The Classics Society Mk II Watch

Aesc
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#1341
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#1341
(Original post by The Lyceum)
The latter part of your post is precisely why most Philologists try to discourage people from thinking in this way and why people are still so wary of the putrid **** churning out of Germany even now.

Why you would take languages clearly vested in an Asiatic context (i.e the earliest attested ones) and read Europe into that is kind of symptomatic and one of the reasons I keep the PIE stuff I've done off my CV.

I think it's a false crutch for modern languages, hell the best linguists I know in the modern sense have no idea wtf a laryngeal is and no Greek and hardly any Latin. It's ironic you used Hindi and modern Greek as examples considering how useful they can be: the modern Indo-Aryan tongues are still ridiculously conservative, in fact they have more ancient vocab than all the European languages combined. Greek as well attests words we wouldn't otherwise know outside of Mycenaean tablets.

Again, not having a go at you, just pointing out the wider connotations you're going to run into during your UG in this area. You're off to Cantab right? That's something, like Manchester they teach you the proper way. The Oxonian PIE stuff is a bloody joke, frankly, and quite indicative of a wide many things.

EDIT: Btw I've met a few Gaelic speakers here, my accent is terrible though so I don't even try.
Sorry, but most of that went completely over my head, could you explain it a bit more? And yep, one of the reasons I'm keen on the Cambridge course is that they seem to do it relatively well.
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SirMasterKey
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#1342
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#1342
Currently reading some Aineias the Tactician: How to survive a Siege. It's been fairly good so far!
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The Lyceum
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#1343
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#1343
(Original post by Aesc)
Sorry, but most of that went completely over my head, could you explain it a bit more? And yep, one of the reasons I'm keen on the Cambridge course is that they seem to do it relatively well.
Basically be careful with the PIE stuff, it has specific...connotations which are...undesirable in many cases. Basically it's a very very flawed academic branch. Many people get into it ideologically driven and it gets weird and nasty. The fact that you're associating something with an obviously (now obsolete) Asiatic context and origin with Europe is not a good sign, basically. Especially if in someway you want to self identify with it. Maybe think about it again once you've got Greek,Latin and Sanskrit down pat.
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Aemiliana
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#1344
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Okay, I've seen you guys talk about it a lot now. What is PIE? And no sarcy comments! :p:
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Aesc
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#1345
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(Original post by The Lyceum)
Basically be careful with the PIE stuff, it has specific...connotations which are...undesirable in many cases. Basically it's a very very flawed academic branch. Many people get into it ideologically driven and it gets weird and nasty. The fact that you're associating something with an obviously (now obsolete) Asiatic context and origin with Europe is not a good sign, basically. Especially if in someway you want to self identify with it. Maybe think about it again once you've got Greek,Latin and Sanskrit down pat.
OK, I think I understand now and I'll bear that in mind. (Also, if by self-identifying you were referring to my comments on Hindi/Sanskrit, it's not so much I want to "find myself" or "access my cultural heritage" as knowing how happy my Grandma, and to a lesser extent my Dad, would be :rolleyes: And if it was a reference to wanting to stay within Europe, it's not so much cultural identification as the fact that, to my mind at least, European animals are much less scary. I'm sure Egypt contains loads of fantastic archaelogical resources, for example, but if I came across one of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fattail_scorpion I would die of fear )
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The Lyceum
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#1346
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#1346
(Original post by Aesc)
OK, I think I understand now and I'll bear that in mind. (Also, if by self-identifying you were referring to my comments on Hindi/Sanskrit, it's not so much I want to "find myself" or "access my cultural heritage" as knowing how happy my Grandma, and to a lesser extent my Dad, would be :rolleyes: And if it was a reference to wanting to stay within Europe, it's not so much cultural identification as the fact that, to my mind at least, European animals are much less scary. I'm sure Egypt contains loads of fantastic archaelogical resources, for example, but if I came across one of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fattail_scorpion I would die of fear )
Well it's unusual for someone of your heritage not knowing even a bit of Hindi/Sanskrit actually, it's a shame...you'd probably find it easy if you have access to it being spoken all the time.

My mother, like many of her generation, grew up in Kenya (Empire and all that) and I have some pretty horrible stories about scorpions, snakes and bugs....yeah...never going to go there.....

(Original post by Aemiliana)
Okay, I've seen you guys talk about it a lot now. What is PIE? And no sarcy comments! :p:
Proto-Indo-European. The putative linguistic ancestor of many of the worlds languages, Latin, Greek, Sanskrit etc...even English.

