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There is a new version of this book:
A Grammar of Modern Indo-European, Second Edition
Indo-European Language Association





First Edition


Language and Culture

Writing System and Phonology





   DNGHŪ                                                                  Carlos Quiles


Modesn Sindhueurōī Grbhmńtikā

Apo Górilos Kūriakī[1] eti aliōs áugtores




:  Asociación Cultural Dnghu

Pub. Date

:   July 2007


:  978-84-611-7639-7

Leg. Dep.

:   SE-4405-2007 U.E.


:   390



Copyright © 2007-2009 Asociación Cultural Dnghu

© 2006-2009 Carlos Quiles Casas.

Printed in the European Union.

Published by the Indo-European Language Association.

Content revised and corrected by Indo-Europeanist M.Phil. Fernando López-Menchero Díez.

Edition Managed by  Imcrea Diseño Editorial ® at <>.

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All images are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, most of them coming from Dnghu’s website <> or from the Indo-European Wiki <>, a portal on Modern Indo-European, which in turn may have copied content from the English Wikipedia and other online and collaborative sources.

While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the publisher and authors assume no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents. 3

Preface.. 9

Preface To The First Edition.. 11

What’s New in This Edition.. 15

Acknowledgements. 17

Conventions Used in this Book.. 18

1. Introduction.. 23

1.1. The Indo-European Language Family. 23

1.2. Traditional Views. 25

1.3. The Theory of the Three Stages. 27

1.4. The Proto-Indo-European Urheimat or ‘Homeland’ 31

1.5. Other Linguistic and Archaeological Theories. 35

1.6. Relationship to Other Languages. 37

1.7. Indo-European Dialects of Europe.. 39

Schleicher’s Fable: From Proto-Indo-European to Modern English. 39

1.7.1. Northern Indo-European dialects. 41

1.7.2. Southern Indo-European Dialects. 62

1.7.3. Other Indo-European Dialects of Europe. 70

1.7.4. Anatolian Languages. 78

1.8. Modern Indo-European.. 81

2. Letters and Sounds. 85

2.1 The Alphabets of Modern Indo-European.. 85

A. Vowels and Vocalic Allophones. 85

B. Consonants and Consonantal Sounds. 86

2.2. Classification of Sounds. 88

2.3. Sounds of the Letters. 89

2.4. Syllables. 92

2.5. Quantity. 93

2.6. Accent. 94

2.7. Vowel Change.. 95

2.8. Consonant Change.. 96

2.9. Peculiarities of Orthography. 99

2.10. Kindred Forms. 102

3. Words and their Forms. 103

3.1. The Parts of Speech.. 103

3.2. Inflection.. 104

3.3. Root, Stem and Base.. 105

3.4. Gender.. 106

3.5. General Rules of Gender.. 109

3.6. Vowel Grade.. 111

3.7. Word Formation.. 112

4. Nouns. 115

4.1. Declension of Nouns. 115

4.2. First Declension.. 117

4.2.1. First Declension. 117

4.2.2. First Declension in Examples. 118

4.2.3. The Plural in the First Declension. 119

4.3. Second Declension.. 120

4.3.1. Second Declension. 120

4.3.2. Second Declension in Examples. 120

4.5.3. The Plural in the Second Declension. 121

4.4. Third Declension.. 122

4.4.1. Third Declension Paradigm.. 122

4.4.2. In i, u. 123

4.4.3. In Diphthong. 124

4.4.4. The Plural in the Third Declension. 125

4.5. Fourth Declension.. 126

4.5.1. The Paradigm.. 126

4.5.2. In Occlusive, m, l 127

4.5.3. In r, n, s. 128

4.5.4. The Plural in the Fourth Declension. 129

4.6. Variable Nouns. 129

4.7. Vocalism before the Declension.. 129

4.8. Vocalism in the Plural. 131

4.9. Accent in Declension.. 132

4.10. Compound Words. 133


5. Adjectives. 135

5.1. Inflection of Adjectives. 135

5.2. The Motion.. 135

5.3. Adjective Specialization.. 136

5.4. Comparison of Adjectives. 137

5.5. Numerals. 138

5.5.1. Classification of Numerals. 138

5.5.2. Cardinals and Ordinals. 138

5.5.3. Declension of Cardinals and Ordinals. 140

5.5.4. Distributives. 142

5.5.5. Numeral Adverbs. 143

5.5.6. Other Numerals. 143

6. Pronouns. 145

6.1. About the Pronouns. 145

6.2. Personal Pronouns. 145

6.3. Reflexive Pronouns. 146

6.4. Possessive Pronouns. 147

6.5. Anaphoric Pronouns. 148

6.6. Demonstrative Pronouns. 148

6.7. Interrogative and Indefinite Pronouns. 149

6.7.1. Introduction. 149

6.7.2. Compounds. 151

6.7.3. Correlatives. 151

6.8. Relative Pronouns. 153

6.9. Identity Pronouns. 153

6.10. Oppositive Pronouns. 154

7. Verbs. 155

7.1. Introduction.. 155

7.1.1. Voice, Mood, Tense, Person, Number. 155

7.1.2. Noun and Adjective Forms. 157

7.1.3. Voices. 158

7.1.4. Moods. 159

7.1.5. Tenses of the Finite Verb. 160

7.2. Forms of the Verb.. 160

7.2.1. The Verbal Stems. 160

7.2.2. Verb-Endings. 161

7.2.3. The Thematic Vowel 164

7.2.4. Verb Creation. 165

7.3. The Conjugations. 167

7.4. The Four Stems. 170

7.5. Mood Stems. 186

7.6. The Voice.. 188

7.7. Noun and Adjective Forms. 190

7.8. Conjugated Examples. 193

7.8.1. Thematic Verbs. 193

7.8.2. Athematic Inflection. 200

7.8.3. Other Common PIE Stems. 206

8. Particles. 209

8.1. Particles. 209

8.2. Adverbs. 210

8.3. Derivation of Adverbs. 210

8.4. Prepositions. 212

8.5. Conjunctions. 213

9. Proto-Indo-European Syntax.. 215

9.1. The Sentence.. 215

9.1.1. Kinds of Sentences. 216

9.1.2. Nominal Sentence. 216

9.1.3. Verbal Sentence. 218

9.2. Sentence Modifiers. 221

9.2.1. Intonation Patterns. 221

