Language and archeology: some methodological problems. 1. Indo-European and Altaic landscapes
Anna Dybo (Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow),
Journal of Language Relationship, № 9, 2013 - p.69-92
The article is the first part of a larger work that represents an attempt to systematize our ideas on the natural environment and material culture of the Proto-Indo-Europeans. It is based on a more or less complete selection of reconstructed words from the appropriate semantic areas and on their comparison with a similar selection performed for a proto-language of similar time depth, whose speakers evidently inhabited a territory that was not in contact with the Proto-Indo-European one — Proto-Altaic. In this part, only the words that belong to the semantic field of landscape terms are analyzed. The main conclusion is that the hypothesis of a steppe environment is more applicable for the Proto-Altaic population, whereas for Proto-Indo-Europeans a mountainous region seems more appropriate. As for the water bodies, for Proto-Indo-Europeans we should suppose the existence of a sea (or of a very big lake), and for speakers of Proto-Altaic, the existence of very big rivers with season floods.
Keywords: Indo-European homeland, Altaic homeland, Wörter und Sachen, semantic reconstruction, proto-lexicon