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On Oct 13, 2008, at 2:29 PM, Jörg Rhiemeier wrote:

> Hallo!
>
> On Sun, 12 Oct 2008 22:05:33 +0100, Falcata Lusa wrote:
>
>> 2008/10/11 Jörg Rhiemeier <[log in to unmask]>
>> [...]
>>> PIE probably was spoken about 6000 years ago; estimates
>>> of an earlier age can be ruled out (IMHO) because the vocabulary
>>> of PIE as it can be reconstructed reveals that the "Proto-Indo-
>>> Europeans" practiced agriculture, used wheeled vehicles and knew
>>> at least the metals copper, silver and gold.
>>
>>
>> We now have words for computer, cellphone, snorkel, robot,  
>> internet and
>> still that alone is not proof that our language appeared during  
>> the 20th
>> century.
>
> You missed the point of my argument.  The point is not what kinds
> of words *modern* Indo-European languages have, but what kinds of
> words can be reconstructed for *Proto-Indo-European*, and these
> include words for agricultural terms, wheeled vehicles and metals,
> which indicates that, whenever PIE was spoken, the people speaking
> it knew those things.  Note that *no* words for computer, cellphone
> and all that can be reconstructed for Proto-Indo-European - of course
> not, because those things were unknown back then.

I think Falcata's point was that English has words for computer, cell  
phone, etc., but that doesn't prove that English arose in the 20th  
century.

However, I think that if English split up right now into a bunch of  
daughter languages, one could safely infer from the cognate words in  
the daughter languages that the *split* had taken place in the late  
20th/early 21st century. (Unless they were borrowed, as technological  
words often are :) )

So I guess the idea is that the *most recent unified form* of PIE  
dates to some time when wheels, agriculture, and metalworking were  
known in the IE area. But people tend to use "PIE was spoken 6000  
years ago" as shorthand for that. (Of course, *how* unified PIE was  
at that time is discussed and debated.)