Proto-Indo-European Culture

Proto-Indo-European Culture

Proto-Indo-European comes up a lot in my videos,
heck, my first two videos were both about P.I.E., but in case you don’t know, linguists
believe that a huge percentage group of the world’s languages are all descended from one
common ancestor. This group includes almost all of the languages of Europe and like a
third of the languages of Asia, mostly around Iran and India, so the group of languages
are collectively called the “Indo-European Languages,” and the language that they’re
all descended from is called “Proto-Indo-European.” Thing is, linguists don’t believe any of this
because we have written records of PIE, they believe it because and only because all the
languages of this region are so similar that it’s the only reasonable explanation. The
original Proto-Indo-Europeans didn’t leave anything behind, well, OK, they probably did,
but they might have been any number of ancient groups of people who left behind a bunch of
poetry and stuff, and all you have to do to start a fight between linguists is ask them
whether the proto-indo-europeans lived in modern day Russia or Turkey. And yet, that
doesn’t at all mean that we don’t know anything about who these people were. Linguists, including
myself, will love telling you how important language is to culture and human society and
how it’s a reflection of how we see our world, but I don’t think there’s any better example
of this then how we’ve figured out so much about the Proto-Indo-European people just
based on their language. For instance, if you remember my last video
you’ll know that in general, English words with a “h” sound tend to correspond to Spanish
words with a “k” sound, because early in the history of English all “k” sounds turned into
“h” sounds. But, the word “computer” corresponds to the only barely different Spanish “computadora,”
indicating that one language came up with the term and then it spread to the other after
English went through that change. Which means, the word for “computer” had to be created
after the change English went through, which means the Proto-Indo-Europeans probably didn’t
have computers. Meanwhile, the Spanish word “Casa” corresponds to the English word “House,”
suggesting that the Proto-Indo-Europeans probably did have a word for house, and therefor probably
had houses. Now, those two things are pretty obvious, but we can actually use similar strategies
to figure out a lot about Proto-Indo-European culture.
At the most basic level, we can figure out what kind of technology they had. We can successfully
reconstruct PIE words for wheel, hub and axel, indicating that they had wheeled vehicles
like wagons and such. They also had words for yoke and thill, and also words for cow,
steer, ox and bull, indicating that they had domesticated cattle and that they used them
to plow their fields. And yes, we also know that they could farm. They had words for field,
for wheat, for barley, and also words for threshing and grinding grain. We also know
that they used their cattle for dairy, as they had word for milk, butter and curds.
Although those diary products might also have come from goats, because they also had a word
for goats, as well as sheep, ram, lamb, horse and dog. They also had words for “wool,” as
well as a verb for “to weave,” indicating that they knew how to make their own textiles
out of wool. We don’t know much about what they would have eaten, but they did have words
for “oven,” “to cook,” “to bake,” and to boil, so they were making something out of something.
They also had words for “to brew” and a word for “mead,” so we also know that they were
definitely drinking something or another. Interestingly, they had a word for door, but
in the daughter languages the word for “door” usually comes in the form that words take
when you’re talking about two of them, which indicates that their doors might have usually
come in pairs of to. They definitely had words for houses and buildings, but we don’t know
much about what they would have been like. We do know one thing about them though, because
their word for “roof” also became verbs meaning “to thatch” in some daughter languages, suggesting
that they tended to have thatched roofs. Also, we can reconstruct two different PIE words
that both ment “to fart,” one that ment “to fart loudly” and the other that ment “to fart
softly.” That last one doesn’t have anything to do with anything, I just thought it was
kind of funny. OK, so, we can earn about their material culture
based on their vocabulary, but can we also maybe learn about the way they saw the world
through their language? The ancient greeks had the word “ainumai” which ment “to take,”
and it’s pretty clearly a cognate with the Tocharian “ai” to give. Also, the ancient
greek “németai” to allot, is a cognate with the German nehmen, “to take.” You find examples