9.2.2. Sentence Delimiting Particles. 222

9.3. Verbal Modifiers. 223

9.3.1. Declarative Sentences. 223

9.3.2. Interrogative Sentences. 224

9.3.3. Negative Sentences. 225

9.4.  Nominal Modifiers. 226

9.4.1. Adjective and Genitive Constructions. 226

9.4.2. Compounds. 227

9.4.3. Determiners in Nominal Phrases. 229

9.4.4. Apposition. 232

9. 5. Modified forms of PIE Simple Sentences. 233

9.5.1. Coordination. 233

9.5.2. Complementation. 236

9.5.3. Subordinate Clauses. 237

9.6. Sintactic Categories. 242

9.6.1. Particles as Syntactic Means of Expression. 242

9.6.2. Marked Order in Sentences. 245

9.6.3. Topicalization with Reference to Emphasis. 245

Appendix I: Indo-European in Use.. 247

I.1. Texts translated Into Modern Indo-European.. 247

I.1.1. Patér seré (Lord’s Prayer). 247

I.1.2. Slwēie Marija (Hail Mary). 248

I.1.3. Kréddhēmi (Nicene Creed). 248

I.1.4. Noudós sūnús (Parable of the Prodigal Son). 251

I.1.5. Newos Bhoidā (New Testament) – Jōhanēs, 1, 1-14. 255

I.2 Komtloqiom (Conversation). 257

I.3 Late PIE Lexicon.. 259

Appendix II: Proto-Indo-European Phonology.. 303

II.1. Dorsals: The Palatovelar Question.. 303

II.2. Phonetic Reconstruction.. 307

II.2.1. Proto-Indo-European Sound Laws. 307

II.2.2. Consonants. 314

II.1.3. Vowels and syllabic consonants. 316

II.3. The Laryngeal Theory. 318

Laryngeals in morphology. 325

Pronunciation. 327

Appendix III. PIE Revival For a Common Europe.. 329

III.1. Modern Indo-European or the Revived PIE Language.. 330

III.2. European Union Inefficiencies. 332

Modern Hebrew and the Land of Israel 334

III.3. More than just a Lingua Franca, Europe’s National Language.. 335

III.4. DNGHU, The Indo-European Language Association.. 339

European Union Expenditure. 342

III.5. Conclusion.. 343

Etymological Notes. 345

Bibliography.. 435

GNU Free Documentation License.. 437


This first edition of Dnghu’s A Grammar of Modern Indo-European, is a renewed effort to systematize the reconstructed phonology and morphology of the Proto-Indo-European language into a modern European language, after the free online publication of Europaio: A Brief Grammar of the European Language in 2006.

Modern Indo-European is, unlike Latin, Germanic or Slavic, common to most Europeans, and not only to some of them. Unlike Lingua Ignota, Solresol, Volapük, Esperanto, Quenya, Klingon, Lojban and the thousand invented languages which have been created since humans are able to speak, Proto-Indo-European is natural, i.e. it evolved from an older language – Middle PIE or IE II, of which we have some basic knowledge –, and is believed to have been spoken by prehistoric communities at some time roughly between 3000 and 2500 BC, having itself evolved into different dialects by 2500 BC – spoken until the split up of proto-languages in 2000 BC –, either from IE IIIa, like Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian, or from IE IIIb, like Europe’s Indo-European.

Proto-Indo-European has been reconstructed in the past two centuries (more or less successfully) by hundreds of linguists, having obtained a rough phonological, morphological, and syntactical system, equivalent to what Jews had of Old Hebrew before reconstructing a system for its modern use in Israel. Instead of some inscriptions and oral transmitted tales for the language to be revived, we have a complete reconstructed grammatical system, as well as hundreds of living languages to be used as examples to revive a common Modern Indo-European.

This grammar still focuses on the European Union – and thus the main Proto-Indo-European dialect of Europe, Europe’s Indo-European –, although it remains clearly usable as a basic approach for the other known PIE dialects spoken at the time, like Proto-Anatolian for Turkey, Proto-Greek for Greece and Proto-Indo-Iranian for Western and Southern Asia, respectively. In this sense, Proto-European might be the best lingua franca for the Americas, while Proto-Aryan is probably the best for Asia.

The former Dean of the University of Huelva, Classical Languages’ philologist and Latin expert, considers the Proto-Indo-European language reconstruction an invention; Spanish Indo-Europeanist Bernabé has left its work on IE studies to dedicate himself to “something more serious”; Francisco Villar, professor of Greek and Latin at the University of Salamanca, deems a complete reconstruction of PIE impossible; his opinion is not rare, since he supports the glottalic theory, the Armenian Homeland hypothesis, and also the use of Latin instead of English within the EU. The work of Elst, Talageri and others defending the ‘Indigenous Indo-Aryan’ viewpoint by N. Kazanas, and their support of an unreconstructible and hypothetical PIE nearest to Vedic Sanskrit opens still more the gap between the mainstream reconstruction and minority views supported by nationalist positions. Also, among convinced Indo-Europeanists, there seems to be no possible consensus between the different ‘schools’ as to whether PIE distinguished between ŏ and ă (as Gk., Lat. or Cel.) or if those vowels were all initial ă, as in the other attested dialects (Villar), or if the Preterites were only one tense (as Latin praeteritum) with different formations, or if there were actually an Aorist and a Perfect.

