghu.org/indo-european-schleicher-fable.pdf PDF] .

"IE II, ca. 3500 BC (Proto-Indo-Hittite)":"laryngeals numerically differentiated":Unicode|H3ou̯is h1éku̯o(s)es-kwe. H3ou̯is, kwesi̯o u̯l̥Hneh2 ne h1est, h1éku̯oms spekét, h1óinom gwr̥h3um wóghom wéghontm̥, h1óinom-kwe mégeh2m bhórom, h1óinom-kwe dhHghmónm̥ h1oh1ku bhérontm̥. H3owis nu h1éku̯obhi̯os u̯eu̯kwét: kerd h2éghnutoi h₁moí h1éku̯oms h2égontm̥ wiHrom wídn̥tei. H1éku̯o(s)es tu u̯eu̯kwónt: Klúdhi, h3ówi! kerd h2éghnutoi nsméi wídntbhi̯os: H2ner, pótis, h3ou̯i̯om-r̥ u̯l̥Hneh2m̥ su̯ébhi gwhermóm u̯éstrom kwrnéuti. Neghi h3ou̯i̯om u̯l̥Hneh2 h1ésti. Tod kékluu̯os h3ou̯is h2égrom bhugét.

:"laryngeals symbolically differentiated":Unicode|Χowis ʔékwōs-kwe. Χowis, kwesjo wl̥ʔneħ ne ʔest, ʔékwoms spekét, ʔóinom kr̥χum wóghom wéghontm̥, ʔóinom-kwe mégeħm bhórom, ʔóinom-kwe dhʔghmónm̥ ʔoʔku bhérontm̥. Χowis nu ʔékwobhjos wewkwét: “Kr̥d ħéghnutoi ʔmoí, ʔékwoms ħégontm̥ wíʔrom wídn̥tei”. ʔékwōs tu wewkwónt: “Kludhí, χówi! kr̥d ħéghnutoi n̥sméi wídn̥tbhjos: ħner, pótis, χowjom-r̥ wl̥ʔneħm̥ swébhi khermóm wéstrom kwr̥néuti”. Χowjom-kwe wl̥hneħ ne ʔésti. Tod kékluwos χowis ħégrom bhugét.

"IE III, ca. 2.500 BC (Proto-Indo-European)":Unicode|Ówis ékwōs-kwe. Ówis, kwésio wl̥̄nā ne (é)est, ékwoms spekét, óinom karúm wóghom wéghontm̥, óinom-kwe mégām bhórom, óinom-kwe ghmónm̥ ṓku bhérontm̥. Ówis nu ékwobh(i)os (é)wewkwét: “Kr̥d ághnutoi moí, ékwoms ágontm̥ wīrom wídn̥tei”. Ékwōs tu wewkwónt: “Kludhí, ówi! kr̥d ághnutoi n̥sméi wídn̥tbh(i)os: anér, pótis, ówjom-r̥ wl̥̄nām s(w)ébhi khermóm wéstrom kwr̥néuti”. Ówjom-kwe wl̥̄nā ne ésti. Tod kékluwos ówis ágrom (é)bhugét.

"IE IIIa, ca. 2000 BC (Proto-Indo-Iranian)":Unicode|Ávis áķvās-ka. Ávis, kahja vr̥nā na āst, áķvans spaķát, áinam garúm vágham vághantam, áinam-ka mágham bháram, áinam-ka ghámanam ķu bhárantam. Ávis nu áķvabhjas ávaukat: “Ghr̥d ághnutai mai, áķvans aĝantam vīram vídanti”. Áķvās tu ávaukant: “Srudhí ávi! ghr̥d ághnutai asmái vídantbhjas: nar, pátis, ávjam-r̥ vr̥nām svábhi gharmám vástram kr̥náuti”. Ávjam-ka vr̥nā na ásti. Tat sásruvas ávis áĝram ábugat.

ee also

*The king and the god

External links

* [http://www.angelfire.com/tx/eclectorium/indoeuro.html#Schleicher Schleicher's reconstructed text with a literal English gloss]
* [http://www.proz.com/topic/28279 A message board thread about the fable and the validity or not of Schleicher's reconstruction]

References

*Arntz, Helmut (ed.), Hirt, Hermann: "Die Hauptprobleme der indogermanischen Sprachwissenschaft". Niemeyer, Halle a.d. Saale 1939 (Sammlung kurzer Grammatiken germanischer Dialekte. B. Ergänzungsheft 4)
*Kortlandt, Frederik. 2007. [http://www.kortlandt.nl/publications/art243e.pdf "For Bernard Comrie"] .
*Lehmann, W., and L. Zgusta. 1979. "Schleicher's tale after a century". In "Festschrift for Oswald Szemerényi on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday", ed. B. Brogyanyi, 455–66. Amsterdam.
*Mallory, J. P. and Adams, D. Q.: Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. London, 1997. S. 500ff.
*Schleicher, August: "Fabel in indogermanischer Ursprache". In: Beiträge zur vergleichenden Sprachforschung auf dem Gebiete der arischen, celtischen und slawischen Sprachen. 5/1868. Dümmler, Berlin, S. 206-208
* [http://dnghu.org/indoeuropean/indo-european.htm A grammar of Modern Indo-European] (contains Indo-European and Indo-Iranian versions of Schleicher's fable)
* [http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~jamesdow/s076/f332917.htm rootsweb tree]


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