of this kind of thing a fair amount in Indo-European languages, where words that mean “to take”
in one language have a common ancestor with words from other languages that mean “to give.”
This is pretty hard to explain until you consider one intriguing possibility: what if the Proto-Indo-Europeans
thought of the two has the same? Many modern linguists believe that the Proto-Indo-Europeans
had this idea of “mutual gift-giving,” the idea that when one person gives someone else
something, both of them expect that the receiver will have to give something back to the giver
in return, to the extent that neither action can really be viewed separately, and that
they are in fact two aspects of the same event. Think that one’s a bit of a stretch? Yeah,
I’m a bit dubious too, but how about this one: the Proto-Indo-Europeans had words for
close family relations just like any other language: father, mother, brother, sister,
etcetera. They also had words that ment “son’s wife” and “brother’s wife,” but not words
for “daughter’s husband” or “sister’s husband.” They also had words for husband’s father,
husband’s mother, and husband’s brother, but not words for wife’s father, wife’s mother
or wife’s sister. All this indicates that when a woman marries a man, she is now a family
member to his whole family, but the husband isn’t a family member to her family, that
when a marriage occurs, the wife leaves her family to go to her husband’s family, not
the other way around. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that their society was incredibly patriarchal,
or at least, it wouldn’t if not for the fact that there is a very clear, easily reconstructed
Proto-Indo-European word for “Bride-price,” and when you combine that with the Proto-Indo-European
idea of reciprocity and mutual gift-giving and you can start to see the whole thing as
two aspects of one exchange and get a bit of a sense for how Proto-Indo-European society
viewed women. On a less chauvinistic note, perhaps my favorite
part of all this is that we can get an idea of how they viewed the place of humans in
the universe. Many words for “human” in Indo-European languages originate from a Proto-Indo-European
word meaning “earth” or “land,” indicating that they thought of humans as fundamentally
“earthly.” Furthermore, Indo-European cultures widely use the same word to mean both “human”
and “mortal,” indicating that the Proto-Indo-Europeans thought of humans as also inherently mortal.
Both of these things are likely ment to be in contrast with things which are neither
mortal nor earthly, as in, gods. Now, we can’t reconstruct to much about Proto-Indo-European
religion. Most Indo-European societies originally believed in a pantheon of many gods, so the
Proto-Indo-Europeans probably did too, but beyond that we don’t have to much to go on.
Here’s on interesting bit though: The speakers of Vedic Sanskrit believed in a powerful entity
they called “dyáus-pítar,” the Greeks originally referred to “Zeus” by the name “Zéu páter,”
and the Romans originally called their god “Jupiter” by the name “Iu-piter.” All of these
phrases can be confidently said to have come from a single name for a supreme god in Proto-Indo-European
religion, a god who’s name literally translated as “Sky Father.” Keep in mind how patristical
Proto-Indo-European society was. Given how they saw women, the father of a household
was almost definitely the household’s head, so the idea that the universe would be headed
by an entity who was a sort of father to the whole world and who resided in the sky must
have made sense to them, as if the cosmos was a sort of macrocosm of the home.
Now, if you think about other stuff you can infer even more about Proto-Indo-European
society. For instance, many scholars have noticed how numerous Indo-European peoples
divided their societies into three-groups, the warriors, the priests, and the commoners,
and have suggested that the Proto-Indo-Europeans probably also had such a devision. However,
others think that this devision might originally have just been a sort of idea or a conceptualization
of their society that at the time didn’t actually affect their day-to-day behavior. Either way,
though, I just think that it’s one of the coolest achievements of modern linguistics
that we’ve managed to learn so much about these people, that, despite the fact that
we have almost no idea where they might have lived or when, despite the fact they they
left no written records or pictures or even pottery or ruins that we can confidently associate
with them, despite all that we’ve managed to look only at the words they left behind
for us and we’ve used those words as a window into their thoughts and feelings in a way
clay pots or brick houses never could have. Catch me later for more linguistics videos!