Furthermore, José Antonio Pascual, a member of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), considers that “it is not necessary to be a great sociologist to know that 500 million people won’t agree to adopt Modern Indo-European in the EU” (Spa. journal El Mundo, 8th April 2007). Of course not, as they won’t agree on any possible question – not even on using English, which we use in fact –, and still the national and EU’s Institutions work, adopting decisions by majorities, not awaiting consensus for any question. And it was probably not necessary to be a great sociologist a hundred years ago to see e.g. that the revival of Hebrew under a modern language system (an “invention” then) was a utopia, and that Esperanto, the ‘easy’ and ‘neutral’ IAL, was going to succeed by their first World Congress in 1905.

Such learned opinions are only that, opinions, just as if Hebrew and Semitic experts had been questioned a hundred years ago about a possible revival of Biblical Hebrew in a hypothetic new Israel.

Whether MIE’s success is more or less probable (and why) is not really important for our current work, but a hypothesis which might be dealt with by sociology, anthropology, political science, economics and even psychology, not to talk about chance. Whether the different existing social movements, such as Pan-Latinism, Pan-Americanism, Pan-Sanskritism, Pan-Arabism, Pan-Iranism, Pan-Slavism, Pan-Hispanism, Francophonie, Anglospherism, Atlanticism, and the hundred different pan-nationalist positions held by different sectors of societies – as well as the different groups supporting anti-globalization, anti-neoliberalism, anti-capitalism, anti-communism, anti-occidentalism, etc. – will accept or reject this project remains unclear.

What we do know now is that the idea of reviving Europe’s Indo-European as a modern language for Europe and international organizations is not madness, that it is not something new, that it doesn’t mean a revolution – as the use of Spanglish, Syndarin or Interlingua – nor an involution – as regionalism, nationalism, or the come back to French, German or Latin predominance –, but merely one of the many different ways in which the European Union linguistic policy could evolve, and maybe one way to unite different peoples from different cultures, languages and religions (from the Americas to East Asia) for the sake of stable means of communication. Just that tiny possibility is enough for us to “lose” some years trying to give our best making the main Proto-Indo-European dialects as usable and as known as possible.


Preface To The First Edition

According to Dutch sociologist Abram de Swaan, every language in the world fits into one of four categories according to the ways it enters into (what he calls) the global language system.

         Central: About a hundred languages in the world belong here, widely used and comprising about 95% of humankind.

         Supercentral: Each of these serves to connect speakers of central languages. There are only twelve supercentral languages, and they are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swahili.

         Hypercentral: The lone hypercentral language at present is English. It not only connects central languages (which is why it is on the previous level) but serves to connect supercentral languages as well. Both Spanish and Russian are supercentral languages used by speakers of many languages, but when a Spaniard and a Russian want to communicate, they will usually do it in English.

         Peripheral: All the thousands of other languages on the globe occupy a peripheral position because they are hardly or not at all used to connect any other languages. In other words, they are mostly not perceived as useful in a multilingual situation and therefore not worth anyone’s effort to learn.

De Swaan points out that the admission of new member states to the European Union brings with it the addition of more languages, making the polyglot identity of the EU ever more unwieldy and expensive. On the other hand, it is clearly politically impossible to settle on a single language for all the EU’s institutions. It has proved easier for the EU to agree on a common currency than a common language.

Of the EU’s current languages, at least 14 are what we might call a ‘robust’ language, whose speakers are hardly likely to surrender its rights. Five of them (English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish) are supercentral languages that are already widely used in international communication, and the rest are all central.

In the ongoing activity of the EU’s institutions, there are inevitably shortcuts taken - English, French and German are widely used as ‘working languages’ for informal discussions. But at the formal level all the EU’s official languages (i.e. the language of each member state) are declared equal.

Using all these languages is very expensive and highly inefficient. There are now 23 official languages: Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish Gaelic, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish and Swedish, and three semiofficial (?): Catalan, Basque and Galician. This means that all official documents must be translated into all the members’ recognized languages, and representatives of each member state have a right to expect a speech in their language to be interpreted. And each member state has the right to hear ongoing proceedings interpreted into its own language.

Since each of the twenty one languages needs to be interpreted/translated into all the rest of the twenty, 23 x 22 (minus one, because a language doesn’t need to be translated into itself) comes to a total of 506 combinations (not taking on accound the ‘semiofficial’ languages). So interpreters/translators have to be found for ALL combinations.

In the old Common Market days the costs of using the official languages Dutch, English, French, and German could be borne, and interpreters and translators could be readily found. But as each new member is admitted, the costs and practical difficulties are rapidly becoming intolerably burdensome.

The crucial point here is that each time a new language is added, the total number of combinations isn’t additive but multiplies: 506 + one language is not 507 but 552, i.e. 24 x 23, since every language has to be translated/interpreted into all the others (except itself).

It is not hard to see that the celebration of linguistic diversity in the EU only lightly disguises the logistical nightmare that is developing. The EU is now preparing for more languages to come: Romanian and Bulgarian have been recently added, with the incorporation of these two countries to the EU; Albanian, Macedonian, Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian (the three formerly known as Serbo-Croatian, but further differentiated after the Yugoslavian wars) if they are admitted to the EU as expected; and many other regional languages, following the example of Irish Gaelic, and the three semi-official Spanish languages: Alsatian, Breton, Corsican, Welsh, Luxemburgish and Sami are likely candidates to follow, as well as Scottish Gaelic, Occitan, Low Saxon, Venetian, Piedmontese, Ligurian, Emilian, Sardinian, Neapolitan, Sicilian, Asturian, Aragonese, Frisian, Kashubian, Romany, Rusin, and many others, depending on the political pressure their speakers and cultural communities can put on EU institutions. It will probably not be long before Turkish, and with it Kurdish (and possibly Armenian, Aramaic and Georgian too), or maybe Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian, are other official languages, not to talk about the eternal candidates’ languages, Norwegian (in at least two of its language systems, Bokmål and Nynorsk), Icelandic, Romansh, Monegasque (Monaco) and Emilian-Romagnolo (San Marino), and this could bring the number of EU languages over 40. The number of possible combinations are at best above 1000, which doesn’t seem within the reach of any organization, no matter how well-meaning.