EDIT: Erm...that Scorpion breed is nicknamed Androctonus...Christ and the Apostles!...
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Aesc
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#1347
(Original post by The Lyceum)
Well it's unusual for someone of your heritage not knowing even a bit of Hindi/Sanskrit actually, it's a shame...you'd probably find it easy if you have access to it being spoken all the time.

My mother, like many of her generation, grew up in Kenya (Empire and all that) and I have some pretty horrible stories about scorpions, snakes and bugs....yeah...never going to go there.....



Proto-Indo-European. The putative linguistic ancestor of many of the worlds languages, Latin, Greek, Sanskrit etc...even English.

EDIT: Erm...that Scorpion breed is nicknamed Androctonus...Christ and the Apostles!...
Unfortunately, the hours my dad works means that (especially when I was younger), despite living in the same house we didn't see each other that often, so I couldn't pick it up from him. (Funnily enough, he grew up in Kenya too. My Grandma also has horror stories about snakes, such as when they live in what looks like golf holes and bite you when you go for the ball, or water snakes in the swimming pool.) My mum only speaks English. Dad reckons I could pick up a bit like he did by watching Bollywood and Indian soaps, but that seems too much like torture... It doesn't help that he's illiterate in Hindi/Urdu, and I'm much more interested in the possibilities for reading anyway. I should have some free time over the summer when I can possibly ask my Grandma to help me with a bit, but her health isn't great (and it would probably involve staying with my horrid cousins).
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Sappho
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#1348
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#1348
(Original post by Xristina)
you know it's not exactly a teaching position right? They are supposed to teach us how to teach (I think it mentions maybe some individual tutorials with students who need some help?)

Also, they only have two positions, so we shouldn't get our hopes up
(Original post by The Lyceum)
I like how you seem to think that I, of all people, would get my hopes up to teach. I'll apply since it might be useful in the long run.
So what is it you're applying for exactly? Those spots as students who help out and make announcements? Xristina, are you applying as well?
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*Corinna*
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#1349
(Original post by Sappho)
So what is it you're applying for exactly? Those spots as students who help out and make announcements? Xristina, are you applying as well?
no no, it's basically an opportunity for final year undergrads and postgrads to see if they enjoy teaching, so we go there for a week, go to all the lectures, and it says we might have to teach a bit as well.
I wanted to apply but I don't think I can because it says they need a criminal record and it is almost impossible to get one in Greece. A friend whose uncle is a lawyer says that it can take up to 2 months and Im not even there atm, so I doubt I can take it in time.
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medbh4805
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#1350
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#1350
(Original post by Aesc)
I suppose that's fair enough. One of my French teachers has sucked most of my enthusiasm out of me - she's seemingly not interested in teaching me French, only being there to say I'm wrong and to make me memorise large passages of completely unnatural speech - so I'm not high on linguistic motivation. Doesn't help that I'm "not waving but drowning" with schoolwork overall, any extra time I just want to give my brain a break (had a massive nap this evening). I'm sure there'll be some speakers around; if there isn't an Irish Soc already you can start one, of course. Only need one or two other speakers, after all; if not, you can resort to Skype
Ewwwww. I hate when teachers do stuff like this. Last year I used to skip french class and go to the library and read (yes, I voluntarily read some French literature :mmm: ), what we were doing was just so pointless and time wasting. I know what you mean of course, tiredness is a serious problem for me, and since I started trying to lose weight it's just got worse and worse. I think the effort of school and having to "interact" with other people is actually what does it though, I never feel like this when I work on my own. I have come across a conversation group in an article from 2009, but as to whether it's still going I'm unsure, I'll try and make contact with the woman before I get there, otherwise I might have to just rely on talking to my mother :lol:

On a side note, my history teacher says A2 year is harder than first year at uni, but I'm disinclined to believe him You planning much for the summer (besides the Latin course)? I personally can't wait for these exams to be over and move on, I feel like I've grown out of school a bit
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medbh4805
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#1351
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#1351
(Original post by The Lyceum)
EDIT: Btw I've met a few Gaelic speakers here, my accent is terrible though so I don't even try.
:holmes: tell me more. Scots or Irish?