100 comments on “Proto-Indo-European Culture

  1. Well history is hard to paste together since it's not easy to observe it directly and evidence tends to get damaged from time to time – naturally damaged or intentionally- like a successful Pharoah would try to damage record and status of their predecessors .For all we know they might be empires older than Assyria etc .

  2. Though, English "house" and Spanish "casa" don't seem to be related to each other. "House" is from the PIE root for "to cover", where "casa" is from the PIE root for "to chain" (in Latin, "casa" referred to a hut rather than a house, so that semantic shift alone makes a relation to English "house" dubious).

  3. why couldnt we take language all over the world and slowly go back so see if there was a single "first" language or "first" languages

  4. Shout all to all the Proto Indo- Europeans🇦🇩🇦🇱🇦🇷🇦🇹🇦🇺🇦🇽🇧🇦🇧🇩🇧🇪🇧🇬🇧🇲🇧🇷🇧🇾🇨🇦🇨🇭🇨🇰🇨🇱🇨🇴🇨🇷🇨🇺🇨🇻🇨🇽🇨🇾🇨🇿🇩🇪🇩🇰🇩🇴🇪🇨🇪🇪🇪🇸🇫🇴🇫🇷🇬🇧🇬🇬🇬🇮🇬🇷🇬🇹🇬🇾🇭🇳🇭🇷🇮🇪🇮🇲🇮🇳🇮🇷🇮🇸🇮🇹🇯🇪🇰🇾🇱🇮🇱🇰🇱🇹🇱🇺🇱🇻🇲🇨🇲🇩🇲🇪🇲🇰🇲🇸🇲🇹🇲🇽🇳🇫🇳🇮🇳🇱🇳🇴🇳🇿🇵🇦🇵🇪🇵🇫🇵🇰🇵🇱🇵🇳🇵🇷🇵🇹🇵🇾🇷🇴🇷🇸🇷🇺🇸🇪🇸🇮🇸🇰🇸🇲🇸🇻🇸🇽🇹🇨🇺🇦🇺🇸🇺🇾🇻🇦🇻🇪🇻🇬🇻🇮🇿🇦

  5. Saying that "because they often used the words give and take interchangeably means that they had a society that expected to receive when giving" is absurd nonsense.
    What we know about primitive societies is that there is less emphasis on the individual, and more focus on the group. They tend to have less words referring to the individual, and the group tends to be the subject when speaking. Therefore it should be expected that giving and taking were poorly defined terms. You might even see groups refer to "forcing them to give us food" when proposing raids on other villages.

    And really? Chauvinistic? It sounds like they valued women more highly than men to me. Same as today.

  6. Another interesting thing is that Norse mythology is very similar to Hinduism, and might have common roots in the Indo-European culture.

  7. i'm probably the only person you'll find with a pie last name! i found that my last name meant whale after really extensive research, and being told that it had "no meaning at all" which can't possibly be true in history.

  8. Ανυμαί would make sense because it is in the middle voice and serves as a HIGHLY reflexive verb. For example λυω meant "I release" but λυωμαι (the same verb but different voice) meant "I release a hostage"

    However the endings for every middle voice verb conjugation ended in -αι. Even more so there was an article 'αι' which was pretty common as well.

    I think it would be better to compare the middle voice endings to ai than the verb ανυμαι even though I disagree that the words are cognates.

  9. we are decedents from some kind of ancient life form that landed here on earth. We carry this innate feeling of decent from our original ancestor. our sky father

  10. Turkish is not a PIE language, but old Turks used to call God "Kök-Tengri / Gök Tanrı" which literaly means "Sky Father" in Turkish and other Turkic languages.

    PS: Old Turks used to believe in monetheistic religion called Tengrism.

  11. There were two indo-european religions: One where the gods weren't mortal, and one where the gods were mortal. That's probadly the reason why this folk splitted into yamta (from which came germanics, slavics and baltics) and aryan (from which came hellenics, celto-romans and indo-aryans).
    The religion of the yamta had mortal gods like the religion of germanics, baltics and slavics (but the balto-slavic gods turned into immortal eventually).
    The religion of the aryans had immortal gods (but in roman-greek they turned into mortal gods eventually).
    But there is one thing in the yamta culture that's equal to the immortal gods of the aryans. It's an infinite thing which controll everything in some kind. It's fate. So where aryans/postaryans say "The gods want it so." the yamta/postyamta say "It's fate which make it do that." . So the roman god (personality) IVPITER is a spiritual thing (fate) in germanic culture.
    I for myself am germanic pagan so I would say to believe in fate and mortal gods is more correctly than in no fate but immortal gods but my religion doesn't allow me to make others believe like me (exept of my children when they're not yet adult).

    Also, I think they lived in the caucasus and splitted after that in a southern (aryans) which settled in anatolia, and a northern folk (yamta) which settled in southern russia.

  12. The give & take problem might also rise from the fact that opposites can easily swap places. Like some people mix the words left & right easily.

  13. You guys are dumb or lazy or liars or whatever.

    compute (v.)

    1630s, "determine by calculation," from French computer (16c.), from Latin computare "to count, sum up, reckon together," from com "with, together" (see com-) + putare "to reckon," originally "to prune," from PIE root *pau- (2) "to cut, strike, stamp." A doublet of count (v.)