Many EU administrators feel that to a great extent this diversity can be canceled out by ever-increasing reliance on the computer translation that is already in heavy use. It is certainly true that if we couldn’t count on computers to do a lot of the translation ‘heavy lifting’, even the most idealistic administrator would never even dream of saddling an organization with an enterprise that would quickly absorb a major part of its finances and energy. But no machine has yet been invented or probably ever will be that is able to produce a translation without, at the very least, a final editing by a human translator or interpreter.

The rapidly increasing profusion of languages in the EU is quickly becoming intolerably clumsy and prohibitively expensive. And this doesn’t even count the additional expense caused by printing in the Greek alphabet and soon in the Cyrillic (Bulgarian and Serbian). Everyone agrees that all languages must have their ‘place in the sun’ and their diversity celebrated. But common sense suggests that the EU is going to be forced to settle on a very small number of working languages, perhaps only one, and the linguistic future of the EU has become the subject of intense debate.

Only in public numbers, the EU official translation/interpretation costs amount to more than 1.230 M€, and it comes to more than 13% of today’s administrative expenditure of the EU institutions. There are also indirect costs of linguistic programmes aimed at promoting the learning of three or more languages since the Year of Languages (2001), which also means hundreds of millions of Euros, which haven’t been counted in the EU’s budget as linguistic expenditure, but are usually included in budget sections such as Cohesion or Citizenship. It is hard to imagine the huge amount of money (real or potential) lost by EU citizens and companies each day because of communication problems, not only because they can’t speak a third party’s language, but because they won’t speak it, even if they can.

Preserving the strict equality is the EU’s lifeblood, and it is a very disturbing thought that the strongest candidate for a one-language EU is the one with an established dominance in the world, English, which is actually only spoken by a minority within Europe. Latin and Artificial languages (as Esperanto, Ido or Interlingua) have been proposed as alternatives, but neither the first, because it is only related to romance languages, nor the second, because they are (too) artificial (invented by one person or a small group at best), solve the linguistic theoretical problems, not to talk about the practical ones.

The Indo-European language that we present in this work, on the contrary, faces not only the addressed theoretical problems - mainly related to cultural heritage and sociopolitical proud - but brings also a practical solution for the European Union, without which there can be no real integration. European nations are not prepared to give up some of their powers to a greater political entity, unless they don’t have to give up some fundamental rights. Among them, the linguistic ones have proven harder to deal with than it initially expected, as they are raise very strong national or regional feelings.

Indo-European is already the grandmother of the majority of Europeans. The first language of more than 97% of EU citizens is Indo-European, and the rest can generally speak at least one of them as second language. Adopting Indo-European as the main official language for the EU will not mean giving up linguistic rights, but enhancing them, as every other official language will have then the same status under their common ancestor; it won’t mean losing the own culture for the sake of unity, but recovering it altogether for the same purpose; and, above all, it will not mean choosing a lingua franca to communicate with foreigners within an international organization, but accepting a National Language to communicate with other nationals within the same country.


NOTE.  The above information is mainly copied (literally, adjusted or modified) from two of Mr. William Z. Shetter Language Miniatures, which can be found in his website:



o  EU official expenditure numbers can be consulted here:



o  Official information about EU languages can be found at:





What’s New in This Edition

This is A Grammar of Modern Indo-European, First Edition, with Modern Indo-European Language Grammatical system in Pre-Version 4, still in βeta phase – i.e., still adjusting some important linguistic questions, and lots of minor mistakes, thanks to the contributions of experts and readers.

NOTE. A version number (N) is given to full revisions of the grammar, and each minor correction published must be given a different number to be later identified, usually ranging from N.01 to N.99. This book includes a full correction of version 3, but is still Pre-Version 4, which means the correction was not finished, and it its therefore still 3.xx. Full revisions are driven from beginning to end, so there should be a comment marking the end of the revised material. Since version 3.8x that note is already in the Etymological Notes section.

Europe’s Indo-European” version 4 continues “Modern Indo-European” version 3 (first printed edition, since June 2007), and this in turn version 2, which began in March 2007, changing most features of the old “Europaio”/“Sindhueuropaiom” concept of version 1 (Europaio: A Brief Grammar of the European Language, 2005-2006), in some cases coming back to features of Indo-European 0.x (2004-2005).

1. The artificial distinction in “Europaiom” and “Sindhueuropaiom” systems (each based on different dialectal features) brings more headaches than advantages to our Proto-Indo-European revival project; from now on, only a unified “Modern Indo-European”, based on Europe’s Indo-European (or Proto-European) is promoted. “Sindhueuropaiom” (i.e. Proto-Indo-European) became thus a theoretical project for using the phonetical reconstructions of Late PIE.

2. Unlike the first simplified Europaio grammar, this one goes deep into the roots of the specific Indo-European words and forms chosen for the modern language. Instead of just showing the final output, expecting readers to accept the supposed research behind the selections, we let them explore the details of our choices – and sometimes the specifics of the linguistic reconstruction –, thus sacrificing simplicity for the sake of thorough approach to modern IE vocabulary.

3. The old Latin-only alphabet has been expanded to include Greek and Cyrillic writing systems, as well as a stub of possible Armenian, Arabo-Persian and Devanagari (abugida) systems. The objective is not to define them completely (as with the Latin alphabet), but merely to show other possible writing systems for Modern Indo-European, Modern Anatolian, Modern Aryan, and Modern Hellenic.

