Philip Hudson wrote:Lithuanian peasants do not nor have they ever spoken PIE.
I think the original comment came from the apparent belief among some linguists that, of all the known actively-spoken Indo-European languages, Lithuanian is considered to be among the most conservative, still using tenses and such that have fallen out of use in other modern languages. I've seen sometimes in etymologies that the current Lithuanian word is compared to the ancient forms in Latin, Sanskit, Greek, and sometimes Armenian.
The truth in each of these ideas is that people in isolated areas do, in some cases, hold on to speech characteristics that larger societies have discarded.
...which was pretty much the point of the original quote. Lithuania may have been ruled at various times by Germans, Scandinavians, Slavs, and even Mongols, but they usually concerned themselves with cities, leaving the folks in the countryside alone.
Being of peasant stock is not a shameful condition. Abraham Lincoln said God must love the common people best because he made so many of us.
Hear, hear. Proud of my Gullah heritage, even if I am a born-and-bred suburban New Yorker. I guess that was my comment on today's academics being too PC to refer to their contemporaries as "peasants." Or my opinion, in any case.