Again, not having a go at you, just pointing out the wider connotations you're going to run into during your UG in this area. You're off to Cantab right? That's something, like Manchester they teach you the proper way. The Oxonian PIE stuff is a bloody joke, frankly, and quite indicative of a wide many things.
Could you elaborate? I'm quite curious about PIE (admittedly though I know very little about it), what pitfalls should I be aware of? :holmes:
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The Lyceum
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#1352
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#1352
(Original post by medbh4805)
:holmes: tell me more. Scots or Irish?



Could you elaborate? I'm quite curious about PIE (admittedly though I know very little about it), what pitfalls should I be aware of? :holmes:
Irish, dw you'll see them. It's a language I may well try to come back to at some point but its so different from the mid Welsh and Old Irish I know...and they speak at ridiculous speeds. This coming from me, who speaks most languages (Latin, Greek, Hindi, English, what French I can manage) at a lightning pace.

PIE basically, whilst it is fun, can turn into a misplaced cult of "ancestor worship" amongst....certain north Europeans and because of that many distinguished academics are more than a little put off by it. For every M L West you have 10....well I'll not name names.

There are some serious problems with method, I'll list a few: First off the "Germanic" branch is used disproportionately. Some people are quite fine in giving you a list of cognates...Latin, Greek, Sanskrit and...."Germanic". As in they'll try to prove cognates by appositioning several different (much later attested) Germanic languages against specific language sets. It doesn't make much sense. We give way undue emphasis on it.

Also it suffers from what one very famous IE guy calls "buck passing" we're happy to use Sanskrit, Old Persian etc until we get to Greek...Greek to Latin....Latin to our modern European (Germanic) languages and then suddenly that's all that matters. It is nonsensical to put Greek and med German on the same level (i.e lack of distinguishing between synchronic and diachronic)...why is it alright to use med German but ignore med Greek (Phonologically much more conservative) or the middle Aryan dialects (lexically and semantically by far the most conservative)?

So there's that, problems with method and the fact that most people involved tend to be in it for the wrong, odd, reasons. Training PIE'ists is over the top difficult; most people with Classics degrees can barely cope with Latin or Greek in any meaningful way to be honest, let alone other languages.
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Aesc
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#1353
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#1353
(Original post by medbh4805)
Ewwwww. I hate when teachers do stuff like this. Last year I used to skip french class and go to the library and read (yes, I voluntarily read some French literature :mmm: ), what we were doing was just so pointless and time wasting. I know what you mean of course, tiredness is a serious problem for me, and since I started trying to lose weight it's just got worse and worse. I think the effort of school and having to "interact" with other people is actually what does it though, I never feel like this when I work on my own. I have come across a conversation group in an article from 2009, but as to whether it's still going I'm unsure, I'll try and make contact with the woman before I get there, otherwise I might have to just rely on talking to my mother :lol:

On a side note, my history teacher says A2 year is harder than first year at uni, but I'm disinclined to believe him You planning much for the summer (besides the Latin course)? I personally can't wait for these exams to be over and move on, I feel like I've grown out of school a bit
Well we've got a French assistant who comes in on a Friday morning, so I get to have a 40 minute speaking session with her that tends to be quite useful (even if it does mean I lose my three day weekend) - if she was doing the exam I think I'd do somewhat better, but it's not gonna happen. Fortunately, the teacher I'm not keen on is going on maternity leave at half term, and my AS speaking teacher will be taking over.

I can understand why that might be - multiple subjects, rubbish libraries, and less interesting ways to unwind, generally making it harder to get motivated? And A-levels are, I'd hope, a lot more box-ticking than university.

Mother says I'm not allowed an end-of-school holiday, even though I put the suggestion to her in the most innocent way possible, but to be honest I didn't really want to spend a week off my head as suggested... Felt I should at least see if I had the option. Instead I'll be trying to get a job, but even that doesn't seem very likely with the way things are. Got fifty or so books to read before I grow out of trash fiction. To be honest, Wells will probably be the only out-of-the-ordinary thing I go this summer
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Aemiliana
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#1354
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(Original post by medbh4805)
Ewwwww. I hate when teachers do stuff like this. Last year I used to skip french class and go to the library and read (yes, I voluntarily read some French literature :mmm: ), what we were doing was just so pointless and time wasting. I know what you mean of course, tiredness is a serious problem for me, and since I started trying to lose weight it's just got worse and worse. I think the effort of school and having to "interact" with other people is actually what does it though, I never feel like this when I work on my own. I have come across a conversation group in an article from 2009, but as to whether it's still going I'm unsure, I'll try and make contact with the woman before I get there, otherwise I might have to just rely on talking to my mother :lol:

On a side note, my history teacher says A2 year is harder than first year at uni, but I'm disinclined to believe him You planning much for the summer (besides the Latin course)? I personally can't wait for these exams to be over and move on, I feel like I've grown out of school a bit
I would totally disagree with your teacher - you have so many new things to get used to, as opposed to just writing. There's so much reading too.