4. The traditional phonetic distinction of palatovelars was reintroduced for a more accurate phonetic reconstruction of Late PIE, because of the opposition found (especially among Balto-Slavic experts) against our simplified writing system. Whether satemization was a dialectal and phonological trend restricted to some phonetic environments (PIE k- before some sounds, as with Latin c- before -e and -i), seemed to us not so important as the fact that more people feel comfortable with an exact – although more difficult –  phonetic reconstruction. From versions 3.xx onwards, however, a more exact reconstruction is looked for, and therefore a proper explanation of velars and vocalism (hence also laryngeals) is added at the end of this book – coming back, then, to a simplified writing system.

4. The historically alternating Oblique cases Dative, Locative, Instrumental and Ablative,  were shown on a declension-by-declension (and even pronoun-by-pronoun) basis, as Late PIE shows in some declensions a simpler, thus more archaic, reconstructible paradigm (as i,u) while others (as the thematic e/o) show almost the same Late PIE pattern of four differentiated oblique case-endings. Now, the 8 cases traditionally reconstructed are usable – and its differentiation recommended – in MIE.

The classification of Modern Indo-European nominal declensions has been reorganized to adapt it to a more Classic pattern, to help the reader clearly identify their correspondence to the different Greek and Latin declension paradigms.

5. The verbal system has been reduced to the reconstructed essentials of Late Proto-Indo-European conjugation and of its early dialects. Whether such a simple and irregular system is usable as is, without further systematization, is a matter to be solved by Modern Indo-European speakers.

The so-called Augment in é-, attested almost only in Greek, Indo-Iranian and Armenian, is sometimes left due to Proto-Indo-European tradition, although recent research shows that it was neither obligatory, nor general in Late PIE. It is believed today that it was just a prefix with a great success in the southern dialects, as per- (<PIE per-) in Latin or ga- (<PIE ko-) in Germanic.

6. The syntactical framework of Proto-Indo-European has been dealt with extensively by some authors, but, as the material hasn’t still been summed up and corrected by other authors (who usually prefer the phonological or morphological reconstruction), we use literal paragraphs from possibly the most thorough work available on PIE syntax, Winfred P. Lehman’s Proto-Indo-European Syntax (1974), along with some comments and corrections made since its publication by other scholars.

The timetable of the next grammatical and institutional changes can be followed in the website of the Indo-European Language Association.


To Mayte, my best friend, for her support and encouragement before I worked on this project, even before she knew what was it all about. For the money and time spent in lunchtimes, books, websites, servers and material. For her excitement when talking about the changes that Proto-Indo-European revival could bring to the world’s future. Thank you.

To Fernando López-Menchero, Civil Engineer and Classic Languages’ Philologist, expert in Indo-European linguistics, for his invaluable help, revision and corrections. Without his unending contributions and knowledge, this grammar wouldn’t have shown a correct Proto-Indo-European reconstruction. Sorry for not correcting all mistakes before this first edition.

To Prof. Dr. Luis Fernando de la Macorra, expert in Interregional Economics, and Prof. Dr. Antonio Muñoz, Vice-Dean of Academic Affairs in the Faculty of Library Science, for their support in the University Competition and afterwards.

To D.Phil. Neil Vermeulen, and English Philologist Fátima Batalla, for their support to our revival project within the Dnghu Association.

To the University of Extremadura and the Cabinet of Young Initiative, for their prize in the Entrepreneurial Competition in Imagination Society (2006) and their continuated encouragement.

To the Department of Classical Antiquity of the UEx, for their unconditional support to the project.

To the Regional Government of Extremadura and its public institutions, for their open support to the Proto-Indo-European language revival.

To the Government of Spain and the President’s cabinet, for encouraging us in our task.

To Manuel Romero from Diseño Editorial, for his help with the design and editorial management of this first printed edition.

To all professors and members of public and private institutions who have shared with us their constructive criticisms, about the political and linguistic aspects of PIE’s revival.

To Europa Press, RNE, El Periódico Extremadura, Terra, El Diario de Navarra, and other Media, and especially to EFE, Hoy, El Mundo, TVE, TVE2, RTVExtremadura for their extensive articles and reports about Modern Indo-European.


We thank especially all our readers and contributors.  Thank you for your emails and comments.


Conventions Used in this Book

1. “Modern Indo-European” or MIE: To avoid some past mistakes, we use the term Europaiom only to refer to the European language system, or to the reconstructed Europe’s Indo-European (EIE) proto-language. The suitable names for the simplified Indo-European language system for Europe are thus European language or European, as well as “Europaio.

2. The roots of the reconstructed Middle PIE language (PIH) are basic morphemes carrying a lexical meaning. By addition of suffixes, they form stems, and by addition of desinences, these form grammatically inflected words (nouns or verbs).

NOTE. PIE reconstructed roots are subject to ablaut, and except for a very few cases, such ultimate roots are fully characterized by its constituent consonants, while the vowel may alternate. PIH roots as a rule have a single syllabic core, and by ablaut may either be monosyllabic or unsyllabic. PIH roots may be of the following form (where K is a voiceless stop, G an unaspirated and Gh an aspirated stop, R a semivowel (r̥, l̥, m̥, n̥, u̯, i̯) and H a laryngeal (or s). After Meillet, impossible PIH combinations are voiceless/aspirated (as in *teubh or *bheut), as well as voiced/voiceless (as in *ged or *deg). The following table depicts the general opinion:


























*This combination appears e.g. in bheudh, awake, and bheidh, obey, believe.

A root has at least one consonant, for some at least two (e.g. PIH hek vs. EIE ek-, quick”, which is the root for MIE adj. ōkús). Depending on the interpretation of laryngeals, some roots seem to have an inherent a or o vowel, EIE ar (vs. PIH h2ar-), fit, EIE ongw (vs. PIH h3engw) “anoint”, EIE ak (vs. PIH h2ek) “keen”.

By “root extension”, a basic CeC (with C being any consonant) pattern may be extended to CeC-C, and an s-mobile may extend it to s-CeC.

