Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Reasoning/Appetitive: Fragments from the Indo-European Studies Conference #2

I have some observations about the people on Fragments of Sulpicia, which may be expanded over the next few days.

There were a number of really interesting talks at the conference. The first one on the avoidance of hiatus in the Rg Veda was especially important for me because the avoidance (or lackthereof) of hiatus in Plato is one of the methods by which scholars attempt to date and order items in the Platonic corpus [1]. The methodology the two presenters used was significantly more advanced than those I have seen for Plato [2] because they used, among other things, some incredible computer software to create what they called a "Rigged Veda" which scrambled the words from the corpus without violating the meter.

Most of the other talks that I enjoyed were on sound-change, which, until this conference, I believed was the primary goal of Indo-European linguistics. These tended also to involve a lot of Greek and Latin, which was nice because I could follow the talks more easily which lead to greater enjoyment.

During the course of the conference, there appeared to be two different emerging factions: one that employed generative linguistics and one that did not. Not having studied linguistics in any formal way, most of the distinction was pointed out to me by Propertius II, although some of it I noticed on my own. Since the conference kindled my interest, I looked up some general textbooks on Indo-European linguistics. The two that seemed to be generally highly reviewed (on Amazon) were Indo-European Linguistics: An Introduction and The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World.
Indo-European Linguistics: An Introduction (Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics) The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World (Oxford Linguistics)

Technical fields like this one (especially areas in which I have little prior knowledge) is one of the areas in which Amazon reviews are helpful, although they can be unnecessarily caustic (or laudatory) as well. I am considering at some point soon checking one or both of these out at the local academic library. If anyone has any thoughts, I would love to hear them.

  1. I prefer the conception of dramatic date (since almost all of the dramas can be dated by historical references or character sketches). A great source on dramatic date is Zuckert's fantastic book, Plato's Philosophers: The Coherence of the Dialogues.
  2. Most of my reading on Platonic dating comes from Leonard Brandwood in the Cambridge Companion to Plato (CCO) which analyzes the methodology and Zuckert who is extremely critical of this approach. Brandwood explains that much of the statistical evidence come from sampling (often before the ability to scan entire documents by computer) and those attempting to prove the order that had been previously established.

No comments:

Post a Comment