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The king and the god

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Title: The king and the god  
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Subject: Reconstructed languages, Schleicher's fable, Indo-European, Varuna, Proto-Indo-European language
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The king and the god

The king and the god (rēḱs deiwos-kʷe) is the title of a short dialogue composed in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European language. It is loosely based on the "king Harishcandra" episode of Aitareya Brahmana (7.14 … 33.2). S. K. Sen asked a number of Indo-Europeanists (Y. E. Arbeitman, Eric P. Hamp, Manfred Mayrhofer, Jaan Puhvel, Werner Winter) to reconstruct the PIE "parent" of the text.


  • The king and the god 1
    • 2013's version 1.1
  • The king and the god in Sanskrit original 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

The king and the god

Hamp's/Sen's version from the EIEC (1997:503), that differs from original Hamp's version in replacing Hamp's Lughus with Sen's Werunos:

To rḗḱs éh1est. So n̥putlos éh1est. So rēḱs súhnum éwel(e)t. Só tós(j)o ǵʰeutérm̥ (e)pr̥ḱsḱet: "Súhxnus moi ǵn̥h1jotām!" So ǵʰeutēr tom rḗǵm̥ éweukʷet: "Ihxgeswo deiwóm Wérunom". So rḗḱs deiwóm Werunom h4úpo-sesore nu deiwóm (é)ihxgeto. "ḱludʰí moi, phater Werune!" Deiwós Wérunos km̥ta diwós égʷehat. "Kʷíd welsi?" "Wélmi súxnum." "Tód h1éstu", wéukʷet loukós deiwos Werunos. Rēǵós pótniha súhnum gegonh1e.

Lehmann's version:

Pótis gʰe ʔest. Só-kʷe n̥gn̥ʔtós ʔest, sū́num-kʷe wl̥next. So ǵʰutérm̥ pr̥ket: "Sū́nus moi gn̥hjotām!" ǵʰutḗr nu pótim weukʷet: "Jégeswo gʰi déiwom Wérunom." úpo pro pótis-kʷe déiwom sesore déiwom-kʷe jegto. "Kludʰí moi, dejwe Werune!" Só nu km̥ta diwós gʷāt. "Kʷód wl̥nexsi?" "Wl̥néxmi sū́num." "Tód ʔestu", wéwkʷet lewkós déjwos. Pótnī gʰi sū́num gegonʔe.

A sound recording[1] has been made by linguist Andrew Byrd, reading his own translation to reconstructed PIE.

2013's version

H₃rḗḱs dei̯u̯ós-kwe

H₃rḗḱs h₁est; só n̥putlós. H₃rḗḱs súhxnum u̯l̥nh₁to. Tósi̯o ǵʰéu̯torm̥ prēḱst: "Súhxnus moi̯ ǵn̥h₁i̯etōd!" Ǵʰéu̯tōr tom h₃rḗǵm̥ u̯eu̯ked: "h₁i̯áǵesu̯o dei̯u̯óm U̯érunom". Úpo h₃rḗḱs dei̯u̯óm U̯érunom sesole nú dei̯u̯óm h₁i̯aǵeto. "ḱludʰí moi̯, pter U̯erune!" Dei̯u̯ós U̯érunos diu̯és km̥tá gʷah₂t. "Kʷíd u̯ēlh₁si?" "Súhxnum u̯ēlh₁mi." "Tód h₁estu", u̯éu̯ked leu̯kós dei̯u̯ós U̯érunos. Nu h₃réḱs pótnih₂ súhxnum ǵeǵonh₁e.

English translation:

Once there was a king. He was childless. The king wanted a son. He asked his priest: "May a son be born to me!" The priest said to the king: "Pray to the god Werunos". The king approached the god Werunos to pray now to the god. "Hear me, father Werunos!" The god Werunos came down from heaven. "What do you want?" "I want a son." "Let this be so", said the bright god Werunos. The king's lady bore a son.

The EIEC spelling largely corresponds to that used in the Proto-Indo-European language article, with ha for h2 and hx for unspecified laryngeals h. Lehmann attempts to give a more phonetical rendering, with x (voiceless velar fricative) for h2 and ʔ (glottal stop) for h1. Further differences include Lehmann's avoidance of the augment, and of the palato-alveolars as distinctive phonemes. Altogether, Lehmann's version can be taken as the reconstruction of a slightly later period, after contraction for example of earlier pótnix to pótnī, say of a Centum dialect, that has also lost (or never developed) the augment. However, the differences in reconstructions are more probably due to differences in theoretical viewpoint. The EIEC spelling is a more direct result of the reconstruction process but having typologically too many marked features to be a language really spoken some time in that form, while Lehmann represents the position to attain the most probable natural language to show up in reconstruction the way PIE is.

The king and the god in Sanskrit original


athainam uvāca: Varuṇaṃ rājānam upadhāva: putro me jāyatāṃ, tena tvā yajā iti tatheti. sa Varuṇaṃ rājānam upasasāra: putro me jāyatāṃ, tena tvā yajā iti. tatheti. tasya ha putro jajñe Rohito nāma.

English translation:

Then he said to him: Have recourse to Varuna, the king: "Let a son be born to me; with him let me sacrifice to thee" "Be it so". He went up to Varuna, the king "Let a son be born to me; with him let me sacrifice to thee." "Be it so". To him a son was born, Rohita by name.

See also


  • .
  • .

External links

  • What was the earliest ancestor of English like? by Geoffrey Sampson, with a simplified spelling of the EIEC version.
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