This second edition of A Grammar of Modern Indo-European is a renewed effort to systematize the reconstructed phonology and morphology of Europe’s Indo-European.
Modern Indo-European is common to most Europeans, and not only to some of them, as Latin, Germanic, or Slavic. Unlike Lingua Ignota, Solresol, Volapük, Esperanto, Quenya, Klingon, Lojban and the thousand invented languages which are imagined by individuals daily, PIE dialects are natural, i.e. they evolved from an older language – Proto-Indo-European, of which we have extensive knowledge –, and were spoken by prehistoric communities at some time roughly between 2500 and 2000 BC, having themselves evolved into different dialects already by 2000 BC.
Proto-Indo-European and its dialects have 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.
Some known philologists, university professors, experts in Classical Languages, still consider the Proto-Indo-European language reconstruction an “invention”; also, Spanish Indo-Europeanist Bernabé, a brilliant Spanish IE professor, 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 and the Armenian Homeland hypothesis (against the view of the majority), and supports 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 political or personal opinions. Also, among convinced Indo-Europeanists, there seems to be no possible consensus between the different ‘schools’ as to whether Common 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 keep working, 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 was a utopia (an “impossible”, “unserious” “invention” then), and that Esperanto, the ‘easy’ and ‘neutral’ IAL, was going to succeed by their first so-called ‘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 Land of Israel.
Whether MIE’s success is more or less probable and why is not really important for our current work, but hypotheses dealt with by sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, psychology, etc. or usually just by personal opinions with no strict rational and reasonable basis. It remains unclear whether the project will be accepted by 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 ideas, as well as the different groups supporting anti-globalization, anti-capitalism, anti-communism, etc.
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 rational, 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.