  14. to fart loudly in Kurdish : pirt or tir…. to fart softly in Kurdish : fis. The letter /i/ is spelled like /i/ in "bin"

  15. Its fascinating, to see how much we learn from linguistics. Although as I was listening I couldnt help but draw the conclusion that the Celts and Celtic peoples were initially Indo-European invaders. We can construct a similar knowledge base using archeology and historical/mythological accounts. Compare Gaels, Gauls, Iberians, Germanic, Balt, and Slavs and take the similarities in their ancient cultural and societal practices and you can learn what the prior culture had that they gave to these daughter groups. Funny enough, native Scottish, Irish, and Welsh culture contains a heavy amount of Gailic, and thus its bones are Indo-European and thus something has survived today of these ancient peoples directly. The biggest mystery is of the native peoples of Europe prior to the indo European invasion. Sumer developed a civilization but all the sumerians vanished ethnically. Geniologists and historians are looking for the modern people descended of the Sumerians with little success. The Harappa civilization left a lot behind to be inherited by the Indo-Aryan people that went south instead of west with their brothers. But dozens of Cultures lost forever is native European. Indo-europeans werent colonists of an empty continent, they purged and assimilated the peoples who had already done the same thing to the Neanderthals, who actually had colonized an empty continent. These native Europeans left little behind to suggest any complex civilization. Really, the only real evidence they existed at all is the cave paintings dating far older than the indo-european invasion and other artifacts as well as Carthaginian and Greek accounts of the native peoples of Sicily and Malta(which is actually the only evidence of a complex civilization on the part of the native europeans). We may never know what they were truly like, their cultures and lives because it was absorbed or destroyed by celts or time itself

  16. If you don't .like the patriarchy you can fend off the tiger with a spear, push the plow, or catch your dinner. You whinny baby. You're gonna wish you had any set of balls.

  17. >Did the original PIE come from Anatolia or Russia
    Thankfully now we know it is Russia. Ancient-DNA analysis breakthroughs have eliminated a century of debate

  18. We still kind of have that “compensation” that you pay to the brides family for their girl in Iran. It’s called Mehrieh and guys hate it lol

  19. 1:28
    minor pedantic correction: it’s only called “computadora” in latin america. in spain it’s called “ordenador” cause they got it from french instead of english

  20. This is giving me so many worldbuilding ideas that I have forgotten most of them because they just won't stop.

  21. People say history, social science and humanities are all not real or 'soft science ' I have a degree in engineering and chemistry and can I say, reverse engineering a cultures religion's based on a few peices of their language (a language we have no record of and also had to reconstruct), their diet (despite no archeological remains), their idea of women and marriage, humans and gods without a single article of direct evidence is some of the most baller science I have seen.

  22. To fart loudly in Albanian: pjerdh.
    PS: Now that i'm thinking of, door in Alb. is 'derë', plural 'dyer' and *dy is Alb. for the number two. Maybe a little far fetched because the languages evolve but still, it got me thinking.

  23. As far as I have read of the Oriental university's publication , the region of these guys' decendence is attributed to now days South-east Ukraine and North Coucas ,that is South west Russia , Armenia

  24. I was watching a video about primitive technology and this guy said a joke about "he doesn't speak because he hasn't invented language yet"

    I understand it was a joke but i just said language wasn't invented, it just evolved


    He went "do you have any proof about that??"

    Don't y'all hate those type of people that go "do you have any proof?"

  25. Legend has it when the Biblical Nimrod died, his wife/mother told everyone he went into the sky and would be reborn into her through sunrays. She later birthed their child. Could he be the Sky-Father of which the legends whisper?

  26. I'm just guessing here not an expert, but in Spanish the word for "lend" AND "borrow" is both "prestar". So:

    ¿Me prestás esto? = Would you give/lend me this? // May I take/borrow this?
    Sí, te lo presto = Yes, I give/lend it to you // Yes, you can take/borrow it

    Maybe they just used the same word to talk about the same action. Or maybe they were kind of hippie-socialist with mundane objects. Maybe someone's knife, ox or hammer was everybody's knife, etc.

  27. Ju-pitar in Bengali— Brihôsh-pôti

    In pôti means House holder(father)

    And father in bengali is Pita(but it is come from Sanskrit.Pure bengali calls father to Baba which came from sino-tibetian may be)

  28. Xidnaf, you completely left out one of the oldest Indo European languages: Armenian

    LOL Perd is also used in Armenian, we also say tesetsi for soft farth

  29. Interesting. The "to give" and "to take" thing makes me think of "give and take", which could be defined as "trading". So, I wonder that the word didn't start out meaning "to trade", like bartering. Trade is one of the earliest concepts that helped us flourish. Later on, as currency became actual money and culture changed to accomodate that, there could have been a need to define those things differently.

