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Thomas R. Wier sikyal:

> > and as for its failure to become important in
> > Meso-America, I have always heard that attributed to the lack of large
> > pack animals to make carts/plows worthwhile.
>
> The point is that you don't have to have big wheels used for
> transportation to have a word for "wheel".  Another wrinkle is
> that the word for "wheel", _kw(e)kwlos_ in PIE seems to be
> related to, indeed derived from, the verb _kwel-_for "roll, go
> around".  There's a certain special pleading involved in saying
> this form *had* to be original in the language when it is probably
> a derivational form:  how do you in fact *know* that?
>
> Anyways, IMO that in itself is not evidence one way or another
> for dating the breakup of PIE.

Thanks for the clarification. I also have no strong opinion on this
matter, but I agree with your argument.

> > Curious that that Incas never invented carts to hook up to their llamas,
> > though.
>
> This is because though the wheel had been invented in Meso-America,
> by the time of Columbus it had still not reached the Andes. An
> additional difficulty is that llamas are quite difficult to breed;
> they cannot be kept indoors, for example, or anywhere near humans.
> This impedes their use as beasts of burden, even after domestication.
> (Read _Guns, Germs and Steel_ by Jarod Diamond for great discussion
> of these issues.)

I have read that book, though I didn't recall the llama discussion. IMHO,
_Guns, Germs and Steel_ does for conculturing what _Describing
Morphosyntax_ does for conlanging--it's an indispensible source of
explanations and ideas.


Jesse S. Bangs [log in to unmask]
http://students.washington.edu/jaspax/
http://students.washington.edu/jaspax/blog

Jesus asked them, "Who do you say that I am?"

And they answered, "You are the eschatological manifestation of the ground
of our being, the kerygma in which we find the ultimate meaning of our
interpersonal relationship."

And Jesus said, "What?"