Piotr Gąsiorowski, who studied electronics and computer science at Warsaw Polytechnic from 1978 till 1984 and then, disappointed with “what computer science was like in Poland in those ancient times,” became a historical linguist instead, has put online some essays about Proto-Indo-European, notably one on stress and one on the verb system. While full of good meaty information, they’re written in such a way that readers without specialized training should be able to follow along, and with a sense of humor, always welcome in what can be a dry field: “I don’t know if any speaker of PIE ever said ‘O yoke’ to a yoke. I suppose the potential vocative would have received initial stress if it had occurred to anyone to use it.” (Via ilani ilani.)

Update (Sept. 2023). Piotr Gąsiorowski now at Google Scholar (he used to blog here, and occasionally makes an appearance at LH); Bridget D. Samuels of the ex-blog ilani ilani has a homepage.


  1. Does he have anything to say about the idea that modern Lithuanian is the closest we can get to old Indo-European?

  2. Mark, most Indo-Europeanists are already sick of having to debunk that myth, which is unfortunately widespread among the Lithuanian public. The proto-language looks quite different from Lithuanian. Yes, Lithuanian has preserved much of the declension of late PIE, but in conjugation and in phonology it’s about as far removed from the proto-language as Greek or Sanskrit. And Lithuanian doesn’t give us the truly archaic details necessary to understand early PIE and Pre-Indo-European.

  3. Aha, thanks Christopher – another cute story scotched.
    I’ll bet it’s popular with the Lithuanian public. Didn’t they and the Latvians recently have some major squabble about folk songs – or am I getting another tale mixed up?

  4. Folquerto says

    Shuswap, as I remember, an amerindian language of British Columbia, i.e. the northernmost of the Interior Salish languages, is said to have phonetics that strongly resemble the presumed phonetics of ProtoIndoEuropean. I got that from Aert H. Kuipers, The Shuswap Language, 1974.

  5. Folquerto says

    To see the workings of expiratory accent no language is a better teacher in this than the dialects of Coptic. Have you ever looked at them? You need some knowledge of Old Egyptian as well of course.

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