  30. It's either mutual gift giving or the vow of not taking what isn't given found in religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. My world religion class has focused on them these past few months and seeing this video while searching for PIE made me remember that you talked about the language having the same word for "give" and "take". Seems that Indian traditions go a very, very long way.

  31. Sounds like UE Agenda. Frankly, when none of the "Indo European" words can match the word for "Horse" an animal so vital for such a people, but Turkic language does, it makes you see that all of that Indo European Garbage is MADE UP… The Proper word should be ANATALlO-EUROPEAN Language.

  32. Kurgan Hypothesis is FAKE, made up for Political PC politics.

    Anatolian Hypothesis makes more sense.

  33. In modern Persian we still say "mard" (mortal) for men and "mardom" for all of humanity. We also still say "mordan" (to die) about death! It's interesting to see these sorts of historical relics of a society we don't even know what it called itself!

  34. I remember when I learned about concept of Proto Indo-Europeans one day while randomly researching the origins of languages on Wikipedia. It utterly blew my mind. I don’t understand why it’s not taught more in school.

  35. The continent looks like a cow. And if you don't know who are people who lived theh I'll tell you those were your ancestors.

  36. Islamic word for God Rahman has an aspect of maternal compassion which can mean that Judaeo Christianity may have become patriarchal during Indo European outreach.

  37. Except researchers have found artifacts, settlements, burrials as well as their genetics(which means they can trace their migrations/conquests across Eurasia

  38. 2019 Comment. Sorry. German has a word similar to door, that seems to fit more a "tower" model. Makes sense then to have a duo meaning. Two towers mark an entrance maybe?

  39. Most likely they didn't believe in an omnipotent, omnipresent "sky-father" this concept of deity is only tied to Abrahamic religions. They engaged instead in ancestor worship. "Sky" = High. "Father" = Ancestor. So, the progenitor. The first being.
    This conclusion is drawn from studying Pagan religions encompassing the area of PIE influence. It also draws the conclusion that all Pagan religions in these areas are all branches from the PIE "bear cult".

  40. I recently took the ancestry DNA test and found out that we Poles are decended from the Sarmatian knights and the Amazon women. We were the very first horse people and the Roman's got tired of us raiding them and forced us to be their cavalry. They took the sons very young to serve the Roman's army and the daughters were forced to be the warriors and defenders of the tribe. They didnt marry until the men eventually returned to the tribe, they had arranged marriages. The Roman's have busts of the Sarmatian faces 5000 years ago and my family looks like these guys 5000 years ago. My last name means eyebrow bridge of the Sarmatians.
    I just released my book THE FIRST HORSE PEOPLE. About how we first acquired the horses and what we did with them. The horses taught us as much as we taught them. The first winter they dug up roots and smashed the ice on lakes and rivers for water. This is why we Poles are so tall we were eating roots for thousands of years before everyone else. Its about our migration west, our service to Rome and our freedom from Rome, then our migration into Poland and Ukraine.

  41. Thanks for the video.

    I remember long ago thinking that the French 'deux' and Hindi 'do' were so similar & such a basic concept pre-dating nations such as us.

    Interesting to know why it is known as Indo-European not the other way round (Eur-indian).

    Maybe that original proto-culture survived more in India and is stronger over there as I believe in Europe it was full of forests until much later compared to civilisation elsewhere in the world. Plus I believe that there were a lot of neanderthals in Europe and their genes live on … plus the fairer skin of Europeans is due to cold weather conditions.

    Also, on a different note … interesting that Sativa sounds very similar to Sattva which means the purest of the pure, and the opposite type of cannabis is called Indica which literally means from India.

    The proto-drinks which hurtled forward global civilisation were unlikely to be beer, as in Europe the enlightenment came when people stopped drinking beer for breakfast instead of dirty water, and started drinking coffee from Arabia.

    The drink was likely cannabis (sativa) or some kind of psychedelic/ hallucinigen … possibly a cocktail including ephedra.

    Cheers 😁

  42. Don't say "patriarchal" like it's a "bad" thing, patriarchal society would be a blessing we can't even fathom the greatness of at this moment in time, the feminizing of the west will ultimately be it's destruction, either that or those of us who understand logic will break away into our own strong nation

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