The total number of consonant, sonant and laryngeal elements that appear in an ordinary syllable are three – i.e., as the triliteral Semitic pattern. Those which have less than three are called ‘Concave’ verbs (cf. PIH Hes, Hei, gwem); those extended are called ‘Convex’ verbs (cf. Lat. plangō, spargō, frangō, etc., which, apart from the extension in -g, contain a laryngeal); for more on this, vide infra on MIE Conjugations.

3. Verbs are usually shown in notes without an appropriate verbal noun ending -m, infinitive ending –tu/-ti, to distinguish them clearly from nouns and adjectives. They aren’t shown inflected in 1st P.Sg. Present either – as they should –, because of the same reason, and aren’t usually accented.

NOTE. Ultimate PIH reconstructed verbal roots are written even without an athematic or thematic ending. When an older laryngeal appears, as in PIH pelh2-, it sometimes remain, as in EIE pela-, or in case of ultimate roots with semivowel endings [i̯], [u̯], followed by an older laryngeal, they may be written with ending -j or -w.

4. Adjectives are usually shown with an accented masculine (or general) ending -ós, although sometimes a complete paradigm -ós, -, -óm, is written.

5. An acute accent  is written over the vowel or semivowel in the stressed syllable, except when stress is on the penult (one syllable before the last) and in monosyllabic words. Accented long vowels and sonants are represented with special characters. The weak vowel of a possible diphthong is also accented; so in eími, I go, instead of eimi, which would be read usually as *éimi if left unaccented.

6. For zero-grade or zero-ending, the symbol Ø is sometimes used.

7. Proto-Indo-European vowel apophony or Ablaut is indeed normal in MIE, but different dialectal Ablauts are corrected when loan-translated. Examples of these are kombhastós, from Lat. confessus (cf. Lat. fassus sum), from EIE bhā-; EIE dhaklís/disdhaklís, as Lat. facilis/difficilis, from PIE dhē-; MIE saliō/ensaliō/ensaltō, as Lat. saliō/insiliō/insultō, etc.

NOTE. Such Ablaut is linked to languages with musical accent, as Latin. In Italic, the tone was always on the first syllable; Latin reorganized this system, and after Roman grammarians’ “penultimate rule”, Classic Latin accent felt on the penultimate syllable if long, on the antepenultimate if short (hence Lat. pudícus but módicus), thus triggering off different inner vocalic timbres or Ablauts. Other Italic dialects, as Oscan or Umbrian, didn’t suffered such apophony; cf. Osc. anterstataí , Lat. interstitae; Umb. antakres, Lat. integris; Umb. procanurent, Lat. procinuerint, etc. Germanic also knew such tone variations. For more on this topic, see phonotactic development in Latin at <>.

8. In Germanic, Celtic and Italic dialects the IE intervocalic -s- becomes voiced, and then it is pronounced as the trilled consonant, a phenomenon known as Rhotacism; as with zero-grade ks [kr̥s] from EIE stem kers-, run, giving ‘s-derivatives’ O.N. horskr, Gk. -κουρος, and ‘r-derivatives’ as MIE kŕsos, wagon, cart, from Celtic (cf. Gaul. karros, O.Ir., M.Welsh carr, into Lat. carrus) and kŕsō, run, cf. Lat. currō. In light of Greek forms as criterion, monastery, etc., the suffix to indicate “place where” (and sometimes instrument) had an original IE r, and its reconstruction as PIE s is wrong.

9. Some loans are left as they are, without necessarily implying that they are original Indo-European forms; as Latin mappa, “map”, aiqi-, “aequi-“, Celtic pen-, “head”, Greek sphaira, “sphere”, Germanic iso-, “ice”, and so on. Some forms are already subject to change in MIE for a more ‘purist’ approach to a common EIE, as ati- for Lat. re-, -ti for (Ita. and Arm.) secondary -tiō(n), etc.

10. In Romance languages, Theme is used instead of Stem. Therefore, Theme Vowel and Thematic refer to the Stem endings, usually to the e/o endings.  In the Indo-European languages, Thematic roots are those roots that have a “theme vowel”; a vowel sound that is always present between the root of the word and the attached inflections. Athematic roots lack a theme vowel, and attach their inflections directly to the root itself.

NOTE. The distinction between thematic and athematic roots is especially apparent in the Greek verb; they fall into two classes that are marked by quite different personal endings. Thematic verbs are also called (-ô) verbs in Greek; athematic verbs are -μι (-mi) verbs, after the first person singular present tense ending that each of them uses. The entire conjugation seems to differ quite markedly between the two sets of verbs, but the differences are really the result of the thematic vowel reacting with the verb endings. In Greek, athematic verbs are a closed class of inherited forms from the parent IE language. Marked contrasts between thematic and athematic forms also appear in Lithuanian, Sanskrit, and Old Church Slavonic. In Latin, almost all verbs are thematic; a handful of surviving athematic forms exist, but they are considered irregular verbs.

The thematic and athematic distinction also applies to nouns; many of the old IE languages distinguish between “vowel stems” and “consonant stems” in the declension of nouns. In Latin, the first, second, fourth, and fifth declensions are vowel stems characterized by a, o, u and e, respectively; the third declension contains both consonant stems and i stems, whose declensions came to closely resemble one another in Latin. Greek, Sanskrit, and other older IE languages also distinguish between vowel and consonant stems, as did Old English.

11. PIE d+t, t+t, dh+t   MIE st; PIE d+d, t+d, dh+d   MIE sd; PIE d+dh, t+dh, dh+dh   MIE sdh; because of the common intermediate phases found in Proto-Greek, cf. Gk. st, sth (as pistis, oisqa), and Europe’s Indo-European, cf. Lat. est, “come”, and O.H.G. examples. For an earlier stage of this phonetic output, compare O.Ind. sehí<*sazdhi, ‘sit!’, and not *satthi (cf. O.Ind. dehí, Av. dazdi).

