33 thoughts on “Episode 2: The Indo-European Discovery

  1. Hi, one question: if the word for “sky father” exists in Sanskrit (I forgot what it was), which god does it correspond to in Hinduism? Hinduism has very different gods from ancient Greek/Roman religions, so maybe this word comes from the religion of the proto-Indo-European speakers, not from Hinduism?

    • I believe the link from Wikipedia refers to the ancient Vedic religion, which has more naturalistic elements as gods compared with modern Hinduism, and is older than Hinduism

    • Hinduism has the Atman which may be equated with the sky father. I am not a scholar of Hinduism. The many ‘gods’ of Hinduism are avatars. As I understand it, One is too vast a concept for humans to understand. The avatars represent aspects of the One, broken into parts that are digestable. Just a thought.

  2. I’m not sure if I understood you right, but did you say Tuesday is one of our FIVE days of a week? What happened to the other 2?

    • Wait – there are more than five days? 😉 The episode is about five years old, so to be honest, I have no idea what I was referring to. I could have been thinking about the five days of the work week, or the five days that are named after gods. But I probably misspoke while I was improvising part of the episode (which I tended to do in the earlier episodes.)

      • I have learnt quite recently that the Finns name Wednesday as “the middle of the week”. I have known all my adult life that Finnish is nor an Indo European language yet I can hear five of our days of the week in the names they use. Even the word “viko” itself

        • I’m assuming that they acquired the days of the week from their various Germanic neighbors, just by looking at them. That leaves me curious when they acquired them, and what the original days of the week were like in the Finnish language!

          • I think that you’re right; what with about 500 years of Swedish rule in Finland, it seems likely that the Finns adopted the Germanic naming conventions for words related to the week from the Swedes. How the Finns talked about the week before Swedish rule, however, could remain a mystery; no body started writing Finnish down until about 150 years after Swedish rule began.

        • Maybe Estonian, closely related to Finnish, gives a clue:
          Monday – esmaspaev= first day
          Tuesday – teisipaev = second day
          Wednesday – kolmapaev or kesknadal = third day or middle week
          Thursday – neljapaev = fourth day
          Friday – reede – now we are getting into the Norse gods
          Saturday – laupaev = same as Finnish lauaandai
          Sunday – puhapaev = holy day

    • Hi Conor. My version of Chrome will download the files without any problem. I have not received any feedback from any other listeners having a problem with Chrome. My only guess is that it is a problem on your end. Have you tried to download an mp3 from any other sites?

  3. The term ‘Aryan’ was not discarded by Linguists as you state. “Indo-Aryan” is one of the major branches of the Indo-European family.

    • It was once common to refer to the Proto-Indo-European language itself as the “Aryan language,” and that term has definitely fallen out of use in favor of “Indo-European.” You are correct that some linguists still use the term as part of the name of a specific branch called “Indo-Aryan,” but in my experience that term has also been largely replaced with term “Indic” languages. I am curious how many modern linguists still use the term “Indo-Aryan.” Most of my sources just use “Indic.”

  4. Kevin, in Episode 3 you talk extensively about the language family tree that’s somewhere on the web site, but I can’t find it. Got a link to that?


    P.S.I just found the podcast and am loving it so far.

  5. Loving this… I also appreciate the explanation of aryan and the 20th century misuse…. I started developing curiosity around languages a few years ago while writing a master’s thesis on sacred energy across theologies. During that bout of studying, I was finding a real link of sanskrit to other languages … and the multitude of links originally found in the Vedas in a passed down oral tradition …. yet eventually showing up in Greek/Roman development of math, physics, etc…. I felt then that there must have been something out of those ancient oral traditions that linked many of the languages …. and I felt like Sanskrit just had to be one of the “originals.” It’s like playing the game “telephone” …. one person says something and whispers to the next and the next and the next …. by the time you get around your circle, there is no resemblance to how it started, but you can go backwards and find out where it changed… Looking forward to this whole series.

  6. Hello. Thank you for this clear, erudite, and compact episode. Jill's comment about the telephone game, takes me back to the 50s, in France, when my first high school prof used it to demonstrate how history can be perverted.

    I would like to add a piece of history relevant to the Indo-Europeans' migration west, and the Greek alphabet.

    Some solid inferences (Gimbutas, Wynn, Merlini, Haarmann) have recently been made about the sweeping away of the matriarchal Vinča (Vintcha) culture in the mid and lower Danube basin. These people practiced agriculture, textiles, and iron work prior to the arrival of the Indo-Europeans in the Balkans. Most relevant to your podcasts was the existence of a form of standardized proto-writing in the Balkans before the development of the Sumerian, Phoenician, and Greek writing systems.

    J. Lambert, author of Termcraft on

  7. Love the podcast, just a note from a linguist.
    Proto-Indo-European technically means a linguistically reconstructed hypothetical ancestor. It is not necessarily what the language actually looked like, just a reconstruction based on today’s Indo-European languages.

  8. Any connection to the name Jesus and the other sky god words? I heard once that the Druids had a “coming savoir” God called esus and when the Romans came to conquer that area they told them esus had come in the east?

    • That would be an interesting connection! But unlikely. The etymological origin of the name Jesus is Semitic (ישוע), that of the sky-gods is Indo-European (*dyeus), and there’s no evidence that they’re related in a Sprachbund sort of way. I think the theory that you’re hinting at is from 18th century Celtic revivalism, whose scholarship wasn’t up to snuff with the rigors of our modern academic standards, for what it’s worth.

    • I think Ryan gave the answer I would have given. ‘Jesus’ has Semitic origins, so it is probably not related to the Indo-European ‘sky god’ words.

  9. My understanding is that while the word is transliterated “pandit” the Sanskrit pronunciation would be closer to “pundit” making the linkage to the current usage in English even more obvious.

    • I think that is correct based on feedback I’ve received from several listeners since producing this episode several years ago.

  10. Nice. Thankyou. While I’m no philologist, the episode just perpetuates the bull about proto-indo-european and Aryan invasion theory.

    But you’ll paint me biased, so that’s neither here nor there.

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