I would say that it's less work time-wise, but I took history in one year which would go a long way to explaining that! Right now I want to go back to my crazy Hemione-esque life though! It was easier than what I'm doing now.
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Apeiron
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#1355
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#1355
(Original post by The Lyceum)
Irish, dw you'll see them. It's a language I may well try to come back to at some point but its so different from the mid Welsh and Old Irish I know...and they speak at ridiculous speeds. This coming from me, who speaks most languages (Latin, Greek, Hindi, English, what French I can manage) at a lightning pace.

PIE basically, whilst it is fun, can turn into a misplaced cult of "ancestor worship" amongst....certain north Europeans and because of that many distinguished academics are more than a little put off by it. For every M L West you have 10....well I'll not name names.

There are some serious problems with method, I'll list a few: First off the "Germanic" branch is used disproportionately. Some people are quite fine in giving you a list of cognates...Latin, Greek, Sanskrit and...."Germanic". As in they'll try to prove cognates by appositioning several different (much later attested) Germanic languages against specific language sets. It doesn't make much sense. We give way undue emphasis on it.

Also it suffers from what one very famous IE guy calls "buck passing" we're happy to use Sanskrit, Old Persian etc until we get to Greek...Greek to Latin....Latin to our modern European (Germanic) languages and then suddenly that's all that matters. It is nonsensical to put Greek and med German on the same level (i.e lack of distinguishing between synchronic and diachronic)...why is it alright to use med German but ignore med Greek (Phonologically much more conservative) or the middle Aryan dialects (lexically and semantically by far the most conservative)?

So there's that, problems with method and the fact that most people involved tend to be in it for the wrong, odd, reasons. Training PIE'ists is over the top difficult; most people with Classics degrees can barely cope with Latin or Greek in any meaningful way to be honest, let alone other languages.
Maybe it reflects your own experience but I think you have given a peculiar account of the state of IE studies. The phonology, lexicon and morphology of pIE is always worked out using the oldest attested forms in language families. Later forms are only used where it is clear that older forms have been lost. I have never come across a book or paper where this is not generally the case.

It is true that judgements have to be and that they are not always accepted, but that is what makes the subject interesting. How could it be otherwise?
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The Lyceum
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#1356
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(Original post by Apeiron)
Maybe it reflects your own experience but I think you have given a peculiar account of the state of IE studies. The phonology, lexicon and morphology of pIE is always worked out using the oldest attested forms in language families. Later forms are only used where it is clear that older forms have been lost. I have never come across a book or paper where this is not generally the case.

It is true that judgements have to be and that they are not always accepted, but that is what makes the subject interesting. How could it be otherwise?
Well, not really, I think the inability to distinguish diachronic is a serious problem. One simply can not happily piece together several related languages as compromising one comparative point versus other singular, older, languages. How many textbooks will list Greek/Latin/Sanskrit/Germanic? Quite a few. If you try looking at it from a more macro viewpoint "Indo-Iranian", "Germanic", "Celtic" you actually find your results are adjusted somewhat. Even if its not really a massive problem, it's still indicative of a methodological fault.

Also if we only used the older forms of IE languages then we wouldn't be pulling our own tongues into it, would we?

Also PIE students isn't solely about the linguistics aspect, which for all I've said is actually alright overall, I don't think I need to even bring up the state of affairs put forth by Dumezil and his ilk or, even worse stuff...
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SirMasterKey
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#1357
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#1357
(Original post by The Lyceum)
Irish, dw you'll see them. It's a language I may well try to come back to at some point but its so different from the mid Welsh and Old Irish I know...and they speak at ridiculous speeds. This coming from me, who speaks most languages (Latin, Greek, Hindi, English, what French I can manage) at a lightning pace.

PIE basically, whilst it is fun, can turn into a misplaced cult of "ancestor worship" amongst....certain north Europeans and because of that many distinguished academics are more than a little put off by it. For every M L West you have 10....well I'll not name names.