NOTE. It has been proposed an earlier TTTsT (where T = dental stop), i.e. that the cluster of two dental stops had a dental fricative s inserted between them. It is based on some findings in Hittite, where cluster tst is spelled as z (pronounced as ts), as in PIH h1ed-ti, “he eats *h1etsti Hitt. ezzi. Confirmation from early intermediate and common (Late PIE) -st- are found e.g. in O.Ind. mastis, “measure”, from *med-tis, or Av. -hasta-, from *sed-tós. This evolution was probably overshadowed by other Aryan developments, see Appendix II.

12. PIE made personal forms of composed verbs separating the root from the so-called ‘prepositions’, which were actually particles which delimited the meaning of the sentence. Thus, a sentence like Lat. uos supplico is in PIE as in O.Lat. sub uos placo. The same happened in Homeric Greek, in Hittite, in the oldest Vedic and in modern German ‘trennbare Verben’. Therefore, when we reconstruct a verb like accept, MIE inf. adkēptātus, it doesn’t mean it should be used as in Classic Latin (in fact its ablaut has been reversed), or indeed as in Modern English, but with its oldest use: kēptāiō ad, I accept.

13. Reasons for not including the palatovelars in MIE writing system are 1) that, although possible, their existence  is not sufficiently proven (see Appendix II.2); 2) that their writing because of tradition or ‘etymology’ is not justified, as this would mean a projective writing (i.e., like writing Lat. casa, but Lat. ĉentum, because the k-sound before -e and -i evolves differently in Romance). The pairs ģ Ģ and ķ Ķ, have been proposed to write them, for those willing to differentiate their pronunciation.


: Proto-Greek


:  (Ancient) Greek


:  Phrygian


:  Thracian


:  Dacian


:  Venetic


:  Lusitanian


:  Ancient Macedonian


:  Illyrian


:  Albanian

The following abbreviations apply in this book:


: Indo-European


:  Middle PIE or PIH


:  Proto-Indo-Hittite


:  Late PIE


:  Proto-Indo-European


:  Europe’s Indo-European


:  Modern Indo-European




:  Proto-Indo-Aryan


:  Old Indian


:  Sanskrit


:  Hindustani


:  Hindi


:  Urdu


:  Proto-Iranian


:  Avestan


:  Old Persian


:  Persian


:  Kurdish


:  Ossetian


:  Kamviri







: Proto-Italic


:  Oscan


:  Umbrian


:  Latin


:  Archaic Latin


:  Vulgar Latin


:  Late Latin


:  Mediaeval Latin


:  Modern Latin


:  Old French


:  Provenzal


:  Galician-Portuguese


:  Galician


:  Portuguese


:  Catalan


:  French


:  Italian


:  Spanish


:  Romanian





: Proto-Anatolian


:  Common Anatolian


:  Hittite


:  Luwian


:  Lycian


:  Palaic


:  Lydian



: Pre-Proto-Germanic


:  Proto-Germanic


:  Gothic


:  Frankish


:  Scandinavian (North Germanic)


:  Old Norse


:  Old Icelandic


:  Old Swedish


:  Norwegian


:  Swedish


:  Danish


:  Icelandic


:  Faeroese


:  West Germanic


:  Old English (W.Saxon, Mercian)


:  Old Frisian


:  Old High German


:  Middle Low German


:  Middle High German


:  Middle Dutch


:  English


:  German


:  Low German


:  Frisian



:  Dutch


:  Yiddish (Judaeo-German)


: Balto-Slavic


:  Proto-Baltic


:  Old Lithuanian


:  Old Prussian


:  Lithuanian


:  Latvian


:  Proto-Slavic


:  Old Church Slavonic


:  Old Russian


:  Old Polish


:  Russian


:  Polish


:  Czech


:  Slovenian


:  Slovak


:  Ukrainian


:  Belarusian


:  Bulgarian


:  Serbo-Croatian


: Proto-Celtic


:  Gaulish


:  Old Irish


:  Scottish Gaelic


:  Irish Gaelic


:  Breton


:  Cornish


:  Old Welsh

1. Introduction

1.1. The Indo-European Language Family

In dark, countries with a majority of Indo-European speakers; in light color, countries with Indo-European-speaking minorities.


1.1.1. The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred languages and dialects, including most of the major languages of Europe, as well as many in Asia. Contemporary languages in this family include English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Hindustani (i.e., Hindi and Urdu among other modern dialects), Persian and Russian. It is the largest family of languages in the world today, being spoken by approximately half the world’s population as first language. Furthermore, the majority of the other half speaks at least one of them as second language.

1.1.2. Romans didn’t perceive similarities between Latin and Celtic dialects, but they found obvious correspondences with Greek. After Roman Grammarian Sextus Pompeius Festus:

Suppum antiqui dicebant, quem nunc supinum dicimus ex Graeco, videlicet pro adspiratione ponentes <s> litteram, ut idem λας dicunt, et nos silvas; item ξ sex, et πτ septem.

Such findings are not striking, though, as Rome was believed to have been originally funded by Trojan hero Aeneas and, consequently, Latin was derived from Old Greek.

1.1.3. Florentine merchant Filippo Sassetti travelled to the Indian subcontinent, and was among the first European observers to study the ancient Indian language, Sanskrit. Writing in 1585, he noted some word similarities between Sanskrit and Italian, e.g. deva/dio, “God”, sarpa/serpe, “snake”, sapta/sette, “seven”, ashta/otto, “eight”, nava/nove, “nine”. This observation is today credited to have foreshadowed the later discovery of the Indo-European language family.

