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# We can learn about the living conditions of a vanished

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Senior Manager
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08 Jul 2012, 04:59
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We can learn about the living conditions of a vanished culture by examining its language. Thus, it is likely that the people who spoke Proto-Indo-European, the language from which all Indo-European languages descended, lived in a cold climate, isolated from ocean or sea, because Proto-Indo-European lacks a word for "sea," yet contains words for "winter," "snow," and "wolf."

Which one of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument?
(A) A word meaning "fish" was used by the people who spoke Proto-Indo-European.
(B) Some languages lack words for prominent elements of the environments of their speakers.
(C) There are no known languages today that lack a word for "sea."
(D) Proto-Indo-European possesses words for "heat."
(E) The people who spoke Proto-Indo-European were nomadic.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: Living conditions of a vanished culture [#permalink]

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08 Jul 2012, 17:15
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MBAhereIcome wrote:
We can learn about the living conditions of a vanished culture by examining its language. Thus, it is likely that the people who spoke Proto-Indo-European, the language from which all Indo-European languages descended, lived in a cold climate, isolated from ocean or sea, because Proto-Indo-European lacks a word for "sea," yet contains words for "winter," "snow," and "wolf."

Which one of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument?
(A) A word meaning "fish" was used by the people who spoke Proto-Indo-European.
(B) Some languages lack words for prominent elements of the environments of their speakers.
(C) There are no known languages today that lack a word for "sea."
(D) Proto-Indo-European possesses words for "heat."
(E) The people who spoke Proto-Indo-European were nomadic.

Thoughts on the prompt:
It says that language reveals how its speakers lived. Then a conclusion is drawn based on the presence of three words and the absence of a word for "sea."

A: Fish can come from lakes and rivers. If you fail to consider this, you might think this choice weakens the argument. It's a trap!
B: This is noteworthy. This could mean speakers of Proto-Indo-European actually did live near a sea. Good answer choice.
C: This is irrelevant.
D: This is irrelevant.
E: This is irrelevant.

I would choose answer choice B.

Side note: Languages vary in the number of names they have for colors. The minimum number of terms for any known language is two (light and dark). But this doesn't mean that speakers of that language don't see colors the way English speakers do. There's a lot of interesting stuff about color-naming on Wikipedia.

Edit: Edited to add side note.

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Re: Living conditions of a vanished culture [#permalink]

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08 Jul 2012, 20:27
Fun question. Straight B.

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: Living conditions of a vanished culture [#permalink]

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08 Jul 2012, 20:51
good question
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Re: Living conditions of a vanished culture [#permalink]

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12 Jul 2012, 03:33
Which one of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument?
(A) A word meaning "fish" was used by the people who spoke Proto-Indo-European.
Fish can be from river/lake, sea is not necessarily involved.
(B) Some languages lack words for prominent elements of the environments of their speakers.
Strong paraphrasing, weakens the argument by giving additional idea.
(C) There are no known languages today that lack a word for "sea."
Other languages are not in the scope.
(D) Proto-Indo-European possesses words for "heat."
Doesn't mean that they should have a word for sea as well.
(E) The people who spoke Proto-Indo-European were nomadic.
Then they must have the word.
(B) Wins
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Re: Living conditions of a vanished culture [#permalink]

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27 Dec 2013, 15:38
thevenus wrote:
Which one of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument?
(A) A word meaning "fish" was used by the people who spoke Proto-Indo-European.
Fish can be from river/lake, sea is not necessarily involved.
(B) Some languages lack words for prominent elements of the environments of their speakers.
Strong paraphrasing, weakens the argument by giving additional idea.
(C) There are no known languages today that lack a word for "sea."
Other languages are not in the scope.
(D) Proto-Indo-European possesses words for "heat."
Doesn't mean that they should have a word for sea as well.
(E) The people who spoke Proto-Indo-European were nomadic.
Then they must have the word.
(B) Wins
Taking from above explanation, in E, if Proto-Indo-European guys were nomadic, they should have got this word by visiting any of sea or oceans while their nomadic adventures. Shouldn't this choice also weaken the argument?
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Re: We can learn about the living conditions of a vanished [#permalink]

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28 Dec 2013, 08:50
Hi - In questions like this, you have to be very careful as to what they mean by argument.

In this question the argument is the lack of the word for sea, being evidence for their living conditions.

SO the fact they are nomadic or not has nothing to do with that. You need a counter argument for using linguisitics to prove living conditions.

That is provided in the OA

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Re: We can learn about the living conditions of a vanished [#permalink]

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29 Dec 2013, 02:00
ONLY B comes closer to the answer....
E cannot be right as if the people were nomadic.... why did they have different words for cold places, snow, winter etc and none for sea ? It would mean they never came close to sea..... and wandered all near snow bound areas...
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Re: We can learn about the living conditions of a vanished [#permalink]

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30 Mar 2016, 08:02
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Re: We can learn about the living conditions of a vanished   [#permalink] 30 Mar 2016, 08:02
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