There are some serious problems with method, I'll list a few: First off the "Germanic" branch is used disproportionately. Some people are quite fine in giving you a list of cognates...Latin, Greek, Sanskrit and...."Germanic". As in they'll try to prove cognates by appositioning several different (much later attested) Germanic languages against specific language sets. It doesn't make much sense. We give way undue emphasis on it.

Also it suffers from what one very famous IE guy calls "buck passing" we're happy to use Sanskrit, Old Persian etc until we get to Greek...Greek to Latin....Latin to our modern European (Germanic) languages and then suddenly that's all that matters. It is nonsensical to put Greek and med German on the same level (i.e lack of distinguishing between synchronic and diachronic)...why is it alright to use med German but ignore med Greek (Phonologically much more conservative) or the middle Aryan dialects (lexically and semantically by far the most conservative)?

So there's that, problems with method and the fact that most people involved tend to be in it for the wrong, odd, reasons. Training PIE'ists is over the top difficult; most people with Classics degrees can barely cope with Latin or Greek in any meaningful way to be honest, let alone other languages.
I had to read Latin out in my class the other day. Hard pronouncing some of it and then my tutor just went and read the rest at a lightening speed after I finished my section.
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Apeiron
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#1358
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#1358
(Original post by The Lyceum)
Well, not really, I think the inability to distinguish diachronic is a serious problem. One simply can not happily piece together several related languages as compromising one comparative point versus other singular, older, languages. How many textbooks will list Greek/Latin/Sanskrit/Germanic? Quite a few. If you try looking at it from a more macro viewpoint "Indo-Iranian", "Germanic", "Celtic" you actually find your results are adjusted somewhat. Even if its not really a massive problem, it's still indicative of a methodological fault.

Also if we only used the older forms of IE languages then we wouldn't be pulling our own tongues into it, would we?

Also PIE students isn't solely about the linguistics aspect, which for all I've said is actually alright overall, I don't think I need to even bring up the state of affairs put forth by Dumezil and his ilk or, even worse stuff...
I am not sure what you are trying to say. Yes, you should construct language trees 'backwards'; for example, assemble proto-Germanic, Indo-Iranian and use those forms to cast light on pIE, etc. That is what is done in general, but elementary textbooks will often simplify for pedagogical purposes, as in all subjects. Data is very sparse for some ancient languages.
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Sappho
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#1359
(Original post by SirMasterKey)
I had to read Latin out in my class the other day. Hard pronouncing some of it and then my tutor just went and read the rest at a lightening speed after I finished my section.
Oooh, shame on you. Don't you like pronouncing Latin? I love it. My ears actually jangle when people pronounce things wrong.
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faber niger
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Yeah, I think (but am very happy to be corrected) that Germanic mainly crops up in introductory handbooks; so it's not being used actually to reconstruct anything anew, but simply to allow readers to compare the various families alongside standardly accepted reconstructions (which will not necessarily have been reconstructed from the "data-sets" given). And they can do their own kind of proto-reconstruction with the given forms just to see how the reconstructions came about, which is easier for introductory purposes than them having always to use the most valuable forms from languages they know little about. So whilst there may be no objective/scientific reason why modern German is chosen, rather than middle Aryan or whatever (which, in fact, as Lyceum says, would undoubtedly be a better choice when doing original reconstruction), I think the cultural reason is compelling enough, that lots of readers will be familiar with modern German but not middle Aryan -- and then giving German, alongside English, allows the reader to compare another modern Germanic tongue, since English is going to be there anyway (if only to serve as a translation), and allows them to compare and contrast the effects, for example, of Grimm's Law in the two languages (which, of course, has nothing to do with reconstructing PIE, but is interesting for its own sake).

So, yes, it would be a methodological fault if those tongues were used in the reconstruction of PIE, but when just introducing students to the received wisdom, it seems quite useful for German to be included.

Also, Apeiron: it's been a while since I've read anything relating to PIE, so I may be a bit shaky here, but you say that one should assemble proto-Germanic, proto-Indo-Iranian etc. and use those forms to shed light on PIE, but I'm wondering how useful that would be, when we know, for example, that proto-Romance is markedly different from the form[s] of Latin that the Romance languages did actually evolve from (in other words, one doesn't get a very accurate picture of the ancestor language because its descendants lost so much information)? So if you forgo the intermediate step, you're likely to get a more accurate result (since you won't be reconstructing from hypothetical forms that are bound to contain errors), right? Or not?
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