1.1.4. The first proposal of the possibility of a common origin for some of these languages came from Dutch linguist and scholar Marcus Zuerius van Boxhorn in 1647. He discovered the similarities among Indo-European languages, and supposed the existence of a primitive common language which he called “Scythian”. He included in his hypothesis Dutch, Greek, Latin, Persian, and German, adding later Slavic, Celtic and Baltic languages. He excluded languages such as Hebrew from his hypothesis. However, the suggestions of van Boxhorn did not become widely known and did not stimulate further research.

1.1.5. On 1686, German linguist Andreas Jäger published De Lingua Vetustissima Europae, where he identified an remote language, possibly spreading from the Caucasus, from which Latin, Greek, Slavic, ‘Scythian’ (i.e., Persian) and Celtic (or ‘Celto-Germanic’) were derived, namely Scytho-Celtic.

1.1.6. The hypothesis re-appeared in 1786 when Sir William Jones first lectured on similarities between four of the oldest languages known in his time: Latin, Greek, Sanskrit and Persian:

“The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists: there is a similar reason, though not quite so forcible, for supposing that both the Gothic and the Celtic, though blended with a very different idiom, had the same origin with the Sanskrit; and the old Persian might be added to the same family

1.1.7. Danish Scholar Rasmus Rask was the first to point out the connection between Old Norwegian and Gothic on the one hand, and Lithuanian, Slavonic, Greek and Latin on the other. Systematic comparison of these and other old languages conducted by the young German linguist Franz Bopp supported the theory, and his Comparative Grammar, appearing between 1833 and 1852, counts as the starting-point of Indo-European studies as an academic discipline.

1.1.8. The classification of modern Indo-European dialects into ‘languages’ and ‘dialects’ is controversial, as it depends on many factors, such as the pure linguistic ones – most of the times being the least important of them –, and also social, economic, political and historical considerations. However, there are certain common ancestors, and some of them are old well-attested languages (or language systems), such as Classic Latin for modern Romance languages – French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian or Catalan –, Classic Sanskrit for some modern Indo-Aryan languages, or Classic Greek for Modern Greek.

Furthermore, there are some still older IE ‘dialects’, from which these old formal languages were derived and later systematized. They are, following the above examples, Archaic or Old Latin, Archaic or Vedic Sanskrit and Archaic or Old Greek, attested in older compositions, inscriptions and inferred through the study of oral traditions and texts.

And there are also some old related dialects, which help us reconstruct proto-languages, such as Faliscan for Latino-Faliscan (and with Osco-Umbrian for an older Proto-Italic), the Avestan language for a Proto-Indo-Iranian or Mycenaean for an older Proto-Greek.

NOTE. Although proto-language groupings for early Indo-European languages may vary depending on different criteria, they all have the same common origin, the Proto-Indo-European language, which is generally easier to reconstruct than its dialectal groupings. For example, if we had only some texts of Old French, Old Spanish and Old Portuguese, Mediaeval Italian and Modern Romanian and Catalan, then Vulgar Latin – i.e. the features of the common language spoken by all of them, not the older, artificial, literary Classical Latin – could be easily reconstructed, but the groupings of the derived dialects not. In fact, the actual groupings of the Romance languages are controversial, even knowing well enough Archaic, Classic and Vulgar Latin...

Distribution of language families in the 20th century.

1.2. Traditional Views

1.2.1. In the beginnings of the Indo-European or Indo-Germanic studies using the comparative grammar, the Indo-European proto-language was reconstructed as a unitary language. For Rask, Bopp and other Indo-European scholars, it was a search for the Indo-European. Such a language was supposedly spoken in a certain region between Europe and Asia and at one point in time – between ten thousand and four thousand years ago, depending on the individual theories –, and it spread thereafter and evolved into different languages which in turn had different dialects.

1.2.2. The Stammbaumtheorie or Genealogical Tree Theory states that languages split up in other languages, each of them in turn split up in others, and so on, like the branches of a tree. For example, a well known old theory about Indo-European is that, from the Indo-European language, two main groups of dialects known as Centum and Satem separated – so called because of their pronunciation of the gutturals in Latin and Avestan, as in PIE km̥tóm, “hundred. From these groups others split up, as Centum Proto-Germanic, Proto-Italic or Proto-Celtic, and Satem Proto-Balto-Slavic, Proto-Indo-Iranian, which developed into present-day Germanic, Romance and Celtic, Baltic, Slavic, Iranian and Indo-Aryan languages.

Modern tree diagram of the IE languages by Eric Hamp (1990).

NOTE. The Centum and Satem isogloss is one of the oldest known phonological differences of Indo-European languages, and is still used by many to classify them in two groups, thus disregarding their relevant morphological and syntactical differences. It is based on a simple vocabulary comparison; as, from PIE km̥tóm (possibly earlier *dkm̥tóm, from dekm̥, “ten”), Satem: O.Ind. śatám, Av. satəm, Lith. šimtas, O.C.S. sto, or Centum: Gk. κατν, Lat. centum, Goth. hund, O.Ir. cet, etc.

1.2.3. The Wellentheorie or Waves Theory, of J. Schmidt, states that one language is created from another by the spread of innovations, the way water waves spread when a stone hits the water surface. The lines that define the extension of the innovations are called isoglosses. The convergence of different isoglosses over a common territory signals the existence of a new language or dialect. Where isoglosses from different languages coincide, transition zones are formed.

 “Wave model” of some of the interrelationships of the Indo-European languages, J.P.Mallory and D.Q. Adams.


NOTE. These old theories are based on the hypothesis that there was one common and static Proto-Indo-European language, and that all features of modern Indo-European languages can be explained in such a unitary scheme, by classifying them either as innovations or as archaisms of one old, rigid proto-language. The language system we propose for the revived Modern Indo-European is based mainly on that traditionally reconstructed Proto-Indo-European, not because we uphold the traditional views, but because we still look for the immediate common ancestor of modern Indo-European languages, and it is that old, unitary Indo-European that scholars had been looking for during the first decades of Indo-European studies.

1.3. The Theory of the Three Stages